Only Islam can restore public confidence in politics and politicians
Brexit and the US elections 16 has clearly shown the lack of trust and confidence in the political establishment in the west by the public and it has given rise to right wing and so called ‘anti-establishment’ politicians opportunity to take power. Confidence in political establishment is probably at its all time low.
The public demand is for new politics and not the the politics of self-serving by the economic and political elite. Electing so called anti-establishment politicians into power and making some changes here and there will not really solve endemic political corruption because political corruption is part of the political DNA of the system; corruption will remain as long as men make rules and laws.
Before it was the church that used to exploit the people and now we have elected thieves and hoodlums that cheat and betray the people. Ultimate cause of this corruption is the western values, where personal benefit and seeking material pleasures is the real cause of this problem, where all other values such honesty, truth, integrity are sacrificed at the alter of materialism.
Today Britain and USA are in no position to preach to the world about good governance and be the role model for the Muslim world. This is just another evidence along with Guantanamo bay, Abu Garaib, occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and the financial crisis caused by capitalism and that the western civilisation is morally, intellectually, politically and literally bankrupt. The world is need of different ideology that will deliver good governance and set the true standards for transparency.
Islam and the correct political motivation
As long as money, fame, status are the motivation for entering public service then corruption will remain, and reform such as limiting expenses, changes the speaker of the house etc. will not fundamentally clean the political sess pit this system created. Politics of Islam ultimate linked to higher purpose – the hereafter. Those who enter politics should be motivated by seeking the delights of the hereafter and be fearful of being accountable on the Day of Judgment. That is why Umar (ra) he used to worry about being accountable about the goats and sheep of Iraq. Umer bin Abdul Aziz fainted when he was appointed to the post of Khalif. The rulers used to fear the post of ruling and authority.
مَا مِنْ وَالٍ يَلِي رَعِيَّةً مِنْ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَيَمُوتُ وَهُوَ غَاشٌّ لَهُمْ إِلَّا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ الْجَنَّة
The Prophet said, “Whoever is in charge of the affairs of the Muslims and dies while cheating them the Allah has prohibited the Paradise for him”
Illicit money (Mal al-Ghulul) is property acquired by the governors, government employees and civil servants illegitimately, whether acquired from the State or peoples’ properties. Nothing is allowed for them except what the State obliged for them as compensation or a salary. Any other money acquired by force, authority or their position is considered illicit property and illegally acquired, whether acquired from the State’s or individuals’ property. It is property not legally owned as it was acquired illegitimately and must be returned to its owner if known. If the owner is not known, then it must be confiscated and placed in the Bait ul-Mal of the Muslims.
Allah (SWT) _ says:
[وَمَن يَغْلُلْ يَأْتِ بِمَا غَلَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَـمَةِ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّى كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لاَ يُظْلَمُونَ]
“Whoever took (property) illicitly will bear what he acquired on the Day of Judgement” [Al-Imran: 161]
From Mu’az bin Jabal, h said: “The Messenger of Allah _ sent me to Yemen. As I traveled he sent someone after me to call me back so I returned. He said: ‘Do you know why I sent for you? Don’t acquire anything without my permission as it is illicit (Ghulul), and whoever acquired illicitly will bear what he acquired on the Day of Judgement. For this I called you. So proceed with your work’” (narrated by Tirmidhi).
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Humayd As-Sa`idi said, “The Prophet appointed a man from the tribe of Al-Azd, called Ibn Al-Lutbiyyah, to collect the Zakah. When he returned he said, `This (portion) is for you and this has been given to me as a gift.’ The Prophet stood on the Minbar and said,
«مَا بَالُ الْعَامِلِ نَبْعَثُهُ فَيَجِي فَيَقُولُ: هَذَا لَكُمْ، وَهَذَا أُهْدِيَ لِي، أَفَلَا جَلَسَ فِي بَيْتِ أَبِيهِ وَأُمِّهِ فَيَنْظُرُ أَيُهْدَى إِلَيْهِ أَمْ لَا؟ وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ، لَا يَأْتِي أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ مِنْهَا بِشَيْءٍ إِلَّا جَاءَ بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ عَلى رَقَبَتِهِ، إِنْ كَانَ بَعِيرًا لَهُ رُغَاءٌ، أَوْ بَقَرَةٌ لَهَا خُوَارٌ، أَوْ شَاةٌ تَيْعَر»
ثم رفع يديه حتى رأينا عفرة إبطيه، ثم قال:
«اللَّهُمَّ هَلْ بَلَّغْت»ثلاثًا.
(What is the matter with a man whom we appoint to collect Zakah, when he returns he said, `This is for you and this has been given to me as a gift.’ Why hadn’t he stayed in his father’s or mother’s house to see whether he would be given presents or not By Him in Whose Hand my life is, whoever takes anything from the resources of the Zakah (unlawfully), he will carry it on his neck on the Day of Resurrection; if it be a camel, it will be grunting; if a cow, it will be mooing; and if a sheep, it will be bleating. The Prophet then raised his hands till we saw the whiteness of his armpits, and he said thrice, `O Allah! Haven’t I conveyed Your Message.’)”
Imam Ahmad recorded that `Umar (ra) bin Al-Khattab said, “During the day (battle) of Khaybar, several Companions of the Messenger of Allah came to him and said, `So-and-so died as a martyr, so-and-so died as a martyr.’ When they mentioned a certain man that died as a martyr, the Messenger of Allah said,
«كَلَّا إِنِّي رَأَيْتُهُ فِي النَّارِ فِي بُرْدَةٍ غَلَّهَا أَوْ عَبَاءَةٍ »
(No. I have seen him in the Fire because of a robe that he stole (from the booty).)
The Messenger of Allah then said,
يَا ابْنَ الْخَطَّابِ، اذْهَبْ فَنَادِ فِي النَّاسِ: إِنَّهُ لَا يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ إِلَّا الْمُؤْمِنُون
(O Ibn Al-Khattab! Go and announce to the people that only the faithful shall enter Paradise.) So I went out and proclaimed that none except the faithful shall enter Paradise.” This was recorded by Muslim and At-Tirmidhi, who said “Hasan Sahih”.
In comparison, Islamic posts of ruling such as the posts of the Khaleefah, Executive Assistant, Governor and Chief Judge are not employment contracts, where they are hired for wage for the ruling the nation. However they are given stipends from the Bait-ul-mal as living expenses while they rule the Muslims. So if someone who wishes to make millions should seek their treasures outside of politics. The motivation for entering politics is serving the people and not living the life of luxury while the citizens struggle to make ends meet as we are witnessing in the capitalist societies in the midst of the credit crisis and recession.
A short while after Abu Bakr (ra)as-Siddiq (ra) was appointed as Khaleefah, Umar (ra) ibn al-Khattab (ra) and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah (ra) were walking in Medinah when they met Abu Bakr (ra)(ra) carrying garments on his shoulders and going to the marketplace to trade. Umar (ra) asked Abu Bakr, “What are you doing?” Abu Bakr (ra)replied, “I am going to trade.” Umar (ra) said: “After you became responsible for all the Muslims???” Abu Bakr (ra)said, “But I have to feed my family.” So Umar (ra) said, “Lets go and we will pay you an allowance.” [from the state treasury Bait ul-Mal] Umar (ra) and Abu Ubaidah decided to pay Abu Bakr (ra)250 dinars a year and a daily allowance of half a sheep in food. Some time later Umar (ra) was walking in Medinah when he came across a group of women. He asked them “What are you doing?” They replied, “We are waiting for the Khaleefah.” Abu Bakr (ra)did not turn up for office that day so Umar (ra) went searching for him and found him in the marketplace trading again. Umar (ra) grabbed the hand of Abu Bakr (ra)and said, “What are you doing?” Abu Bakr (ra)replied, “The allowance you gave me is not enough.” Umar (ra) said, “Fine, we will increase it for you.” Abu Bakr (ra)said, “I want 300 dinars a year and a daily allowance of a whole sheep in food.” Umar (ra) said, “No. We are not going to give you that.” Imam Ali (ra) intervened and said, “Give it to him.” Umar (ra) said, “You think so?” Ali replied, “Yes.” So Umar (ra) said, “We agree.” Abu Bakr (ra)then stood on the mimbar in the masjid and called the sahaba. He said, “You have paid me 250 dinars a year and a daily allowance of half a sheep in food, and that wasn’t enough for me. So Umar (ra) and Ali have given me an increase to 300 dinars a year and a daily allowance of the whole sheep. Do you agree?” The sahaba replied, “We agree.”Tabrani narrates that Hasan (Ra) said that Abu Bakr (ra)(Ra) during his last illness, instructed Aishah (Ra): “After my death hand over to Umar (ra) this milk-camel and dish which were given to me on account of my Khilaafa.” Thus, after his demise these items were assigned to the custody of Umar (ra) (Ra). Thereupon Umar (ra) (Ra) lamented: “Abu Bakr! May Allah have mercy on you. You have imposed a great difficulty on the Khulafa who will follow you.”Umar (ra) (Ra) meant that others will not be able to exercise this high degree of caution.
Islamic system sets the highest standard for public life, accountability and transparency
We have seen the hollow slogan of good governance and transparency in the west, it is nothing but hot air. It is Islam from day one set the standards for public life and transparency. The Khilafah system shows how to deal with such issues and will true provide confidence and will not betray public trust in authority.
Islam has laid clear rules for appointments and dismissible of rulers and government employees such as the civil servants. The rulers (Khalif, Executive assistant, wolas, chief judge) must all fulfill the following conditions – Muslim, male, free, mature, sane, cable and adil (وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ). If any of these conditions are not full filled then it is responsibility of the Qadi matahalim to investigate and pass a judgment. Note Adala is one of the key conditions of ruling, if proven that he is a transgressor then either the khalif or the judge should remove them from their post.
It was 1400 years go that a code of practice of public life, accountability, transparency was established, the following examples from the Khilafah of Umar bin Al Khattab shows how the Islamic system dealt with corruption, embezzlement, etc.
Strict conditions for appointment of the governors – Umar would draw up the contract and make the Ansar witness and stipulate the governors would not ride non-Arabian horses, eat fine bread, not wear fine clothes, and would not close his doors to Muslims in need.
Testing the governor before appointing them – Al-Ahnaf bin Qays was tested for one whole year before appointing him.
Making sure that governors are not detached from the people and not extravagant – Umar heard about Sad’ bin abi Waqas palace, so he sent sent Muahhamed bin Maslama to burn the gate that Sa’s bin Abi waqas, which was built to keep the noise out from the market. In another example Umar while visiting syria, Yazeed invited him to eat and when he entered the house he saw some wall hangings, so he teared them up and said ‘Woe to you, do you dress walls with materials that could be used by people to shield themselves from the heat and cold?
Making sure that governors are humble – Umar (Ra) heard that Iyas bin Ghannam, wali of Syria, acquired a private bath and choose a entourage. So Umar summoned him to medina, upon his arrival he refused to meet 3 days then he met him and told him to put on woollen Jubbah and he gave him a Shepard beg and 300 sheep. He made him a Shepard for 2 -3 months. Afterward he said to him ‘So you choose a inner circle and acquired a hammam! Will you do it again? He said ‘No’. Umar sent him bak to his post and as result of this experience he became one of Umar’s best walis.
Taking way some of the governors wealth – Umar used to audit the wealth of the walis at the time of appointment and at the end he would take some of their wealth if there is unexpected growth. He took some of the wealth of Sad bib Abi waqqas, Ammar and Abu Huraitah. He even took some of the wealth of the relatives of the governors if he thought it was justified. For example he took half of Abu bakra’s wealth because he’s brother was charge of bayt al mal. Abu bakra protested and said ‘I did not do any work for you’ but Umar said ‘but you brother is in charge of the bait al mal and he’s been lending money to you for trade’.
Abu Sufyan, when he returned from his son Mu’awiya who was ‘Umar (ra)’s governor in Ash-Sham. Abu Sufyan had come to greet ‘Umar (ra), so ‘Umar (ra), after he had suspected that Mu’awiya had presented funds to his father on his return, said to him: “Recompense us, O Abu Sufyan.” Abu Sufyan replied: “We did not obtain anything such that we should recompense you.” So ‘Umar (ra) extended his hand to the ring on Abu Sufyan’s hand and took it from him. He then sent the ring with a messenger to Hind, Abu Sufyan’s wife. He commanded the messenger to say to her quoting Abu Sufyan: “Look for the two saddlebags that I came with and send them.” There was no delay before the messenger returned with the two saddlebags containing 10,000 Dirhams, so ‘Umar (ra) placed them in the Bait ul-Mal.
Islam achieved this success by the justice of Islam alone. Umayr Ibnu Sa’ad who had said while over the pulpit of Homs,
لا يزال الإسـلام منيعاً ما اشتدَّ السُـلطان. وليست شدَّة السُلطان قتلاً بالسيف أو ضرباً بالسَوْط، ولكن قضاءً بالحق وأخذاً بالعدل
”Islam will remain in formidable as long as the authority is strong. And the strength of the authority does not come about with the killing by the sword or the lashing by the whip, but by judging with the truth and the upholding of justice.”
It is Islam alone that can deal with the political corruption in the west and in the east from the corruptions of MPs in Westminster and despotic rulers in Muslims countries. It is a system not designed and implemented by politicians for the own gains it is a system from the creator of mankind.
Islam is the only system which viable alternative today, the example from our history shows that Islamic alone produces trustworthy leaders and builds sustainable political confidence in the public. We need to argue the case for political Islam in the west and implement it as a example in the Muslims lands, where the western public can really see an alternative model of politics.