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Corruption afflicts the Muslim world

A 2010 Transparency International Survey does not make pleasant reading for Muslims around the world.

The independent international body uses an Index Scale of 1 to 10 to rate the ‘level of corruption’ in various countries, with 1 representing ‘highly corrupt’ and 10 as ‘least corrupt.’

Faheem Younus, an Adjunct Faculty Member for Religion and History at the Community Colleges of Baltimore County and a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Maryland said the Survey should be taken seriously.

The five most populous Muslim nations (Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Egypt) were all at the ‘corrupt end of the scale,’ with scores between 2.3 and 3.1.

The Survey placed only four (Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Bahrain) out of the 48 Muslim majority countries in the top 50 least-corrupt countries.

“Powerful extremists in the Muslim world are becoming increasingly enamoured with a flawed understanding of Sharia Law, calling for strict punishments for alcoholism, adultery, or sometimes even for exercising basic freedoms.

“But if Muslim nations really want to find moral high ground, they should first fight the corruption that put most of them at the bottom of the index,” Professor Younus said.

Remove falsehood

He related this to a Hadith.

A man asked Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) for advice regarding the three vices he suffered from, namely, falsehood, alcoholism and fornication.

The Prophet said that if he promised to give up falsehood, he would guarantee that his other two vices would also be eliminated.

When the Prophet inquired about his progress a few days later, the man gave an interesting report. He told the Prophet that he had been about to indulge in consumption of liquor but postponed the idea because he would have had to lie to his fellow Muslims in order to conceal the act.

A few days later, he was tempted by fornication but eschewed for the same reason. He had indeed removed all three vices by giving up falsehood.

Professor Younus, who describes himself as a ‘Muslimerican’ of Pakistani descent, criticises Pakistan for passing the much-abused Sharia Law against blasphemy, adultery, or apostasy, but doing nothing to combat rampant corruption.

He recalled the time of the Prophet.

“Presenting poverty, war, or illiteracy as reasons for this high corruption within Muslim countries would be a cop-out. It could be argued that Muslims in the Seventh Century were ravaged with more poverty, constant war, and significant illiteracy. But they had honest leadership showing them how to walk the walk.”

New Zealanders should be thankful that their country is among the least corrupt in the world along with Denmark and Singapore, with a score of 9.3 out of 10

However, as Muslims, we should be disappointed that 46 out of the 50 least corrupt nations of the world are Non-Muslim, and admit that the Islamic world has a lot to learn from the Non-Islamic countries.

As Prophet Mohammed said, “A word of wisdom is the lost property of a Muslim. He should seize it wherever he finds it.”

Source: Mt Albert Islamic Centre, Auckland

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