According to a Transparency International report, seven out of eight most corrupt nations are Muslim majority – something to ponder about and something to be worried about too. An example in case is that 65% of all products in Pakistan are counterfeit.
Many analysts have different opinion on the reasons for this frailty in Muslims. According to a survey carried out in Britain it was deduced that because Muslims live in joint families and the pressure of the entire family vis-à-vis their financial demands falls on the earning hand, therefore corruption finds it’s way in such societies.
This may actually not be the reason for this marked infirmity in Muslims compared to other religion followers. The real reason for this deficiency is the misplaced priorities of our religious preachers, who never talk about financial corruption as a major sin.
In a Friday sermon or a ‘tableeghi ijtima’, one may hear an hour long speech about the importance of offering five time prayers, fasting, going for pilgrimage, tableegh etc, and about vices like drinking alcohol, eating pork meat, personal appearance like keeping beard and dress code etc, but not a word would be uttered about the prohibition of financial corruption in Islam. If alcohol is prohibited in Islam so is bribery even more vehemently prohibited, but bribe takers/givers would be seen confidently sitting in the front row in a mosque eagerly listening to sermons against alcohol consumption.
Misplaced priorities with our preachers is the real reason for denigration of the Islamic image. The attribute of God almighty as the ‘most merciful’ is grossly malinterpreted to imply as if God would forgive all sins of Muslims including financial corruption and sins against humanity etc.
Frequently repeated ‘assurance’ to Muslims by preachers is that if a Muslim recited kalima tayyaba just once, eight million of his sins would be annulled as a reward, or if one goes for Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca) all previous sins would be washed away, are the real cause for corruption amongst Muslims, whether in Pakistan or elsewhere in the world.
Other religions, or even those who do not believe in any religion, do observe the universal ethics of honesty and therefore fare better in this regard. With Muslims, the religious preaching defines moral behaviour and if honesty is not the priority for a Muslim religious preacher how can the preacher’s disciples exercise honesty.
The onus of responsibility for reforming the moral character of Muslims particularly with respect to financial honesty, lies upon the religious preachers and they would do service to Islam to make amends for their past omissions and put financial honesty high up on their list of preachings.