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The Corrupt Values of British Values

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The old saying “power tends to corrupt” has certainly proved true for British MP’s in recent weeks and months.Whilst thousands of people lose their homes during the recession, MP’s have been profiting by buying and refurbishing second homes at the taxpayer’s expense, then selling them for a hefty tax-free profit.

They have then used the profits to buy a new home to restart the whole process. They have been found to be charging gardening bills, maintenance of their swimming pools and basic food items and toiletries to the taxpayer.When exposed they offered little remorse, claiming that they had all acted ‘within the rules’.

The most startling case was that of Jacqui Smith, the British Home Secretary whose husband was found to be watching pornography paid for by the British taxpayer! She was followed by Hazel Blears, Michael Gove, David Davis and a host of others whose names were exposed in the scandal.

The attitude of British politicians towards their abuse of public funds was summed up by MP Harry Cohen, who topped the expenses chart by claiming a massive £310,000, on a second-home allowance. He said,”When MPs were given this allowance they were told “Go and spend it, boys” and that is what I have done. It is my right.” When challenged to clean up the system, the House of Common’s Speaker Michael Martin was reported to have said “I did not come into politics not to take what is owed to me.’

This ‘right’ to abuse taxpayers’ money is not confined to simply one or two MP’s.An investigation by the Sunday Telegraph found that 65 MP’s are claiming expenses for a second home while earning rental income from letting out a third.These politicians - one in ten of all MPs -claimed between them almost £6 million since records on expenses began in 2001, an average of £85,000 each.

The Mail on Sunday summed up nicely the actual problem with British politicians. “The next most startling aspect of the problem is how few MPs - supposed to be beyond reproach - seem to have any strong sense of right and wrong, or any ability to resist temptation. People whose job it is to make the law are plundering the public purse because there is nothing in the rules to say they should not do so…Men and women who went into politics with honest intentions see all this going on around them and, unless they are exceptionally strong-willed, are swiftly drawn into the swamp of tax-funded greed.”

It’s the core western values of freedom and benefit which give rise to no “strong sense of right and wrong, or ability to resist temptation” that is at the root of government corruption not just in Britain but the entire world today including the Muslim world.

When Westminster politics is riddled with corruption how can anyone believe that these Western governments can ever bring a corruption free and accountable government in the Muslim world?

In Pakistan the current President Asif Zardari, the latest ‘ally in the war on terror’, was previously imprisoned for corruption and siphoning off public funds, so much so that he was given the title “Mr 10%”. Now he is President of the country who knows what percentage he will be known by at the end of his tenure?

SO HOW DID ISLAM ENSURE A CORRUPTION FREE POLITICS?

Whilst politics according to the western way of life is about power, ego, showbiz and material benefit emulated so well by the long list of rulers in our countries, Islam established politics as one of the highest responsibilities.

Politicians in Islam, whether they hold government posts or not, have a completely different viewpoint towards politics and their role within the state. Politics in Islam concerns looking after the affairs of people.The politician is the one who is a servant of the Ummah.They do not take any government post with the aim of achieving personal benefit. Rather they see their position as a responsibility that they will be questioned about on the Day of Judgment.

It is narrated that Abu Hurayrah said:”A man gave as a gift to the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wa-salam) a slave who was called Mid’am.Whilst Mid’am was bringing down a saddle for the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wa-salam), an arrow came out of nowhere and killed him.The people said, “How fortunate he is! Paradise is his,” but the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wa-salam) said, “No, by the One in Whose hand is my soul, the cloak which he took from the war-booty on the day of Khaybar before the booty had been shared out will burn him with fire.” When the people heard that, a man came and brought one or two shoelaces to the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa-salam) and said, “A shoelace of fire” or “Two shoelaces of fire.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

The war-booty (ghaneema) is one of the revenues of the Islamic State and part of the public funds. If someone was punished simply for stealing a piece of cloth from the public funds, what about the rulers in the Muslim world who have stolen $billions of oil and natural resources from the ummah?

So the first and foremost way to resolve the corruption in our countries is to remove the corrupt political culture that is dominant in our societies.Today the corrupt system ensures that only the most evil, corrupt and ruthless people win in the so called ‘free and fair’ democratic elections overseen by the west.The corrupt political system that breeds corrupt politicians needs to be uprooted and a new system of politics established where only those sincere, trustworthy and upright individuals who have a track record of sacrifice for the ummah and are known in society for their iman and tawqa, run for positions of responsibility within

Building on al-Mawardi’s classical work Al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s book Nidham ul-Hukm fil-Islam describes in great detail two institutions that are tasked with addressing government corruption. The first institution is an independent, powerful, judicial court called the Mahkamat al-Mazaalim (Court of Unjust Acts).The second is an elected house of peoples’ representatives called the Majlis ul-Ummah (Council of the Ummah), whose decisions on certain affairs of state (not legislation) the Khaleefah is constitutionally obliged to accept.

The Mahkamat al-Mazaalim contains judges whose sole responsibility and expertise is government oppression (Mazlema), constitutional law and legislation. Unlike a standard court the judge (Qadi al-Mazaalim) has investigatory powers and can initiate a court case without a plaintiff. This court has the power to oblige government officials including the Khaleefah to pay back any money they took from public funds. Mismanagement of the public properties such as oil wealth or the imposition of unjust taxation on the people can all be investigated by this court and practically resolved through issuing a judgement that the officials must abide by.

Ibn ‘Umar said that when ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab was in need, he used to go to the man in charge of the Bait ul-Mal and seek a loan from him. Often he might be in difficulty and the man in charge of the public treasury would come to him, seeking repayment of the debt and would oblige him to pay it, and ‘Umar would be evasive to him.Then often ‘Umar would receive his stipend and so pay his debt.[ Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa]

The Majlis ul-Ummah is comprised of elected representatives of the people who are voted in every five years.These representatives can be men, women, Muslim or non-Muslim.Accountability of government officials is one of the Majlis’s central tasks. It has the power to hold any government official accountable on all matters related to the state, and some of the Majlis’s decisions will be binding on the Khaleefah to enact.

In addition to the above institutions, Islam puts a burden on every individual in society to take care about the public affairs. Islam encourages and obliges on each and every Muslim to enjoin the good and forbid the munkar in society.

Furthermore Allah (SWT) encourages groups and parties to be established within the society to enjoin the good and forbid the munkar. “And let there be from among you a group(s) who invite to goodness, and command right conduct and forbid what is evil. Such are they who are successful.” [Ayat surah Al-Imran 104]

The famous example of the man who accounted Umar al-Khattab about the length of his shirt indicates the consciouness within people to account the rulers and hold them to task.

Government corruption in Britain or the Muslim world can never be resolved whilst the politicians hold on to the Capitalist values of freedom and benefit. No matter how many anti-corruption mechanisms they put in place, politicians will always find clever ways to hide their abuses.

Only when sincere Islamic politicians take the reins of power in the Muslim world, and establish a righteous Islamic government, the Khilafah will we again see rulers like Umar bin Abdul-Aziz who was so careful not to abuse the public funds that he wouldn’t even use a candle paid for from the Bait ul-Mal for his own personal use.

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