Sura Al-Maidah (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-56



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Bribery and its evil consequences
4. The second verse (42) mentions another evil trait of these people by calling them: أَكَّالُونَ لِلسُّحْتِ translated here as 'eaters of the unlawful' making 'the unlawful' to stand for the word, 'suht' in the text. The literal meaning of Suht is to uproot or destroy something totally which is the sense in what the Qur'an says in: فيسحتكم بعذاب , that is, (do not forge lies against Allah) lest He destroy you with a punishment - 20:61). But, at this place in the Qur'an, Suht denotes bribe. Sayyidna 'Ali رضي الله عنه, Ibrahim Nakha'ii, Hasan al-Basri, Mujahid, Qatadah and Dahhak and other leading authorities in Tafsir have explained it as bribe.

The reason for equating bribe with Suht (total destruction; also unlawful earning, detestable enough to be shunned) is that it not only destroys its givers and takers alike but also goes on to uproot the whole country and community and destroy public peace and tranquility (by causing rise in illegal gratification and fall in avenues of honest earning). When bribery gains currency in a country or a department, law freezes and bribery stays hot. As for the law of a country, it is the only power which maintains peace and stability. When law and order stand suspended, nothing remains safe, life or property or honour, nothing. Therefore, by calling it Suht, the Shari'ah has declared it to be gravely Haram, forbidden and unlawful. Moreover, to block all possible doors of bribery, even the gifts given to officials or leaders or dignitaries of a country have also been classed as Suht or bribe in an authentic Hadith, and has been declared to be Haram.(Jaqsas).

The Holy Prophet (SM) has said in a hadith : Almighty Allah causes His curse to fall on the giver and taker of bribe and on him too who acts as a broker between them. (Jassas).

The Islamic Legal definition of Rishwah (meaning bribery) is the taking of compensation for something the taking of which would not be legally correct. For example, a person doing a job, the doing of which is included within his duty, and the fulfilling of which is mandatory on him, cannot take any compensation for it from any party. If taken, that is bribe. Functionaries of governments, officials or clerks, higher or lower, are all obligated to do their duties by virtue of being paid employees of the government. If they take something from the person whose case they are handling, that will be a bribe. The father and mother of a girl are responsible for the marriage of their daughter. They cankot take any 'compensation' for doing that. If they take any 'compensation' from the person who will have the hands of their daughter in marriage, that is a bribe. Sawm (fasting), salah (prayers), Hajj (pilgrimmage) and the Tilawah (recitation) of the Qur'an are 'Ibadah' (acts of worship) with which Muslims have been obligated. The taking of any 'compensation' from anyone is a bribe. However, the duty of the Teaching of Qur'an and the duty of leading Salah as Imam are exempt from this (as ruled by later Muslim jurists).

Then, a person who takes bribe and does someone's job as it should rightfully be done, he commits the sin of taking bribe and the money or material he has 'earned' is 'suht,'and unlawful for him. And should he do it as it should have not: been done rightfully, then, this becomes another grave crime, that of wastage of what was right and that of changing an express command of Allah, in addition to the initial one. May Allah keep all Muslims safe from this curse.

Verses 44 - 50
[٤٤]إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ ۚ يَحْكُمُ بِهَا النَّبِيُّونَ الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُوا لِلَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ بِمَا اسْتُحْفِظُوا مِن كِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَكَانُوا عَلَيْهِ شُهَدَاءَ ۚ فَلَا تَخْشَوُا النَّاسَ وَاخْشَوْنِ وَلَا تَشْتَرُوا بِآيَاتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

[٤٥]وَكَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِيهَا أَنَّ النَّفْسَ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالْعَيْنَ بِالْعَيْنِ وَالْأَنفَ بِالْأَنفِ وَالْأُذُنَ بِالْأُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّ وَالْجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ ۚ فَمَن تَصَدَّقَ بِهِ فَهُوَ كَفَّارَةٌ لَّهُ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

[٤٦]وَقَفَّيْنَا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِم بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ ۖ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْإِنجِيلَ فِيهِ هُدًى وَنُورٌ وَمُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةً لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

[٤٧]وَلْيَحْكُمْ أَهْلُ الْإِنجِيلِ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

[٤٨]وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَـٰكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

[٤٩]وَأَنِ احْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ أَن يَفْتِنُوكَ عَن بَعْضِ مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَن يُصِيبَهُم بِبَعْضِ ذُنُوبِهِمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ لَفَاسِقُونَ

[٥٠]أَفَحُكْمَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ يَبْغُونَ ۚ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ حُكْمًا لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ

Surely We have sent down the Torah, having guidance and light therein by which the prophets, the submitting ones, judge for the Jews, and (so do) the Men of the Lord and the Men of knowledge,because they were entrusted with the protection of the Book of Allah, and they stood guard over it. So, do not fear.people. Fear Me. And do not take a paltry price for My verses. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has sent down, then, they are the disbelievers. [44]

And therein We have prescribed for them: life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear and tooth for tooth; and for wounds, an equal retaliation. Then, whoever forgives it, that will be expiation for him. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has sent down, then, they are the unjust. [45]

And in their wake, We sent 'Isa son of Maryam, confirming what was before him, that is, the Torah; and We gave him the Injil having guidance and light therein, and confirming what was before it, that is, the Torah, and a guidance and lesson for the God-fearing.[46]

And the people of Injil must judge by what Allah has sent down therein. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has sent down, then, they are the sinners.[47]

And We have sent down to you the Book with truth, confirming the Book before it, and a safeguard for it. So,judge between them by what Allah has sent down, and do not follow their desires against the truth that has come to you. For each of you We have made a way and a method. And had Allah willed, He would have made a single community of people, but (He did not), so that He may test you in what He has given to you. Strive, then, to excel each other in good deeds. To Allah is the return of you all. Then Allah shall tell you about what you were disputing in. [48]

And (We have revealed to you) :Judge between them by what Allah has sent down and do not follow their desires, and beware of them lest they should turn you away from some of what Allah has sent down to you. So, if they turn away, be sure that Allah intends to make them suffer for some of their sins. And surely, many of the people are sinners. [49]

Is it, then, the judgement of (the days of) Ignorance that they seek? And who is better in judgement than Allah, for a people who believe? [50]

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