بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Qur’an says that when Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala told the angels about His plan to place human being as His deputy on the earth, the angels remarked that this deputy would not use his freedom well; he would do mischief in the land and shed blood. But Allah said, “I know what you do not know.” The commentators of the Qur’an say that Allah knew that there would be many who would do corruption, but He also knew that there would be many others who would build, improve, reform and make peace. Allah took this risk by creating the human beings. The life now here on this earth is full of struggle. There are those who make mischief and do corruption, but there are also those who are peaceful and do acts of kindness, love and charity. There are those who make mischief (mufsidin) and there are those who do reform, make peace (muslihin). The challenge is before us. What do want to be and to which camp do we want to belong?
wa- ‘idh qaala rabb -ka li- al- malaa’ikah ‘inni jaa’il fe al- ‘ard. khalefah
And when your rabb said to the angels: behold! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth
qaalo ‘a- taj’al fe -haa man yufsid fe -haa wa- yasfik ad- dimaa’ wa- nah.nu nusabbih. bi- h.amd -ka wa- nuqaddis la- -ka ,
they said: will you place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we sing your praise and sanctify you?
qaala ‘inni -y a’lam maa laa ta’lamon
He said: Surely I know that which ye know not
There has always been corruption in the world, sometimes more and sometimes less. Corruption is an evil and a big problem, but the bigger problem is when you do not see many people who are willing to do reform. Even worst is the scenario when you see some who claim to reform but they actually do more corruption.
wa- ‘idhaa qela la- -hum laa tufsido fe al- ‘ard. qaalo ‘inna-maa nah.nu mus.lih.on
When it is said to them: “Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: “We are reformers only.”
‘a-laa ‘inna -hum hum al- mufsidon wa- laakin laa yash’uron
Indeed, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realize (it) not.
The Qur’anic term for corruption is al-Fasad. It means spoiling the order, disturbing the balance of justice by greed, self-interest, deception and double talk. The Qur’an has used this word about 50 times. Al-Fasad could be in morals, in values, in social system, in family system, in educational system, in economics, in politics or in human relations in general.
Al-Fasad appears when people follow their lusts and vain desires, when they try to twist the truth and distort the facts. Instead of following the Truth and the Guidance from their Lord and Creator, they ignore and turn away from His message.
wa- law ittaba’a al- h.aqq ahwaa’ -hum
If the Truth had been in accord with their desires
la- fasadat as- samaawaat wa- al- ‘ard. wa- man fe -hinna
, truly the heavens and the earth, and all beings therein would have been in confusion and corruption!
bal ‘ataynaa -hum bi- dhikr -him fa- hum ‘an dhikr -him mu’rid.on
Nay, We have sent them their reminder, but they turn away from that reminder.
Al-Fasad comes when people tell lies, break promises and do not care for the family ties and relations. When they do not remember Allah.
wa- ‘alladhena yanqud.on ‘ahd allaah min ba’di methaaq –hi
But those who break the Covenant of Allah, after having pledged their word to it
wa- yaqt.a’on maa ‘amara ‘allaah bi- -hi ‘an yos.al
, and cut apart those things which Allah has commanded to be joined
wa- yufsidon fe al- ‘ard.
, and work mischief in the land
‘olaa’ika la- -hum al- la’nah wa- la- -hum so’ ad- daar
, on them is the Curse; and for them is the terrible Home!
Al-Fasad happens when people cheat and deceive in business, deprive others of their rights and act in dishonest ways. Allah mentions Prophet Hud telling his people:
When the political order becomes unjust and people’s rights are denied, the cities and townships become corrupt and are filled with mischief and mischief-makers. The life then loses its meaning and purpose. People kill each other for no reason. The agricultural land, the livestock and the environment all suffer the evil of corruption and mischief.
204: wa- min an- naas man yu’jib -ka qawl -hu fe al- h.ayaah ad- dunyaa wa- yushhid ‘allaah ‘alaa maa fe qalb -hi wa- huwa aladd al- khis.aam
There is the type of man whose speech about this world’s life may dazzle you, and he calls Allah to witness about what is in his heart; yet is he the most contentious of enemies
205: wa- ‘idhaa tawallaa sa’aa fe al- ‘ard. li- yufsid fe -haa wa- yuhlik al- h.arth wa- an- nasl wa- ‘allaah laa yuh.ibb al- fasaad
When he rules, his aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But Allah loves not mischief
206: wa- ‘idhaa qela la- -hu ittaqi ‘allaah ‘akhadhat -hu al- ‘izzah bi- al- ‘ithm fa- h.asb -hu jahannam wa- la- bi’s al- mihaad
When it is said to him, “Fear Allah,” he is led by arrogance to (more) crime. Enough for him is Hell; an evil bed indeed (to lie on).
The rulers who rule their people without any care and consultation, they also make mischief. They spoil the peace in their land and disgrace the noble inhabitants of their countries. From the mouth of the Queen of Sheba we have the following words of wisdom in the Qur’an. These words contain the most profound and true appraisal of the imperialistic systems of all times:
qaalat ‘inna al- mulok ‘idhaa dakhalo qaryah afsado -haa wa- ja’alo a’izzah ‘ahl -haa adhillah wa- ka- dhaalika yaf’alon
She said: “Kings, when they enter a country, despoil it, and make the noblest of its people its meanest; thus do they behave.
Pharaonic system in ancient Egypt was the paradigm of this mischief and corruption. Pharaohs used to mistreat their people and exploit one group against the other. And he killed the sons and allowed the daughters to live, surely he mastered this bit of mischeif
Surely Al-Fasad brings violence. It causes death and destruction. And when there is more corruption there should be greater effort to reform and correct that corruption. Allah gives chance to people to repent, turn back from their evil ways, improve their condition and become better human beings.
z.ahara al- fasaad fe al- barr wa- al- bah.r bi- maa kasabat ayde an- naas li- yudheq -hum ba’d. ‘alladhe ‘amilo la’alla -hum yarji’on
Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned. That (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from Evil)
We are at a time of severe corruption in the world. The world needs sincere and honest reformers. Those who care for all people, those whose interests are not parochial or nationalistic, those who follow the path of justice and fairness towards all people, those who know how to work with wisdom and love, not with irrationality and hate. Where are those people? Can we be those people? Are we ready for that? I pray to Allah to make those people and to include us among them.
fa- law-laa kaana min al- quron min qabli -kum ‘olo baqeyah yanhawn ‘an al- fasaad fe al- ‘ard. ‘illaa qalel(an) min man anjaynaa min -hum wa- ittaba’a ‘alladhena z.alamo maa utrifo fe -hi wa- kaano mujrimen
If only there had been among the generations before you men possessing a remnant (of good sense ) to warn (their people) from corruption in the earth, as did a few of those whom We saved from amongst them! The wrong-doers corrupted themselves in pursuit only of pleasures, and so lost themselves in sin.
And Allah knows best!