06 July 2019 CE | 04 Dhul-Qadah 1440 AH

Hadith Explanation

Gift or Bribe

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) once sent somebody to collect zakat from a certain region. When the man returned he handed some of the zakat over and kept some for himself saying that he had received it as a gift from the people. Allah’s Apostle then ascended his pulpit and addressed everybody. In it he said: “I employ some men from among you for some job which Allah has placed in my charge, and then one of you comes to me and says, ‘This (amount) is for you and this is a gift given to me.’ Why doesn't he stay at the house of his father or the house of his mother and see whether he is given gifts. By Allah whoever takes anything unlawfully will bring it on the Day of Resurrection by carrying it over his neck.” [Bukhari]

Giving or taking bribes is at the root of corruption. Islam clearly states that both the giver and the receiver of a bribe end up in Jahannum (Hell). But how is one to recognize that he or she is involved in this practice? In this hadith, Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) describes a simple test that each person can perform to check themselves, when receiving favours while serving in a particular position. They should ask themselves whether what they receive is something they would be ‘gifted’ had they been sitting at home, i.e. not serving in that position. If the “gift” you receive is because of your office, so that you can use your position to do the gift-giver a favour, then this is a misuse of authority.

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