Justice, morality and honesty should permeate every moment of one’s life. In our current situation where many of us live in parliamentary democracies, this is especially true for politicians. A politician is responsible for a lot of people. People turn to him for solutions. Thus, it is essential that he is fair in his decisions, makes no prejudicial discrimination against people, correctly identifies the needy and devises pertinent actions addressing their problems. While rendering his services for the public good, he should co-operate with experts and appoint qualified people who can get results. If he is able to find out the reasons for an interruption in a service, a politician should rapidly find viable solutions and make swift changes in his policies, if necessary. In the public’s best interests, he should have the skills to prioritize.
Nevertheless for some, rather than being a public service, politics has turned into a profitable industry. In this sense, in politics, someone is considered successful who keeps power, consolidates and secures it despite all unfavorable circumstances and, if possible, acquires more power. Once this becomes the usual way of politics, it is no surprise that all forms of corruption and fraud are structured into the system.
Everywhere, west and east, in developed as well as developing countries, it is possible to see that politics is fused with business. Thus, it is not uncommon to see examples of those who, abusing politics for personal benefit, risk their political careers or are forced from office following “shares for favors” scandals. In many authoritarian systems, leaders fund expensive tastes and indulge in extravagance while their people fight hunger and epidemic. Mobutu, the ousted president of Zaire, is a good example. While the Zairian people fought for a loaf of bread, every month Mobutu was sending his personal plane to France to fetch his coiffeur. He amassed a huge fortune, regarding all the natural resources and diamond mines of his country as his personal assets. Furthermore, he allowed western countries to benefit from this natural wealth of Zaire while his people experienced deteriorating economic circumstances and civic unrest due to tribal clashes.
No society is immune to such practices unless the Qur’an reigns. In irreligious communities, people hardly attach any meaning to concepts like justice, mercy, love, respect and honesty, since everyone pursues his own interests and shows unquenchable greed. In a verse, Allah stresses the dimensions of the threat such people pose to societies:
Whenever he holds the upper hand, he goes about the earth corrupting it, destroying (people’s) crops and breeding stock. Allah does not love corruption. (Surat al-Baqara: 205)
It is of no avail to expect any change in the aforementioned human characteristics as long as people do not adhere to the Book of Allah. However, in a country where people have fear of Allah and where conscience rules, miscarriages of justice and abuses of power are not allowed. The problems of people are diagnosed and treated properly and services work effectively. The rewards for public service rendered only to earn the good pleasure of Allah, the help extended only for His sake are expected not in this world, but in the Hereafter. Throughout history, Allah communicated the divine message to people through His messengers. These messengers only invited them to the religion of truth. However, the reactions of people to these messengers were disbelief and they often suspected hidden purposes behind their sincere efforts. The answers of the messengers to the disbelieving people were the same:
Say: ‘I do not ask you for any wage for it, nor am I a man of false pretensions.’ (Surah Sad: 86)
My people! I do not ask you for any wage for it. My wage is the responsibility of Him Who brought me into being. So will you not use your intellect? (Surah Hud: 51)
Those having faith in Allah follow the example of such conduct, which is praised in the Qur’an. They expect no worldly gain in any form in return for services and aid. In the political life of disbelieving societies, however, political issues, both internal and foreign, and personal/party interests are intimately linked. This being the case, political life has its fair share of rogues apt to take decisions contrary to public or national interest. The methods employed to ensure these circles’ support are public investments serving the best interests of particular interest groups, opening credits for them or simply ignoring corruption or fraud. The lobbying incorporated into the political system in the United States best explains how the system works. Huge sums of undisclosed donations are made to finance the election campaigns of candidates. The purpose is to secure a seat for someone in the Senate, someone who will steer the type of politics the donors favour. In one of its issues, The Economist dealt with the lavishly funded electoral campaigns in the USA stressing that in 1992 alone contributions amounted to 3 billion dollars. Using illegal contributions, lobbies even achieve the power of making sanctions against other governments. Striking indeed is the scale of the pressure on politicians, when one considers that politicians never dare to be at variance with the demands of their contributors. Politicians being “guided” by this fear, adopt policies suiting the best interests of these interest groups or they create artificial crises. Sometimes political parties suffer intra-party clashes. Even, various insidious methods are employed to cause unrest within a country, thereby laying the appropriate ground for interest groups to benefit.
Close links between interest groups and those holding power cause countries to drift into chaos, most apparently in the examples of Latin American dictatorships. For the last five or six decades, leaders of fascist regimes in Latin American countries have lived in extravagance while the masses live on or below the breadline. Still today, power constantly shifts from dictatorships to juntas and vice versa. The military juntas rule with an iron fist, essentially deriving power from the pressure they apply to the masses. In these countries, which are the crossroads of narcotics trafficking, the clashes of the interests of those in power and of the drug cartels hinder the development of stability. These circles, flourishing only in chaos, maintain their continuity through pressure and terror. Thus, brutality, clashes and civil wars are interminable. In Colombia, 28 thousand murders occurred in 1992 alone. This figure serves well to depict the form of brutality occurring there. As we have seen, not living by the Qur’an and the Sunnah also accounts for the existence of power-holders who shut their eyes to all forms of violence.
Another striking point in political life is that authority and power are granted to those who, by nature and qualifications, do not deserve them. This is what the disbelieving system is based upon: it is not essential to be qualified in order to be assigned to a particular position. In these issues, vested interests become the driving forces in decision-making. However, in the Qur’an Allah commands the contrary:
Allah commands you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due; And when you judge between people, to judge with justice. How excellent is what Allah exhorts you to do! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (Surat al-Nisa’: 58)
In a society where people do not live by the Qur’an and, accordingly, duties and responsibilities are not allocated on the basis of skills and qualifications, anyone who fills a vacant senior position primarily practises nepotism and cronyism. For politicians and parties alike, vested interests and political preferences always take precedence. Working for the public good is mere rhetoric for use during electoral campaigns while addressing the voters. In accordance with this understanding, public services, if any, are provided not to poor villages or towns but to provinces where electors are concentrated.
Disbelief is responsible for this distorted understanding and this immorality. People, who do not conduct themselves responsibly and conscientiously, do not fear Allah. They do not show mercy to people and act fairly for the same reason. Feigning ignorance of the fact that they will give account for every deed they do in this life, they commit all forms of mischief and immorality. Thus, the duty of those who are committed to ending this misery and preparing a promising future is to adhere to the Qur’an and communicate it to people. It is the duty of all believers to inform people about the commands of Allah with respect to moral values, summon them to live by them and warn them against being wicked. Those ignoring this duty, or those postponing it, should fear that, in the hereafter, they may fail to give account for their insensitivity.
 The Economist, 8 February 1997
Harun Yahya is a prominent Turkish intellectual.
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