A Little Gift for The Official

A Little Gift for The Official

Concerning Bribery

Little Gift

Rulings regarding gifts or presents to the official or authority are mainly discussed by the scholars in chapter about ruling for a gift presented to a judge. However, it also applies for all officials of a country, member of the parliament, etc.

In a book titled “Duror al-Hukkam fi Syarh Majallah al-Ahkam al-Adliyyah”: 13/95–98, it is mentioned that:

Ruling for receiving any gift presented by other due to the position held by one who received it is unlawful. The reason is when the Messenger of Allah knew that there was an employee of the bait-al mal (an institution that functions to collects zakat and the like from Islamic society and distribute it to the needy) who accepted a gift, he stood on his podium delivering his sermon and said,

“If he’s sitting at his mother’s and father’s house, will he get a prize?” (Narrated by Bukhari)

Also when Umar as the caliph knew that there was an employee of bait al mal who went back home bringing some gifts, he asked him, “Where did you get these stuffs from?”. He said that those are gifts. Hearing his answer, Umar recited in front of him the saying of the Prophet above, and he decided that those gifts were for the bait al mal.

Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz said,

إنَّ الْهَدَايَا كَانَتْ هَدَايَا فِي عَهْدِ الرَّسُولِ أَمَّا فِي زَمَانِنَا فَقَدْ أَصْبَحَتْ رِشْوَةً

“(The meaning of, -ed) A gift is a gift in the time of the Messenger of Allah, whereas in our time (the meaning of such gift, -ed) has changed into bribery.”

By these, it is not allowed (for the officials or authorities, -ed) to receive any gift from one who is not his friend nor his colleague (before he get his position, -ed) since such gift is a masked bribe.

All gifts taken by the authorities are similar in ruling as the gift received by a judge.

The gift itself is categorized into three categories:

A gift that is lawful for both the giver and one who received it.

It is a gift that is not given to judges or authorities, for example a gift of a friend to his friend. A judge or country’s official is not allowed to receive this kind of gift from others. In another word, receiving gifts which ruling is originally lawful for common people, will be changed into an unlawful thing and considered as bribery, it is given to a judge or authority. The main topic of our article today is this type of gift.

2. A gift that is unlawful for both the giver and one who received it

For example, a gift given in order to support wrongdoing. The giver and the receiver of this gift are committing sin because they have done an unlawful thing. This type of gift is unlawful, whether for common people or judges.

3. A gift that is given by a person due to his fear of being annoyed by other, who, if not given a gift, will torture the body and the soul of the giver.

It is alright for the giver, but unlawful for those who receive it, because it is an obligation for people to not disturbing others. and one is not allowed to receive financial compensation for doing his obligation.

A judge is not allowed to receive gifts even though it comes not from the litigants. It is unlawful for a judge (also an authority, -translator) to receive gifts, less or more, even a trivial stuff, before the decision was made or before it.

A judge (also an authority, -translator) should not borrow other’ possession, have a debt, or buy a stuff with a lesser price compared to the common price  They also are not allowed to receive any bribes whether from the right or the wrong among the litigants

A judge (and an authority, -ed.) is required to return the gifts to the giver, and if it is already consumed, he is required to replace it with the similar.

If the giver’s whereabout is not known, or it is known but to return the gift to him is impossible due to the far distance between them, then the gifts should be regarded as an artifact and placed in the bait al mal.

Giving a gift to judge due to his position as a judge means that the gift also becomes a right of public, hence it is placed in the bait al mal which is used for the public’s sake. But it’s status is still as an artifact, and if one day the owner is known. it should be handed to him.

If a judge (or an authority, -ed) believes that refusing the gift from one who has good relationship to him will harm the person, then he might receive it, as long as he gives the similar amount of money as the gift to the giver.

A judge (or an authority, -ed.) is allowed to receive gifts from three kinds of people:

From one who appointed him as a judge and one whose position is higher than him. But a lower-positioned employee is forbidden to give it to his boss.

From his family who is forbidden for him to marry with a requirement that the person is not involving in a trouble. Refusing gifts from family who is forbidden to marry will causes the breaking of family ties, and it is unlawful. But some scholars require that before the judge is appointed as a judge, he and his family were accustomed to present gifts one another.

From friends and people who has good relationship with him who accustomed to give him gifts before he is appointed as a judge, with a requirement that the value of the gift isn’t higher than the value of gifts given before he becomes a judge. In this condition, the gift is not given due to his position, but due to maintain a good habit among them, thus it is not worried to be functioned as bribes. And giving a gift once (for the giver, -ed)  is enough to be considered as having a habit to give gifts to him.

Other requirement is that the giver is not involving in a case, and if he is, then the judge is responsible to return all his gifts because it was given due to his position as a judge. After the case was over, the judge is still not allowed to receive gift from the person who used to present him gift.

If there is a person who accustomed to give him gifts before he holds the current position, but after he has it the value of that gift increased, then it is compulsory for him to return the “added value” (of the gift, -ed) which was given due to his current position. But if the “added value” is impossible to separate (from the total gift, -ed), all of the gift should be returned.

For example, before a person has a certain position, a man was used to give him a cotton fabric. But after he has it, the gift becomes a silk fabric. In this condition, all of the gift must be returned, because the ‘”added value” is inseparable from the rest.

This applies, if the wealth of the giver does not get much after the person (who receive his gift, -ed) get his position. It means that if the “added value” is because the giver is now wealthy, then the judge (or the authority, -ed.) is allowed to receive that “added value”.

Author: Ustadz Abu ‘Ukkasyah Aris Munandar, M.P.I
Article of www.syaria.com

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How about for a favor done by the official? Giving it because of the favor done and not because of the title?

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