ERADICATING CORRUPTION WITH RELIGION:
Tiger without Claws
Tiger without Claws
Moral Integrity through Religious-based Education
Drs. Jamalludin Sitepu,M.A.
The Islamic Students Association (HMI)
Branch of Binjai
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 081375476850
EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
Most religions, including Islam, teach integrity, morality, and anti-corruption. In Islam, there are many teachings and preach which forbid stealing, cheat, dishonesty, and corruption. For example, in Qur’an surah Al-Baqarah: 188, Allah wrote “ And do not consume one another's wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful]. Also in one Hadits, Prophet Muhammad said “May the Curse of Allah be upon the briber, the bribe recipient, and the mediator between them."
Those values of integrity, morality, and anti-corruption are socialized among Moslems since their childhood. This socialization takes place in home, schools, mosques, and markets. State leaders and informal community leaders are together to implant these values. Radio, television, mobile phones, and videos are media for this awareness-raising.
However, those steps of socialization and awareness-raising against corruption are finding rocks when implemented in social and formal relations. Constitutionally, Indonesia is not based on a particular religious faith. Practically, Islam is just an ethical guidance with no legal punishment for people who corrupt. So, Islam does not exert much influence on anti-corruption practices. To make it more ineffective, competition for scarce resources in economic, social, and political dimensions, in corrupt and unjust state system, make Moslems surrender to instant self-enrichment. Many are trapped in such a situation “Right Man in the Wrong Place and Wrong Time”.
KEY WORDS: ISLAM, INTEGRITY, ANTI-CORRUPTION, UNJUST STATE SYSTEM
My career as an Instructor/Trainer of the Islamic Students Association Students (Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam=HMI) Branch of Binjai, started in the late 1992. After graduated from International Relations Department in the University of Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta in 1991, I returned to North Sumatra and then involved in training university, high school students.
My involvement in HMI started in 1988 when I was trained in Basic Training by HMI Branch of Yogyakarta. My Intermediate Training I completed in 1989 in Yogyakarta, and my Senior Course was done in 2000 in Binjai. As students, I was not active in HMI of Yogyakarta. Instead, I was socializing with students with many different ideologies, such as Catholic, Protestant, Socialist, Communist, and Atheist.
As HMI instructor/trainer, started in the late 1990s, I trained students in Binjai and Langkat on Islamic Ethics, Philosophy, and Cadre Identity Value (NIK= NIlai Identitas Kader) which then changed into Struggle of Core Values (NDP= Nilai Dasar Perjuangan). However, what is taught on the training ground, is not always able to implemented by HMI trainees in real lives. Challenges, which are coming from inside and outside, are so heavy. Many stay clean, but many fail.
This paper is solely based on qualitative research, It aimed to obtain nuanced descriptions from the different qualitative aspects of the life world; it works with words and not with numbers (Kvale, 1996: 32). David and Sutton (2004: 35) added that qualitative research usually emphasizes words rather than quantification in the collection and analysis of data. In writing this paper, the author used three data gathering techniques:
1. Literature Review
Barakat, Chard, Jacoby, and Lume (2002: 997) highly recommend a relevant literature review. The theoretical aspect of a study should draw on points that may have been raised in the literature from which a synthesis for an alternative analytical framework may be developed, integrating various theories on local circumstances and their applicability to a particular case.
Interviews with other HMI instructors, trainers, and seniors regarding degrading HMI stance and status among university students have been done long before this paper is written. It is based on concerns that many HMI members and leaders have problems with law enforcement and tend to corrupt by giving political supports to corrupt government officials and political party leaders,
3. Online Internet Searching
As a person who lives in a village and far from city, collecting information from internet is very helpful. Even though the author is only able to collect a small portion of data, this technique nowadays is developing as online publication grows significantly. As for Qur’an translation into English, the author relies heavily on online translation, especially on www.quran.com.
According to Bryman (2004: 275), triangulation entailed using more than the method of source of data in the study of social phenomena. Different books or publication or persons can have different, even conflicting, arguments. This is where triangulation is important in verifying conflicting information collected by the author.
III. RESEARCH RESULT
It is believed that there is no specific term of corruption in Islam. However, Ahmad Baidowi (2009: 145-147) comprehensively categorizes some terms in Qur’an as corruption, such as:
1. “Ghulul”. According to Baidowi (2009), “ghulul” means stealing. Quoted by Baidowi (2009), Deeb al-Kudrawi in Dictionary of Al-Alfazh al-Islamiyah difines “ghulul” as stealing from the war booty before its distribution. In Qur’an surah Ali Imran: 161. “It is not for any Prophet to take illegally a part of booty (Ghulul), and whosoever deceives his companions as regards the booty, he shall bring forth on the Day of Resurrection that which he took (illegally). Then every person shall be paid in full what he has earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly”.
2. “Risywah”. It is interpreted as bribery. In another hadits, Prophet Muhammad said “May the Curse of Allah be upon the briber, the bribe recipient, and the mediator between them." (H.R. Al-Hakim). In Qur’an Al-Baqarah: 188, it is also stated: “And do not consume one another's wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful]”.
3. “Al-Suht”. It is also referred as bribe. This term is in Qur’an in Al-Maidah: 42 which reads “(They like to) listen to falsehood, to devour anything forbidden. So if they come to you (O Muhammad), either judge between them, or turn away from them. If you turn away from them, they cannot hurt you in the least. And if you judge, judge with justice between them. Verily, Allah loves those who act justly.”
4. “Al-Hirabah”. It is a robbery. In Qur’an in Al-Maidah: 33, it reads “The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.”
5. “As-Saraqah”. It means stealing somebody’s wealth secretly and unlawfully. It refers to Qur’an in surah Al-Maidah: 38 which reads “Cut off (from the wrist joint) the (right) hand of the thief, male or female, as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise”.
6. “Ghasab”. It means robbing somebody’s wealth cruelly or taking somebody’s wealth and having no intention to return it. It refers to Qur’an in Surah Al-Kahfi: 79 which reads “"As for the ship, it belonged to Masakin (poor people) working in the sea. So I wished to make a defective damage in it, as there was a king after them who seized every ship by force”.
7. “Khasr and Bakhs”. It means cheating. It refers to Qur’an in Surah Al-Muthafifin: 1-3 which reads “Woe to Al-Mutaffifin [those who give less in measure and weight (decrease the rights of others)], Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, demand full measure, And when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due.” And Al-Syu’ara: 183 which reads “"And defraud not people by reducing their things, nor do evil, making corruption and mischief in the land.”
Additionally, Ibn Qudamah quoted by Wahid (2013). stated that eating “haram” food is identical with corruption. Helmy Ali (2013) also includes betrayal of trust as corruption. He refers to Qur’an Surah An-Nisa 58,” Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing”.
In its development, the meaning of corruption then widens. It is not only dealing with economic or political dimensions. But also it deals with intellectual perspective, that is intellectual corruption. Many call it as plagiarism (Setiyaji, 2010: 324-326).
The author sees that plagiarism among students in Binjai and Langkat has been reaching an alarming state. Many university students are lazy or not confident to write a thesis. They just pay some body write it for them. And “somebody” could be their lecturer. It is totally corruption.
To sum it, In Al-Qur’an and Hadits, there are many Islamic teachings which abhor corruption and encourage integrity. And in HMI, as Qur’an and Hadits are guiding principles, I train university students on integrity and ways to implement them. Qur’an is food and Hadits is drink.
B. SOCIALIZING INTEGRITY
In one book, Adz-Dzakiey (2005: 3-48) describes comprehensively on how Moslems can socialize integrity within and among themselves. Below is his description:
· Pre-wedding period: Choosing “right bride”.
In Islam, socializing integrity for a man or woman even starts when she/he is not born, yet. It begins with their parents when their father and mother are seeking for bride and bridegroom. It is not wealth, status, or beauty which determines first, but integrity: in the concept of “iman and taqwa”.
According to Prophet Muhammad, there are four reasons why you choose a bridegroom. First, because of her beauty. Second, because of her wealth. Third, because of her status. Fourth, because of her integrity. However, integrity is the best reason why you choose a bride. Because with integrity, later you can have wealth, status, and beauty.
· Wedding party
When you are holding a wedding party, make sure that all money used are coming from “halal” activities. Money which comes from “halal” activities could harm the sanctity of marriage. Consequently, it will lead to bad marriage and bearing bad children.
In wedding party, it is also forbidden to hold activities which are considered “haram” such as striptease dance or activities which invite evils. It is feared that it will dirt incoming baby.
· “Halal food and drink”
Serving “halal food and drink” is important in forging integrity into incoming baby. “Halal food and drink” will make a baby healthy physically and will make him/her easy to learn Qur’an and clean from sins and corruption. “Haram food and drink” will make him/her difficult to understand Qur’an and will make him/her easy to do bad things.
· “Guided sex”
In Islam, sex is not only for raising children or joy. It is very much related how to bear a clean baby. Moslems have to start with “Bismillah” and prayer to drive evil away. By doing this, it is hoped that the baby later will be far away from doing evil things.
· “Azan” on the right ear and “Iqamah” on the left ear.
Listening to “azan” on the right ear and “iqamah” to the left ear for a just-born baby means the first sound the baby hears is the greatness of Allah, not other sounds. It is hoped later that the baby will only follow right sounds.
· Giving good name
Giving a good name for baby is meant to pray that the baby will grow to become a good person. On the contrary, giving bad names are forbidden as it is feared that it will affect the baby’s mentality.
· Breast feeding
In Islam, breastfeeding is recommended for a baby until 2 years. Medically, breastfeed is full of nutrients, and psychologically, it will create stronger bond between a mother and the baby. If the mother lacks of good breastfeed, the parents could hire somebody to breastfeed the baby. But, it must be firstly clear that the she is a good woman.
· Khitan (Circumcision)
For a growing boy, aged 9-13, the boy has to undergo circumcision process. Medically, it is meant to clean the boy. Religiously, it is meant to clean the boy from “najis”.
· Religious education
In juvenile age, parent must socialize religious regulation to their children. It is meat to educate the children about morality, integrity, and responsibility. In this stage, HMI plays a role, educating university students.
It has been clear form the outset that in Islam integrity teaching has been started even when a baby is not born yet. It begins with choosing the right bride/bridegroom, holding a clean and respectful wedding party, having guided sex, serving “halal food and drink”, two-years breastfeeding, and religious education. Shortly, it is the most comprehensive integrity socialization.
However, that is all theoretical. In practice, the case could be different. Day to day activities could harm religious socialization. Who perceived to be religiously pious can do wrong and sinful. Tauhid Nur Azhar abd Eman Sulaiman describe is as eroded faith and hypocritical religousity (Azhar and Sulaiman, 2007: 149-150).
Karazkani (2005: 103-117) argued that Moslems fail to obey Qur’an and Hadits because they love this world more than “akhirat”, eternal life after death. There are three reasons why Moslems love the world more than “akhirat”, they are arrogance, greed and envy.
That is to explain why many perceived religious persons are jailed for corruption. Another example is people are surprised when Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) set Lufti Hasan Ishaq, the President of Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), one of outstanding Islamic Political Party, and Anas Urbaningrum, former Chairman of the Association of Islamic Students (HMI), as suspects. In Langkat, many Hajj, the ones who have done pilgrimage to Mecca and Madinah, are taken into jail for corruption and embezzlement. I am sure readers can suggest a longer list of such a case.
Next is a question why perceived religious persons can be corrupting which is forbidden by their own religion. In HMI, inside training, there is no problem with teaching and implementing integrity and anti-corruption. Trainees understand what are taught and there is no denial that integrity and anti-corruption are core values of Islam.
However, the challenges for HMI are outside training location. As a very big organization for students, many political leaders and government officials are tempted to co-opt, mobilize, and manipulate HMI for their own vested interests, They lure HMI leaders by giving money, projects, or high positions after, even before, HMI leaders completed their period in HMI. Many HMI activists and instructors told me that Congress of HMI were often contaminated by money politics distributed by political leaders or government officials eager to co-opt, control, and manipulate HMI, usually for political support. Supposed to be an ultimate forum for updating training curricula and designing populist programs, congress much turned into competing ground for electing general chairman of HMI only. In the mayhem of gambling crisis in North Sumatra in 2000, some gambling mafias also tried to co-opt HMI leaders as HMI often held demonstrations to protest gambling.
This story is the same when they are back in their branch in their home town. New problem arises. HMI leaders with economic and power greed motivation will easily fall to corruption trap. These leaders, whom I called “opportunist HMI leaders” will then influence HMI members to join their ranks, securing wealth and position from particular political leaders and government officials. From my own experiences and discussion with other HMI instructors and trainers, this kind of HMI leaders usually are able to rally significant supports among HMI members on the grass root.
This is situation is, of course, not accepted by other factions within HMI. They see co-optation, mobilization, and manipulation of HMI by particular political leaders and government officials could endanger HMI’s independence and idealism, and in turn, integrity and anti-corruption movement. This people, whom I called “Idealist HMI leaders, instructors and trainers, stay neutral and defend HMI as a training ground for people who want dignity and respect in their lives. They are ready to die in poverty if clean and “halal” ways to richness and success are blocked.
Why is external environment so detrimental to integrity and anti-corruption? The answer is structural. Here are my explanations:
1. Poverty and Economic Injustice
Many good Moslems are stumbling blocks and surrender to corruption, against their religious faith, because of economic reasons. They are poor and want to be rich. To achieve that with right paths are almost impossible. The economic system for long has been co-opted by capitalist system which does not give opportunities for the poor. Banks only lend money to the rich and the corrupt. The rich tend to hold on their power through political, social, economical, and judicial instruments. What supposed to be a socialist state, in practice, it is a primitive capitalism which once existed in North America and West Europe. In short, vertical mobilization has been blocked
If you choose the right path, it means you have to more patient and hunger-proof. You can still achieve what you want, but you have to be waiting for sometime and the right moment until Allah decides your destiny to be rich and powerful. There is no escape door.
However, that is the problem. Not all or many people are patient enough to wait for that time to come. Instead of being patient and staying on the straight path (shirattal mustaqim), many Moslems are surrendering to evils and do “haram” things. Religious values which have been implanted for long are erased in a short time. They love more material wealth (hubud dunya) rather than the mercy of Allah.
2. Secular political system.
Many Moslems are confused to see how secular political system in Indonesia. There is no “haram and halal” boundary. Politics only deal with how you get the power and how you maintain it. Mostly, it is Machiavellist. You can buy votes and pay officers which manage voting system.
It is exacerbated by the fact that the political party system is still dominated by dynasty politics. Just observe how PDIP (Struggle indonesia democracy party) is dominated by Sukarno kinship and oligarchy, Democrat Party by SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono), PKS (Prosperous justice party) by Hilmi Aminuddin. Vertical mobilization through political party system is not running well. Dominant and ruling political parties prevent new political parties from growing by using Election Law. Growth of newly young and clean political leaders is almost Non-existent.
3. Weak Law Enforcement in judicial system.
In their childhood time, many Moslem are taught about Islamic Law which forbids them to do sins. However, as they grow up, many values of Islamic Law are then substituted by national law or regional regulation which is secular in essence. Many Moslems are not ready to obey 2 laws which are in many times on the contrary each other. For example, in Islamic law it is stated that it is forbidden to steal and cheat because Allah see you. However, in National Law, it is not easy to sue somebody stealing from you if nobody witnesses it and no evidence.
This is exacerbated by the fact that many persons, who are in charge of rules and law, are breaching laws themselves. Bribery and embezzlement are common in court. You can bribe judges or prosecutors. When you are caught for criminal acts, laws could be compromised. Upholding laws and constitutions are just lip service. Jail? According to Togar Lubis, a lawyer in Langkat, in January 2013, nowadays jail is becoming the best school to teach and train someone to be a criminal. Jail is also a place where you can find drugs and a drug mafia controls drugs trade.
Islam preaches integrity and forbids corruption. Socialization process begins even before a baby is born until he/she grows up, such as in choosing “right bride/bridegroom, wedding party, serving halal food and drink, making love with “Bismillah”, “Azan” on the right ear and “Iqamah” on the left ear, Giving good name, breast feeding, “khitan” (circumcision), and religious education. All must be done in the Name of Allah with clean and right motivation.
In HMI, integrity and anti corruption are also taught. Training curricula contains lessons on human responsibility to create a just and prosperous world. All kinds of crimes and misbehavior must be avoided. In the training ground, it is honesty and truth which prevail.
However, when trainees completed their trainings (Basic Training, Intermediate Training, Advanced Training, and Senior Course), students have difficulties in adapting themselves to real lives situation. Many corrupt and greedy political leaders and government officials are very eager to co-opt, mobilize, and manipulate HMI for their own vested-interests. They tempt HMI leaders and member by giving away money, wealth, and political positions. Many fall down, but many stand high, too, proudly.
The fall down happens because of two reasons, internally and externally. Internally, their faith is weak because of arrogance, greed and envy. Externally, economic, political, and judicial systems are structurally corrupt. “Right and good persons, who decide to work within the system, will come out in dirt and contaminated”, because the system is already rotten and sick.
There is no way out to work with the system. So far, many have proposed and suggested partial and artificial rehabilitation to the system. Sometimes they call it as Reformation. It fails because the men who guard and operate the system are still the same. They will always endeavor to find weakness within the system.
The only solution is a revolution. There are two kinds of revolutions: one is an abrupt and violent revolution, and two is peaceful revolution. As for Indonesia, the author recommends a peaceful revolution. What is a peaceful revolution and how to achieve it, it is not in this paper to elaborate this issue. The author recommends writing a research on how to proceed to a peaceful revolution.
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