Why Muslim countries are most corrupt?

Recently I attended a talk celebrating the seventh anniversary of the Institut Integriti Malaysia. One of the speakers, one Professor from UIAM was speaking about the state of corruptions around the world according to the statistics done by Transparency International (TI). Except for Myanmar, the ten most corrupt countries (according to TI terms of reference, anyway) are all  countries with Muslims as their leaders and muslims form the majority of the population. In reverse, top ten least corrupt nations has no Muslim countries except Oman.   I am sure, like me, most the audience were quite appalled at the statistics. Countries like Somalia, Burundi, Indonesia are all with more than 60% of the population comprising muslims. What is wrong? The basic tenet of Islam is embodied in the traits of  a rasul – amanah, fatanah, tabligh – which is all about integrity. You do not really need hidden security cameras in Islam as Allah is ever watchful of what you’re doing and everything would be played back to you in the Mahshar (judgement day).

Syed Akbar Ali in his blog Outsyed the Box gave some clues on why Muslims countries are suffering. He concluded that most muslim countries these days have four sets of laws – the common laws, syariah laws, tribal laws, and own laws.  Juggling between these set of laws are difficult and tendencies to go astray are great. As most of the Muslim countries today are former colonies of the West (either British, Dutch, Portugal,or French), they inherited their colonial masters laws and these are quite universal and well accepted around the world. As for the syariah laws, it’s basic principles are there in the Quran but the details are open to interpretation. According Syed Akbar, there is no standard syariah laws in the world, even here in Malaysia where every state has its own mufti and Islamic Council which can come out with its own edict. The latest clearest example can be seen in the fatwa on poco-poco dance. Perak deemed it as haram whereas the Federal Council says it is okay.  Then there is the tribal laws, mostly found in the Saharan and sub Saharan countries. The tribal laws are practiced according to the tribal conditions often masquerading under the cloak of syariah laws. Some examples are the genital circumcision and  honour killings. Then there is the “own” laws promulgated by the rulers of the countries most highly dictatorial. Syed Ali concluded that, with different set of laws which not necessarily Islamic  really confused the citizens, hinder progress and promotes corruptions.

I have to agree with him and if you wonder  where Malaysia stand – it is no 56.


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