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IT is natural for societies to look for a competent and clean person to take over their affairs and prevent corruption and the corrupt. However, the situation in reality is different. This is due to the fact that the social factors and personal relationships in developing countries such as Kuwait play their role by deviating from logic. Sometimes the corrupt are portrayed to be cute.
It is true that accountability in these countries is weak, selective, or vengeful, and therefore fails. Reform becomes a slogan for achieving what is not necessary. However, when strict and impartial oversight is facilitated, countries go on the right course.
In this regard, there are many examples indicating what a state can become when corruption is rampant. There are also parables about what befalls the thief and the embezzler, which in essence represent the state. This is due to the fact that the basic rule is that Almighty Allah delays justice but never denies it. Likewise, the nature of things is that the thief, no matter how powerful he may be, does not escape punishment, even if accountability is delayed.
Among such stories is the one that the 13th Islamic historian Imam Al-Dhahabi wrote in the book “Cardinal Sins” about a man who was walking on the streets, his entire arm from above the shoulder amputated, and saying, “Whoever sees me, let no one aggrieve us.”
A man approached him and asked him, “What is your story?” and he replied, “I used to be a bully. Then one day while I was on the seashore, I saw a fisherman who had caught a big fish. I requested the fisherman to give me his catch, but he declined and said it was for sale, as that is the way he earns his livelihood to feed his family.
Despite his explanation, I, being a bully, took the fish by force and even shoved the fisherman off my way. As I was walking away with the fish, it bit my thumb. It was very painful.
I complained about my condition to the doctors, and they said the thumb needed to be amputated before the infection spread to the rest of the hand and body. I delayed until the pain reached my shoulder, after which I could not bear it anymore. I then asked the doctor to chop my arm off.
From that moment, if anyone saw me and asked me what happened and why my arm was amputated from the shoulder, I would say that I took a fish from a poor man by force, and it only bit my thumb but because of the pain, my entire arm was amputated.”
The man said, “Look for the fisherman and ask him for forgiveness. By God, if you had released him before that, nothing would have been cut off from you.”
I started wandering around looking for the fisherman until I saw him. I knelt down before him, cried, and said, “I ask you by God my Lord, will you not pardon me and let me go?” He then asked me, “Who are you?” I said, “I am the one who took your fish by force, a long time ago”.
The fisherman cried when he saw my condition, and said, “By God, I have forgiven you”. So I asked him, “What did you say when I took the fish from you?” He said, “I said Oh God, O Lord, you have shown me the strength of this in my weakness, so show me your strength in him.”
This parable indicates the extent of the consequences of injustice. It represents not only the tyranny and bullying of that man but also the extent of people’s retaliation if they are subjected to injustice.
This is especially true when this injustice befalls their livelihood and the livelihood of their families, and also in consequences that corrupt regimes bring on to themselves because they allow bullies and oppressors to have their way with people. For this reason, when accountability comes, the punishment will be severe.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
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