Monday, June 22, 2009

Wasta, protests and patience

THE hot wind was unbearable as I waited outside the bank for the doors to open along with some 20 more people. After 20 minutes we all took a ticket and waited, frustrated and anxious, for our turn. An elegantly dressed man entered. His garments were exceptional and the aroma of Oud filled the bank. As he proceeded towards the teller, a worker came and greeted him just as you would a sovereign. I took the responsibility to inform him that we were in a queue and asked him to join the queue at the back. The man was oblivious to my comments.

However, the worker informed me that he was a VIP. “VIP?!” I said. “Why don’t you build a bank especially for him?” The worker replied, “In heaven you have different levels and so do we on earth and he is from the highest level.” “Money and status don’t get us into heaven,” I responded. I was fuming and could not believe the impudence. We had been waiting for nearly 40 minutes, then all of a sudden someone enters and the bank is at his disposal!

It must be clear however that it is Haraam to use Wasta or one’s status to intercede if it infringes upon the rights of others. This is injustice and the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Verdicts of Saudi Arabia has already issued a Fatwa on this topic. (Fatwa Islamiyyah, 4/300)

The harsh reality is that bribery and Wasta has become the norm in Saudi Arabia. May Allah remove this social evil from this blessed country. The only thing we are able to do in such cases is observe patience. We often underestimate the value of patience and anger always gets the better of us. For more go here.

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