Rafed English

Corruption of the Rule

From the direct results of the domination of the Turks over the rule was the corruption of the rule and inadvertency. Bribe was widespread among the officials of the state. The viziers, walis, and clerks embezzled the monies of land taxes and other taxes and the yields that came to the state from different countries.

In 229 AH, al-Wathiq, the Abbasid caliph, confiscated from the clerks of the divans about two million dinars,4 and al-Mutawakkil confiscated ibn az-Zayyat’s money which he had embezzled and the wealth of his clerk Umar bin al-Faraj ar-Rakhji. It was said that al-Mutawakkil took from him about one hundred and twenty thousand dinars and from his brother about one hundred and fifty thousand dinars.5 He also took from the chief of judges Yahya bin Aktham seventy-five thousand dinars.6

Shawqi Dhayf comments on this by saying, ‘This means that the viziers, clerks, and walis embezzled the wealth of the state and nation. One thinks that there was no senior official in the state unless he committed abominable crime. The walis bribed the vizier in order to stay in their posts. Sometimes bribe was about two hundred thousand dinars besides gems and other gifts.7

Even the muhtasibs 8 took bribes and embezzled money through their watching traders and merchants and the movement of buying and selling in the markets. It was narrated that Ahmad bin at-Tayyib bin Marwan ar-Rakhsi, the philosopher, breached the trust when he was the chief of the muhtasibs in Baghdad. He took, by this way, about one hundred and fifty dinars besides other gifts and presents.9 We do not exaggerate if we say that most officials of the state were involved in that embezzlement and bribes.’10

The spread of bribe in this manner was a clear evidence on the corruption of the senior officials in the Abbasid government and that most of the officials embezzled the wealth of Muslims unjustly.


4. Tareekh at-Tabari, vol.9 p.125
5. Muruj ath-Thahab, vol.4 p.19
6. Tareekh at-Tabari, vol.9 p.197
7. Al-Fakhri, p.178
8. A muhtasib was the official who controlled prices, weights, and measures in the market
9. Muruj ath-Thahab, vol.4 p.170
10. Al-Asr al-Abbasi ath-Thani (the second Abbasid age), p.120-121

Adapted from: "The Life of Imam ‘Ali al-Hadi, Study and Analysis" by: "Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi"

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