DECLARE YOUR ASSETS BEFORE YOU ASSUME OFFICE
Umar bn AlKhattab (RA) asked Abu Hurairah (RA) to see him. When he came, Umar asked him, “Do you still relate much Hadith on God’s Messenger (SAW)?” He said, “Not after you reproached me, Ameerul Mumineen. I will not while Umar is still with us.”
Umar smiled at him saying, “You seem to hasten my death so that you can let your tongue loose.” Abu Hurairah said, “May God grant you long life, Ameerul Mumineen. But if I survive you, then it is up to your successor to let my tongue loose or to keep it tied.” The people around laughed at this.
He then asked him, “What would you say to the governor of Bahrain?” Abu Hurairah was surprised. He said, “I, governor of Bahrain?” “Are you surprised or disapproving?” asked Umar.
He answered, “Of course, I am surprised, Ameerul Mumineen. Abu Hurairah is a plain labourer who could hardly find more than a few date to eat. He had no home of his own, except the roofed area of the mosque, where he squatted with his likes. And now I become the governor of Bahrain?” Umar said to him, “We disapproved of your reporting too many of the Prophet’s Hadith so that people will continue to concentrate on the Quran. Also we are guarding against having too many disagreements with one person saying I heard the Prophet say this and another denying it. We never question your piety and strength of faith.”
Umar then asked somebody to take record of his assets. Abu Hurairah was surprised at this. So, he said to Umar, “What is that, Ameerul Mumineen?” Umar answered him, “That is my policy with my governors. We keep record of their property when we appoint them, and again at the end of their term.” “Do you suspect us and still go ahead and appoint us?” Abu Hurairah asked astonished.
Umar answered him,“had I suspected any of you, I would not even appoint him. But, then, doing this will remove any doubts. I noticed that the wealth of some of my governors increased immensely during their term in office, though it was through no wrongdoing on their path. They went into business.” Abu Hurairah asked, “Isn’t that permissible?” “Yes. It is permissible business”answered Umar. “But we do not send governors as businessmen. We only send them to judge among people with fairness. When they go into business, we fear that people will give them presents because of their high position, so they would give priority to their business over that of others, even if it is permissible. Thus, their earnings accumulate because of their position, which is the state’s work.
Therefore, if someone’s wealth increases much during his term of office, we estimate what belongs to him in fairness and take what is in excess to the state’s treasury. This is what I do with all my governors and officials. Whoever agrees with this goes on and assumes his office. And whoever disapproves with it, let him stay put. You have the choice to make.” Abu Hurairah took a deep breath and thought deeply for a moment, then said, “It is a sound view, Ameerul Mumineen. We accept what pleases God.” So, Abu Hurairah was made the governor of Bahrain.
INDEED ISLAM IS A COMPLETE FAITH…