As humanity moves towards the end of the second decade of the third millennium (21st Century), it is still faced by a myriad of issues, challenges, disquieting apprehensions and concerns with which it has engaged since the last two centuries. Intellectuals, politicians, policy makers, religious leaders Muslims and Non-Muslims have all contributed to the discourse surrounding the global quest of finding a lasting solution to the issues and challenges. Issues such as poverty, globalization, liberalization, democracy, democratic pluralism, privatization, secularization, and religious resurgence, and how to relate with them in contemporary times have continued to dominate the discourse at the national and global levels.

Throughout the world, from the far eastern countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Korea to North, East, West and South African countries; from the Middle East to Central Asia, and from Europe to America, crises of varying dimensions are perennially experienced and the whole world weeps for salvation from poverty, insecurity, ignorance, illiteracy, hate and several other unpalatable situations and conditions.

All stakeholders and leaders of thoughts at the local, national and global arena have all struggled relentlessly to find lasting solutions to these crises in their different ways thereby attaining the salvation they seek. But the truth is that they only represent a vision of humanity and its dying glow in human societies because their approaches and postulates do not conform to the primordial essence of human nature.

They have sought solutions in socio-economic principles, psychopathological deconstruction of events and political and ideological theorizations but they have turned a blind eye to the only source of succour-Allah, the Determiner of all affairs. They have ruled out the most powerful instinct in human beings which is the religious instinct. Even the religious leaders among them have not turned to the scriptures to find the missing link to the founts of true salvation.

While it is true that the various approaches adopted are not totally useless, it is truer that they can only be secondary solutions. The primary solution and the most important key to salvation in all spheres of human experience is righteousness attained through the recognition of God in His Essence, Attributes, and Decrees.


For the most part of this lecture, I shall be looking at the issues as a Muslim since that is an identity inseparable from my essence. Though religious thoughts generally overlap and there are epistemological intersections in religious discourse, I shall try to acknowledge diversity while at the same time affirming my identity. How successful I am going to however depend on your judgment.

Human experiences according to Islam are placed under the magnifying glass of Divine Unity (Tawhid), justice (Adalah) and Trusteeship (Khilafah). These three principles form the basis of all ethical actions as they are manifested by a man in society’s superstructure. Economic prosperity and its appurtenances such as good governance, social security, social justice, and communal cohesion depend on a true recognition of God to achieve salvation from poverty and socio-economic maladies.

The primary Islamic belief is that all men are accountable to God;  accordingly, their actions have a trans-earthly reference. This belief regulates their actions and restrains them in everything they do. The totality of their actions is circumscribed by an affirmation of the Divine will, which is itself a product of God recognition and God-consciousness which in effect defines the social, economic, ideological and organizational culture.

Any attempt to venture beyond the limits of this affirmation of the Divine leads naturally to ethical misconduct which impacts on the superstructure of the human society. It was this recognition of the Divine that formed the basis of the egalitarian culture of brotherhood established by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) in the state of Madinah. This brotherhood had its roots in the economic crisis occasioned by the inability of Muslim immigrants to obtain a means of livelihood in their new community. The Prophet (saw) rose to this challenge by establishing a bond of brotherhood between the immigrant Makkans and the Madinite settlers and orientating them on the obligation to support the less-privileged people and this became a defining feature of the emerging Islamic social order.

The charisma and goodwill of a leader are surely not enough to ignite the kind of spirit that characterized the Madinah brotherhood. The Madinite settlers actually divided their property into halves and gave their Makkan immigrant brothers. Those who had two wives or more divorced some of their wives for their visiting brothers to marry. It is worthy of note that history has not recorded any instance of refusal on the part of the ladies or any jealous withdrawal of commitment by the Madinite giver. Was it the Prophet’s personal charms and charisma that created this selfless spirit? No, it could not have been. He was just arriving among them and they had not known him well. It was God-consciousness that resulted from the teachings of Hadrat Mus’ab bn Umaiyr (ra) the first missionary in the history of Islam, who prepared Madinah for the coming of the Prophet (saw). It was their recognition of God and submission before His Majestic Essence that made them prefer collective and cooperative spirit above individualism and selfishness. All of them, male and female, acted true to the Prophetic declaration:

“Surely the similitude of Muslims in their mutual love and compassion is like one body; if any organ falls ill, the rest of the body will share in the fever and sleeplessness that naturally follows”.

If a man must save himself from plunging into the abyss of self-destruction, his entire being must recognize the Divine and prostrate at the threshold of Allah’s majesty. The Holy Quran, the formal documentation of the converse between Allah and His Prophet (saw) for instance does not begin with the genealogy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw); neither does it begin with the story of creation or the legislation for social, economic or political survival. It begins with the name of God:

“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.”

His attributes the “Beneficent and Merciful” embody His greatness and glory, and affirm His possession of all attributes of perfection. His  Beneficence brought about the creation of the heavens and the earth while His Mercy coordinates and directs all affairs. His Beneficence, on the one hand, captures His perpetual generosity and limitless sustenance of all He has created while His Mercy, on the other hand, embodies an expression of His infinite mercy, favour, and appreciation of those who recognize Him and are conscious of Him.

It is therefore not right to think of Him as an image or in terms of anything familiar. He is beyond human reason. The Promised Messiah said:

ىهنلا غلبم نع الله نوؤش تلاعت

ركفتم ههنك روصي فيكف

“Allah’s significance transcends the limit of mere reason; how then can a thinker picture His essence?”

All human communities have known him in one form or another. This is because He has left His mark on all that He has created but their ability to recognize and acknowledge Him in their lives depends on how well they can contemplate His essence through His creation. He is One- an incomparable Oneness is what He is known for in all lands and climes. To borrow the description of the Neo-platonic scholar, Plotinus: He is Illimitable, Unsearchable, Immeasurable, Invisible, Unnameable, Eternal and no one can comprehend Him.

In Islam, His Oneness is not negotiable. It requires no philosophical categorization and neither does it need a literary analysis. He is Allah, the One. He is far above His creation. He is both Transcendent and Immanent. He is not personalized nor is he anthropomorphized.

The 112th chapter of the Qur’an sums it beautifully:

  • Say: He is Allah, the One!
  • Allah, the eternally Besought of all!
  • He begot not nor was He begotten.
  • And there is none comparable unto Him.

A deep reflection on these verses reveals that Allah is not a Being that can be shut in the heart or anthropomorphized in an image. The verses do not speak of a personal God but of a Principle- a system comprising attitudes, dispositions and behavioral patterns. A new way of looking at life.


A few weeks ago, we lost one of our very vibrant brothers, Hussein Kehinde Yaqeen, the Naib State Qaid of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya, Lagos State. For the next 100 years our thinkers, scholars, and sages may not be able to explain why he died the way he did nor why his life was filled with so much pain. Allah’s purpose in this young man’s demise is a mystery, and such it must remain. From his early years, he was faced with several health challenges which he surmounted. As a youth, he had to battle with unemployment, poverty and corporate injustice. Yet, wherever he went, he exuded love and compassion. He threw himself into Jama’at’s assignments with zeal; he gave hope and love for others while he himself was in need. He stood up for others while he himself was a victim of deprivation and injustice.

Why was such a charitable spirit given to him when he would not be able to use it? Why did Allah abbreviate his life in this manner despite his numerous virtues when many criminals survive into old age and became burdens on the society? Why did such a prayerful and upright young soul die when several irreligious youths who ravage our communities like predatory beasts live long? These troubling questions may forever remain unanswered if we employ human wisdom alone. To the heart that recognizes the Divine, the answers may be understood with spiritual insight.

In his provocative work, “When God does not make sense”, Dr. James Dobson, a Christian cleric, challenges our thinking. He writes:

Further examples of inexplicable sorrows and difficulties could fill the shelves of the world’s largest library, and every person on earth could contribute illustrations of his or her own. Wars, famines, diseases, natural disasters, and untimely deaths are never easy to rationalize. But largescale miseries of this nature are sometimes less troubling to the individual than the circumstances that confront each of us personally. Cancer, kidney failure, heart disease, sudden infant death syndrome, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, divorce, rape, loneliness, rejection, failure, infertility, widowhood! These and a million other sources of human suffering produce inevitable questions that trouble the soul. “Why would God permit this to happen to me?”

………..Isaiah 55:89 teaches,

“`For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. `As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”

Clearly, the Scripture tells us that we lack the capacity to grasp God’s infinite mind or the way He intervenes in our lives. How arrogant of us to think otherwise! Trying to analyze His omnipotence is like an amoeba attempting to comprehend the behavior of man. Romans 11:33 indicates that God’s judgments are “unsearchable” and his ways “past finding out.” Similar language is found in 1 Corinthians 2:16: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” Clearly, unless the Lord chooses to explain Himself to us, which often He does not, His motivation and purposes are beyond the reach of mortal man. What this means in practical terms is that many of our questionsespecially those that begin with the word why will have to remain unanswered for the time being.

Unfortunately, many believers do not know that there will be times in every person’s life when circumstances don’t add upwhen God doesn’t appear to make sense. It is  certainly true that God loves us and offers a wonderful plan for our lives, yet we may  not always comprehend the “wonderful plan” nor approve of it.”

No theological or philosophical answer can satisfactorily address the issues however consoling it may sound. This is because it does not take away the pain and frustration we experience when we travel through the spiritual maze that leads us into socio-economic labyrinths. At the time of trials and tribulations, we often find ourselves in an abyss of uncertainties and confusion. At such periods, Allah suddenly fades into oblivion. Our frustration is further compounded when we are told that He created all, knows all, sees all and has power over all. We are consoled for a moment when we hear further that He, Alone, can save; He can heal; He can rescue. But our dilemma is deepened when He doesn’t seem to be ready to do it, or so it appears. This is when Shaytan comes around and whispers, “Why waste your time? He is not there! You are alone!”

Many a time, our attitudes to life and its challenges are like that of the man in this ancient story of the medieval sages:

It is said that a man was driving his chariot on a narrow mountain road. To his right was a cliff that dropped precipitously nearly 500 feet to a canyon below. As the chariot rounded a curve, he suddenly lost control of the horse pulling the chariot and it plunged over the side and rolled down the mountain to the bottom. Although the terrified man fell off the chariot, he managed to grab a bush that grew near the top. There he was, frantically holding the small branch and dangling precariously over the abyss. After trying to pull himself up for several minutes, he called out in desperation, “Is anybody there?”

In a few seconds, the thundering voice of God echoed across the mountain. “Yes, I am here,” He said. “What do you want?”

The man pleaded, “Please save me! I can’t hold on much longer. After another agonizing pause, the voice said, “All right. I will save you. But first, you must release your grip on the branch and trust Me to catch you. Release it now. My hands will be under you.”

The dangling man looked over his shoulder at the distance between him and the valley below, and then he called out, “Is anybody else there?”

The situation of the man in the story is similar to the daily experiences of several adherents of a religion. We claim to know God but we do not know Him enough to trust Him. We sing His praises, extoll His Noble Attributes, chant His names and supplicate at the feet of His Majestic Throne yet our souls do not accept His Sovereignty and neither do our hearts believe in His Omnipotence. This often happens because we approach God with our reasoning faculty alone. The truth, however, is that true recognition of God can only be achieved by His Grace and this Grace is tied to the personality of one man whose life is a total reflection of Allah’s limitless Grace and a complete manifestation of His Mercy. That man is Muhammad (saw), the last legislative authority in the annals of religion till the end of time.

Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, and Mahdi declared:

Our soul and every particle of our being are prostrate before the Mighty, True and Perfect God from Whose hand every soul and every particle of creation together with all its faculties came into being, and through Whose support every being is sustained. Nothing is outside His knowledge, outside His control, or outside His creation. We call thousands of blessings and peace and mercy on the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the chosen one [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] through whom we have found the Living God Who gives us proof of His existence through His Word. He demonstrates to us through extraordinary signs His shining countenance which possesses eternal and perfect power. We found the Messenger (saw) who manifested God to us and we found the God Who created everything through His perfect power. How majestic is His power that nothing came into being without it and nothing can continue to exist without its support? That True God of ours possesses numberless blessings, numberless powers, numberless beauties, and beneficences. There is no other God besides Him. [Nasim-e- Da‘wat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, p. 363]

The transcendent and immanent dimensions of the Divine Being are also linked with the personality of the Holy Prophet (saw). While God is Transcendent in His glory and Majesty, His immanence is manifested by the Prophet (saw) in whose conduct and actions the Divine Will is manifested in practical terms. God is thus not a being that is seen physically and neither are His anthropomorphic description in the scriptures to be taken literally. The Prophet is the cosmic bridge towards a complete appreciation of His essence. In his personality lies the key to an understanding of the signs of the Divine. He is the conclusive evidence of the existence of God. Hadrat Imam Mahdi writes:

The Being of God is transcendental and beyond the beyond and is most secret and cannot be discovered by the power of human reasoning alone. No argument can prove it conclusively, inasmuch as reason can travel only so far that contemplating the universe it feels the need of a Creator. But the feeling of a need is one thing and it is quite another to arrive at the certainty that the God, Whose need has been felt, does in fact exist. As the operation of reason is defective, incomplete and doubtful, a philosopher cannot recognize God purely through reason. Most people who try to determine the existence of God Almighty purely through the exercise of reason, in the end, become atheists. Reflecting over the creation of the heavens and the earth does not avail them much and they begin to deride and laugh at the men of God. One of their arguments is that there are thousands of things in the world which have no use and the fashioning of which does not indicate the existence of a fashioner. They exist merely as vain and useless things. These people do not seem to realize that a lack of knowledge of something does not necessarily negate its existence.

There are millions of people in the world who regard themselves as very wise philosophers and who utterly deny the existence of God. It is obvious that if they had discovered a strong reason for the existence of God, they would not have denied it. If they had discovered a conclusive argument in support of the existence of God, they would not have rejected it shamelessly and in derision. It is obvious, therefore, that no one boarding the ark of the philosophers can find deliverance from the storm of doubts, but is bound to be drowned, and such a one would never have access to the drinking of pure Unity. It is a false and stinking notion that belief in the Unity of God can be achieved otherwise than through the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him]; nor can man achieve salvation without it. How can there be faith in the Unity of God unless there is perfect certainty with regard to His existence? Be sure, therefore, that belief in the Unity of God can be achieved only through a Prophet, as our Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] convinced the atheists and pagans of Arabia of the existence of God Almighty by showing them thousands of heavenly signs. Up till today, the true and perfect followers of the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] present those signs to the atheists.

The truth is that till a person observes the living powers of the Living God, Satan does not depart from his heart, nor does true Divine Unity enters into it, nor can he believe with certainty in the existence of God. This holy and perfect Unity is appreciated only through the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him]. [Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 22, pp. 120-121]

Reflecting on the above, it is perhaps apt to ask how relevant these explanations are to our socio-economic wellbeing. In what way is the recognition of God compatible with our socio-economic realities and how can it translate into salvation from all socio-economic and political maladies that plague us?


Recognition of God, as spelt out by Islam, will create in the individual a moral consciousness that makes him see that his actions have a trans-worldly reference. It thus makes him develop a firm belief in transcendental accountability, stressing character building through a functional moral orientation that assists him to embrace virtues and shun vices.

Islam sees the individual as the executor of the Divine will on earth. It also sees the earth as the theatre of man’s volitional acts where his actions are ultimately responsible for the wellbeing or otherwise of the entire cosmos. It, therefore, insists that the only absolute moral authority is Allah, the Creator of the Universe, Who, alone, can give absolute moral directives that are beyond human particularistic cultural expressions.

God-consciousness or recognition of the Divine is thus the missing link between human systems and socio-economic behavior both at individual and governmental levels. This is why political analysts, economists and social theorists are all trying today to re-discover the missing ethical link. James Robertson in his monumental work, ‘Future Wealth: A New Economics for the 21st Century writes:

… The new economics must thus transcend the materialist assumptions of a conventional economics: that economic life is reducible to production and consumption; that wealth is a kind of product that has to be created before it can be consumed; and that wealth production and wealth consumption are successive stages in a linear process which converts resources into waste. It must re-interpret the manipulative concern of conventional economics with the production and distribution of wealth and the allocation of resources into a developmental concern with how to enable people to meet their needs, develop themselves, and enhance the resources and qualities of the natural world. It must recognize that because human beings are moral beings the basic questions about economics are moral questions.

It is the absence of moral systems that are not driven by a true recognition of God that has continued to lubricate the wheel of corruption in our social universe and it is a known fact that more than ninety percent of our economic travails have its roots in individual and corporate corrupt practices.

Islam sees corruption as a phenomenon with a cosmopolitan many-sidedness emanating from a wide range of abuses including abuse of political, administrative, judicial, and cultural powers. These various abuses are called different names but all fall under the word “fasad” which is the literal translation of corruption.

In the Qur’an, rulers, judges, and people in authority, as well as the general public, are forbidden from engaging in unlawful appropriation of the property of others by influencing judicial ruling with bribery. Such practices are called ‘bāṭil’ (false or deceptive) on the one hand and ‘ithm’ (criminal, sinful or inappropriate) on the other hand. Q2 v 189.

People in authority who use their positions to spread corruption and mischief (fasād) on land by appealing to racial sentiments of the people and driving a wedge between them by favoring some and oppressing others are censured. Fir’aun (Pharaoh) is given as an example of such. (Q28 v 5; Q89 v 11-13). The affluent are similarly enjoined to seek lawful material rewards with their wealth and not engage in actions that can promote corruption (fasād) on earth (Q28 v 78).

The early history of Islam, particularly the time of the Prophet and his companions contain valuable documentation of precepts regarding what was the standard of appropriate behaviour and how real human beings put them into practice within a social order. The Prophet, for instance, is reported to have condemned “rashwa” which in Arabic translates as bribery, corruption, and dishonesty.

In the Sunan Abi Dawud, Book 24, Number 3573, we have:

Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As: “The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed the one who offers bribe as well as one who accepts bribe.” [This is hadith is also reported in Musnad Ahmad bin Hambal, Jami’ al Tirmidhi, and Ibn Hibbān adding the phrase ‘fi al-hukm’ which means, ‘in matters of governance, decision making, or while ruling’. There is another report of the same hadith through Musnad al-Hākim that adds a condemnation of the mediator between the bribe giver and the bribe taker].

Other prophetic narrations censure corruption by reproaching the abuse of public trust by officials of the state through acts such as accepting gifts, stealing of public funds, and compromising the rule of law in because of bribes or as a result of recommendation or because of family or tribal considerations.

The Prophet himself, on several occasions, turned down many people who sought public appointments because such positions are a trust which must be given to men of integrity alone and these people, in his estimation, lacked the necessary qualities. On one occasion, he said:

“Authority is a trust, and on the Day of Judgment, it is a cause of humiliation and regrets except for one who fulfills its obligations and faithfully discharges the duties attendant thereon” (Sahih Muslim).

It was in realization of such a huge responsibility that Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb used to record the possessions of the officials he appointed at the time of their appointment and confiscated partly or wholly whatever they might have added while in the office if he suspected that they had benefitted from public appointment.

He (Umar) is also reported to have instructed one of his commanders to adjust the value of gifts offered to him which he had sent to the central treasury against the tax liability of the people, because taking anything more than the stipulated jizyah (poll tax) was unjust.

In a similar vein, Caliph Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz declared:

“I am of the view that the ruler should not trade. It is (also) not lawful for the officer to trade in the area of his office … because when he involves himself in trade, he inadvertently misuses his office in his interest and to the detriment of others, even if he does not like to do so.”

These examples suggest that corruption is understood in Islam on one hand, in terms of the abuse of trust through the misuse of judicial, administrative and political powers. On the other hand, Islam perceives a harmony among different levels of human defiant acts and proposes a utilitarian, virtue-based, legal, and justice-based interpretation of ethics that is in conformity with the human nature and circumscribed by God-consciousness.

Corruption at this level embraces all wrongdoings, transgressions, inequity, immorality, indecency, ungodliness, vices, immoderation, untruthfulness, dishonesty, betrayal, and a host of others. These are totally forbidden by Allah and engaging in them extinguishes the inner glow of one’s spirituality and attracts Divine wrath and chastisement.

These acts are depicted as “Fisq”, “Fawāh’ish”, “Ẓulm,” and “Sayyi’ah” in different verses and chapters of the Holy Qur’an. For instance, Allah says:

“Say (O. Muhammed): “Not equal are things that are bad (corrupt) and things that  are good even though the abundance of the bad (corrupt) may dazzle you; so fear Allah, O you that understand so that you may prosper. (Q5:101)

In Islam, corruption is an aberration that goes to the root of a Muslim’s faith in Allah and it is the source of insecurity, spiritual and otherwise; and indulging in it is a sign of staying away from the spiritual guidance and the right path. This position is borne out by Allah’s words thus:

“It is those who believe and corrupt not their beliefs with wrongdoing that are (truly) in security for they are on (right) path”(6:83)

Corrupting one’s faith with wrongdoing is here an attribute of disbelievers. In another verse, Allah gives a list of corrupt practices as wrongdoings. He says:

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Come I will rehearse what your Lord has prohibited you from;” join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children for fear of poverty, we provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near shameful deeds (corruption), whether open or secret; take not life which Allah has made sacred except by way of justice and law; these He commands you, that you may learn wisdom.
And come not near the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he attains the age of full maturity; give measure and weight with justice; no burden do we place on any soul but that which it can bear; whenever you speak, speak justly even if a near relation is concerned and fulfil the covenant of Allah, these He (Allah) commands you that you may remember (and become righteous).” Q6: 152-154

Allah also singles out betrayal of trust as a corrupt act which He abhors thus:

“O ye who believe! Betray not the trust of Allah and The Apostle, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you.” (8: 28)

As a specific warning to those who take an oath, especially, one of political office, who are convinced and resolute in their minds not to fulfill the oath they look, Allah said further thus:

“And take not your oaths to practice deception between themselves  ….(16:95)

Allah also gives an all-embracing injunction within which lies the solution to the scourge of corruption. He says:

“Allah commands justice, the doing of good to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds (corruption), injustice and rebellion. He instructs you that you may accept admonition.”Q16 v 91

The institutionalization of justice, kindness and charitable deeds to kith and kin is a major solution to corruption. When there is social justice and equity, and people have the wherewithal to survive within society, corruption will naturally lose its attraction. Justice demands that there should be equal opportunities for all in terms of access to the public good. It also demands that the judicial system bends for no one. When the judiciary is empowered to punish offenders and social justice is entrenched, corruption will have no fortress to protect it.

It is also pertinent to observe that when the attributes of kindness and charity abound in a given society, the gap between the “haves” and the “have not” will reduce, and negative thoughts that lead to corruption which is a by-product of “survival at all cost” instinct, as well as brigandage and other security threats, will gradually recede.

Similarly, Islam maintains that a Muslim should be conscious of every minute step he wants to take. He should keep in view the Divine injunctions at all times. The Prophet is reported to have admonished one of his companions thus:

“O Sa’d, eat wholesome lawful food and you will be someone whose prayers are answered. And by Him in Whose hands is Muhammad’s soul, a servant of Allah may swallow a morsel of unlawful food, and because of it, Allah Almighty will not accept from him any good deed for forty days. And any servant whose flesh grows from “suht” (unlawful things, including all proceeds from corruption and corrupt practices), then the fire is most appropriate for it.”

The general import of all the Qur’anic texts and prophetic traditions in this regard is that corruption is closely related to a believer’s faith in his Lord and his attitude to it determines the authenticity and soundness of his belief in the Almighty. In light of this, access to Divine blessings is denied to anyone who is guilty of corruption because his prayers would not be answered for a considerable number of days.

All corrupt acts, in light of the above, emanate from non-recognition of God and His design for this world. Because corruption undermines national and communal harmony and prevents the actualization of maximum good for the highest number, it is undesirable from a utilitarian perspective, repugnant from a moral perspective, unjust from the perspectives of equity and fair play, and culpable from a legal standpoint.


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