Corruption and the corrupt have special characteristics according to values that are defined in any culture. As Islam is seeking to establish a divine society, it has tried to explain different aspects of corruption to people and combat it.
One of the examples of a corrupt figure that has been mentioned several times in the Holy Quran is the Pharaoh that ruled Egypt during the time of Hazrat Musa (AS).
For instance, verse four of Surah Al-Qasas notes: “Pharaoh had exalted himself in the land and had divided its people into sects, one group he abased, putting their sons to death and sparing their women, for he was one of those who corrupted.”
This verse points to some of the characteristics of the corrupt such as arrogance, polarizing the society, sowing discord, and weakening or pressuring a specific section of society to curb their progress.
The Pharaoh and other oppressors use such approaches to continue their oppressive rule; they, in particular, try to keep people weak and uninformed. “So he incited his people to levity and they obeyed him: surely they were a transgressing people.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf, verse 54)
One of the significant points in this verse is that the corrupt try to keep people in ignorance; they usually lure people by seemingly beautiful concepts. For instance, some rulers make use of concepts such as freedom or human rights or fight against terrorism these days to pursue their oppressive governance; they pretend to be worried about people but are themselves the barrier to society’s progress. They are more concerned about their own personal interests than that of people or society as a whole.