Business Ethics in Islam

Business Ethics in Islam

Abbas J. Ali

The book is the most original and comprehensive treatment of business ethics in Islam. It explores the thinking of early Islamic scholars on ethics, whilst encompassing the modern developments in the field. It is aimed at fostering discourse on business ethics by offering a framework for exploring a wide range of ethical issues and dilemmas that arise in the marketplace and raising ethical awareness and sensitivity of various market and non-market players. The book enables researchers to use Islamic ethical principles in advancing research and offers practical solutions to rising ethical problems. Furthermore, the book enables business people and policymakers to acquire the requisite outlook and understanding for the application of business ethics and guides readers to draw useful implications.

Chapter 4: Ethics and profit making

Abbas J. Ali

Subjects: business and management, business leadership, corporate social responsibility


In recent years, the debate over the role and ethical responsibility of organizations in society has intensified. There are those who believe that organizations are not equipped to deal with social issues and that they should focus on their primary business by producing goods/services and generating high profits for their stockholders (see Friedman, 1970; Ottaway, 2001). Others, however, assert that business organizations are economic actors that assume social and political roles and accordingly they have a responsibility that goes far beyond the economic domain (see Barton, 2011; Porter and Kramer, 2006). The report by the Financial Times, and other major media outlets, that executives in Britain have been prioritizing profits over principles and putting financial goals above ethical considerations has fueled discussion on the goals and profit making of corporations in the business world (see Groom, 2011). This concern is not new and, among other issues, has situated ethics at the center stage of discourse on the role of business in society. As we indicated in the previous chapter, the attitude toward this matter is influenced by many factors, including the stage of economic development, religion, and openness. The interplay of these factors shapes how people in certain civilizations/societies and time periods deal with business issues and emerging or pressing events; religion, however, remains a determining force in ethics formation and application.

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