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 9: Ethics and human resource management in modern organizations

Abbas J. Ali

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


Whether in traditional or contemporary societies, human resource (HR) issues have topped the list of decision makers’ priorities. In the early years of Islam, these concerns centered on building a vital state, informing the public of their duties and rights, and responding to the needs of a growing constituency. As the state expanded and covered new geographical areas, the emphasis was on selecting qualified people and cultivating their skills to perform their duties, act ethically, and promote social and economic justice. In selecting subordinates, the second Caliph, Omer, instructed them to be fair to the people: “Judge among them according to what is right and divide wealth among people justly . . . and do not deny them their rights” (quoted in Al-Mawardi, 1986, p. 353). The fourth Caliph, Imam Ali (1990, p. 625), advised one of his deputies not to listen to a subordinate who is “a miser who attempts to prevent you from spending what is beneficial to others . . ., nor [to] a coward who is never decisive, nor [to] a greedy man who presents injustice as a necessity.” During these years, rules governing HR issues were either informal or were found in treatises written for rulers or merchants. The advent of the Industrial Revolution and the dominant role that the private sector has since played in the world economy has shaped HR policies and practices. This development has engulfed all countries, including those with Muslim majorities.

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