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 10: Social responsibility and sustainability

Abbas J. Ali

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

Extract

For the last six decades, in the Western world, social responsibility (SR) has become a dominant topic of ethics in the discourse on business and organizations. However, irrespective of the rising secular emphasis on social responsibility, the topic has its roots in the religious and philosophical discourse which took place centuries ago. While religions across centuries have underscored individuals’ obligations toward their primary groups and societies, these obligations have not been clearly articulated in any form and their relevance and implications to the modern business world have often, until recently, been overlooked. In this chapter, the issue of social responsibility in the context of Islamic thinking is addressed. In particular, we intend to highlight how Islamic prescriptions and the teachings of early scholars have set the boundaries for ethical conduct and how observing responsibilities toward individuals and society at large have been viewed as instrumental in establishing a healthy and economically functional and stable society. In this regard, social responsibility is viewed on three levels: the individual, the corporation, and government. Before addressing the topic from Islamic perspectives, it is important to outline, at the corporate level, the evolution of the concept in the Western world. There are many scholars who have argued that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a Western concept (Idemudia 2011; Ip, 2008; Muller and Kolk, 2009; UNIDO, 2007).

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