Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Abbas J. Ali
Chapter 9: Leadership in Islam: ethical and theoretical foundations
The emphasis that the Islamic faith places on relationships is incomparable. The significance of this emphasis stems from the understanding that the end goal is to optimize the welfare and wellbeing of the people. Indeed, according to Islam, relationships constitute the core of human existence and without them neither progress nor happiness can be realized. Relationships give meaning to life and subsequently motivate individuals to energetically participate in improving their condition, navigate new terrains and ponder possibilities. More importantly, relationships are the foundations of meaningful social contracts, which reinforce the fact that members of a community or society share a common planet as well as hope and aspirations for a bright future. It is for these reasons that Islamic thinking underscores the importance of relationships at societal, organizational and individual levels and emphasizes the necessity for cultivating an environment where relationships are harmonious, purposeful and productive. This was underscored by early scholars such as Al-Mawardi (died 1058) and Al-Maki (died 996). While contemporary Muslim scholars have explored the nature of relationships and their importance in strengthening faith-driven conduct, the role of leadership in promoting purposeful and productive relationships in the context of business organization and public policy has seldom been given corresponding attention.
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