Table of Contents

Handbook of Research on Islamic Business Ethics

Handbook of Research on Islamic Business Ethics

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by Abbas J. Ali

The complex relationship between society and business is vividly captured by ethical standards and obligations. This is especially pertinent in the Islamic world, where religion plays a key role in both social and commercial interactions. Many people see the presence or absence of ethical commitments as an indicator of whether business actors uphold their social responsibilities, and there is an increasing recognition of the significance of ethical value for business. This Handbook explores the interweaving relationship between Islamic business ethics and the market, and examines the critical role that ethics can play in ensuring that business thrives. By offering theoretical perspectives on research it goes beyond the conventional treatment of Islamic ethics, and asks what is important for the various market and social actors in the business world to behave in a morally responsible manner.

Chapter 13: The ethics of Islamic accounting

Yusuf M. Sidani

Subjects: business and management, international business


One beautiful chapter in the Qur’an narrates the story of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph). It describes how he was forced out of his homeland after a conspiracy by his brothers. The story depicts how he went to Egypt and started to work in the king’s palace earning a prestigious position in public office. He was appointed as a custodian of the ‘land’s treasures,’ which mostly included Egypt’s food supplies: And the king said, ‘Bring him to me; I will appoint him exclusively for myself.’ And when he spoke to him, he said, ‘Indeed, you are today established [in position] and trusted.’ [Joseph] said, ‘Appoint me over the storehouses of the land. Indeed, I will be a knowing guardian.’ (Qur’an, 1997, 12:54–5) Despite the fact that the Prophet Yusuf was not appointed as an accountant in the modern understanding of the word, his duties definitely involved elements of accounting and control. Thus, his story is used among some modern-day Muslim scholars and accountants as an example of an early public official whose duties involved keeping records and keeping track of large amounts of food supplies for the whole kingdom. As explained below, some researchers have also linked the attributes of Prophet Yusuf, as mentioned in the Qur’anic chapter, to the attributes that need to exist among modern-day Muslim accountants (see for example Al-Bohaisi, 2010). This is perhaps the first example of a form of accounting stemming from Muslim sources.

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