Business Ethics in Islam
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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.
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Chapter 3: Islamic ethics and free market economy

Abbas J. Ali


Though ethics in Islam focuses primarily on behavior and relations among people, its coverage of the exchange function and entitlements and responsibilities in the marketplace underscores the intertwining relationships between people’s welfare and business activities. Indeed, the three elements of the ethical framework—public interest, moderation, and ehsan—set the stage for ethical conduct that is in line with optimal utilization of purposeful economic activities that ensure a balance between self-interest and societal welfare. Furthermore, the moderation elements, while safeguarding against both conspicuous spending and miserliness, highlight the virtue of responsible spending without ignoring the need to save for the future and invest in worthy projects. Traditionally, most of the writing on free market economy in Islam has attempted to show the link between Islam and capitalism. This is not the case in this chapter. The objective is to show that, based on the issue of moderation, market exchange and function must observe ethical principles that prevent any intentional harm to members of the exchange function and to stakeholders. This might be ideal but, according to early Islamic thinkers, the further members of the exchange function drift away from ethical principles the less stable the market will be. Thus, in this chapter, several issues pertaining to the nature of free market economy will be examined in the context of Islamic instruction.

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