The dominant approach to understanding Islamic Business Ethics (IBE) has been based almost exclusively on either interpretations of the Qur’an and Sunna or influenced by Western understanding of Islam and ethics. However, there is a rich—largely ignored-tradition of ethical analysis conducted by Muslim philosophers which would broaden our understanding of Islamic ethics and hence IBE. We seek to correct this imbalance by examining works of Al-Ghazali, an early Muslim philosopher, scholar, and mystic. His approach to Sufism, combining an interpretation of revelation with reason, can contribute to new developments in business ethics (BE) scholarship and practice especially in Muslim communities. His thought portrays a vibrant work ethic that, while based in Sufism, has important practical implications for business. We argue that including such historically and contextually recognized perspectives in our understanding of BE, both in theory and in practice, would work well with an audience that looks to Islam as a source of justice and proper moral conduct.
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We prefer to use the word Sunna which means ‘way of the Prophet’ instead of Hadith as the former includes the Prophet’s actions as well as his statements.
We use the term ‘philosopher’ to denote his mastery of the philosophical tools of inquiry and for his attempts to answer questions that philosophers have long attempted to answer. Al-Ghazali remains, however, one of the prime critics of Greek philosophy and also of the Muslim philosophers who followed that tradition.
Even among some contemporary Muslims associated with extreme Sufi orders, it is thought that the best work that one can do is to abandon involvements in this life.
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Sidani, Y., Al Ariss, A. New Conceptual Foundations for Islamic Business Ethics: The Contributions of Abu-Hamid Al-Ghazali. J Bus Ethics 129, 847–857 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-014-2136-5