Ethics

Sample Code of Ethics for Muslim Businesses

Insha Allah, we will behave Islamically towards:

Our Customers: Our primary responsibility is to provide the best quality product to those who make use of our products and services. We must work to decrease our costs in order to charge reasonable prices. Orders will be processed speedily and without errors. We will neither misrepresent nor deny our products or services to any customer on the basis of race, gender, religion, socio-economic status or national origin.

Our Suppliers and Distributors: We will work with our suppliers and distributors to maintain consistency in quality and service. We will ensure that they make a fair profit. We shall neither offer nor accept any premium, prize or other un-Islamic inducement in our transactions with our suppliers and distributors, or any other stakeholder.

Our Employees: Every employee will work in safe and clean conditions. They will receive fair and adequate compensation. They will have ample opportunities to develop their skills. They must feel free to make suggestions, criticize or complain. We will safeguard their rights to privacy, protect them from any type of harassment and respect their dignity at all times. The company will clearly communicate to all employees what is expected of them. In all negotiations, we will act in good faith. Every employee shall take responsibility to ensure that their actions are in agreement with Islamic values and the Code of ethics of this company.

Our Competitors: We will not engage in monopolistic behavior and preclude others from competing with us. We will not engage in predatory strategies. We will compete fairly without engaging in un-Islamic tactics.

Our Stockholders: We must work to ensure a fair return to our stockholders. We will only engage in what is halal and stay away from the haram. We will manage our research and development projects wisely. We will compensate our employees equitably. We will maintain appropriate reserves for difficult times. We will not waste company resources on false needs. When we behave according to our code of ethics, we should be able to provide our stockholders with an Islamically acceptable rate of return.

Our Community: We support the community we live in as well as the world ummah. We will be good citizens, respecting the law of the land, paying our fair share of taxes and contributing to the welfare of the needy and the destitute.

The Environment: As vigerents of God on earth, the environment is an amana (a trust) that we are responsible for. We will not harm the environment in the practice of our business.

Source: Beekun, Rafik. Islamic Business Ethics. Herndon, Virginia: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2006 (reprint). This book is available from the Islamic Workplace E-Store. Please click here to access the Islamic Workplace E-Store.


Ethics and Corruption in Muslim Countries: Fact versus Fiction

Muslims always pride themselves in their emphasis on akhlaq (ethics) and always seem to think that Muslim countries are much more ethical that non-Muslim countries. Is this fact or is it fiction?

The 2006 survey from Transparency International was released very recently. The 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index is a composite index that is based on multiple expert opinion surveys that poll perceptions of public sector corruption in 163 countries around the world. It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption. Significantly, a strong correlation between corruption and poverty is evident in the results of the CPI 2006. Almost three-quarters of the countries in the CPI score below five indicating that most countries face serious perceived levels of domestic corruption.

Are Muslim countries an exception and less corrupt domestically? The results are quite shocking. No Muslim country ranked in the top 25. The top 5 most ethical countries in the world are in order: Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, Denmark and Singapore. United Kingdom ranked 11, Japan ranked 17 , France ranked 18 , the United States ranked 20, and Israel ranked 34. The table below lists the rankings of Muslim or Muslim-majority countries or countries with substantial Muslim populations; I included Israel (a non-Muslim country) as a benchmark against which Muslim countries can compare themselves. The term “range” below refers to the confidence range.

Rank

Country 2006 CPI Score Surveys used Range
31 United Arab Emirates 6.2 5 5.6 – 6.9
32 Qatar 6.0 5 5.6 – 6.5
34 Israel 5.9 7 5.2 – 6.5
36 Bahrain 5.7 5 5.3 – 6.2
39 Oman 5.4 3 4.1 – 6.2
40 Jordan 5.3 7 4.5 – 5.7
44 Malaysia 5.0 9 4.5 – 5.5
46 Kuwait 4.8 5 4.0 – 5.4
51 Tunisia 4.6 5 3.9 – 5.6
60 Turkey 3.8 7 3.3 – 4.2
63 Lebanon 3.6 3 3.2 – 3.8
70 Egypt 3.3 6 3.0 – 3.7
70 India 3.3 10 3.1 – 3.6
70 Saudi Arabia 3.3 3 2.2 – 3.7
79 Morocco 3.2 6 2.8 – 3.5
84 Algeria 3.1 5 2.7 – 3.6
93 Bosnia and Herzgegovina 2.9 6 2.7 – 3.1
93 Eritrea 2.9 3 2.2 – 3.5
93 Syria 2.9 3 2.3 – 3.2
99 Mali 2.8 7 2.5 – 3.3
105 Iran 2.7 3 2.3 – 3.1
105 Libya 2.7 3 2.4 – 3.2
111 Albania 2.6 5 2.4 – 2.7
111 Kazakhstan 2.6 6 2.3 – 2.8
111 Yemen 2.6 4 2.4 – 2.7
121 Benin 2.5 6 2.1 – 2.9
130 Ethiopia 2.4 7 2.2 – 2.6
130 Indonesia 2.4 10 2.2 – 2.6
142 Kyrgyzstan 2.2 6 2.0 – 2.6
142 Nigeria 2.2 7 2.0 – 2.3
142 Pakistan 2.2 6 2.0 – 2.4
142 Tajikistan 2.2 6 2.0 – 2.4
142 Turkmenistan 2.2 4 1.9 – 2.5
151 Côte d´Ivoire 2.1 4 2.0 – 2.2
151 Uzbekistan 2.1 5 1.8 – 2.2
156 Bangladesh 2.0 6 1.7 – 2.2
156 Sudan 2.0 4 1.8 – 2.2
160 Iraq 1.9 3 1.6 – 2.1

Source: Transparency International. The remainder of the rankings can be looked on the Transparency International website.

With such high levels of domestic corruption, the workplace within the abovementioned countries is bound to be affected. Muslims will have tremendously difficulty abiding by the high moral standards that the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) wish us to live by. On a global macro-economic level, there is likely to be flight of capital and of foreign direct investment (FDI) from these countries. The cure is simple: restore an ethical climate based on Islamic principles. The cure works. Look at the transition of the Arabian Peninsula from Jahiliya to the time of the 4 rightly guided Caliphs, and what levels Muslims reached. Nowadays, look at Singapore: it used to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world until one man determined that enough was enough, and turned the country back towards ethical behavior. By the Grace of Allah, it is one of the most prosperous countries in the world, and ranks #5 in the world among the least corrupt countries.

Since the survey results also indicate that corruption is significantly correlated with poverty, it is clear that a major portion of the responsibility for the unethical climate prevailing in most Muslim countries rests squarely on the shoulders of their leaders. In this regard, Kasule (1998) emphasizes that leaders are servants of their followers (sayyid al qawn khadimuhum). They are to seek the welfare of their subjects, and guide them toward what is good. In a hadith reported by Abu Malih in Sahih Muslim (1:82), the Prophet (s) said:

A ruler who has been entrusted with the affairs of the Muslims, but makes no endeavor (for their material and moral uplift) and is not sincerely concerned (for their welfare) will not enter Paradise along with them.

Simultaneously, leaders and those in positions of power in Muslim countries are ultimately accountable to their Lord and Creator. In another hadith (#847) narrated by Adi ibn Amirah al-Kindi in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (s) said:

Whoso from you is appointed by us to a position of authority and he conceals from us a needle or something smaller than that, it would be misappropriation (of public funds) and [he] will (have to) produce it on the Day of Judgment.


Islamic Business Ethics: Kindness to Animals

Treatment of Animals in the Islamic Workplace

by Rafik Beekun, Islamic Business Ethics

Muslim businessmen who make use of animals must be extremely careful in how they treat them. Professional butchers, for example, must show kindness in slaughtering animals:

Two are the things which I remember Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) having said, “Verily Allah has enjoined goodness to everything; so when you kill, kill in a good way and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way. So every one of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably.”[1]

While slaughtering an animal, Muslims are also discouraged from seizing an animal destined for slaughter by the feet, and dragging it to the place where it will be slaughtered.[2] Farmers, too, need to be careful. Even in our daily treatment of animals, the Prophet (saw) has encouraged Muslims to show consideration towards them:

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.”[3]

Certain types of behavior have been explicitly forbidden:

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) forbade (the animals to be beaten) on the face or cauterization on the face.[4]

Beyond animals in the workplace or for human consumption, Islam stresses the humane treatment of animals in general, Anayat Durrani–in her article on Animals in Islam–states that “[in] the Qur’an and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet), it is emphasized that animals be treated as humanely as any other of God’s vast creation. The Qur’an goes as far to say that cruelty to animals is equivalent to cruel treatment of a human being. Kind treatment of animals is considered a good deed in the same sense that good conduct and treatment between human beings is deemed a good deed.

God created man to be the guardian of the Earth and gave him dominion over its inhabitants. Therefore, mankind is held responsible for an injustice he has done to any of God’s creatures. The Qur’an specifies that animals function as a community in the same way that human beings do, and all creatures have their place. The Qur’an also shows that it is not only human beings that give praise and worship to God through prayers but animals as well, as evident from this passage.”

Seest thou not that it is Allah Whose praises are celebrated by all beings in the heavens and on earth, and by the birds with extended wings? Each one knows its prayer and psalm, And Allah is aware of what they do.’ (Qur’an 22:18)

Please compare Islam’s treatment of workplace animals specifically to what KFC has been doing.

Kentucky Fried Chicken’s (KFC) Treatment of Chickens

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is a global fast food company that prides itself in offering halal chicken products in Muslim Countries. Before you run out to purchase KFC original or crispy chicken, please view this video:

Unfortunately, KFC may not be the only culprit; there are probably many chicken farms globally and in Muslim countries which treat these animals in a similarly cruel manner. Muslim entrepreneurs, employers and employees in these types of establishments should see to it that this type of treatment be halted and remedied as soon as possible, Insha Allah. (For the record, I am neither a vegetarian nor a fan of Pamela Anderson.)


[1] Shaddad ibn ‘Aws, Sahih Muslim, hadith no. 4810.

[2] Al Hidaya (Hanafi manual), vol. 4, 5764.

[3] Abu Hurayrah, Sahih al Bukhari, hadith no. 4.538.

[4] Jabir ibn Abdullah, Sahih Muslim, hadith no. 5281.


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2 Responses “Ethics” →
  1. Dear Rafik, i have been reading your papers and articles for a long time now and am a true fan of yours. I have written numerous papers on Islamic human resource management myself and intend to do my Ph.D in that too. Have a look on my blog http://minhaaj.blogspot.com/2008/08/presentation-for-new-model-of-hrm.html

    You can find alot of research papers and presentations by me on this. Nice to find your articles here.

    Reply
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