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“Being a Good Muslim and Its Relation to Corporate Social Responsibility” Mohd Asri bin Abdullah. The paper won "the Best Project Design Award”.
The impact of commerce has on society nowadays is very big besides its impact on economic growth and the development of a country. Therefore there is an increasing demand by the society for businesses to be more responsible and contribute to the betterment of the society everywhere they operate.
Therefore many studies and discussions about the Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) have been conducted and many courses also have been organized in order to create awareness among the corporations about their responsibility towards society where they are running their business.
In recent understanding about CSR, it is not only concern about what the corporations do with the profit and money they get from business, it also emphasis on the way of doing business and of getting money responsibly.
The questions may arise that the emphasis on the CSR is more given by the corporations in the West and wherever they operate around the world. Does CSR all about the western values of doing business?
This paper will look into this issue and try to come out with the understanding and views about CSR from Islamic perspective. It tries to demonstrate that the subjects and issues that come into the concern of CSR actually are not all about the Western values, but Islam had addressed about them 1400 years ago.
Islam as the complete way of life provides guidelines for human beings in all aspects of life including in businesses and in economic activities. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who was the successful businessman had said 1400 years ago in a tradition quoted by al-Ghazali that Islam encourages its adherent to do business because it forms ninety percent of sustenance. Therefore Islam has not let these activities without any guidelines.
In order to understand the teaching and the guidelines laid down by Islam, one must have knowledge about Islam itself. Islam emphasises on the acquiring of knowledge. The first commandment of Allah to man is the urge to learn and to acquire knowledge through reading. Allah mentions this matter in the first revelation to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the verse 1 to 5 of chapter al-Alaq.
A Muslim must know well about the four foundations of Islam, which are the faith (Aqidah), worship (Ibadah), laws (Shari_x0019_ah) and ethics (Akhlaq). _x0018_Aqidah_x0019_ literally means the firm belief in the heart. However it is not enough to have the firm belief in the heart only. It must be translated into actions. The belief in One God, the belief in The Prophets, The Angles, The Books, The Hereafter and The Divine Decree are manifested in the form of the individual relations with God, with fellow human beings and with the environment.
Worship (Ibadah) is actually the main purpose of the creation of man on earth. Allah mentions in the Holy Quran: _x001C_I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me_x001D_ (51:56). To serve Allah is not only through the devotional acts of prayers, fasting, payment of zakat and pilgrimage. The Muslims serve Him through all of their good actions whether for worldly life or heavenly purposes. Thus all forms of productive work whether for the fulfillment of basic or other human needs is considered to be an act of worship, provided that they are performed in accordance with His Will.
Shari_x0019_ah is the laws of Allah that is based on ethics. Its basic values are permanent and universal and not confined to specific place or time. Shari_x0019_ah deals with the material and spiritual aspects of the man. The rules of Shari_x0019_ah cannot be fulfilled without sincerity, true intention, love, and respect of the law and the Law-Giver, Allah. It is well known that the purpose of Shari_x0019_ah (maqasid as-Shari_x0019_ah) is to protect and to promote 5 things; which are religion (ad-Din), Life (an-Nafs), Progeny or family (an-Nasl), Intellect (al-Aql) and Property or wealth (al-Mal). Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Muslims to know the rules of Allah such as rules related with man_x0019_s relationship with God like worship (Ibadah) as well as rules related with man_x0019_s relationship with other fellow-human like rules of marriage (Munakahat), criminal law (Jinayah), business (Muamalah), politics (Siyasah), international law and others.
Islam looks at the ethics as a mean of achieving individual success in anything that he does or more significantly the success of society itself. If we look at the history of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), one of the factors of his success in propagating Islam was because many of the disbelievers were impressed with the beautiful conducts and the virtues that had been portrayed by the Prophet (pbuh).
In understanding the Islamic teachings also one must refer to the primary sources of Islamic laws and Islamic teaching, which are the Quran and the tradition of the Prophet (pbuh) or also called _x0018_hadith_x0019_. Besides that there are also the secondary sources, which are consensus of scholars (Ijma_x0019_) and analogy (Qiyas) as well as _x0018_Istihsan_x0019_ and _x0018_Masalih al-Mursalah_x0019_. It is important to refer to these sources when learning about Islam because there are many interpretations and understandings about Islam, that deviate from the original teachings brought by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
After knowing about the meaning of Islam, its foundations and its sources of laws, we now look at the mission of man on the earth. Man in his life has two missions to be accomplished, his mission as a servant of Allah and secondly his mission as a vicegerent of Allah. Islam wants a balanced relationship where in his life man has to fulfill his responsibility to God and at the same time he must fulfill his responsibility to creation, which consists of other human beings, society and nature. Fulfilling the responsibility towards humanity, nature and society are the subjects of CSR.
As the vicegerent of Allah, a man has the responsibility towards fellow human beings. Allah_x0019_s Messenger (pbuh) said: 'No one of you shall become a true believer until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself.' (Narrated by Bukhari). Surely the best way for a Muslim to please his brother is to place him high in his estimation and do for him what he would like for himself.
In order to maintain the good relationship between human beings Islam has laid down universal fundamental rights for humanity, which are to be observed and respected in all circumstances. For example, human blood is sacred and may not be spilled without strong justification; it is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the wounded; women's honour and chastity must be respected; the hungry must be fed, the naked clothed and the wounded or diseased treated medically irrespective of whether they belong to the Islamic community or are from amongst its enemies. Islam has laid down these and other provisions as fundamental rights for every man by virtue of his status as a human being. It is the duty of every Muslim to recognize these rights, which are:
v The Right to Life;
v The Right to the Safety of Life;
v Respect for the Chastity of Women;
v The Right to a Basic Standard of Life;
v The Individual's Right to Freedom;
v The Right to Justice;
v The Equality of Human Beings;
v The Right to Co-operate and Not to Co-operate; and
v The Right to Learn and Seek Knowledge.
Fulfilling and recognizing these human rights in business world are part of the areas in CSR that recognized by Islam.
Islam emphasises on the rights of the employees that also become the concern of CSR. Islam regulates certain procedures of hiring or employing of workers that should be observed by the employer. Among them are as below:
v It is a condition to define the type of work;
v The wage should be defined in a manner that removes any ignorance about it;
v It is obligatory to the employer to hand over the wage immediately to the employee after the work is completed;
v The effort the worker has to expand in his work also should be defined. Accordingly, it is not allowed to demand of the worker that is beyond his capacity; (forced labour is not allowed)
v It is permissible to be contracted to undertake every lawful (halal) form of work. So the employee should not be hired for doing something, which is prohibited;
v The work and the working environment should not cause harm to the employee;
v The employee should be motivated to seek knowledge and should be provided with the training and learning opportunities;
v The employee also should not be restrained from performing his religious rituals; and
v Hiring a child for doing certain job is invalid and not allowed
In dealing with other fellow human beings this paper also address the rights and the position of women is Islam. There are so many rights of the women as a mother, a wife, a sister, an employee and others that should be recognized and given to them.
In discussing the man_x0019_s responsibility towards society, this paper focuses on the business dealing and the establishment of justice. Islam is more strictly enjoins honesty in commercial dealings compared to any other religion. Islam prohibits any forms of business that leads to dishonesty and injustice. Islam also does not allowed any form of business that based on uncertainty. It is prohibited upon a Muslim in running a business to get involve in any corruption whether in the form of bribery, fraud actions, discrimination or etc.
When looking at the man_x0019_s responsibility towards environment, this paper focuses on the position of man as the vicegerent of Allah to take care of the earth. Islam prohibits any kind of waste, unwise usage of natural resources and pollutions. Islam promotes the cleanliness and wants its adherent to live in healthy condition.
After that, this paper make the comparison between the Islamic business principles with the 10 principles of UN Global Compact in order to prove that Islam had addressed the foundation of CSR since 1400 years ago.
Finally, CSR is all about the rules and regulation of running a business, recognizing the rights of employees, the conservation of nature and the establishment of justice and avoidance of corruption. Meaning to say a pious Muslim businessman that really practices the teaching of Islam is always a good practitioner of CSR.