Yusuf M. Sidani (American University of Beirut, Lebanon)

Responsible Management in Theory and Practice in Muslim Societies

ISBN: 978-1-80262-494-6, eISBN: 978-1-80262-493-9

Publication date: 31 May 2022


Sidani, Y.M. (2022), "Prelims", Responsible Management in Theory and Practice in Muslim Societies, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-x.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022 Yusuf M. Sidani

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American University of Beirut, Lebanon

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First edition 2022

Copyright © 2022 Yusuf M. Sidani. Published under exclusive license by Emerald Publishing Limited.

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A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-80262-494-6 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-80262-493-9 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-80262-495-3 (Epub)

Dedication Page

To Munir and Samiha Sidani

Gone but not forgotten


Preface ix
1. Responsible Management: A Primer 1
Introduction 1
A Religious Perspective of Responsible Management 4
2. Responsibility in the Islamic Perspective 7
The Nature of Responsibility 8
The Qur’an 10
The Khilafa Verse 11
The Amana Verse 13
The Covenant Verse 14
Nature of Responsibility in the Qur’an 15
Three Affirmations of the Qur’an 18
The Sunna 19
3. Responsibility in Islamic Jurisprudence 21
Taklif 23
Significant Questions 26
Who is the Authority Entrusted with Specifying the Responsibility? 26
What is the Type of Work that a Person is Obliged to do from that External Party? 28
What is the Quality of the “Acceptance” of Compulsion from that External Party, and does that Require Heartfelt Acceptance, or is Merely Behavioral Acceptance Sufficient? 29
What is the Nature of the Requital? 31
4. Individual & Group Responsibility 33
Individual Responsibilities 33
Actions of the Heart 36
Responsibility to Display Good Manners 37
Responsibility for Good Speech 40
Responsibility for Actions and Work 41
Individual Responsibilities in Commercial Transactions 41
Fair Trade 42
Disengaging from Usury 42
Group Responsibilities 43
Testimony to the People 43
The Call to Good 45
5. Responsible Management 49
Who is a Responsible Manager? 49
Nature of Manager/Traits and Behaviors 54
1. Knowledge before Actions 54
2. Responsibility as Identity 54
3. Ability and Trustworthiness 55
4. Fairness 56
5. Consultation 59
6. Responsibility; a Continuous Journey 59
The Story of Yusuf 64
Uneasy Beginnings 66
Faithfulness; Keeping the Trust 66
Not Shying Away from Responsibility 67
The Power of Forgiveness 67
Wisdom and Knowledge 68
Gratitude 69
6. Management and Responsibility in Muslim Practice 71
Early Practice 71
Bridging the Gap 72
Reaffirming the Bigger Purpose of Life 73
Ijtihad, Again! 74
A Simpler Islam 75
Final Words 77
References 79
Index 87


Whoever wants to accompany us, let him accompany us with five things: he conveys to us the needs of those whose needs do not reach us, he guides us to justice in cases where we are not guided to, he helps us in performing what is truthful, he fulfills the Amana (trust) to us and to people, and does not backbite anyone among us. (Omar Ibn Abd-el-Aziz)

One personality in Islamic history that captures the fascination of the Muslim masses (An Egyptian TV series was even produced telling his story) is that of Omar Ibn Abd-el-Aziz (681 ce–720 ce). He was the eighth Caliph of the Umayyad dynasty. As history reports, his life changed upside down when he became Caliph. The moment he was asked to accept the position he addressed his constituencies:

O people, I have been afflicted with this matter without an opinion on it from me and no advice from the Muslims, and I have relieved you from your pledge of allegiance to me, so (feel free to) choose (a Caliph) for yourselves (other than me). (Salabi, 2009)

People immediately responded: “We have chosen you.” He ruled for two years and five months after that speech, and died young in his late 30s. This short period, however, was full of accomplishments and reforms. He increasingly relied on shura, consultations, offering more voice to the public. He redressed the grievances related to actions of prior Caliphs and rulers. He developed advanced administrative systems based on merit, and made significant contributions as to how the state was to be governed. He adopted policies that were not only fair and kind to the Muslim community, but also to Christians living in the lands under his reign. He did all of that while leading an ascetic, deeply religious, and humble life.

The fascinating story of Omar Ibn Abed el-Aziz leads one to question as what might have caused a person who was just appointed to a position of power to suddenly act so responsibly? Why was it not somebody else of the Caliphs who preceded him in the Umayyad dynasty? What role did his religious life, and attachment to religious principles, contribute to his emergence as an epitome of ethical and responsible leadership?

While this is not a book about Omar Ibn Abed el-Aziz, the concepts that I will discuss will hopefully shed some light in answering some of these questions. Granted, a religious perspective, let alone an Islamic one, cannot be advanced as the only way to have management that is effective and responsible. People have many reasons to identify as responsible individuals and behave responsibly. Some drivers might relate to a religious foundation; other drivers might have nothing related to religion. Yet, to some people, and certainly to a large segment in Muslim societies, religious drivers of behavior remain relevant. Irrespective of one’s individual philosophy and source of moral grounding, understanding a religious perspective of responsible management might be fascinating. To all of those, I hope this book will be of benefit.