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The potential of al-Wasatiyyah value concept for human sustainability (HS) in civil service

Sharifah Hayaati Syed Ismail (Department of Islamic Political Science, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Ilhaamie Abd Ghani Azmi (Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Sharifah latifah Syed Kadir al-Haddad (Faculty of Business & Accountancy, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Siti Arni Basir (Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Idris Nayan (Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)


ISSN: 0828-8666

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




This paper aims to discuss the potential of al-Wasatiyyah (hereafter, AW) value concept for human sustainability (hereafter, HS) values and its applicability to civil service practice (CSP) in Malaysia. AW is a derivative of an Arabic word that means excellent, moderate, just and professional.


This paper explains the potential of AW concept for HS both in epistemological and ontological perspectives with a focus on CSP. It focuses on the AW value concept according to Ibn Miskawaih and its applicability in CSP in Malaysia. Using content analysis and “integration perspective” between AW and contemporary Malaysia CSP practice, several questions were unlocked in this paper. They include the following: what are AW values for HS? What is the standard of value for sustainable CSP in Malaysia? And how HS from AW perspective can generate quality CSP in Malaysia?


It is found that AW can extend and enrich the meaning of value for HS and subsequently the civil service quality in Malaysia. Findings showed that AW can offer a holistic approach through four AW core values. The study also showed that AW is embedded indirectly in Malaysia CSP before it was highlighted under Najib Razak administration. This study suggests continuous emphasis on AW values in three service areas, namely, service requirements (SR), service priorities (SP) and service quality (SQ).

Research limitations/implications

The limitation is to bring the value concept into the HS parameters. HS is indexed by quantitative indicators including economy, health and education achievements, rather than value concept. This study tries to expand the potential and importance of value as an indicator for HS. That is through a concept named as AW.

Practical implications

AW values and approaches are perceived to be a potential focus system for HS and resource building in Malaysian civil service.

Social implications

Extending the meaning of HS through the application of AW concept is perceived to enrich social values and development.


This paper argues that current discussion on HS is not fit for all purposes because it lacks human great values. This paper subsequently argues AW concept as potential HS values, especially for CSP, in Malaysia.



The authors would like to express their gratitude to the University of Malaya for granting the precious opportunity to engage with this very interesting research, particularly in providing a specific grant (UMRG PROGRAM RP001A-14HNE) as the financial support throughout the research period.


Syed Ismail, S.H., Abd Ghani Azmi, I., Syed Kadir al-Haddad, S.l., Basir, S.A. and Nayan, I. (2017), "The potential of al-Wasatiyyah value concept for human sustainability (HS) in civil service", Humanomics, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 150-162.



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