Determination of organisational essential needs as the basis for developing a maṣlaḥah-based performance measurement

Achmad Firdaus (Institut Agama Islam (IAI) Tazkia, Bogor, Indonesia)

ISRA International Journal of Islamic Finance

ISSN: 2289-4365

Article publication date: 15 June 2021

Issue publication date: 30 September 2021




The purpose of the study is twofold: first, it is to develop each aspect of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah (essential needs), i.e. dīn (faith/religion), nafs (soul), ʿaql (intellect), naṣl (descendants) and mal (wealth), into various aspects of organisational essential needs; second, it is to formulate maṣlaḥah-based performance measurement.


The research is an exploratory study that uses a two-stage design: defining the research question and developing the research design. The research question is how each element of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah can become an element of organisational essential needs. The research design developed is to formulate maṣlaḥah-based performance measurement.


The study concludes that maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah could be developed as a basis for identifying organisational essential needs. The five elements of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah are developed into the following organisational essential needs: worship orientation, internal process orientation, talent orientation, learning orientation, customer orientation and wealth orientation. Maṣlaḥah-based performance measurement uses five variables: strategic objective, measure, formula, target and strategic initiatives and applies the modified plan – do – check – action cycle: performance planning, performance implementation, performance evaluation and performance action.

Practical implications

Organisational essential needs can be developed by Islamic financial institutions (IFIs) into performance measurement. IFIs have six essential needs that can be developed into performance variables. Key performance indicators that can be developed for each need are worship orientation (social responsibility, regulatory compliance and Sharīʿah compliance); internal process orientation (innovation process, digital adaptation and employee satisfaction); talent orientation (career development, talent pool, compensation and benefits); learning orientation (training programme, training evaluation and return on training investment); customer orientation (customer engagement, customer satisfaction, customer survey and promotion programme); wealth orientation (profitability, cost-cutting, share prices, dividends, cost efficiency and financial sustainability).


This paper contributes to new knowledge. The study attempts to discuss the organisational essential needs based on the maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah concept, while previous studies discussed organisational needs based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In developing performance measurement, organisational performance is measured in a balanced manner. According to the concept of maṣlaḥah, not only financial factors but also worship, internal processes, talents, learning and customers define organisational needs. Thus, organisational needs are considered not only in terms of material factors but also in terms of spiritual (worship) factors.



Firdaus, A. (2021), "Determination of organisational essential needs as the basis for developing a maṣlaḥah-based performance measurement", ISRA International Journal of Islamic Finance, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 229-250.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Achmad Firdaus.


Published in ISRA International Journal of Islamic Finance. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence maybe seen at


Gardner (1965), Corning (2000) and Lester and Parnell (2008) mentioned that researchers borrow from the biological sciences in explaining the organisational life cycle. They equate organisations’ lives to those of living organisms and the organisation’s development to that of a living organism.

Researchers who believe that organisations can be viewed as living organisms include Mintzberg (1979), Tichy (1980); Kimberly and Miles (1980), Corning (2000); Lester et al. (2003), Lester and Parnell (2008); Hassan et al. (2011), Barter and Russell (2013); Di Paolo (2015), Lam and Fininis (2016); Lewis (2016); and Nicolò (2018). They consider organisations to be born (Tichy, 1980), grow to a certain size (Mintzberg, 1979), have a supple youth and a sclerotic old age (Gardner, 1965) and ultimately die (Kimberly and Miles, 1980). In the course of their growth, organisations, thus, evolve through a number of life cycle stages (Lester et al., 2003; Lester and Parnell, 2008; Lehene and Borza, 2012; Daft, 2013; Gurianova et al., 2014).

As living organisms, organisations have essential needs that must be fulfilled (Glasser, 1984; Christopher, 1999; Deci and Ryan, 2000; Oishi, 2000; Corning, 2000; Parris and Kates, 2003; Baard et al., 2004; Grouzet et al., 2005; Vansteenkiste et al., 2007; Park et al., 2008; Van den Broeck et al., 2010; Fave et al., 2011; Gillet et al., 2012; Muller and Whiteman, 2016). Organisations may also experience saturation and recession phases (Gurianova et al., 2014) and they must be responsive to every change and environmental dynamic that they encounter (Corning, 2000).

The research above proved that organisations have the same characteristics as living organisms. This means that the concept of individual essential needs can be transformed into organisational essential needs. It is interesting to ask whether there is a theory of individual essential needs from Islamic thought that can be transformed into organisational essential needs.

From Islamic literature, it is found that Al-Shāṭibī (d. 790 H/1388 CE) developed the concept of individual essential needs in his work Al-Muwāfaqāt fī Uṣūl al-Sharīʿah (The Reconciliation of the Fundamentals of Islamic Law). The essential needs, also known as maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah, comprise dīn (religion/faith), nafṣ (life/soul), ʿaql (intellect), naṣl (descendants) and māl (wealth). This research attempts to develop the elements of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah into elements of organisational essential needs. Furthermore, the concept of organisational essential needs has the potential to become the basis for measuring financial performance or maṣlaḥah-based performance.

Several studies on maṣlaḥah-based performance have been conducted, including Mohammed and Razak (2008) and Shaukat (2009). They measured three aspects of maṣlaḥah implementation based on the variables developed by Abū Zahrah (1958), namely, individual education, justice enforcement and welfare. These studies have, however, only considered certain aspects of maṣlaḥah-based performance.

Bedoui (2012) stated that application of the concept of maqāṣid al-Sharīʿah (objectives of Islamic law) is supposed to be based on the balance amongst five essential needs. He proposed two methods – graphical and numerical – to apply maqāṣid al-Sharīʿah. The graph presented by Bedoui (2012) is in the form of a cobweb which represents five aspects of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah. The numerical method uses the following formula for measurement:

Performance Maqasid= sin(2π5)2(w1p1w2p2+w2p2w3p3+w3p3w4p4+w4p4w5p5+w5p5w1p1)

where p represents the result of each objective and w represents the weight of each objective.

The strength of Bedoui’s research is the balance of measurements from all aspects of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah. Its weakness is that it only measures performance results without explaining the process of achieving performance.

This research has two objectives: firstly, to formulate organisational essential needs based on the concept of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah; secondly, to propose maṣlaḥah-based performance measurement. It is accordingly organised as follows: the next section reviews the literature; the methodology is thereafter explained followed by a discussion of the results; the last section concludes the paper.

Literature review

Organisational essential needs

The five levels of needs according to Maslow (1943, 1954) – consisting of physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualisation – are widely known as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Alderfer (1968) simplified Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to three, namely, the need to exist, the need for relatedness and the need for growth, which refers to self-actualisation. These needs are known as existence, relatedness and growth (ERG).

Researchers associate individual needs with social life. Watt (1982) considered the difference between needs and wants. “Needs” are prerequisites that must be met to reach the ultimate achievement; while “wants” comprise the goals or desires that are derived from an individual’s preferences or his/her social and cultural environment.

Doyal and Gough (1984) developed the theory of human needs (THN) which divides two types of essential needs, namely, individual and social essential needs. Fulfilment of individual essential needs is a prerequisite for achieving social essential needs. Individual essential needs consist of survival/health, autonomy/learning while social essential needs consist of production, reproduction, communication and authority. Ryan and Deci (2000) introduced self-determination theory (SDT) which states that human beings have innate psychological needs, consisting of competence, autonomy and relatedness.

The theory of needs/wants and THN address the same underlying issue, namely, that human needs are tiered. In this case, “wants” will not be met before “needs” are met. Likewise, social needs will not be met before individual needs are met. In contrast to the theory of needs/wants and THN, SDT states that human needs are systematic or interrelated. Social-contextual conditions motivate human beings to become proactive, engaged, passive or alienated.

The essential needs must be met to achieve the ultimate goal (Park et al., 2008; Muller and Whiteman, 2016). The fulfilment of essential needs will create well-being, which is a prerequisite to achieving happiness (Glasser, 1984). In this case, well-being is the objective and happiness is the ultimate goal (Ryan and Deci, 2001; Royo et al., 2013).

Well-being and happiness are often used synonymously, although there is actually a difference. Fave et al. (2011) mentioned that happiness comprises meaning, self-actualisation and personal growth at the individual level and a commitment to socially shared goals and values at the societal level. The contents of goals and meanings can differ across societies and cultures (Christopher, 1999; Oishi, 2000; Grouzet et al., 2005; Fave et al., 2011).

Well-being consists of two components: hedonic and eudaemonic (Ryan and Deci, 2001; Sheldon and Bettencourt, 2002; Gasper, 2007; Kashdan et al., 2008; Fave et al., 2011; Gillet et al., 2012; Summers et al., 2012). Hedonic well-being refers to psychological well-being and is usually associated with the pursuit of pleasure, enjoyment and comfort (Fave et al., 2011); psychological essential needs, namely, autonomy, competence and relatedness (Deci and Ryan, 2008; Deci and Ryan, 2000; Baard et al., 2004; Vansteenkiste et al., 2007; Van den Broeck et al., 2010; Gillet et al., 2012; Akdeniz et al., 2018; and Olafsen et al., 2018).

Eudaemonic well-being refers to the material and social attributes that contribute to or decrease the well-being of individuals or communities and is usually associated with living well or actualising one’s human potential (Deci and Ryan, 2008; Gillet et al., 2012). Included in eudaemonic well-being are essential needs, economic needs and environmental needs.

The concepts of well-being and happiness are essentially a part of the meaning of falāḥ (success/being successful). The Qurʾān uses the term falāḥ while applying it to both material and non-material conditions and to both this worldly life and the hereafter. Islam teaches that human beings should aim to achieve falāḥ as stated in the Qurʾān (3:104, 130; 7:8, 157). To realise falāḥ, an organisation must be able to fulfil maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah.


A condition in which essential needs are fulfilled is called maṣlaḥah. The real meaning of maṣlaḥah is explained by the scholars as follows: something which incurs benefits and averts harm (Al-Ghazālī, 1982); various activities are undertaken to improve social welfare (Zarqā, 2007); something that encourages various types of benefits in addition to repelling or avoiding what is impermissible (ḥarām) or harmful (maḍarrah) (Nyazee, 2003).

The opposite of maṣlaḥah is mafṣadah (a cause of ruin). Things frequently contain elements of both maṣlaḥah and mafṣadah. In considering whether something is good or bad or permissible or prohibited, the relative presence of the elements of maṣlaḥah and mafṣadah must be determined. If the level of maṣlaḥah exceeds that of mafṣadah, that thing is classified as maṣlaḥah and is consequently permissible because it is in line with the aims of Sharīʿah (Islamic law). However, if the level of mafṣadah exceeds that of maṣlaḥah, then that thing is classified as mafṣadah and is consequently rejected by Sharīʿah.

Al-Shāṭibī (1997) divided maṣlaḥah into two groups based on the purpose: that which relates to the life of this world and that which is realised in the hereafter. At the same time, maṣlaḥah is divided into three levels based on the level of interest: ḍarūriyāt (essential needs), ḥājiyāt (secondary needs) and taḥsīniyāt (complementary needs).

The essential needs are basic elements in human life that absolutely must be fulfilled to realise salvation in the hereafter and success in this world. The secondary needs entail what is required to overcome difficulties. Complementary needs are those whose existence serves to meet the demands of refinement and custom. The absence of complementary needs has an impact on secondary needs, but it does not lead to the destruction of essential needs.

Maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah

People derive happiness from being able to fulfil their essential needs. If they are unable to do so, they will experience catastrophic disruption of life in this world, which could result in the loss of salvation and mercy in the hereafter.

Religion/faith: Embracing religion is a human right. Therefore, freedom of religion must be maintained. The Qurʾān (2:256) explains that there should be no compulsion in religion:

There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in ṭāghūt and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

While every person has the God-given right to believe as they wish, not every choice will lead to salvation. The Qurʾān (42:13) describes the concept of Islamic monotheism that Allah ordained to the prophets Nuh, Ibrahim, Musa and Isa (peace be upon them). Protecting and preserving religion aim to maintain the dignity of human beings as God’s creatures. The preservation of religion aims at not only protecting it from the compulsion of those who do not like it but also preserving it from the impulses of desire for the world.

Life/soul: The soul is created by Allah and made one with the body in the womb (Qurʾān, 32:9); it is taken from the body at the time of death (Qurʾān, 32:11) and then reunited with the body on the Day of Resurrection (Qurʾān, 81:7). In the Qurʾān, the term nafṣ (soul) is associated with humans (Qurʾān, 3:61), jinn and humans (Qurʾān, 6:130), evils (Qurʾān, 18:51) and also God (Qurʾān, 6:12). It can be used to reflect traits of human nature such as selfishness (Qurʾān, 10:108; 17:25). Nafs, in Arabic, can be interchanged with the word rūḥ, which also carries the meaning of the spirit of revelation sent by Allah to His Prophet (Qurʾān, 16:2; 40:15). Rūḥ can take the meaning of breath of life (Qurʾān, 15:29; 32:9) whereby in the process of one’s death, the soul (rūḥ) will leave the human body (Qurʾān, 5:45; 39:42). Its true meaning is known by Allah, the All-Knowing (Qurʾān, 17:85).

The protection of the soul cannot be separated from one’s right to life. To that end, Allah has instituted laws such as qiṣāṣ (equal retribution) (Qurʾān, 2:178–179). Verse 179 explains that the law of qiṣāṣ actually contains a survival guarantee system for mankind. It is a preventive feature in the divinely ordained legal system.

Descendants: Islam emphasises the preservation of one’s descendants. Islam emphasises the preservation of one’s descendants. In the Qurʾān (25:74) it is mentioned in the form of a prayer that Allah will give us dhurriyyah (offspring). The same prayer is said by Prophet Zakaria (Qurʾān, 3:38) and Prophet Ibrahim (Qurʾān, 37:100). This is a manifestation of the parent’s responsibility, as mandated by Allah, to look after and care for their descendants.

Abū Zahrah (1958) emphasises the sustainability of the human race to survive and develop to be healthy and sturdy, with good character and religion. This can be achieved through the arrangement of household life by providing education and affection to children to instil in them a fineness of character and an adequate level of intelligence.

Al-Shāṭibī (1997) mentions that the needs of one’s descendants are met by maintaining the health of the family and through the institution of marriage. Al-Shāṭibī (1997) also mentions the enactment of various laws such as the marriage law (Qurʾān, 4:3–4), establishing the various parties who are classified as “not allowed to marry” (Qurʾān, 2:221; 4:22–24), the prohibition of adultery (Qurʾān, 17:32; 24:30–31) fixed punishments (various numbers of lashes) for transgressions of that and related laws (Qurʾān, 24:2–9) and the arrangements fostering children while maintaining their lineage.

Intellect: Intellect is a gift given by God to human beings that differentiates them from other creatures of God. Intellect is a gift given by God to human beings that differentiates them from other creatures of God (Qurʾān, 17:70). Intellect serves as a source of wisdom, a lantern in the darkness of the world and a priceless resource that enables one to distinguish between good and bad.

The existence and high value of intellect are mentioned in the Qurʾān. An intelligent person constantly observes Allah’s creation and deduces meaning from it (Qurʾān, 3:190–191; 39:21). Intellect is created by God for the purpose of distilling the good and then doing what Allah declares (Qurʾān, 39:18). Intellect is used to study history and draw lessons from it (Qurʾān, 12:111). One who uses intellect as per its intended functions is classified as a believer (Qurʾān, 65:10). In contrast, the Qurʾān also describes the low level of dignity for people who do not use their intellect (Qurʾān, 2:170–171; 7:179; 10:100).

Wealth: The earth and its contents belong to Allah, as does the entire universe (Qurʾān, 7:128; 57:5). Allah delegated His dominion to humans, making them His vicegerents (Qurʾān, 2:29–30). Humans are, thus, commanded by Allah to guard the earth and are accorded the right to manage it (Qurʾān, 24:33). Humans are permitted to do anything except that which is forbidden by Allah.

Wealth belongs to Allah (Qurʾān, 3:180). Allah lends it to whomever He wills. Allah has also full authority to increase, decrease or take away wealth from mankind. Therefore, as a vicegerent, man is accountable to Allah for the utilisation of his wealth. He should aim to use wealth not only for worldly purposes but also seek reward in the hereafter (Qurʾān, 29:64).

Actions to increase wealth are to be conducted by ḥalāl (permissible) means rather than by unjust and fraudulent means. Islam emphasises the preservation of property through the enactment of various laws; for example, cutting the hand of the thief (Qurʾān, 5:38), the prohibition of consuming others’ wealth by prohibited means (Qurʾān, 4:29), the obligation to pay zakat (Qurʾān, 24:37; 30:39). Some of the things we obtain from this approach are the rights of poor people (Qurʾān, 51:19; 70:24–25), the forbidding of usury (Qurʾān, 2:275–279) and the arrangement of accounts payable (Qurʾān, 2:280–283).

Maṣlaḥah-based performance measurement

Firdaus (2012) explained that maṣlaḥah-based performance highly depends on fulfilling six aspects of maṣlaḥah orientation, which are orientation to worship, to internal process, to talent, to learning, to customers and to wealth.

The worship orientation is to explain the protection and preservation of religion within the organisation. It is the answer to the question: “How can organisations apply religion in daily activities by taking into account their responsibilities vis-à-vis Allah, stakeholders and the environment so that salvation can be attained in the hereafter and success in the world can be sustainable”?

The internal process orientation is to explain the protection and preservation of the soul of the organisation. It is the answer to the question: “How should internal processes be managed so that salvation can be attained in the hereafter and success in the world can be sustainable”?

Talent orientation is to explain the protection and preservation of future generations of an organisation. It is the answer to the question: “What activities must be carried out to develop talent so that salvation can be attained in the hereafter and success in the world can be sustainable”?

Learning orientation is to explain the protection and preservation of the intellect and heart of the organisation. It is the answer to the question: “What learning activities should be carried out so that salvation can be attained in the hereafter and success in the world can be sustainable”?

Customer orientation is to explain the protection and preservation of relationships with customers. It is the answer to the question: “so that salvation in the hereafter and success of life in the world can be sustainable, what activities should be carried out to build sustainable relationships with customers”?

Wealth orientation is to explain the protection and preservation of wealth. It is the answer to the question: “What efforts should be made in the creation and spending of wealth so that salvation can be attained in the hereafter and success in the world can be sustainable”?


This research adopts an exploratory study. Cooper and Schindler (2014) explain that an exploratory study aims to develop a hypothesis or develop questions for further research. While formal research, in contrast to an exploratory study, starts from a question or questions generated by an exploratory study, exploratory research can be carried out using four approaches, namely, secondary data analysis, experience surveys, focus groups and two-stage design.

This study is conducted using a two-stage design and separated into the following two objectives: clearly defining the research question and developing the research design. The research question is how each element of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah can become an element of organisational essential needs. The research design developed is to investigate how to formulate maṣlaḥah-based performance.

The exploratory study is conducted in the following stages:

  • Analysing the concept of individual essential needs (maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah).

  • Referring to the concept of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah as the basis for developing organisational essential needs.

  • Developing each aspect of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah to become the various aspects of organisational essential needs.

  • Formulating maṣlaḥah-based performance measurement.

The technique is conducted through an in-depth literature study examining the Qurʾān and its translations, ḥadīth (the Prophet’s sayings), books, journals, articles relating to the concept of maṣlaḥah and to organisations, ethics, morals, spirituality, strategic management, human resources, organisational effectiveness, organisational performance, organisational management and organisational design. Some of the literature used in the study is written more than 10 years ago. The considerations used are that the literature is the main source of reference or has been well-referred to by previous research.

Results and discussion

Discussion related to the research question: “How to develop each aspect of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah into the various organisational essential needs”?

Worship orientation to preserve and protect religion within the organisation

Islam is the religion, which is governed by the Sharīʿah. The Sharīʿah is revealed by Allah as a law for mankind in managing the earth. It is divided into three: fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), ʿaqīdah (Islamic belief system) and akhlāq (ethics, morals and manners) (Laldin, 2014).

  • Fiqh is the name given to the science of jurisprudence in deciding a point of law in the absence of a perspicuous text (naṣṣ) from the Qurʾān or Sunnah. Most scholars (ulama) say that fiqh is knowledge of one’s rights and obligations derived from the Qurʾān or the Prophet’s Sunnah or consensus from the opinions of scholars (ijmāʿ) or analogical reasoning (qiyās).

  • ʿAqīdah is the Islamic belief system, which includes belief in Allah, His Prophets (peace be upon them), the Day of Judgement and other related themes. ʿAqīdah entails the sense of respect in obeying the commandment of Allah as it is a divine order and is different from any other commandments which come from man. When the commandment of Allah came down to prohibit the consumption of khamr (liquor) (Qurʾān 5: 90), Muslims threw away all their khamr supplies. Likewise, when the commandment of Allah came down for women to wear the ḥijāb (Qurʾān 24: 31), they obeyed it. They made ḥijāb from the various clothing materials they had.

  • Akhlāq refers to the injunctions related to ethics, particularly the distinction between the good and the bad. The injunctions related to akhlāq are revealed on unchangeable matters. This is because moral values in Islamic teachings are universal values that must be implemented anytime and anywhere.

Various provisions of the Sharīʿah that apply to humans also apply to organisations. Organisations must comply with Allah’s commands (ʿaqīdah). When developing products, organisations must follow the provisions set out in the science of fiqh. Organisations are prohibited from taking usury or behaving tyrannically. Organisations are encouraged to pay ṣadaqah (voluntary charity) and ordered to pay zakat (obligatory charity). Organisations should have good interactions with stakeholders and the environment (akhlāq). The organisation must respect its founders. This is called the alignment of the goals of the organisation with the purpose of human creation (Figure 1). Salvation in the hereafter and successful life in the world cannot be achieved if organisations do not interact properly with Allah, the Creator and with stakeholders and the environment (Qurʾān, 2:59, 81, 85).

Al-Shāṭibī (1997) explains that actions must be taken to preserve and protect religion to create conditions that facilitate worship such as ṣalāh (prayer), zakat (alms), ṣawm (fasting) and hajj (pilgrimage). The acts of worship mentioned by Al-Shāṭibī are specific. Nata (2008) stated that such specific acts of worship are those whose provisions have been established in the Qurʾān and ḥadīth. These acts of worship have been perfectly regulated by the Qurʾān and ḥadīth and no change, addition or subtraction can be accepted.

Nata (2008) explains that a person who performs worship with full sincerity and solemnity will develop morality and noble character. A servant who believes in the existence of Allah with all the qualities of His perfection is fully convinced that Allah loves only good things. Devotional worship repeatedly reminds the worshipper that Allah is well acquainted with what His servants have done, are doing and will do and that nothing is hidden from the sight and knowledge of Allah.

Worship is not merely a simple human ritual performed at a particular time such as ṣalāh, fasting, hajj, zakat and qurbān (sacrifice); or at a particular place such as a mosque or muṣallā (place of worship). Worship orientation means being aware of the presence of Allah in a variety of activities at any place and at any time. Everyone should realise that Allah sees and hears everything that he does. Islam teaches that Allah will reward, in both the world and the hereafter, the leader of an organisation who undertakes its management with honesty and faith upon the command of Allah. As such, there should be the proactive preservation and protection of religion in an organisation. The above discussion explains that worship orientation covers the preservation and protection of religion within an organisation.

Internal process orientation to preserve and protect the life of the organisation

Physical resources comprise the body of an organisation while its non-physical resources comprise its soul. Thus, the body of the organisation consists of infrastructure, information technology (IT), equipment, machinery, materials, money, buildings, etc.; and the soul is made up of processes, systems, values, strategies, core competencies, work culture, brand image and so forth. The soul of the organisation is defined by its internal processes.

Thus, the development of both the body and soul of the organisation is a must, not only to achieve a successful life in the world but also salvation in the hereafter. For instance, an Islamic financial institution (IFI), besides pursuing profit, must also purify its soul. Thus, it is essential that the interest system be excluded. The interest system has a damaging impact (maḍarrah) on the ownership system that will ultimately destroy its soul. The purification of the soul can be done once an organisation fulfils the worship orientation.

Worship orientation, as the centre of spiritual energy, ensures that spiritual energy spreads to all parts of the organisation. All orientations then react to the flow. The internal process orientation has the least inertia compared to the other orientations and responds more quickly than the other orientations. Spiritual energy acts to encourage the organisation’s spirit to become calmer, gentler, more patient, more optimistic, etc.

The needs of the organisation’s soul are met in various ways. Ibn ʿĀshūr (1998) stated that organisations should meet essential needs by promoting human welfare, preventing acts of corruption, upholding justice and maintaining stability and harmony.

Organisations must be able to identify internal processes, which are outlined by Porter (1998) through value chain analysis. Internal processes are divided into two main processes: the core process and the supporting process. The core process consists of inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, marketing and sales and service. The support process consists of procurement, technology, human resources and infrastructure. The entire value chain is structured to create customer value to achieve the ultimate goal of profit margin.

In Sharīʿah-based organisations, on the other hand, maqāṣid al-Sharīʿah comprise the basic foundation for preparing internal processes because the Sharīʿah has the highest position in Islamic teachings (Ibn ʿĀshūr, 2013). The consequences are that stakeholders’ requirements must be in line with the maqāṣid al-Sharīʿah and, thus, the attainment of stakeholders’ satisfaction is to be performed in accordance with those maqāṣid.

The design of internal processes, as depicted in Figure 2, must be capable of creating happiness for individuals in the workplace (Rampersad, 2006), good morality and justice (Chapra, 2007), in addition to excluding the elements of maysir (gambling), gharar (uncertainty), ribā (interest) and ẓulm (injustice) (Mohammed and Razak, 2008).

As shown in Figure 2, the design of internal processes comprises a number of variables. Stakeholder requirements are obtained through customer satisfaction surveys, supplier surveys, labour surveys, regulations, previous business performance, as well as audit findings. Inbound logistics is the part of the processes within an organisation that deals with receiving, storing and distributing inputs internally. Operations are processes, which directly influence the creation of value for stakeholders. For takāful (Islamic insurance) for instance, operations include underwriting, actuarial studies, claims, etc. Outbound logistics refers to the process of dealing with finished goods. Finished goods must be managed properly as their management is the key to creating value for customers. Marketing and sales are responsible for selling finished goods to customers. Services are managed to ensure that customers get good after-sales services.

Organisations must put in place a process specifically tasked to monitor the application of the Sharīʿah (i.e. to be Sharīʿah-compliant). However, compliance is not only with the Sharīʿah but also with legal rules and regulations. Infrastructure is another part of the organisation’s body. Without good infrastructure, organisations will get sick. Organisational progress is highly dependent on human resources too. Employee competence and involvement are amongst the goals of human resources management. Technology also plays an important role. Many organisations have died because they were unable to compete in technology. In addition, procurement must be well managed; without it, production planning will be disrupted. This definitely affects the quality of the product.

Natural disasters such as fire and earthquake can result in material and non-material losses to the organisation. Organisations must manage natural disasters and emergencies so that the level of damage and loss can be controlled. Organisations must determine a process that will manage the risks that arise. Organisations also have a social responsibility towards the communities living within their surroundings. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a function created within organisations that manage organisational social responsibility. Islamic organisations view CSR as not only a means to improve social functions towards the environment but also to manifest human functions as Allah’s caliphs (vicegerents) on earth. Moreover, organisations must have the agility to change; therefore, they should be innovative and creative. Finally, sustainability is goal managers aspire to. Sustainability can only be achieved through a strategic planning process that is carefully structured and applied according to the plan.

Talent orientation to preserve and protect the descendants of the organisation

Allah guarantees that everyone who has been bestowed life must also die. In the same way, the organisation must die too (Qurʾān, 21:35). When one dies, the opportunity to perform actions is ended. There is, thus, nothing further that can be done to increase the reward, except for the three things defined by Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him):

When the son of Adam dies his actions come to an end except for three things, a continuing charity or knowledge which gives benefit or a pious child who prays for him (Sahih Muslim).

People will die, but maṣlaḥah must continue in terms of the benefit for both the dead and those left behind. Therefore, these three practices can be interpreted as the real passive income for mankind to achieve salvation in the hereafter and successful life in the world. The Qurʾān (25:74) explains:

And those who say: “Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our off-spring (dhurriyyātinā) the comfort of our eyes and make us leaders of the muttaqīn (God-conscious)”.

Ibn Kathīr (Abdullah, 2004) explains that dhurriyyah are descendants who are obedient, worshipping only Allah. Ibn ʿAbbās, as outlined by Ibn Kathīr, explains that their supplication is for descendants who will be obedient to Allah, and thus become the comfort of their parents’ eyes in the world and the hereafter. Ibn Kathīr also outlines that Ikrima said: “They do not want them to be clever or handsome but, rather, to be obedient people”. Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī, when asked about this verse, replied:

That Allah shows His Muslim servant that his wife, his brother and his son are obedient to Allah. No, by Allah, there is nothing that can cool the eyes of a Muslim more than seeing his child or grandchild or brother or beloved obedient to Almighty God (ʿAbd al-Raḥīm, 1992).

The concept of dhurriyyah in the family is also applicable in the context of the organisation. In Islamic belief, organisational sustainability is defined by the sustainability of maṣlaḥah for the stakeholders and the environment. Furthermore, this organisational sustainability truly depends on the “organisational descendants” or the next generation of the organisation (dhurriyyah).

The next generation has to adopt a vision and mission in concordance with that of the founders. A talented workforce represents the lineage (nasab) of the organisation. The Qurʾān (25:54) explains nasab as follows:

And it is He Who has created man from the water and has appointed for him kindred by blood and kindred by marriage (nasab). And your Lord is Ever All-Powerful to do what He wills.

McKinsey and Company (2001) conducted a study of 13,000 managers from 112 large companies in the USA. The results showed that a talented workforce is key to winning. Chowdhury (2002) described organisations that exist in the 21st century as those that are led by a talented workforce. Coyle (2009) also mentioned that a talented workforce results from the ignition of a developmental process within the organisation known as the “talent hotbed”. The development process involves necessary coaching to develop the practical experience of the workforce.

There is also an intrinsic need for the spiritual energy that spreads from the worship and internal process orientation to all parts of the organisation to instill within the workforce necessary values that would ensure they conduct their behaviour as the vicegerents of Allah. This helps to create a pleasant relationship between the organisation and Allah, the stakeholders and the environment. Similarly, the spiritual energy that is derived from the internal process orientation would result in a harmonious relationship between superiors and subordinates.

A talented workforce is one with capabilities of insight, knowledge, skills, education and experience in conjunction with organisational capacities. Insight is a person’s perspective on something. Insight depends on education, family background, environmental background, the work period, life experience, etc. Knowledge, on its part, is built up through intellect observation. Skills are abilities possessed by someone. Skills are usually obtained from work experience, training and education. Experience is something that has been lived. Education is teaching through a planned system. At the same time, a talented workforce is required to have capabilities of ʿaqīdah, fiqh and akhlāq. Thus, a talented workforce must-have worship and organisational capabilities.

Likewise, each job has a capacity consisting of worship orientation and organisational competence. Worship orientation is the total amount of ʿaqīdah, fiqh and akhlāq. Organisational competence is the overall amount of insight, knowledge, skills, education and experience. Of course, a higher-ranked job has higher capacities.

The capacity of the job is like a container, a measure of the extent to which the workforce can accommodate ʿaqīdah, fiqh and akhlāq, insight, knowledge, skills, education and experience. Capability is synonymous with what the container contains: ʿaqīdah, fiqh and akhlāq, insight, knowledge, skills, education and experience possessed by the workforce. Capacity is, thus, like a cup while capability is water that fills the cup. Every workforce must-have capabilities that are at the same level as their work capacity.

Learning orientation to preserve and protect the intellect of the organisation

Intellect is created by Allah for humankind to understand the purpose of his creation. Allah creates humankind to serve as His vicegerents. One of the duties of man is to think about Allah’s creations, both kawniyah and qawliyah. There are many phenomena in the universe including the change of day with night, movement of the wind, the eruption of volcanoes, etc. The phenomena of Allah’s creation that takes place in the universe is called kawniyah. The phenomenon of Allah’s creation that is spoken about in the Qurʾān and ḥadīth is called qawliyah. Intellect should be used to think about the verses in these sources.

The position of the intellect for humankind is described by Allah in many verses in the Qurʾān (e.g. 12:111; 26:28). The Qurʾān contains a phrase of praise to describe humankind who uses the intellect: “those are men of understanding” (39:18, 21; 12:111). However, there is a merciful phrase for those who have not used their granted intellect: “they are a people who understand not” (5:58; 72:4). Logically, the intellect has its limitations; it can only reach out to things that are logical. Intellect is a human instinct given by God to understand logical information. In addition, Allah calls for the heart to be used to understand things that are beyond the purview of logic.

There is no doubt that a learning process that emphasises only intellect without involving the heart will prove to be malignant and fatal for the organisation. A case in point is Arthur Andersen, at one time the largest professional services firm in the world (Smith and Quirk, 2004). The firm once led the way in the development of honest and law-abiding accounting standards. Andersen’s philosophy was taught to all its employees worldwide through a variety of teambuilding exercises that could have improved morality. Unfortunately, the corporate culture that developed in Arthur Andersen placed greater emphasis on intellect than the heart. Egregious violations of ethics embroiled Arthur Andersen in legal problems that led to its dissolution in 2002.

Talent orientation develops the workforce as individual learners (human capital). Unfortunately, it cannot have a big influence on the organisation if it is not mobilised, managed and packaged properly. Organisations should organise various kinds of organisational resources (organisational capital) to support the learning culture.

The main objects of the learning process are human capital and organisational capital. Learning objects in human capital that need to be improved is the intellect and the heart. Meanwhile, learning objects in organisational capital that need to be improved are the organisational activities described in the design of internal process orientation (Figure 2), namely, core processes, supporting processes, improvement and innovation, strategic planning and sustainability, Sharīʿah compliance, regulation compliance, disaster and emergency management, risk management and CSR.

The objectives of the learning process, on the other hand, relate to the aspects of ʿaqīdah, fiqh, akhlāq, insight, knowledge, skills, education and experience.

Thus, a learning culture can be developed within the organisation by incorporating learning objectives within the vision, mission and goals of the organisation so that all learning activities can be understood and carried out continuously.

Customer orientation to preserve and protect the customer

The customer is the intermediary of the fortune that Allah grants to the organisation. The number of customers that an organisation has is directly proportional to the fortune that it earns. Being closer to customers, of course, increases the organisation’s chances of obtaining fortune. Nevertheless, Allah is the only determinant of the size of the fortune that an organisation receives.

When Allah grants fortune to an organisation through its customers, it does not mean that Allah cannot also provide fortune directly. Allah uses the customer as a medium to deliver fortune to an organisation with the aim that it can interact with customers based on good morals. The interaction between the organisation and customers is not merely an economic transactional relationship between two parties as to the provider and consumer of a product. Allah transforms the interactions between them into social relationships to realise humankind’s duty as vicegerents of Allah. The service provider is a medium of Allah in serving the customer, while customers are the medium of Allah in conveying fortune to service providers (Figure 3).

Spiritual energy spreads from worship orientation to the organisation. It can strengthen the intention and motivation of each individual within the organisation. Interaction with the customer is interpreted by individuals as part of their worship to Allah, the Most Giving. Thus, service to customers is performed according to the demands of ʿaqīdah, always referring to fiqh for behavioural guidance in particular situations and is carried out with good akhlāq.

Fulfilment of the internal process orientation provides direction for management to place customers’ requirements as a mandate that must be fulfilled. The organisation will use its resources to meet customer requirements.

On the other hand, talent orientation creates talented workers who constantly devote their energy and minds to fulfilling customers’ expectations. They are able to explore customer needs and, through their capabilities, are able to prompt other workers to work on a similar level of excellence.

Learning orientation creates an individual who is capable of using his intellect and heart in serving the customer. The organisation is able to use all of its capital, both human capital and organisational capital, to meet customer requirements.

Wealth orientation to preserve and protect the wealth of the organisation

Wealth is used for human progress. Humans use innumerable strategies to obtain wealth, doing this quite frequently without necessarily considering the process of obtainment. Often the elements of ḥalāl (permissible) and ḥarām (impermissible) are ignored.

In the sacred Islamic spirit, the procedures used to obtain wealth have an impact on its blessing. Allah blesses wealth that is obtained via methods that are ḥalāl and ṭayyib (good). Ḥalāl means to obtain wealth in accordance with Sharīʿah guidance. Ṭayyib means procuring wealth in accordance with the appropriate rules of social ethics. Islamic thought instructs that:

  • Wealth is entrusted by Allah (Qurʾān, 24:33). The human ownership of wealth is dependent (not absolute). As a consequence, the principle of ownership is trustworthiness and it will be accounted for in the hereafter.

  • The process of acquiring and spending wealth must conform with the Sharīʿah (Qurʾān, 4:29; 16:114).

  • Wealth is used as a means to an end, which relates to both the short-term goal of a successful life in the world and to the long-term goal of salvation in the hereafter (Qurʾān, 29:64).

The key point in obtaining blessing from wealth utilisation is the wealth allocation strategy. Wealth obtained by ḥalāl and ṭayyib means is allocated to meet the needs of customer orientation, learning orientation, talent orientation, internal processes orientation and worship orientation.

Discussion related to the research question: “how to formulate maṣlaḥah-based financial performance measurement”?

The requirements for performance management have been described by Sokovic et al. (2010). He stated that the performance management system must consider the “radar” concept which involves the following elements: results, approaches, deployment, assessment and refinement. Performance must measure results, have an approach to measurement, be applicable, be used to assess and be capable of further development.

Meanwhile, Moullin (2004) described eight important criteria for a performance measurement system:

  1. Using a balance of measure which describes the entire activity and area;

  2. Ensuring that what is measured is a problem related to users and stakeholders;

  3. Involving all staff in determining the measure;

  4. Including performance indicators;

  5. Using a combination of the outcome and measure of the process;

  6. Including the elements of cost-effectiveness and value delivered to customers;

  7. Having a clear system to translate organisational strategies into performance measures; and

  8. Having the measurement system performance patterned on sustainable improvement rather than blaming something if the performance is not as expected.

Currently, the most widely used performance measurement system is the balanced scorecard (BSC) developed by Kaplan and Norton (1992). They stated that intangible assets play an important role in value creation and greatly affect the long-term performance of the organisation. BSC includes the following measurement variables: learning and growth, internal business processes, customer and financial perspectives.

By benchmarking against BSC, organisational essential needs can be developed into organisational performance variables. Thus, worship, internal process, talent, learning, customer and wealth orientation become performance variables in maṣlaḥah-based performance measurement. BSC is implemented through four main parameters, namely, strategic objectives, measures, targets and initiatives (Kaplan and Norton, 1996):

  • Strategic objectives are intermediary goals as a stage to achieve success.

  • Measures are parameters used to determine success.

  • Targets are quantitative values used to determine success.

  • Initiatives are activities carried out to achieve strategic objectives.

In conducting performance appraisal, a formula is needed to calculate a “measure” so that it is necessary to consider “formula” as a performance variable. Formula means a pattern or way to calculate measures. Thus, the maṣlaḥah-based performance uses five measurement variables, namely, strategic objective, measure, formula, target and strategic initiative.

Maṣlaḥah-based performance is applied by referring to Firdaus (2018). He uses the plan – do – check – action (PDCA) cycle as needed. The PDCA cycle is applied as follows: performance planning, performance implementation, performance evaluation and performance action.

Performance planning

There are five sub-steps in performance planning. The first is to develop strategic planning. Strategic planning is the process of establishing organisational goals and objectives. It includes long-, mid- and short-term plans, strategic objectives and strategic initiatives.

The second step is to identify the foundation needed to achieve maṣlaḥah orientation. The foundation for worship orientation comes from ʿaqīdah, fiqh and akhlāq. The foundation for internal process orientation comes from organisational resources, both physical that can be counted or non-physical which cannot be calculated. They are spread across core processes, supporting the process, sustainability, disaster management and emergency response, risk management, compliance with Sharīʿah and compliance with the regulation. The foundation for talent orientation comes from the talent’s capabilities. Talent must-have capabilities that match the capacity of the job. Talent’s capabilities consist of ʿaqīdah, fiqh and akhlāq, insight, knowledge, skills, education and experience. The foundation for learning orientation comes from the capabilities of the employees. Employee capabilities must always be improved to meet the demands of work in the future. As mentioned earlier, employee capabilities consist of ʿaqīdah, fiqh and akhlāq, insight, knowledge, skills, education and experience. The foundation for customer orientation comes from customer requirements and customer satisfaction. Customer requirements are a collection of customer needs that have been identified by the organisation. Customer satisfaction is a statement of satisfaction from the customer after experiencing product service. The foundation for wealth orientation comes from how to get wealth and how to spend wealth in accordance with the Sharīʿah. It will have an impact on how blessed is one’s fortune.

The third step is to determine the maṣlaḥah behaviour for each maṣlaḥah orientation. Maṣlaḥah behaviour refers to attitude, traits and values that must be owned by the organisation as basic capital to provide maṣlaḥah to all stakeholders. The maṣlaḥah behaviour involves:

  • Worship behaviour: a strong ʿaqīdah, fiqh and akhlāq will always cause a sense of being watched by the Creator. Managers become trustful, comply with regulations, avoid bribery and provide information correctly, not because of the provisions of good corporate governance or other factors but because they obey the Lawmaker.

  • Internal process behaviour: the organisation must be able to anticipate the impact on dynamics of competition, changes in customer preferences, technological change, disruption, the risk of floods, earthquakes, changes in weather and climate, volcanic eruptions, fires and others.

  • Talent behaviour: organisations must be able to create a work environment that is conducive for talent so that they can achieve excellence at every level or position. A conducive environment must be able to arouse the motivation of talented workers so that they can achieve individual and organisational goals.

  • Learning behaviour: the organisation creates an atmosphere of a continuous learning process. Sharing knowledge becomes an organisational culture.

  • Customer behaviour: managing the voice of the customer, namely, listening to customers and involving customers. Questionnaires, interviews, catalogues, talk shows are processes for listening to customers. Customer involvement is carried out by involving the customer in product design and development.

  • Wealth behaviour: organisations prevent fraudulent practices such as theft, corruption or abuse of authority by prioritizing public interest and avoiding all forms of unethical practices such as maysir (gambling), gharar (uncertainty and speculation), ribā (interest) and ẓulm (oppression).

The fourth step is to determine performance measure, which is an indicator that shows individual success or organisational success in achieving strategic objectives. Performance measures are often referred to as key performance indicators. Performance measures must be clearly defined so that they can be properly understood by all work functions and related individuals. Therefore, performance measures may not be multi-interpretive, which tends to create confusion regarding the related work function. Each maṣlaḥah orientation has a performance measure and a name. The name of a measure is intended to simplify the process of monitoring performance. There are three groups of work processes that must be measured for their performance. The first group represents compliance, both to fiqh and regulations. The second group is core processes and supporting processes. The third group involves sustainability. Sustainability is related to the process of improvement and innovation, disaster and emergency management, risk management and CSR. Strategy at the organisation level should be aligned with the strategy at the individual level to ensure that all areas and individuals within the organisation have the same goal, which is aligned with the organisation’s vision and mission. Finally, the formula is defined as an approximation for calculating a measure.

The fifth step is to agree on a performance contract. There are two activities carried out, namely, determining targets and performance contracts. Target is the amount that shows the success of performance achievement. Targets are set to encourage organisations to achieve goals as outlined in the long-, mid- and short-term plans. After the target is set, then a performance contract is signed between the supervisors and subordinates.

Performance implementation

This stage involves carrying out all performance plans and actualizing various kinds of strategic plans into real actions. If needed, the organisation can develop and outline a more detailed work plan involving all stakeholders.

Performance evaluation

The organisation monitors the achievement of all targets. The purpose is to ensure that targets that have been mutually agreed upon between the subordinate and the supervisor can be implemented and be achieved according to the agreement.

Maṣlaḥah-based performance is measured in two areas, namely, process and result performance (Firdaus, 2013). Process performance is the performance of the organisation in implementing maṣlaḥah-based performance. Result performance refers to organisational outcomes in providing maṣlaḥah to stakeholders.

The process performance is calculated as:

P(p)= i=1n=NWx Si

P(p) = performance of the process.

Wi = weight of the step-i of maṣlaḥah-based performance.

i = the step-i of maṣlaḥah-based performance.

N = amount of performance step.

Si={1,the maṣlaḥah-basedperformancestepisapplied0,the maṣlaḥah-basedperformancestepisnotapplied

The value of (p) is between 0.000 and 1,000. (p) = 0.000 (not implementing maṣlaḥah-based performance) and P (p) = 1,000 (fully implementing maṣlaḥah-based performance).

The result performance is calculated as:

P(r)=i=1n=NWx AiTi

P(r) = performance of the result.i= orientation-i of maṣlaḥah-based performance.

N = amount of target.

Ai = the number of targets achieved in orientation-i of maṣlaḥah-based performance.

Ti = the number of targets set at the orientation-i of maṣlaḥah-based performance.

Wi = weight of the orientation-i of maṣlaḥah-based performance.

The value of P(r) is between 0.000 and 1,000.

(p) = 0.000 (not giving maṣlaḥah); and

P (p) = 1,000 (giving full maṣlaḥah).

Performance action

This step consists of two sub-activities, namely, giving appreciation and making improvements. Appreciation is a form of expression given to the workforce who has successfully exceeded targets. The appreciation aims to motivate workers to work better. Rewards depend on the achievement. Improvement is carried out in three ways: continuous improvement, corrective actions and preventive actions. Continuous improvement is an action carried out in a sustainable manner to improve the effectiveness of the performance measurement. Corrective action is an action taken to eliminate the cause of nonconformity to prevent a recurrence of an event. Preventive action is an action taken to eliminate causes that have the potential to cause nonconformities.


The elements of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah (dīn, nafs, ʿaql, naṣl and māl) serve as the basis for initiating organisational essential needs. Each aspect of maṣlaḥah ḍarūriyah could be developed into various aspects of organisational essential needs, which consist of worship orientation, internal process orientation, talent orientation, learning orientation, customer orientation and wealth orientation:

  • Worship orientation is the perspective on the preservation and protection of religion within the organisation.

  • Internal process orientation is the perspective on the preservation and protection of the life of the organisation.

  • Talent orientation is the perspective on the preservation and protection of the descendants of the organisation.

  • Learning orientation is the perspective on the preservation and protection of the intellect of the organisation.

  • Customer orientation is the perspective on the preservation and protection of customer relations.

  • Wealth orientation is the perspective on the preservation and protection of the wealth of the organisation.

Maṣlaḥah-based performance measurement uses five variables (notably, strategic objective, measure, formula, target and strategic initiative) and applies the modified PDCA cycle that involves performance planning, performance implementation, performance evaluation and performance action.

The performance management derived from maṣlaḥah principles (maṣlaḥah performa) can be practiced in any organisation, including Islamic financial institutions (IFIs). Both social and commercial IFIs can then develop more specific performance measures according to their own characteristics. For instance, zakat institutions can develop wealth orientation performance by measuring zakat collection and they can develop their empowerment programmes by drawing from the customer orientation aspect. Islamic banks can, for instance, apply the different aspects of organisational essential needs within the following areas:

  • Worship orientation: sustainable governance and sustainable social development;

  • Process internal orientation: product portfolio and loan;

  • Talent orientation: human capital’s knowledge and competence;

  • Learning orientation: training programme;

  • Customer orientation: customer information protection; and

  • Wealth orientation: financial inclusion and sustainable finance literacy.


Scheme of worship orientation

Figure 1.

Scheme of worship orientation

Design of internal process orientation

Figure 2.

Design of internal process orientation

The relationship between customers and the service provider

Figure 3.

The relationship between customers and the service provider


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Achmad Firdaus can be contacted at:

About the author

Achmad Firdaus, PhD, has a doctorate in Islamic Economics. He has expertise in the performance management system, strategic management, human resources and takāful. He is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Institut Agama Islam (IAI) Tazkia, Indonesia.

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