Communication and Human Development

Communication and Human Development

External forces altering Muslim Worldview: Education, Mass Media Foster Changes

*The following is the 1999 Templeton Lecture on Religion and World Affairs, reprinted by permission from the August issue of WIRE, a publication of the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Like the printing press in 16th century Europe, the combination of mass education and mass communications is transforming the Muslim-majority world, a broad geographical crescent stretching from North Africa through Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Indonesian archipelago. 
In unprecedentedly large numbers, the faithful - whether in the vast cosmopolitan city of Istanbul, the suburbs of Paris, or in the remote oases of Oman's mountainous interior - are examining and debating the fundamentals of Muslim belief and practice in ways that their less self-conscious predecessors in the faith would never have imagined.

Communication and the Rise of Early Islamic Civilization (570-632)

The rise of early Islamic civilization suggests a position that contradicts Harold Innis’ theory of the bias of communication, in which his dominant group is empowered by a monopoly of the communication resources during a given time and space. This paper argues that the communication methods used by Prophet Muhammad’s alternative social force during the early seventh century were, in fact, the main tool that organized Islamic society, helped develop its ideals, and aided the expansion and formation of one of the world’s great civilizations. This paper discusses and analyzes the reasons behind the Prophet’s communication methods and the subsequent the rise of early Islamic civilization. In the sixteenth century of our era, a visitor from Mars might well have supposed that the human world was on the verge of becoming Muslim. He would have based his judgment partly on the strategic and political advantages of the Muslims, but partly also on the vitality of their general culture. Their social and political eminence leaps to the eye.

Human Resources Development: A Muslim World Perspective

This paper seeks to define human resources development (HRD) as a necessary, if not a sufficient, tool for bringing about societal change in less developed countries &DC‘s), and reflects upon different concepts of ”development,” including the Islamic view of it. Then, it reviews the status of education in the Muslim World and moves on to describe the TALIM model of HRD. In the end, a few salient features of the mechanism of this model are suggested. Also, an HRD policy plan that needs to be implemented by the Muslim Ummah is included as an appendix.

Ethics of Decision-Making in Islamic and Western Environments

With the advent of ultra-modern communications technology and public awareness of suspicious business practices, the question of ethics in decision making has become extremely important in today’s business world, in commercial as well as government sectors. A. M. Senia (1403 AH/ 1982 AC) agrees with Dr. Mark Pastin of Arizona State University, that the key to the success of American business is to divert its attention to the study of, and implementation of ethics instead of turning to Japan for innovative ideas. Dr. Pastin concludes that the employees are more and more concerned about the worthwhileness of their work rather than their economic survival. He suggests that by giving “real world examples-if, for instance, a firm adopts its own stricter guidelines for certain governmental regulations, then it can meet the stringent governmental requirements and in the end, increase the firm’s share of market. A clear proof of increasing awareness of the ethics of decision-making is evident by the fact that the Center for Public and Private Sector Ethics has acquired great popularity since its inception in 1400 AH/1980 AC.

Islamic Ethics: Concept and Prospect

Islamic ethics as a discipline or a subject does not exist at the present. We do not have works that define its concept, outline its issues, and discuss its problems. What we have, instead, is a discussion by various writers  - philosophers, theologians, jurisprudents, sufis and political and economic theorists-in their particular fields of some issues that are either part of, or relevant to, Islamic ethics. Philosophers like Abu Nasr al Farabi (d. 329/950) and Abu ‘Ali Miskawayh (d. 421/1030), in their ethical works, have mostly rehashed Greek ethics. True, they have introduced, here and there, some Islamic terms and concepts and modified some notions that hurt their Islamic susceptibilities. But this does not make their ethics Islamic. They do not raise many issues that Islamic ethics must raise, and many ideas they have set forth cannot be considered to be Islamic unless they are seriously modified.

An Islamic Perspective on the Expectancy Valence Theory

The most commonly used classification of motivation theories among organizational behavior scholars is the content and process theories (Altman, Valenzi, and Hodgetts 1985). While content theories address what motivates employees, process theories speculate about how to motivate them (Bedeian 1980). When Muslim scholars have discussed motivation theories, they have explained the Islamic perspective on the content approach. For example, Sharafeldin (1988) compared content theories with the socialist approach of motivation. He emphasized the extrinsic motives of Islamic values and concluded that these values are alternative motivators for Muslims to achieve better performance. Ahmad (1988,3) also reviewed content theories and argued that the ritual aspect of the human personality is an intrinsic motive other than the “materialistic-orientation”o f the content theories. In addition, Shareef (1988, 11) noted that while certain Islamic actions will fulfill the self actualization needs, “economic incentives are motivators only in life-threatening situations.”

Mass Media Analysis: Formulating an Islamic Perspective

An ingenious combination of the latest video, computer, and satellite technologies has brought about an unprecedented telecommunication revolution. This phenomenal progress, and the resultant power it gives one person over millions of others (and one nation over many others), has apparently generated myriad opportunities for humanity. Williams (1982, 195-9) states: “Just as the international political order up to the 19th century was highly influenced by control of sea lanes, and in the 20th century by airplane and missile capabilities, so too may we expect international politics to be tied to control of the powerful new worldwide communication networks (already in place). Those who control the networks could control the world.”

Firm Level Decisions and Human Resource Development in an Islamic Economy

Japan and Germany were totally destroyed during the Second World War. Their industrial complexes lay in ruins after the devastating Allied air bombardments. Both countries emerged from the war under Allied occupation and with almost all of their manufacturing facilities and infrastructures, such as transportation and telecommunications, paralyzed. A picture of war-ravaged Japan appeared in the Nippon Times of 23 September 1946:

  • In Tokyo, 70 percent of the area of the city was destroyed, in Osaka 80, in Nagoya 90. Transportation was limited to crowded, creaky trains, hand-pulled two-wheel 'rear cam' designed to be attached to bicycles and ox carts. At war's end, in all of Japan there were only 41,000 motor vehicles, half of them inoperable and almost all the rest powered by charcoal fumes. There were no street lights at night and very few house lights.
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