Economics and Business

Maqasid al-Shari`ah, Maslahah, and Corporate Social Responsibility

Abstract : The doctrine of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which has emerged and developed rapidly as a field of study, is a framework for the role of business in society. It sets standards of behavior to which a company must subscribe in order to impact society in a positive and productive manner while abiding by values that exclude seeking profit at any cost. Despite the many attempts to construe CSR initiatives, it remains open to wide criticism for its inherent problems via-à-vis justification, conceptual clarity, and possible inconsistency. These problems are more acute when it comes to implementing and operationalizing CSR on the ground, especially in a situation that involves trade-offs. This paper offers an instructive understanding of CSR from an Islamic perspective. In particular, the implication of maqasid alShari`ah (the Shari`ah’s objectives) and the application of maslahah (the public good) to CSR are discussed in detail to shed light on how Islam’s holistic and dynamic perception of CSR take into consideration reality and ever-changing circumstances. These principles also provide a better framework that managers can use when faced with potential conflicts arising from the diverse expectations and interests of a corporation’s stakeholders.

A critical appraisal on the challenges of realizing maqasid al-shariaah in Islamic banking and finance

Abstract: Islam harbours an economic vision that holds the key to a social order capable of providing social justice along with economic prosperity. This vision is deeply inscribed in the objectives of shariah, also known as maqasid al-shariah. Consequently the doctrine of Islamic economics entered debates over the social-welfare role of Islam. It has somehow pursued the goal of restructuring economies according to perceived Islamic teachings and principles. Its most visible practical achievement is the establishment of Islamic banks meant to avoid interest and promote Islamic norms of economic behaviour and ultimately realizing the noble objectives of shariah. This paper examines the challenges of the proper realization of maqasid al-shariah in Islamic banking and finance. These challenges cover various issues: the proper understanding of maqasid al-shariah in Islamic economics; the methods of implementing maqasid al-shariah in Islamic banking and finance; the potential conflicts between macro maqasid and micro maqasid; and the possible abuse of maqasid al-shariah to justify certain financial contracts which in fact contradict the shariah texts. The paper analyses these challenges and provides examples from the current practices of Islamic banks and financial institutions.


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