Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 129, Issue 4, pp 847–857 | Cite as

New Conceptual Foundations for Islamic Business Ethics: The Contributions of Abu-Hamid Al-Ghazali

  • Yusuf Sidani
  • Akram Al Ariss


The dominant approach to understanding Islamic Business Ethics (IBE) has been based almost exclusively on either interpretations of the Qur’an and Sunna or influenced by Western understanding of Islam and ethics. However, there is a rich—largely ignored-tradition of ethical analysis conducted by Muslim philosophers which would broaden our understanding of Islamic ethics and hence IBE. We seek to correct this imbalance by examining works of Al-Ghazali, an early Muslim philosopher, scholar, and mystic. His approach to Sufism, combining an interpretation of revelation with reason, can contribute to new developments in business ethics (BE) scholarship and practice especially in Muslim communities. His thought portrays a vibrant work ethic that, while based in Sufism, has important practical implications for business. We argue that including such historically and contextually recognized perspectives in our understanding of BE, both in theory and in practice, would work well with an audience that looks to Islam as a source of justice and proper moral conduct.


Islamic ethics Islamic business ethics Islam Muslim philosophy Al-Ghazali Sufism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Olayan School of BusinessAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  2. 2.Université de Toulouse, Toulouse Business SchoolToulouseFrance

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