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Трудовая этика. Взгляд с позиций коранической теории ал-макасид. Предварительные итоги


Цель статьи – представить концепцию трудовой этики с позиций коранического подхода макасид. В то время как теории трудовой этики широко доступны в различных дисциплинах, применительно к дисциплине «Психология» анализ исламской трудовой этики отсутствует. Это связано, в частности, с неразработанностью этой темы в специальной литературе. Концепция исламской трудовой этики обычно сводится к оценке источников,что связано с рядом причин, среди которых неразработанность идеи «труда», как она изложена в Священном Коране. Автор предлагает использовать подход на основе макасид, как в мусульманском праве определяются «задачи, замыслы, главные цели, особые смыслы предписаний Ислама». Цель этого – обеспечение систематической философской основы исследования. Подход с позиций макасид заключается в понимании стихов Корана, связанных с определенной областью, «всеобъемлющим и систематическим образом», путем изучения их семантики и оригинального арабского контекста. Этот подход обосновывается тем, что Священный Коран на самом деле является системой этики. Как таковой он включает этические принципы, связанные с работой в рамках цели Божественного Творения.

Для цитирования:

Зулайфа Э. Трудовая этика. Взгляд с позиций коранической теории ал-макасид. Предварительные итоги. Minbar. Islamic Studies. 2019;12(1):251-266.

For citation:

Zulaifah E. Work Ethic from Qur’anic Maqasid Approach: An Introduction and Preliminary Theoretical Development. Minbar. Islamic Studies. 2019;12(1):251-266.

  1. Introduction

As the world is moving towards a higher purpose of sustaining life and the bal­ance of living environment, the way people see the reality of work and how it should be done becomes a recurrent issue that invites a better research and thorough under­standing. As people in the world inhabit the same earth, share the same living space and environment, there is a better understanding of how each place is interconnected with another. Yet, the necessity to examine work ethics should have a better emphasis in order to see how as a set of moral conduct the ethic principles can serve as the guidance, and thus control how as humans we can play a good role as the caretaker of the life and earth that we live in. As ethics is often rooted in religious belief [1], it becomes important to understand whether or not such beliefs would at the same time help people to move forward with the task of caring for life and living environment. In the review on business ethic specialist literature, Beekun and Badawi discovered that there is a sufficient number of studies, which link business ethic and various religions/faiths [2]. A significant number of works have been published regarding how the Judaism and Christianity influence the business ethics. In comparison, there are much less written on the Islamic ethic as applied to business and work.

Work ethics are in fact norms and regulations, which contain positive moral, which is aimed to good achievement at work place [3]. The original meaning of the word “ethics” refers to broad moral principles within a narrow area of activity1, for example medical ethics or work ethics. Ethics can also refer broadly to moral princi­ples. One often sees it applied to behavioral issues within a relatively narrow area of activity. Meanwhile the word “moral” often describes the specific values of an individ­ual with regard to what is right and what is wrong. Moral therefore is a general cate­gory, while ethic is often bound to the surrounding context.

Early theory of work ethic can be traced back to Max Weber’s idea of Protestant Work Ethic (PWE). He stated that modern capitalism is a result of merging of various forces from those in the society and politics to those in economy and religion. He stressed the fact that in modern Europe the trade leaders and capital owners as well as skilled workers and trained employees in large companies were predominantly Protestants. The Protestant belief is generally against the easy and pleasure-seeking orientation in life, a value strongly emphasized in Calvinism [4]. With this orienta­tion, it was stressed that it is important to consider the protestant belief from the point of view of economic rationality.

Using the same approach, Weber also tried to establish similar phenomena in other major world religions. He stated that the protestant work ethic could not be found among the Muslims [5]. There were a number of reasons for this. First of all, the Sufi tradition widespread among Muslims. It is against the material accumulation and frequently influences the fatalist views, which contradicts the “Western” kind of work ethic. Another reason is the Islamic spirit of conquest, which again is alien to the spirit of capitalism. Although arguments against this statement can be easily found, yet this is how Weber defined his observation. Besides Weber considered Islamic kingdoms as “despotic”, which limit private or personal property, and as a consequence prevent the accumulation of wealth. Interestingly, the study by Arslan [5] came to the totally con­tradictory conclusions: the results obtained from the Turkish sources showed that the Muslims evidenced stronger adherence to Protestant work ethic than the protestants. Weber’s statement on the absence of the protestant type work ethic among other reli­gions could be equally disputed. Adherence to Sufism, in its best practice, in the writ­er’s observation would only help someone to be a good believer as a sign of gratitude and true “servant-ship” to the Almighty. The defenders of Islamic ethic, for example, would be against material accumulation as a result of warfare, as the latter is connect­ed to destructions and murder. In its turn it may contradict the order of life as the sustenance of life and livings is specifically emphasized in the Holy Book. The so-called “despotic” rulers by the local Muslim population are often viewed as true defenders of their people and at the same time protectors of the dignity of their nations.

Islam and Work Ethic

Islam sees work as part of service to the Almighty God (Arabic/ Indonesian- Ibadah). It considers hard work as a positive value [3; 6; 16]. Although the accumu­lation of wealth cannot be considered as commendable in Islam, yet themes regarding work are often stated in the Holy Qur’an. While the common secular thinking would divide between “this world” and the “the world hereafter” (i.e. dunya and akhira), Islam teaches that people should care for both. In fact, in a Muslim’s understanding, the “world hereafter” is the consequence that we will reap as result of the deeds that a human had done in this world. This is clearly stated by the verses from the Holy Qur’an as follows:

And of them (also) is he who saith: “Our Lord! Give unto us in the world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and guard us from the doom of Fire (Surah 2; Verse 201)

And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah’s bounty, and remember Allah much, that ye may be successful (Surah 63: Verse10)

But seek the abode of the Hereafter in that which Allah hath given thee and neglect not thy portion of the world and be thou kind even as Allah hath been kind to thee and seek not corruption in the earth; lo! Allah loveth not corrupters (Surah 28: Verse 77).

Therefore, the Weber’s perception of Islamic belief with regard to the work did not comply to the Holy Qur’an regarding taking care of worldly matters. Islam orders people not to focus only on the next world, but also on the current life in this world. The Holy Book forbids the excessive accumulation of wealth, and thus it has its own principles on how we should manage our possession to include wealth sharing 'in order to contribute to the welfare of the community. The incoherency of Weber’s thesis and the main source of Islamic teachings (that is the Holy Qur’an) have led the research further by aiming to test the Protestant Work ethics from the Muslim point of view. Such studies were con­ducted by Arslan [5] who compared managers in the UK and in Turkey using dimen­sions of Protestant work ethic (PWE). The results showed that in all aspects as applied to the Protestant Work Ethics the Turkish managers showed significantly higher adher­ence to them as compared to their British counterparts. The implication of this study are as follows. 1) The religious motivation, indeed, do have implication in business settings. 2) The Sufi movement regardless to its being perceived as a threat to worldly involve­ment due to the Sufis’ attention to esoteric element of religion, should not be seen as such. A similar role was played by Calvinism in northern Europe in the 18th century.

The arguments by Weber were probably developed at the time of colonialist era, when many Muslim nations were colonies. Still, until nowadays the ability to produce is not yet characteristic to many nations with predominantly Muslim population, neverthe­less the awareness of their own values, principles for living a good and right life becomes stronger. The phenomenon of work ethics has to be further examined and interpreted accordingly. The secondary literature also follows this trend by asking questions, whe­ther or not the culture of Islam did ever produce its own work ethics, and how this know­ledge can be applied to establishing positive work attitudes and work behaviour [7; 8].

  1. Survey of the secondary literature, which deals with the work ethics in Islam

The secondary literature of the subject has a long history. The study by Chanzanagh and Akbarnejad compared the Protestant (PWE) and Islamic work ethic (IWE) as well as work ethics that are based on the principles of other world religions [1]. The authors came to a conclusion, that the PWE influence on other studies of ethic is quite visible. In spite of the different origin of the work ethics theory, such as the Confucian work ethics [9], the Islamic work ethics [10] and the Australian work ethics [11], their basic definitions if taken from religious perspective do root in the Protestant Work Ethics. Yet, the authors did not agree that comparing Islamic work ethics to the PWE is not justifiable. The Islamic work ethics sees the work as a means to gain an income, to sustain the social prestige as well as to advance the welfare of the community and to strengthen the Islamic Creed. This concept has its origin in the Holy Qur’an and the sayings and practice of the Prophet Mohammed. The fact that the work is central for the Islamic theological thought is addressed in the Holy Qur’an.

Ali & Owaihan [12] approached the phenomenon from the Hadith literature. The themes can be subdivided as follow: “the legitimate business", “wealth must be earned", “the work quality", “reliance on self’, “deeds and intentions", “transparency" “Islamic approach to salary, bribes, greed and generosity". The authors defined work ethic as an orientation that shapes and influences the involvement and participation of the believers in the work place. This definition shows that they consider the IWE as an ethical construct, which is not directly connected to the reality. At the same time, it implies the moral, economic, psychological, social and religious criteria, which were clearly mentioned.

It appears that earlier studies on work ethics, namely the Islamic work ethics, still give ample space for refinement and further development, especially when it neces­sarily refers to the main source of ethical guidance, the Holy Qur’an. This is where the maqasid approach (an approach based of the philosophy of purpose/ maqasid) could be applied so that Islamic concept of work ethics can be developed in a coherent man­ner: ontologically, epistemologically and axiologically [13].

Beekun and Badawi [2] have chosen a different approach defining the Islamic work ethics as a set of moral principle that differentiate between what is wrong and right as applied to in the context of Islamic culture. Ahmad dan Owoyemi [6] defined Islamic work ethics as a set of values or system of beliefs derived from Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (Hadith) with relation to the work process. Similarly, Ali and Owaihan [12] have stressed that the concept of IWE has its origin in the Holy Qur’an and the sayings of Prophet Mohammad.

These definitions include in it the basis from which ethical principle are derived, namely the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah. The Sunnah provides examples of conduct, which were developed during the life time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and preserves statements given by the Prophets regarding some specific matter. In this discussion, this will be about the value and principles behind and Qur’anic rulings on work. Therefore, in their study, an improvement is seen in terms of the ontological basis, as both agreed on the basic believe and assumption from which the theory will be developed. Yet, further on, these studies do not seen in the Holy Qur’an a well structured and systematic system of ethic [13]. The mentioned limitations are in fact what the maqasid approach will be able to deal with.

Ali [10] conducted an earlier study attempting to construct a concept and to mea­sure the Islamic Work Ethic (IWE). Ali agreed that work in Islam lay in the core of the faith and is considered as an integral part in life. Furthermore, he said that “in Muslim societies the sayings of Prophet Mohamad and Qur’anic texts are an integral part of socio-political discourse. Therefore, the use of these sources become imperative in any discussion of IWE.” Ali’s construct of IWE was later used by various researchers in organizational psychology, when they need to represent Islamic work ethic. A further examination of IWE construct, however, had some critical aspects. For example, one of Ali’s study used individualism as criterion to test the validity of IWE. As individualism is often linked to rational business/economic, then, according to the author it serves as a sound criterion for good work ethic. Nevertheless, the individualism is not a com­mendable value in the teachings of Islam. Therefore, acting in a such way could result in an incoherent construct in the attempt to represent ethics in Islamic perspective.

In defining IWE, the author underlined ethics as a category, which has both per­sonal as well as social relevance [10]. Although this definition is not incorrect, it does not identify exactly how each human is accountable for his actions to the Almighty. In fact, however, this is the major watershed between Muslims and those who do not belief in God and the hereafter. Other authors [2] showed a more comprehensive understand­ing of work ethic, by mentioning the accountability of a person towards the Almighty, as well as how work and life of person is connected to their responsibility towards nat­ural environment. At the end of the discussion, they mentioned that there is a need to further study on its implementation. From the texts of the scholars just cited the system­atic approach of deriving themes and meanings from the Holy Qur’an were not made clear in the study. Other than that, the developed constructs do not see Holy Qur’an as a system of ethic, with purposes behind each ruling. The lack of clarity on how the ethi­cal principle was derived showed that from the epistemological point of view the argu­ment of the study was not well supported. As a system of ethic, the Holy Qur’an conveys message that has to be understood in a systematic way. In this light, the maqasid approach serves the alternative method aiming to understand and simultaneously derive the relevant concepts and meanings of ethic, as it will be explained in the next section.

When explored further, the published research on Islamic work ethics supplies verses from the Holy Qur’an, as well as from the Hadith. Yet the inclusion of these verses mostly provides different abstraction. For example, Ali’s [10] definition of ethic include moral, economic, personal and social relevance, when it did not define more on the behavioral sides as the concept were broken down into indicators and items statements. Moreover, the items could easily trap people into socially desirable responses. On the contrary, a study by Ahmad and Owoyemi [6] sees the ethics with­in the terms of attitude and thus define them on how a person hold this attitude as well as their effect on critical behaviors at work. So far, the basis of action, the goal and intention as to why all those values are important - the axiology of Islamic work ethic - is not yet made clear on the basis of earlier studies, except a few. A different way of analyzing and synthesizing varies from one researcher to another. This inco­herency invites a more systematic, comprehensive analysis that covers the basic assumption, definition, the method of deriving the meanings and understanding of work ethic, as well as the principle for ethical action/behavior towards work. Therefore, we suggest here the maqasid approach to identify the work ethic.

The critical approach to the previous studies on Islamic work ethic had shown that many areas of the study still need improvement and systematization. The follow­ing results indicate some areas for improvement with regards with Islamic work ethic.


Table 1. Findings of critical review of IWE


Critical areas for development/ refinement

Ali [10]

A publication of first IWE scale, yet there is no clear explanation on the dimensions (if available) that contribute to the construct of IWE.

Rafiki & Wahab


The verses taken from the Holy Qur’an that are meant to represent element of work ethic were not in accordance with the subjects of ethics being discussed (Lack of relevance)

Balkis, et al. [15]

Mentioned Itqan, Istiqamah and Tawakkal as the grand elements of IWE, yet there is no explanation as to from where the principle were taken and the comprehensive explanation of the meanings of the three.

All literature IWE [3; 6; 10; 14-16]

These studies focused more on correlational research, theoretical construct building etc. How the principles are put into practice, or perhaps intervention shows more areas to explore.

Overall, ethics were never seen as a system. A system of principles, with one grand principle function as the core value, from which all other principle are rooted to.

  1. The Maqasid Perspective of Work Ethic

Based on the available studies of work ethic, turning to the maqasid approach may be relevant than ever, especially when 24.1%, (this amounts 1.8 billion people2) Muslims constitute the world population. We would like this large number of people, to be conscious of taking care of the planet. Thus, one becomes in need for a new construct of ethic in its entirety, that addresses the ultimate purpose of mankind. Having this in mind, we would explore further into the maqasid philosophy trying to derive ethical principle of work.

The term maqasid refers to purpose, principles, essence, behind Islamic law [17]. The maqasid is often thought as maqasid al-sharia, which is a branch of knowledge that answer all questions. Such as why do we have to pray, why alcoholic drink is forbidden, why do we salute people with Salam which means peace. Auda [17] stated that “Maqasid al-sharia shaped a wisdom behind a decision or action,” thus --for example-- it results in higher social cohesion when an individual understand the wis­dom (hikma) behind the orders to do good to our neighbors, to give salutation, etc. Besides, the maqasid-thinking helps an individual to remain aware of God while engaging in activities. Further Auda [17] explained:

“Maqasid are also the group of divine intents and moral concepts upon which the Islamic law is based, such as justice, human dignity, free will, magnanimity, chastity, facilitation, and social cooperation. The term ‘maqsid’ (plural: maqaasid) refers to a purpose, objective, principle, intent, goal, end, telos (Greek), finalite (French), or Zweck (German). Maqasid of the Islamic law are the objectives, purposes, intents, ends, principles behind the Islamic rulings.

The realities in life are in fact structured and bear the attributes as follows: 1) ele­ments (Unsur - in Indonesian) 2). Roles 3). Relations 4). Value 5). Maqasid/ Purpose and 6). Environment. However, very often the way we construct concept and reality does not cover those attributes, and most often, when losing its pivotal attri­bute called purpose/ Maqashid (Moneim, group discussion, 2017). In analyzing and constructing work ethic, these attributes are in fact building blocks to achieve com­pleteness and systematic quality. In the maqasid approach, the “extracting” values from the Holy Qur’an, would cover purpose of why this is important, how to build up, and most of all how the basic assumption of such understanding is explained.

3.1. The extraction of Ethical Principle of Work by using Maqasid Approach

The traditional Maqasid knowledge various Islamic scholars identified as applied to their time and historical context. While the world is developing in a way that it becomes more interconnected and more complex, traditional interpretation may not be fit for today’s challenge. Auda [17] in his evaluation identified the followings:

1). The scope of traditional Maqashid is the entire Islamic law. However, they fall short to include specific purposes for single scripture/rulings or groups of scripture that cover certain topics or ‘chapters’ of Islamic law 2). Traditional maqasid are concerned with individuals rather than families, societies, and humans, in general, i.e., the subject of the traditional Islamic criminal law is an individual’s soul, honor, or money, rather than the society’s life, the society’s honor and dignity, or the society’s wealth and economy, respectively. 3). The traditional Maqashid classification did not include the most universal and basic values, such as justice and freedom, in its basic theory of levels of necessities. 4). Traditional maqasid were deduced from the Islamic legal heritage itself, rather than the original sources/ scripture. In traditional accounts of maqasid, reference is always made to rulings of the Islamic law as decided by various Islamic schools of law, rather than referring to the original islamic scripts (verses of the Qur’an, for example) for bases for maqasid. In order to remedy the individuality drawback, the notion of maqasid has been expanded to include a wider scope of people - the community, nation, or humanity, in general. The above expansions of the scope of Maqashid allows them to respond to global issues and concerns, and to evolve from ‘wisdoms behind the rulings’ to practical plans for reform and renewal. They also put Maqashid and its system of values in the center of the debates over citizenship, integration, and civil rights for Muslim minorities in non-Muslim-majority societies.

Thus, with regard to the maqasid, the Holy Qur’an nowadays becomes the main source of knowledge. Principles of specific intent are drawn by relying on semantic analysis of the terms that a researcher is attempting to understand [13]. Very often, when a term bears an important purpose, it will be stated repeatedly in the Holy Qur’an. With the help of Holy Qur’an software, such as Zekr3, one can see the differ­ent context that one term is related/ applied to. For this purpose, the researcher needs to use the actual root of the given word in Arabic. After all verses containing the term are identified, a researcher then can see the main meaning and its relevance to various contexts. Extracting meaning will always need the support of language expert, and this is the case with the study of work ethic.

As mentioned earlier that maqasid provide a comprehensive, systematic arrange­ment of a theory, the values found in the Scriptures are integrated with the existing values established in the maqasid perspective. The following parts of the present research describe the philosophical framework of the maqasid [13] The author owes the explanation of maqasid system to Dr. Aly Abdel Mon’eim, who have been facilitat­ing all the Maqasid discussion at the Ma’had Maqasid-ITH (Maqasid Institute Indonesia- Ilm-Tazkia-Hikma) in Yogyakarta, where he serves as the director. Dr. Abdel Moneim’s earlier research was on Qur’anic maqasid for civilization and develop­ment. However, due to the comprehensiveness of the knowledge, in this paper the explanation of the maqasid philosophy is made shorter in a way that it will still provide sufficient ground for the theoretical building of maqasid based work ethic. Dr. Aly Abdel Mon’eim also suggested that maqasid philosophy to be used as the framework for developing Maqasid Qur’anic based Work Ethic.

3.2. Preliminary Theory of the Maqasid Based Work Ethic

As it was mentioned, the maqasid approach will consider a phenomenon of work as a part of a system. Hence work ethic should be constructed by viewing it as a system that take into account the system philosophy, the elements, relations, value, purpose and its environment. At the same time, while the Holy Qur’an is a system of ethic, the extractions of work ethic principles will follow a maqasid philosophy approach. All these issues that are referred to the Holy Qur’an, take into account the following dimensions: The purpose of the creation, purpose of life as human (micro ontology), the relation­ship with other creatures, the environment where the issues exist, method of developing that is sign based/evidence/aayat based (epistemology); and the axiology, that is the ultimate ethical value that becomes the foundation of ethical actions. From the inter­linked and structured system of value, we finally can examine the ethical principle relat­ed to work that moves from the following order: How Allah shows Himself in conduct­ing His work as stated in the Holy Qur’an, how the messengers of Allah performed their work duties. Interestingly, the aayat/ verses that mention much about work duties were found in the verses related to prophet Sulayman (Solomon), Daud (David), Musa (Moses), and Yusuf (Yosef), ‘allayhissalam. Similarly, the verses that bear relevance for conducting work were explored, by observing their interlink, to find if a general mean­ing can be found in these connections. The aayaf/verses that are maqasidy (purposeful or bear a purpose) would normally contain phrases that explain the reason of why certain rulings were given. For example, with this verse, there is a higher purpose of the existence of ranks, taken from Surah 43, Az Zukhruf, verses 3f-32

قالوا لولا ئذك فذا القزآث ظن زخل تن القنص عظيم [١٢٣٤

Also, they say: “Why is not this Qur’an sent down to some leading man in either of the two (chief) cities?”

ق َ ْع َضهُ ْم ف َا ب َ ْعن َاۚ َو َرف ْي َ ِاة ُّ الدن ْ َحي ِي ال َهُ ْم ف َهُم َّ مِع َ يشت َ ْين َا ب َ َس ْمن َ ْح ُن ق ِّ َكۚ ن ْ ِس ُمو َن َ ر ْح َم َت َ رب َق ُ ْم ي أَه َ ْج َمُعو َن ]٣٤:٢٣] ِّ َك َ خْي ٌر ِّم مَِّّما ي ًاۗ َو َر ْح َم ُت َ رب َ ْع ًض ُ ا س ْخ ِريّ َ ْع ُضهُم ب َّ ِخَذ ب َت ِّي َ ْع ٍض َ د َر َج ٍ ات ل ب

Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of thy Lord? It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in the life of this world: and We raise some of them above others in ranks, so that some may command work from others. But the Mercy of thy Lord is better than the (wealth) which they amass.

Following the method of exploring the verses of the Holy Qur’an in the maqasid tradition, a construct of work ethic that are detailed in the Holy Qur’an can be extract­ed and structured as follow:

1. The ultimate value oflnvolving oneselfin Work (Process value): Tazkia / Growth and Purification

The whole process of being active and engaged in work has a central theme, namely Tazkia (to grow and to purify the soul). Tike a farmer, only fertile ground (soul) will be able to grow good deeds. Success (Falah, in Arabic) can only be achieved when we purify and make ourselves capable to grow. Tazkia is achieved through life test (ibtila), the struggle in this ibtila includes do the right work, and rightness is a commendable way of letting the self to grow.

2. The ultimate purpose of work: Shukr/ Gratitude

Within such maqasid environment, the basic process of all human endeavor is for Tazkia, to achieve success (Falah). These things are done not by accumulating wealth, as we will see that in Islam wealth will be the consequence, a material successes, not the main objective, in which the purpose is to let the larger entity of ummah to grow (tazkia). Thus, such success can only be gained when the purpose of work is to express gratitude.

يعممتئو^ي له تا يساء من ئخاويبء زثماثيل زجقان كالجواب زقدوو زاسيات ج اغفلوا آل ذاووذ

ء [٣:٣١] ققزاءوقليل ئن عبادي الئثقوز

They madefor him what he willed: synagogues and statues, basins like wells and boilers built into the ground. Give thanks, O House of David! Few of My bondmen are thankful.

This become the general purpose, the basic believe of how human has to conduct activities and complete his/ her tasks. Gratefulness is a way we repay our debts because all the favors that we receive from our Creator. Gratefulness is expressed through the following: words, feelings and thought, and actions. Seeing in a work as a reason for being grateful, will give a working person a sense of meaning, less over­burdened and enjoyment as they feel the blessings and the enjoyment of returning such blessings in a productive manner. With that in mind, the way we act upon task and responsibility will also be affected. Work is not a good way of expressing gratitude when bad practices are involved, because this will also affect the process and purpose of tazkia for the self, and hence unsuccessful as person.

III. The general ethic for action: Haqq, Shabr and Marhamah

There are three fundamental values that consti^te the axiology of Maqasid in Holy Qur’an, namely: (1) al-Haqq, which means strong signs-based knowledge (truth), righ­teous, straightness, balance, justice, stable but dynamic, and consideration (2) al-Sh abr, which means holding and elevating, or patience, (3) al-Marhamah, which means gen­tility, affection and mercy. These three values will become the basic for every action/ endeavor that the believers undertake including in performimg work. Thus, in achieving the highest stadis of gratitude and the ultimate value of growth/ tazkia, a person needs to hold on the right values that is Al Haqq, Al Shabr and Marhamah, mentioned as the Qur’anic axiology. The verses from Holy Qur’an that are extracted for the basis of action are listed in Surah Al ‘ashr (3) dan Al Balad (17):

And to be of those who believe and exhort one another to perseverance and exhort one another to pity. (90:17)

Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance. (103:3)

From the grand purpose and principle of achieving it, the explorations also found further values as they relate to the work itself (task and responsibility), relation (peo­ple) and communications (ways of getting the work done).

III. The ethical principles related to task and responsibilities: Ihsan, Itqan and Ibda

Ihsan: This ethic is taken from the verses that explain how God perform His work in creating the creations, in Surah As Sajdah, 7

الذي أخشن كل شيءوبدأ حلى الإنثان ئن جيتي [٢٢٣]

Who made all things good which He created, and He began the creation of manfrom clay;

With this value, the ethic of performing work is: To Perform a task at the best effort possible, keeping up with the highest value of working, aware of the account­ability that lies in hand, before others and God. In facing a task, a person should devote her/himself at their best effort possible.

Itqan: Do it right, simply put, Itqan is to be professional with task at hand. It also means conscientiousness, where he/ she should take the work seriously, with disci­pline and carefulness. The saying of Prophet Muhammad goes “ Allah love those who when a work is given to them, they do it with Itqan“ (Narrated by Thabrani)”. It can also be taken from the following verse of An Naml, verse 88.

وبرى الجبال تحسبها جامدة وجني ثقل تر الثخاب جصئع اللب الذي أقن كل سيء ج إئة خبير يفا ثئغلون [٨٢٧٢]

And thou seest the hills thou deemest solidflying with theflight ofclouds: the doing of Allah

Who perfecteth all things. Lo! He is Informed of what ye do.

Ibda: Creativity and Innovation. Verses in the Holy Qur’an related to this ethic is mostly about the Creator, such as these verses from Surah Al Ankaboot 19-20:

See they not how Allahproduceth creation, then reproduceth it ? To! for Allah that is easy. Say (O Muhammad): Travel in the land and see how He originated creation, then Allah bringeth forth the later growth. To! Allah is Able to do all things.

This should be valued especially in its relation to the environment, that continue to change and is dynamic. This value will help people to innovate, remain open and adjust to change. Creativity may be classified as competence, yet it always begins with value, belief and outlook about how things should be. This also leads to positive atti­tude towards improvement.

Beside the three main tasks related ethic, more themes on how ones should deal with tasks and responsibilities are outlined in the following terms relevant for per­forming work are found in the Holy Qur’an:

Al Qawiy (Surah Al Qasas26: 76): Qawiy Basically means strong, and in the area of service it is related to ability/ and competence.

Al Amin (Surah Yusuf 46; Al Qasas 26). Amin means trustworthiness: A person should keep up with their work as it is entrusted to them. Betraying the trust is fatal

in Islam, as it can create disintegration. A working man thus need to keep honest about their work.

Al Makin (Surah Yusuf 54). Makin can be related to authority . When someone has authority at hands then the mentioned values would be able to proceed in their realization. Someone need to work within their authority and not to move beyond that which he/ she is not authorized to do.

AlHafidz (Surah Yusuf: 55). Hafidz means to keep/ maintain well as it relates to the task. In today’s work, this value refers to keeping up good records and to maintain the entrusted work. Interestingly, this principle can be related to the principle of con­tinuous improvement: to record all works done, and to do what are listed. In the principle of quality assurance, good record and documentations are strongly required, as humans are prone to error and forgetfulness.

IV. Ethical Principle ofRelations at Work

Besides dealing with tasks, work is done in a system of interaction between the work givers, and the doers, as well as between the doers themselves. An exploration of work ethic therefore need to take into account the relational values as described in the Holy Qur’an. The following values are extracted:

Ta’aruf: To recognize, to know and to get familiar with people that are in the system and to perform the work.

Ta’awun: To help each other and to deal with people with compassion

Tanasuh: To give good advice with each other

Tasabuq: Positive and productive competition

Tadafuq: To push forward and to befirm regarding rules (this is especially important in the context of rule violation)

Syura: To arrive at common decision through dialog and discussion (as opposed to inconsiderate decision and conflict).

Tanafush: To struggle/ exert effort to achieve best results possible, to motivate each otherfor work accomplishment.

V. Ethical Principles of communication

In the performing of work, and in carryout relation, the core process involved in both is communication. Without the right communication work are not done or done incorrectly. The following are ethical principle in communicating with each other as it applies in work relationship.

Qoulan ma’rufa (An nisa, verses 5 and 8): communicating with good words. Rudeness is not tolerable in Islam, this term represents the recommendation to use good words in communicating.

Qoulan sadidan (An Nisa verse 9, Al Ahzab verse 70): This means to communicate what is right, or in truthfulness. To say only the truth, avoid lying/ manipulation.

Qoulan baligha (An Nisa verse 63): A good communication need to assure that the message is well delivered. This will involve truthfulness mentioned, a strong

message when necessary and a good way of conveying the message (as seen in the next principle).

Qoulan karima (Al Isra, verse 23)

This principle refers to the value of respect in communicating with others. Respect is to take into perspective their dignity as human who have emotion, thought and unique life background.

Qoulan maisyura (AlIsra: 28). This principle is related to gentility, appropriation and communication that give hope which is relevant to the principle of Karima.

Qoulan layina (Thaha- 43-44). This principle refers to communication with gen­tility, even when a person is faced with harsh power (in this text, the meassge was given to Moses and Aaron (Musa and Harun) when they hadto communicate in front of the Pharaoh.

  1. Conciusion and Discussion

The purpose of this article is to provide a critical review of the current discussion of work ethic, and especially Islamic work ethic. Work ethics, in the earlier literatures were often seen as a separate entity that did not show connection with the life in its entire^. As shortcomings were found, the paper then came into suggesting maqasid approach to fill the found gaps. As maqasid bears in it a philosophical ground taken from the Holy Qur’an, the extraction of ethical principle, thus, follow also the principle of this philosophy of purpose. This paper serves as an early development of ethical principles as they relate to work context. In the maqasid approach, such principles are also seen in terms of their relevance to the role and responsibili^ that are carried by men as God’s creature. Men are created with purposes, that are related with other creation in the environment. It is this element of purpose that are often left out in the many discus­sions of ethic. With the philosophy of purpose, the missing connections are meant to be re-instated. In this early development, we found at least five areas of ethical principles namely 1). The Process related ethic- the u purpose of living (and working)- Tazkia 2). The ultimate ethical value of work- Shukr 3). The general ethical foundation of action- Haq, Shabr and Marhama 6). The core ethics related to task and responsibilities (work) - Ihsan, Itqa, Badi’, Makin, Qawiy, Hafidz 4). The ethic of relations - Taaruf, Taawun, Tanasukh, Tadafu, Tasabuq, Shura 5). The ethic of communication: Qaulan Ma’rufa, Baligha, Shadida, Kariima, Maysura, Tayyina. With such values also, work is not merely seen as bearing economic maqasid, but also morals towards the Creator, Nature, social and manmade environment as well as personal. As an early development, this finding will continue to be developed. We found that in fact, values that are ruled towards the Prophet Muhammad, PBUH that are meant to be examples for the ummah were not yet explored and extracted. This step will follow after the current findings, and will enrich the ethical work values that were already explored.

As a new theory of work ethics, the findings will need to be tested, compared and contrasted against the already existing ethics in various areas of work and across cultures. A comparative study of Maqasid based work ethic with, for example, Confucianism work ethic or Javanese work ethic, is much warranted. The purpose is to find similarities (that are relevant for building common ground for mutual under­standing) as well as differences to enable people to be wiser and more understanding with each other. Furthermore, an empirical test of the robustness of the construct should be carried out, and lastly, how it is applied in real work context also needs further examination. The preliminary study of maqasid-based work ethic has showed new prospects of research on work ethic.

For another implication, this formulation of maqasid work ethic will hopefully add up to the already existing core values of sustainable development4. This is to say that the spirits of maintaining life and living environments, how these are translated in the area of work are met with the value exploration in the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an is rich with messages of how the ‘Alam (universe) is created in a way that it will be of great use for the life of humans, yet at the same time it rules the responsi­bility for well treatment towards nature. Thus to work by maltreating the nature given as a bounty by God will eventually return in the form of negative consequences, namely destruction that will affect the life of living creatures. The study and findings is hoped to enrich the already formulated core values in the sustainable development (such as respect, understanding, exploration, responsibility and dialogue). With the new Qur’anic maqasid work ethic, it will be less complicated to communicate the mes­sage of keeping harmonious life with the whole environment - social, natural and man made - to the people (Muslims) familiar with them. Wallahu a’lam bishawab.

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Об авторе

Э. Зулайфа
Исламский университет Индонезии

Эми Зулайфа, доктор психологии, факультет психологии, Исламский университет Индонезии, Джокьякарта


Для цитирования:

Зулайфа Э. Трудовая этика. Взгляд с позиций коранической теории ал-макасид. Предварительные итоги. Minbar. Islamic Studies. 2019;12(1):251-266.

For citation:

Zulaifah E. Work Ethic from Qur’anic Maqasid Approach: An Introduction and Preliminary Theoretical Development. Minbar. Islamic Studies. 2019;12(1):251-266.

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