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In the previous chapter, the push factors for Islamic accounting were discussed. These factors were those that made conventional accounting unsuitable for Muslim users and Islamic organisations. In this chapter, the first category of pull factors of Islamic accounting- the Islamisation of knowledge will be discussed. The researcher defines ‘pull’ factors as those factors that make Islamic accounting both a theoretical and practical necessity and imperative. These factors literally pull Islamic accounting into existence to meet the need of Muslim users and Islamic organisations. Together with the push factors discussed in the previous chapter and the second category of pull factors to be discussed in Chapter 5, they constitute the need for Islamic accounting. This is depicted in Figure 4-1 on the next page. The ‘pull’ factors can be categorised into two groups: • The Islamisation of Knowledge factor which provides the theoretical imperative for Islamic Accounting and • The establishment of Muslim and Islamic organisations which is the practical imperative for the development of Islamic Accounting. The discussion on the Islamisation of knowledge starts from section 4-1. The second category of pull factors, the practical imperative, is discussed in the next chapter (chapter 5).

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In the next section,

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(section 4.1), Islamisation of Knowledge, which forms the

theoretical basis of this project, is defined. The need for Islamisation of Knowledge and the background to the movement towards Islamisation of knowledge are discussed. In section 4.2, the methodology of Islamisation suggested in the literature is discussed and analysed. In section 4.3, Islamisation of knowledge is discussed in relation to general epistemological and methodological issues of research in general and the Burrell & Morgan (1979) paradigmatic framework in particular. In section 4.4 the implication of the suggested methodology for this research is discussed together with how this research project tries to Islamise Accounting by redefining the objectives of and proposing the characteristics of Islamic Accounting. This chapter is concluded in section 4-5.

In this section, Islamisation of Knowledge will first be defined followed in the next subsection by a discussion of the need to Islamise knowledge. This will be followed by a discussion on the history and background of the movement towards Islamisation of Knowledge.

4.1.1 Islamisation of Knowledge and Islamisation.
Islamisation of knowledge has been defined by Abu Sulayman (1989) as “the critical examination of modern disciplines in the light of the vision of Islam and the recasting of them under categories consistent with that vision” (p13). A broader, perhaps, more practical definition is provided by Khalil (1995) who defines Islamisation of Knowledge as “taking part in intellectual pursuits, by examination, summarization, correlation and publication, from the perspective of an Islamic outlook on life, humankind and the Universe” (p3). Al-Faruqi (1988) has outlined Islamisation of knowledge as the process of mastering the disciplines (as they are) and then integrating the new knowledge into the corpus of Islamic legacy by “eliminating,

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amending, re-interpreting and adapting its components as the world view of Islam and its values dictate” (p30). Al-Faruqi (1982) further elaborates that Islamisation involves recasting knowledge as Islam relates to it and to achieve this “the methodological categories of Islam must replace the Western categories and determine the perception of ordering reality” (p16). Islamisation of knowledge is seen as a first step to integrate and develop the Muslim personality and outlook, which had become schizophrenic due to the dichotomization of knowledge between secular and religious, as a result of the modern education received by Muslims (Brohi, 1988). It has been suggested to be the ideological and intellectual backbone of the general Islamisation process (see below) in the Muslim world (Abu Sulayman, 1994b). Islamisation of knowledge can be seen as an integral part of the wider process of Islamisation or Islamic resurgence, which has been alluded to in Chapter 2. Islamisation can been seen as a reaction to the realities (and maladies) of the Modern and Post-modern age by Muslims coming to realise that neither the Western concept of Development (Sardar, 1999) nor the traditional methodology of interpretation of Islamic law (Abu Sulayman, 1994a) solves the problems of the Muslim Ummah. It is a reformation and revolution in thought, which abhors the petrifaction of Islamic thought and laws. Islamists who spearhead this movement are basically educated in the modern secular system but have come to realise their Islamic roots. Various Muslim countries in various degrees have adopted it. In some cases as in Malaysia and Iran, it is supported by reform-minded ‘ulemas (Islamic scholars). The process of Islamisation is politically backed in the Islamic republics of Iran, Pakistan and Sudan, which have adopted Islam as the ideology of the state. In Malaysia, the substantial and economically, powerful minority non-Muslim population has prevented the total Islamisation of the state. Hence, it has adopted a dual system mainly in the economic area and cosmetic Islamisation through religious symbols. In other Muslim countries (such as Turkey, Egypt, Algeria and Indonesia) it is a popular

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movement with political overtones but is in many Muslim countries repressed by the political system e.g. by the Kemalists in Turkey (Sayyid, 1994). The importance of an intellectual backbone to this process of re-assertion of Islam in the Muslim Ummah’s social, political, cultural, economic, educational and other aspects of life can be seen from the partial failures in Iran which took the quick revolutionary path to an Islamic state. Again, in the case of Afghanistan where leadership of the traditional religious educated can be the cause of backwardness and oppression in the name of Islam. Abu Sulayman’s (1994a) warning that political action and mobilisation without sound ideas or people capable of delivering them would surely be wasted, echoes these events.

4.1.2 The Need for Islamisation of Knowledge- the Malaise of the Muslim Ummah.
It has been suggested that there is a need to Islamise Knowledge because there is a ‘crisis in the Muslim mind and thought’ (Abu Sulayman, 1994b) which has caused the malaise in the Muslim Ummah. It is well known that Muslims had a great intellectual, political and military civilisation in its earliest times until the 15th Century (see for example, Sardar & Malik, 1994)). However, the Muslim civilisation today is

backward in its culture, politically degraded into disunited and often warring nation states, and full of human suffering (wars, expulsions, genocide and poverty). This is in spite of its vast human and material resources and in spite of its values and principles. The editor of Abu Sulayman’s (1994a) book entitled “Crisis in the Muslim Mind” has aptly summarized this dismal state of affairs, thus:

“Poverty and injustice characterize the face of Muslim lands from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Pollution and corruption are the order of the day in societies where the gulf between them and the developed countries have never been wider. Politics in the Muslim world are all too often the politics of desperation, economics the economics of deprivation, and the culture the culture of despair”. (About this book-Abu Sulayman, 1994)
Various causes have been attributed to the above depressing state of affairs by the Muslims, among them the breakdown of moral values, colonisation, political

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fragmentation and utter disunity. However, Abu Sulayman (1994a) gives a novel diagnosis of the malaise thus:

“It is clear that the Ummah is in no real need of resources, opportunities or values. Rather, what is lacking is a methodology for sound thinking. Indeed, the problems of the Ummah are clearly connected to confused thinking, obscured social vision, improper and inadequate education and the decline of its institutions in general. The result is that it is divided and has begun to resemble an enfeebled and cringing slave”. (Abu Sulayman, 1994a, p158)
According to Abu Sulayman (1994a and 1994b), the roots of this malaise can be attributed to several historical reasons: 1) The change from consultative government to hereditary rule Leadership during the Prophet’s (pbuh) time and the four ‘rightly guided’ khalifs were based on consultative and elected leadership by Companions of the Prophet imbued with the pristine values and vision of Islam. After them it decended into a hereditary monarchy in which the rulers did not personally practice Islam’s pristine egalitarian values but nominally implemented the Shari’ah. 2) Ossification of Islamic Law When political leadership passed from pious and morally upright leaders to corrupt monarchs, it gradually led to the separation of politics from the true spirit of Islam and isolated the intellectual leadership (represented by the Islamic scholars) from the political and administrative affairs. The divergence between the religious intellectual and the leadership led to the former being removed from the practical and social responsibility of the Ummah. Islamic scholars retreated to the Mosque and

increasingly concentrated on purely ‘religious” and ritual aspects. Intellectual pursuits were restricted to “tomes of purely theoretical lore dealing essentially with descriptive and lexical approaches to the interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah (Abu Sulayman, 1994a, p 26).

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The Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) and the early rulers had used ijtihad1 to flex Islamic Law to meet the needs of space and time. The later scholars (‘ulemas), however, in their zest to prevent the corruption and misinterpretation of the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah from being used to justify the actions of the political leadership closed the ‘gates’ of ijtihad. New problems could then onwards be only be solved through using analogy to the legal rulings of founders of the madhabs (schools of Islamic law), although these founders themselves unequivocally declared their fallibility. This quickened the pace of stagnation of thought, although scholars of high calibre such as Imam Ibn Taymiyah and Imam Al-Shatibi continued to exercise ijtihad to the dismay of traditionalist scholars and at considerable personal cost. However, such highly capable scholars were few and far between. The political leaders, on the other hand, were deprived of a viable intellectual base to meet the challenge of changing times and were short on ideas, policies and workable alternatives. This eventually led to more despotic, un-democratic regimes which characterises Muslim society even today. 3) Colonisation and the bifurcation of the Educational System Henceforth, education which was monopolised by the ‘ulemas began to mean essentially religious education. The sciences and arts to which Muslims contributed much, decayed in the Muslim world.In addition to the internal decay in thought, the colonisation of Muslim lands by the West, magnified the discrepancy between the Islamic worldview and its thought by its imposed secularisation and its anti-religious ‘scientific’ stance. The separation of Islam from even marginal influence in politics, law, economics and education led to the duality in thought that govern much of Muslim intellectual activity today. The Muslim world, despite its nominal independence from the West, retains and imitates the educational paradigm of the


A process of continuous exertion to deduce new laws from Qur’anic principles

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West. In the modern Universities of the Muslim world, the curriculum is an inferior copy of their Western counterparts without in the least considering the Islamic heritage and vision. According to Al-Faruqi (1988), this universal rush of Muslims towards imitating other civilisations never reached its goal in any field but only succeeded in “de-Islamising the top layer of Muslim society and demoralizing the rest” (p15). The result of all this was:

“The vision of Islam became clouded by another vision, which came to us with the colonial invaders. The alien vision survived and indeed grew more virulent after the invader’s departure. For many generations, the Muslims have been unable to get rid of it. It is evident everywhere- in the imported institutions; in the spread of English and French languages among them; in the design of their offices, homes and cities, in the recreational programs; in the economic and political practices they follow and in the very idea of reality, of nature, of man and of society that they hold”. (Al-Faruqi, 1988, p16)
Al-Faruqi (1998) concludes that the bifurcated educational system into Islamic and Modern is the primary agent responsible for disseminating the alien view. Before colonisation, the Muslims had a single education system i.e. the traditional education or the madrasa system which produced ulemas who were learned in the religious sciences. The primary view of the world was Islamic or ‘religious’, much like the Middle Ages. However, after the advent of colonisation, the colonisers introduced modern subjects spearheading the use of English, French and other modern European languages. Of course, Islam had no place in such an educational system. The religious educational establishment was deprived of state support and languished only through private endowment. The choice positions of the state went to the graduates of colonial state and missionary schools. This bifurcated system of education continued after independence and in time alienated the leadership and civil service from the Muslim masses who were still religiously conscious through the

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efforts of the Muslim preachers (‘alims) of the traditional schools who sought to keep the Islamic tradition alive. Many Muslims attempted to reform Islamic education by adding modern subjects to its curricula, ignorant of the fact that these subjects developed in ‘Modern’ Europe were constitutive of an alien view. They assumed that the modern subjects were harmless and could only strengthen the Muslim position. However, according to AlFaruqi (1998) “little did they realise that the alien humanities, social sciences and indeed the natural sciences, were facets of an integral view of reality, of life and the world and of a history that is equally alien to that of Islam” (p 16).

4.1.3 Reactions To The Malaise
Consistent with the categorisation of the reaction of Muslim economists to conventional economic thinking by Haneef (1995) the reactive elements among the Muslims could be classified into: • Modernists who would like to re-interpret Islamic teachings to accord with the modern Western secular capitalist or socialist paradigm. • Traditionalists- mainly driven by the traditional scholars or ulema (with a few notable exceptions, naively look for the solutions to the contemporary problems of the Ummah by adhering to the fiqh (legal interpretations) of the early generations of Muslims, and • Islamists – members of contemporary Islamic movements who want to take the good technological developments of the West but who nevertheless insist on a primary Islamic core. The responses of the above three groups have been described by Abu Sulayman (1994a) as follows: • The Imitative Foreign solution- the modernists borrow solutions, which originate from the cultural (secular and materialist) experience of the contemporary West.

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Solutions offered include individualism, totalitarianism, secularism, atheism, capitalism or Marxism.

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The Imitative Historical solution - the traditionalists rely on solutions derived from the Islamic historical experience regardless of considerations of relevance in terms of time and space.

The Islamic Asalah2 solution- Islamists seek to apply relevant solutions, derived from authentic Islamic sources, to the Ummah’s contemporary problems.

The Islamisation of knowledge movement seeks to use the third method, i.e. that of providing solutions that are relevant to the contemporary needs of the Ummah by following the original principles in the Qur’an but reinterpreting its laws in relation to space-time. It is unlike the reformation movement in the Christian and Judaic Churches in that, the Islamisation movement does not seek to delete or amend laws or to relegate religious matter to metaphorical interpretations. It is a movement to seek a fresh interpretation to suit the present conditions of Muslims but keeping in view the immutable principles of Islam found in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The Qur’an as a basic source of Islamic Law and values was discussed in Chapter 2. From the perspective of the Islamisation of Knowledge movement, it the source of knowledge. According to Al-Alwani & Khalil (1991),” as a heavenly Revelation, the Qur’an is the most reliable source for all kinds of knowledge and an authentic guide for scholars in the humanities and the social sciences”. Unfortunately, earlier generations had focussed on the formal aspects of the Qur’an and the hereafter and thus revelation was only seen as a source of fiqh (derived Law) and legislation. However, Al-Alwani & Khalil (1991 p12) notes that “the fiqh rulings account for only a small part of the area covered by the Qur’an”. In order to redress this, the authors call on Muslims to use their intellect to understand and meditate on all the verses of

“Asalah (pronounced Aah –saa –laah) is a comprehensive term denoting the innovative application of original Islamic priniciples to changing circumstances. Not to be confused with fundamentalism. It is derived from the Arabic root word ‘asl which means roots”. (Abu Sulayman 1994a)


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the Qur’an, making it the primary source and basis of all knowledge in the area of human nature and of the social and applied sciences. According to them “the intellect should not be constrained by a limited understanding of the Qur’an that imprisons its meanings in a particular period or ties it to a given generation” (Al-Alwani & Khalil 1991, p11). Thus, Muslims should comprehend the Qur’an and Sunnah in a holistic way, minus the time-space bound interpretations, which has somehow wrongly acquired infallible and immutable status alongside the universal principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah.


The Movement Towards Islamisation Of Knowledge

Muslim students studying in the Western Universities especially in the UK and the US pioneered the Islamisation of knowledge movement. They established academic

journals such as the Journal of Islamic Social Sciences to publicise their thoughts academically. They also held International conferences (from 1977) and established the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) in Virginia, United States in 1981. In 1982 and 1988, the Institute collaborated with the governments of Pakistan and Malaysia, respectively, to hold international conferences on the Islamisation of Knowledge. They found political backers in the leaders of the two countries to implement their educational projects in both these countries. Thus, the International Islamic Universities of Pakistan and Malaysia were established. The IIIT also established branches in various countries which later led to the establishment of other International Islamic Universities in countries such as Bangladesh, Uganda, Palestine and Sudan. The growth of the movement can be seen from the fact that in the 1982 conference, seventeen papers were presented focussing on Perspectives on the Islamisation of Knowledge and Islamisation of Disciplines and Islamising individual disciplines. In 1988 held in Kuala Lumpur, the conference went further into the Islamisation of the individual disciplines themselves, although the papers presented showed that this

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was a very early stage. In addition, an autonomous post-graduate research institution affiliated to the International Islamic University, Malaysia was also established in Kuala Lumpur as the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation which granted Doctorates and Masters degrees in the Islamic Social Sciences and Thought. The IIIT also published a substantial number of books, occasional papers, monographs and sponsored academic dissertations. Although the intellectual fortunes of IIIT have increased, its financial fortunes have declined, at least in Malaysia because of its proximity to the sacked ex-deputy prime minister of Malaysia. Its branch in Malaysia has since been closed. However, Islamisation of Knowledge has caught the attention of Muslim academics, intellectuals, students, government students and the public. Although it is at an infantile, “prenatal” stage (Al-Alwani, 1995, p x) and the future is uncertain

(especially in the natural sciences), it has become a reputable intellectual activity at least among Muslim scholars. Its practical reach is in Islamic economics and banking. The researcher hopes that this research goes some way in at least thinking about Islamising Accounting.

To the Western academic and intellectual, Islamisation of knowledge may seem to be a reactionary movement against the global influences of Western capitalism bent on a futile attempt to substitute religious dogma for modern, objective knowledge. It is much more than that. In fact, the process of Islamisation of knowledge may involve more of a critical examination of the Muslims’ own history and method of thought rather than being just a de-Westernisation process. In fact, Al-Alwani

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(1995) one of the foremost scholars involved in the project has warned against such a simplistic notion of Islamisation of knowledge, thus:

“If the Muslim mind is to liberate itself from the dominant paradigm,it must construct a methodology for dealing with Western thought, past and present. Neither outright rejection nor wholesale acceptance of that paradigm will avail Muslims anything. Likewise the cosmetic grafting of elements without reference to any sort of systematic methodology, or to differences in society and culture, will contribute nothing to learning or to humanity”. (Al-Alwani, 1995, p 23)
The methodology for the Islamisation of knowledge has been outlined by its various proponents differently. For example, Abu Sulayman (1988) has outlined it in a threestep approach involving epistemological and educational terms. Al-Faruqi (1989) has outlined in terms of a workplan, outlining the strategic steps necessary to achieve Islamisation of knowledge. Al-Alwani (1995) has elaborated the process in terms of six discourses and al-Khalil (1995) delineated Islamisation of Knowledge into a

process which takes place at two levels; theoretical and practical. These approaches will now be discussed briefly.


The Three-Step Approach

Abu Sulayman (1994) insists that there is a need to initiate a reform in three main areas in order to reform Muslim knowledge, culture and civilisation and to invigorate the Muslim character. Firstly, he calls for a rectification of the relationship between revelation and reason. He posits that, despite the tremendous achievements of Western thought in experimental fields, the maladjustment and imbalance in Western society is due to the inapplicability of empirical methods to mediate the conflict between the social welfare goals on the one hand and the pursuance of personal desires and interests on the other. “This is so because human reason alone is incapable of attaining the ultimate truth about and full understanding of that is desirable for humanity in this life and in the hereafter” (p 11).

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Hence, as revelation has been rejected in Western society as a source of knowledge, it is unable to arrive at one single theory or confidently resolve any (socioeconomic) problem. From an Islamic perspective, on the other hand, both Revelation and reason are recognized as sources of knowledge but Muslims have a problem in defining and giving a concrete relationship between the two. In the past, Muslims, resulting from ignorance, inexperience and a failure to use systematic reasoning have brought about deceptive and unreasonable conclusions. On the other hand, reason has to be used cautiously within the defined purpose of existence and the framework of revelation in a disciplined and committed spirit to enrich Islamic thought. Therefore, revelation and reason should be harmoniously synchronized so that they are inextricably bound with one another. An interesting example in economics is given by Abu Sulayman (1994a) to demonstrate the synchronization of revelation and reason. Muslims have usually followed a textual interpretation of the revealed sources in developing rules for socioeconomic life. The Prophet (pbuh) had responded negatively to intervening in the market when requested by his compatriots to do so in times of rising prices. This Hadith was quoted as evidence to support the non-interventionist policy of Muslim governments despite market imperfections such as monopoly and hoarding. However, the Qur’an imperative of justice resulted in some ulemas such as Ibn Taymiah (see Islahi, 1988) ruling that the government can intervene in the absence of a truly free market to protect the masses from injustice, exploitation and fraud. In such a case, a strict following of the Prophet’s Hadith to absolutely prohibit a pricing system would undermine the cause of Islam, which preaches justice and equality. It should be remembered that the Prophet (pbuh) had set up a ethically based free market in Medina (Kallek, 1995) in the context of which his ruling was pronounced correctly. Hence, in this instance, the Muslims arrived at a correct decision by using reason and the ultimate principles in revelation, instead of abiding by the text of revelation detached from its context. Abu Sulayman (1994b) concludes

Chapter 4 “This shows that the mind has been used advantageously and has proved capable of giving proper guidance in the light of the total spirit of Islam. By realising the priority of justice in Islam, it has not been distracted by technical theories and considerations from accepting a system that might put a minimum of checks and controls on economic transactions”. (Abu Sulayman, 1994 b, p 13).

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Secondly, Abu Sulayman (1994b) calls for redefining the Scope of Knowledge, primarily by “de-centering” the faqih (the traditional Muslim scholar/jurisprudent) from monopolizing the development of knowledge. He asserts that in the past, the faqih had been a merchant, philosopher, mathematician, physician and chemist in addition to being an expert on various branches of Islamic Shari’ah. He was thus capable of directing his versatile intellectual abilities in the service of the Ummah. However, contemporary knowledge has expanded immensely making it impossible for a single person to be the repository of even multiple aspects of a single branch of knowledge. Thus, ijtihad has to be undertaken by interdisciplinary specialist cadres who are specialists in a particular field but also equipped with a first hand knowledge of the Qur’an and the Sunnah to give them proper insight into the morals, values and purpose of existence consonant with Islam. Thirdly, Abu Sulayman (1994b) calls for the establishment of an Islamic infrastructure and education aimed at reorienting the programmes of education and instruction through uprooting the dualism in knowledge found at the leadership level today. This would involve a study of major Islamic texts in each field of specialisation to mould and guide the mentality of the learner. Every aspect of the curriculum should meet the objectives and values of the teachings of Islam in a harmoniously comprehensive manner. This reorientation would include methodology, professional commitment and social participation in accordance with what is proper in each field. Presumably this would include Islamisation of the various disciplines.


A Work Plan for the Islamisation of Knowledge

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Al-Faruqi (1988), on the other hand, opines that both the traditional and modern system of education should be united. He calls for instilling the vision of Islam in the modern universities by a compulsory study of Islamic civilisation over a four-year period to foster a sense of identity and awareness of the Islamic vision. However, he contends that this is not enough and that Islamisation of modern knowledge (the recasting of some twenty disciplines in accordance with the Islamic vision) is the second part of the Islamisation of knowledge process. He envisages a twelve-step work plan to Islamise knowledge, which can be distinguished into five phases. In the first phase, modern disciplines need to be mastered by breaking them down in categories, principles, methodologies, problems and themes in its “Western” and highest form. The discipline is then surveyed to reveal its genesis and historical development, the growth of methodology and the main contributions to the discipline. This is akin to the archeology of modern disciplines undertaken by Foucault (Merquior, 1991 p36). This survey would allow Islamic scholars to touch base and agree on the identity, history, topography and frontiers of the discipline, which is the object of the Islamisation effort. The second phase of the process would be mastering the Islamic legacy to discover what the legacy of Islam had to say of the discipline. However, Al-Faruqi (1988) notes that this is not easily accessible to the modern scholars because the categories of the modern knowledge are unknown as such in the legacy. The classification is not the same as the disciplines were not developed at the time or they were treated under a holistic schema at the earlier times. For example, Zaid (1997) unearthed a wealth of accounting information pointing to the development of a comprehensive accounting system a hundred years before Pacioli in an old Turkish book entitled Risala El-Felakiyei (The Message of Astronomy/calculation). Similarly economic and sociological matters are treated under fiqh and history by Ibn Taimiyah (Islahi, 1988) and Ibn Khaldun respectively.

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Al-Faruqi, suggests that the traditional scholars who are masters of the Islamic legacy be instructed in the categories of modern disciplines produced as a result of phase one and given the task of unearthing the Islamic legacy to search for Muslim contribution to the disciplines. This should result in the production of anthologies of the legacy which will be used by the Muslim scholar to analyse the legacy in relation to the historical background to crystallize the Islamic vision and to filter the timespace constrained parts from the timeless principles. The third phase involves the establishment of the specific relevance of Islam to the disciplines by posing three major questions; what was the Muslim contribution to the discipline? How this contribution compares with the achievement of the discipline and where the Islamic legacy has fallen short, in which direction should Muslim effort be exerted to fill the discrepancy, reformulate the problem and enlarge the vision? These questions envisage the critical assessment of the modern discipline including the circumstances of its historical development, its methodology, its theory analyzed and tested for consistency with the principles of Islam and an assessment of its assumptions objectives and problems. This would by followed by a critical assessment of the Islamic legacy- not the normative nature of revelation itself but the understanding of Qur’an and Sunnah together with the component of the Islamic legacy which are the products of human intellectual endeavor. It would include an assessment and criticism of the principles provided by these sources. In addition, he suggests that a survey of the problems of the Muslim community and a survey of the problems of Mankind be undertaken. The Wisdom of the discipline should be brought to bear on the Ummah’s problems and those of mankind for which the Muslims are responsible. The fourth phase would involve a creative analysis and synthesis between the Islamic legacy and the modern disciplines to bridge the gap of centuries of nondevelopment. This would delineate the legitimate options to be followed by Muslims to solve their problems.

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The final phase of Islamisation would be recasting the disciplines under the framework of Islam. The output of this process would result in the form of a University textbook in the discipline for the various stages of university and school education. The textbook and other works produced during the process would be disseminated without any intellectual copyright to all Muslim thinkers (in the discipline) and universities to be incorporated in their curriculum.


Islamisation of Knowledge through discourses

Al-Alwani (1995) suggests that Islamisation of knowledge may be developed by the combined readings of the two books i.e. that of revelation and the book of nature. He opines that a society which ignores the Book of Revelation (i.e. the Qur’an) will lose sight of its relationship to the Almighty and its stewardship, trust and accountability to a higher authority. This results in a self-centred and overweening society, which spins for itself a web of speculative philosophy, which is powerless to answer the “ultimate” questions. On, the other hand, those “religious” elements that take the first reading of revelation ignore the existential reading of nature and create imbalances in the form of
Comment [SH1]: Clarify with Prof. innes

aversion to the world and worldly pursuits. This results in their losing their ability to participate and contribute to society and the failure to undertake their responsibilities as stewards and keepers of Allah’s trust. Such a loss of equilibrium will result in people incapable of creative and independent thinking. Therefore, Islamisation of knowledge may be brought about by the combined readings of the two books and the establishment, on the basis of their similarity and complementarity, of a methodology for research and discovery. Islamisation of

knowledge, therefore, is primarily a methodological issue which is pre-positioned on the identification and articulation of the relationship between revelation and the realexistential. Al-Alwani (1995) suggests that Islamisation of knowledge should presently focus on six discourses;

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This is identifying and erecting a tawhid-based system of knowledge based on two fundaments: 1. the conceptual activation of the articles of faith to a creative and dynamic and intellectual power questions and 2. the elaboration of the paradigms of knowledge which guided historical Islam and its school of thought to link those with the intellectual output of the past and an evaluation of the extent to which they contributed or otherwise to the dynamism and comprehensiveness of the output. capable of giving adequate replies to the ultimate

Developing Qur’anic (or Islamic) methodology

As methodology is a means of attaining truth, and a way to understand and analyze phenomena, a Qur’anic methodology will have to be discovered to enable the Muslim mind to deal effectively with its historical and contemporary problems.

Methodology for dealing with the Qur’an

This would include a review and re-organisation of the Qur’anic sciences and even possibly excluding some traditional areas of study. This is to take account of spatiotemporal differences to the understanding of the Qur’an from those of a simple and limited social and intellectual formative Arab society to the nature of contemporary civilisation. This would involve a shift from the traditional emphasis of descriptive and lexical analysis of texts to a disciplined means of interpreting the texts of revelation and relate it to nature.

Methodology for dealing with the Sunnah

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The Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) serves a major source for clarification and explanation of Qur’anic text. At the time of the Prophet (pbuh), this clarification was done in the particular mental, linguistic and intellectual abilities of the people he addressed. Narrators of Hadith then preserved his actions and words. Muslims are expected to emulate the Prophet (pbuh) as he is the best example. However, this emulation has become one of deference or reliance on textual interpretation rather than one based on an understanding of how the Prophet (pbuh) applied the teachings of the Qur’an (revelation) to real situations of his time. A methodology is therefore required which takes into consideration the situation and context in which his actions were performed and his commands issued.

Re-examining the Islamic intellectual Heritage

There needs to be a critical understanding of the Islamic intellectual heritage to avoid the three present methods of dealing with it; total acceptance, total rejection and arbitrary borrowing. Such an understanding would shed light on how the Muslim mind had dealt with social and other phenomena in the past and how that mind may deal with the present. Muslims would have to discern the objectives the Islamic heritage sought to serve and then to evaluate the methods used and the solutions suggested in order to assess their usefulness in our own time and place.

Dealing with the Western Intellectual paradigm

A methodology needs to be constructed to deal with the dominating paradigm of Western thought in order for the Muslim mind to liberate itself from it and to deal with it. This does not mean total rejection or acceptance of the Western paradigm of thought neither does it entail cosmetic grafting of elements without reference to a systematic methodology or irrespective of cultural and societal differences.


The Two Processes Approach

Khalil (1995) divides the process of Islamisation into two levels, the theoretical and practical. The theoretical level “explains the dimensions, motives, aims and main

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stages of the process and identifies ways of implementing them in all the different areas of knowledge” (p1). According to him, this includes the collection and classification of data relevant to the contemporary Muslim situation to define and consolidate Islamisation. The practical level is the task of reshaping every branch of human knowledge in accordance with Islamic worldview. Khalil (1995) also call for an examination of the link between the Islamic intellectual legacy and the Islamic view to derive an Islamic methodology. This material has to be scrutinised and selected in order to improve accessibility of Islamic terms and details to today’s Muslims (p9). What is truly Islamic must be distinguished from the elements, which had been introduced from the outside from the Islamic legacy. He calls for the need for a methodology to deal with the mass of knowledge in the legacy. The obsolete material should be discarded. Such sifting, testing and classifying the legacy entails clarifying the Ummah’s conceptual, civilisation and historical roots in order to be able to eliminate the risks of starting from scratch or operating in a vacuum. Khalil (1995) also asserts that it is vital to take modern and contemporary Islamic material seriously, since it provides the Islamisation process with experience and thought. He notes the problem of surplus works in some areas (e.g. economics, history) while there was a dearth in many others. Khalil does not say much on the practical stage of Islamisation, the Islamisation of disciplines except to suggest that it will require a long time and considerable effort. He, however, proposes that broad outlines (or basic plans) be drawn for the methodology of Islamisation of each discipline. A summary of the methodologies suggested by the various writers is given in the table 4-1. Although the emphases placed by the authors are different (see table 4-1), they have many common threads. The differences also reflect the evolutionary and gradational nature of the Islamisation project, which reflects the evolution of Islamic thought over a period of about 15 years. Although the different proponents of Islamisation of

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knowledge seem to have different views, the process can be seen to be constitutive of two elements: (a) An evolution in Islamic thought and methodology and (b) Islamisation of the modern disciplines. The first phase involves a critical reexamination of the Islamic legacy of knowledge and development of a fresh methodology in Islamic thought which seeks to integrate its history, legal and thought process as well as a new hermeneutic for the interpretation of its basic religious texts. This process is not easy, as it would be opposed by the traditional ulema as an unwelcome intrusion by ignorant outsiders (the modern Muslim intellectuals). However, this process is absolutely necessary and has to be undertaken with the higher more mature and adventurous ulemas who are not narrow-minded. There are such capable ulemas in the Muslim world who are respectful of tradition without being unduly bound by it and are in turn respected by the group of traditional ulemas. The second element (which has been italicised in table 4-1), which this research is concerned with, is the Islamisation of modern disciplines i.e. re-examining, reinterpreting and reformulating the objectives, process (including historical development), methodology and conclusions and incorporating the vision of Islam into these components of the disciplines. The most comprehensive methodology is that devised by Al-Faruqi (1988) in 1982, the twelve-point plan (which has been summarised to five points in this chapter and table 4-1). This is both strategic and integrative of both the two elements listed above. Despite this, however, detailed methods have not been forthcoming from the proponents of the Islamisation of knowledge in both elements. What has actually happened is that “short cut has taken place” by initial Islamisation of disciplines by Muslim, Western educated scholars in each field, although Al-Alwani (1995) has warned, that Islamisation of knowledge “may not be pursued except by those endowed with vast knowledge of the Qur’an and with it, a firm grounding in the social

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sciences and humanities” (p13). This is a chicken and egg situation because very few scholars (if at all) of such caliber exist. However, Islamisation of disciplines, especially economics has proceeded because of practical developments in the economic field. Hence as Nasr (1992) suggests, Islamisation has put the cart before the horse by jumping over the theory (Islamisation methodology) and going straight to the second ‘practical’ phase Khalil (1995) of Islamising the disciplines. However, the researcher believes that this process is not too damaging, as long any of the output is not taken as final. Islamisation of disciplines can be an iterative process stretching over several generations. Indeed, its proponents have recognised the evolutionary nature of the project. The process of Islamising education is already taking place in the Islamic and other universities in Muslim countries. Eventually, this would lead to more Islam-cognisant University graduates who will take the process further. Meanwhile the results can be fed to the broadminded ulemas mentioned above, who, being the Masters of the Islamic legacy would rule on the Islamicity of the results.

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Proponent Category Key Steps/ Stages

Al Faruqi 1988 Strategic (“Workplan”) Mastery of the Modern Discipline Mastering the Islamic legacy Establish specific relevance of Islam to each area of modern knowledge Creative synthesis between Islamic legacy and modern knowledge Dissemination, education and application of knowledge in socioeconomic and political life of Muslim Ummah.

Abu Sulayman 1988 Methodological/Practical Rectifying relationship between revelation and reason Redefine knowledge and clarify key Islamic concepts such as ijtihad (effort to develop new rulings) and ifta (formal legal opinion) Reorganize and reorient the methodology of Islamic education and instruction to end dualism.

Al-Khalil 1995 Theoretical/Practical Theoretical level: Definition, aims, objectives, dimension and stages &implementation methodology of Islamisation of knowledge. (theoretical construct of Islamisation of Knowledge) Practical level: To reshape all branches of human knowledge (humanities, pure & applied sciences in accordance with Islamic world view . Islamisation of Disciplines

Al-Alwani 1995 Discourses 1) Articulating the Islamic paradigm of knowledge 2) Developing Qur’anic methodology 3) Methodology for dealing with the Qur’an 4) Methodology for dealing with the Sunnah 5) Re-examining the Islamic intellectual Heritage and

6) Dealing with the Western
Intellectual paradigm


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In this section, the development of knowledge in the Western civilisation is discussed with a special emphasis on the concept of paradigms and its implication for accounting research. The researcher then attempts to place and link Islamisation of knowledge in the general scheme of epistemology, methodology and methods and how this research attempts to Islamise accounting and the theoretical assumptions which underlie this research.

4.3.1 Epistemology: The Development and Schools of Western Epistemology.
The problem of what constitutes knowledge, from what sources it can be derived, whether criteria can be established on which alternate claims to truth can be validated are still unsettled questions. For example, sceptics conclude that knowledge is impossible as no one does know because no one can know (Dancy, 1996). These questions are the province of epistemology, which has been defined as the theory of knowledge and justification of belief. (Dancy, 1996). Epistemology, according to Honderich (1995) is concerned with “the nature of knowledge, its possible scope and general basis”(p 242). It deals with the sources and methods from and by which knowledge can be obtained as well as determining criteria for evaluating and adjudicating alternative truth claims (Chua, 1986). Modern Western epistemology seems to have started from Descartes and developed by Kant and others. Although Descartes and Kant, had a place for God, in their epistemologies, after the age of enlightenment and the age of reason and science, religion and revelation has been gradually been banished from the realms of Western epistemology and methodology. For example, Locke argued vehemently that all our ideas (but not all truths) arise from experience. Later, J. S. Mill extended the source of truth to experience only. A modern philosopher of knowledge, for example, A.J.

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Ayer asserts that all knowable truths are either analytic or empirical, there is no room for synthetic a priori views. In contemporary Western epistemology there are two different views or schools of knowledge i.e. rationalism and empiricism (Ryan et al., 1992). The rationalist school of knowledge tenaciously holds that certain (true) knowledge can only be obtained through the use of reason. This school is attributed to Plato, the disciple of Socrates. It emphasises the power of logic and mathematics in deciding the truth of competing theoretical arguments. According to this school, truth cannot be discerned by observation alone but by reason. In fact, true knowledge can be obtained by introspection, empirically a priori true propositions. Modern rationalists include Hume, Berkeley and Locke. The development of trade guilds in the 17th to the 18th Centuries in Europe, where knowledge and expertise were passed down from master to apprentice, required observation and practice rather than any deep reasoning. This led to the counter philosophy of empiricism. The empiricist school holds that truth can only be acquired through observation and this was the only route to certain knowledge. This school was suspicious of the speculative method and viewed logic and mathematics, only as tools for exploring the implications of observed knowledge. Empiricism holds that only through perceived experience can there be certainty of belief in what we know. Sense perception is the basis of knowledge, which can be only obtained through the five senses. The implications of this are: 1. Beliefs based on non-experiential grounds are metaphysical and are

meaningless. 2. Beliefs about the world cannot be justified by the use of unaided reason alone, since all knowledge is derived from experience (Locke’s tabula rasa – everybody is born a clean slate on which sense impressions are laid making him/her know).

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3. The natural and social sciences should be value free (from beliefs and ideologies) which cannot be justified in terms of the objects of experience under study. The pervasive influence of empiricism and with the scientific revolution has led to positivism, which is the significant philosophical movement of modern times. This has been influential in the development of economics, finance and accounting. In fact positivism is the main constituent of mainstream accounting research (Chua, 1986;Baker & Beltner, 1997). This positivism took root in the United States (and spread to other human science disciplines such as economics and accounting) in the form of “structural functionalism”. Led by Talcot Parsons, structural functionalists looked at society as an “organic structure, which grows and gradually becomes complex in the relationships of its interdependent substructures (institutions). The main job of the researcher was therefore to discover how individual roles are related to the institutional imperative and how developments in one substructure are related to developments in other substructures. With this system orientation, the new sociologists justified the capitalist-democratic system. However, the move towards positivism and structural functionalism did not go unchallenged. Weber opposed the earlier move towards empiricism and natural sciences. Weber (1949, as quoted by Giddens, 1971) emphasised that “in the social sciences we are concerned with the mental phenomena, the empathic understanding of which is naturally a task of a specifically different type from those, which the schemes of the exact natural sciences in general can or seek to solve” (p146). Weber envisioned sociology as a science of social action to be explained by understanding the interpretive meanings the actor attaches to the environment. Thus, Weber contended that because the “interpretation of the actor cannot be reached by empirical observation, experimentation or otherwise, sociology (and other

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human sciences) is fundamentally distinct and different from the natural-scientific disciplines.” (Ba-Yunus,1988 p 276). Later, this interpretive approach led to phenomenology and symbolic interactionism which focused on internal processes of thought, meanings, rationalisations and justifications, which are supposed to be the building blocks in the development of the visible action or act of the social actor (Bar Yunus, 1988). Akin to this, the critical theorists were in vogue in the 1960’s and 1970’s and have increasingly influenced sociology and accounting. This school, a product of German idealism and Marxist theory of class conflict was the vanguard of the Marxist attack on conservative positions of structural functionalism. Although Marx himself favoured scientific methodology in his theory of dialectical materialism, the critical school moved towards the subjective dimension in using the “soft” anti-empiricist methodologies in studying human behaviour and societal conflict.

4.3.2 Scientific revolutions and Sociological Paradigms
It can be seen that Western epistemology, especially in the human sciences has a tendency to take extreme positions along what is known as the subjective-objective continuum (Burrell & Morgan, 1979; Hopper & Powell, 1985; Boland, 1989). Even in the natural sciences, Kuhn has put forward the theory of scientific revolutions and expounded the concept of paradigm shifts to reflect contrasting philosophical positions in the sciences. The concept of paradigm, according to Kuhn (1970) represents a way of viewing the world. Different paradigms therefore represent separate and largely

incommensurable ways of viewing the world. Kuhn asserts that scientific interpretations of the empirical world are paradigm (or theory) laden. This theory dependence of observation implies that observation and meaning of reality depends on our theoretical constructs. Kuhn asserts that the world goes through scientific revolutions or paradigm shifts where not only are there different explanations of a given reality but a fundamental shift in the way scientists view reality. This puts the

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bold claim of objectivity and truth of scientific facts and testability of scientific theories, somewhat shaky even in the natural sciences, and more so in the human sciences such as accounting which is claimed to be value-free, objective and unbiased. In the human sciences, the work of Burrell & Morgan (1979) on sociological paradigms on organisation theory has had tremendous impact on accounting research thus:

“Burrell & Morgan’s (1979) meta-analysis of the sociological theories that have guided the general field of organisational studies also helped to reveal the functionalist assumptions that have explicitly or implicitly guided organisational research in accounting....Their book was an important element in the shifting background of assumptions about social science that helped to set the stage for more interpretive research in accounting.... The result has been an increase in the number of “roles” of accounting that are revealed as different perspectives are taken”. (Boland, 1989, p592)
Burrell & Morgan (1979) conceive social theory in terms of four key paradigms based on different sets of meta-theoretical assumptions about the nature of social science and the nature of society. They assert that these four paradigms are founded upon mutually exclusive views of the social world and thus generate distinct analyses of social life. Thus different theories and perspectives in each paradigm are in opposition to those generated in other paradigms.

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Radical Humanist

Radical Structuralist



Burrell & Morgan (1979) categorise the meta-theoretical (philosophical) assumptions which underlie the different approaches to social science as ontological, epistemological, human nature and methodological. The different assumptions under these categories are themselves delineated in two dichotomous dimensions, the subjectivist and objectivist. These are displayed in figure 4-3 below:






Anti-Positivism Voluntarism


Positivism Determinism




The ontological assumptions relate the essence of the phenomena under investigation i.e. the nature of reality. In the objectivist dimension, is the realist view

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that there is a reality external to the individual imposing upon the consciousness from without. This is the ontology of realism. The Ontology of nominalism in the subjective dimension views reality as the product of individual consciousness. The question therefore is whether there is an objective reality or only a product of cognition. The epistemological category of assumptions concerns the grounds for knowledge, how the world could be understood and be communicated to others. From the objective perspective is the epistemology of positivism where knowledge is held as hard, real and capable of being communicated in a tangible form. From the subjective dimension, the anti-positivist epistemological stand is that knowledge is soft and more subjective, spiritual and transcendental kind based on experience, insight of unique and personal nature, which can only be personally experienced. The human nature assumption is concerned with the relationship between human nature and the environment, which respectively forms the subject and object of research enquiry. From the objective dimension, the school of determinism holds that human beings respond in a mechanistic fashion to situations encountered in the external world. This implies that human beings are products of the environment conditioned by external circumstances. This is the basis of much traditional management accounting research such as social systems theory and even contingency theory which tries to find solutions in order to manipulate human behaviour toward organisational objective (Hopper & Powell, 1985). On the other hand, the voluntarism school in the subjectivist dimension, holds that man is the creator of his environment (he has free will), he is the controller and master and not a puppet subject to the ravages of the environment. The above ontological, epistemological and human nature assumptions have direct implications for the methodological assumptions, which underlie any piece of research. Methodology can be seen as the way in which one attempts to investigate and obtain knowledge about the world. Realist ontology combined with positivist epistemology and determinist human nature assumptions would lead to a nomothetic

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methodology. As these theoretical positions assume a real hard and external social world, the nomothetic methodology seeks to analyse relationships and regularities between various elements. It seeks to identify, define concepts, measurements, and underlying themes, usually employing mathematical and statistical methods of measurement. On the other hand, an ideographic methodology reflects the assumptions of a subjective world being capable of manipulated and interpreted by the subject. This methodology therefore focuses on the understanding of the ways in which the individual creates, modifies and interprets his world. The objective of research here is the explanation and understanding of what is unique and particular to the individual rather than what is general and universal which is the concern of a realist, positivist ontology and epistemology. The above four sets of assumptions provide a powerful tool of analysis of social theory and have led to different schools of thought in the social sciences. These include (i) sociological positivism which attempt to apply the models and methods derived from the natural sciences and (ii) German idealism which holds that ultimate reality lies in subjective, spiriit/idea, rather than on ultimate data of sense perception and hence, denies the methods of empirical science. Burrell & Morgan (1979)’s contribution is to combine these four categories of philosophical assumptions on the nature of social science to two sets of assumptions on the nature of society to develop their four paradigms. The two sets of assumptions regarding the nature of society arise from the order-conflict debate of 19th century sociologists. Conventional social theory as influenced by Durkheim, Weber and

Pareto viewed society as an ordered and cohesive system while Marx viewed society as characterized by class-conflict and asserted this conflict as the driving force behind social change. Burrell & Morgan (1979) develop these two views into the Sociology of Regulation and the sociology of Radical change.

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The sociology of Regulation emphasizes the cohesiveness and unity of society and expresses a concern for the regulation of human affairs. Every society is a relatively persistent, stable and well-integrated set of elements. Each element has a function, which contributes to the maintenance of a system. This view of society seeks to preserve the status quo and believes that the consensus in society is due to shared values. The sociology of Radical Change views society as subject to ubiquitous change due to internal dissent and conflict. Every element contributes to disintegration and change. The semblance of unity is only achieved by coercion of the poor by the rich through financial and political power. Value orientations and normative structure are master symbols of domination. While the sociology of regulation seek to regulate human affairs to maintain the status quo, the sociology of radical change seeks an explanation for the radical change in the deep-seated structural conflict, modes of domination and structural contradiction which characterizes modern society and limits its potential. The objective is to emancipate man from the structures of society and the material and psychic deprivations thereof. Burrell & Morgan (1979) combined these two dimensions of society into the subjective-objective dimensions to produce the four paradigms seen in diagram 4-1. The four paradigms introduced by Burrell & Morgan (1979) (starting from the bottom right corner) are termed the functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist and radical structuralist paradigms. According to Burrell & Morgan (1979), most of academic sociology has been conducted in the functionalist paradigm firmly rooted in the sociology of regulation (and from an objective point of view). Chua (1986) also opines that most research projects in mainstream accounting are also conducted in the functionalist paradigm. This paradigm seeks to provide rational explanations of social affairs. Its pragmatic orientation means that it is concerned to understand society to provide useful

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knowledge. The functionalist paradigm has its roots in the sociological positivism of Comte, Durkheim and Pareto. Researchers in the Interpretive Paradigm adopt an implicit view of the sociology of regulation because of their subjective analysis of the social world. Here the concern is to understand the world as it is at the level of subjective experience and individual consciousness. The researcher here is treated as a participant in the social process as opposed to the observer view taken in an objective functionalist approach. Under this paradigm, the researcher sees the social world as an emergent social process created by individuals. Social reality outside individual consciousness is viewed only as a network of assumptions and inter-subjectively shared meanings. The quest here is for fundamental meanings underlying social life rather than causal relationships in social phenomena. Interpretive paradigm is the direct product of German Idealism of Kant who emphasized the spiritual nature of the social world. The radical humanist paradigm is concerned to develop sociology of radical change from a subjectivist viewpoint. The social science assumptions are the same as the interpretive paradigm i.e. nominalist, anti-positive, voluntarist and ideographic. However, in contrast to the interpretive paradigm, radical humanists view the world as full of social conflict due to class conflict and domination. As such theorists

emphasise the importance of over-throwing or transcending the limits of the existing social arrangements. Hence, theorists concentrate on studying the roots of class domination and hegemony and the ideological superstructures, which cause the alienation of man. The object of this exercise is to emancipate the human subject from these alienating superstructures, which drive a cognitive wedge between man and his true consciousness. The theorists in this paradigm provide a critique of the status quo. Unfortunately, because this paradigm is essentially founded upon Marx and his historical materialism, the radical humanists point a finger at the spiritual (religious) bonds as one of the superstructures which fetters the human beings into the existing social patterns and prevent them from realising their full potential. Due to

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their subjectivist leanings, the radical humanists place emphasis on the human consciousness and therefore seek to change the social world through a change in the mode of cognition and consciousness rather than attacking the structures. The Radical structuralists, on the other hand, represent the objectivist version of the radical humanists. Both the radical humanist and structuralist view the world as one of conflict, deprivation and domination. However, whereas, the radical humanist seek to change the world through change in the internal consciousness, the radical structuralist attacks the dominating and alienating external structures of the realist social world. The theorists in this paradigm hold that contemporary society is ridden with fundamental conflicts, which generate radical change through political and economic crises. Theorists seek to explain the basic interrelationships (e.g. internal contradictions, structure and analysis of power relationships) within the context of total social transformations. Different theorists stress different social forces to

explain change. Some seek to explain change in terms of deep-seated internal contradictions in society, while others stress the importance of structure and power relationships in society.

4.3.3 The Implications and critique of the paradigms.
According to Burrell & Morgan (1979), although, each of the paradigms shares a common set of features with its neighbours on the horizontal and vertical axis, the fact that it is differentiated on the other dimension implies it is separate from the its neighbour. This differentiation is of sufficient importance to warrant treatment of paradigms as four distinct and mutually exclusive, which represent fundamentally different perspectives for the analysis of social phenomena. Thus, researchers located in each paradigm have a different frame of reference, mode of theorising and modus operandi but those located within the same paradigm share all these and this binds them to the same problematic. Although theorists within a paradigm do not share complete unity of thought, their shared “taken for granted” assumptions

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separate them, in a fundamental way, from other theorists working within a different paradigm. They might not even recognise an alternative view of reality existing outside their own paradigm. Thus to be located in a paradigm is to view reality in a particular way. It also provides a “map” for locating and negotiating one’s subject area. According to Burrell & Morgan (1979):

“A synthesis is not possible; since in their pure form they are contradictory, being based on at lest one set of opposing metatheoretical assumptions. One cannot operate in more than one paradigm at any given point in time by may operate sequentially over time, since in accepting the assumptions of one, we defy the assumptions of the other”. (Burrell & Morgan, 1979, p25)
The different paradigms may also serve as explanations for the different and sometime conflicting conclusions arrived at by researchers looking at the same problem but from different paradigms. Chua (1986), for example, shows how accounting researchers working within different paradigms, use different

methodologies and focus on different matters when researching on the same area. Chua compares the work of Chandler and Daems (1979) and Tinker et al., (1982) on the historical development of accounting theory and practice. Chandler & Daems (1979), working from the mainstream functionalist perspective, view accounting as a rational control mechanism which are part of a concrete reality and which evolves in a rational manner to meet the need for efficient organisation. The firm is viewed a rational, single-minded organic system which adapts its accounting system to ensure its survival. There is no consciousness (by the researcher) of intra and interorganisational conflict except perhaps in instrumental terms. Tinker et al., (1982), by comparison, using a critical perspective (radical humanist paradigm) view accounting as a discourse of the dominating forces in perpetuating the status quo. The pretence of Accounting to be an objective, neutral discourse is exposed and argued to be a tool actively involved in social control and historical

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conflict. The development of accounting, in their view, is not a rational evolution in the quest for the firm’s efficiency and survival but a tool whose dominating discourse evolves in line with the interest of the dominating groups in society during a particular period. Although, the importance of the paradigms and the consequent fundamental philosophical assumptions do have implications for accounting and research in the social sciences, the claimed mutual exclusivity of each paradigm has been critiqued in the literature. Hopper & Powell (1985) argue that although analytically distinct, there are often strong relationships between the positions adopted on each continuum, which has been integrated by Burrell & Morgan (1979) in the subjectiveobjective continuum. However, in order to create their four paradigms, Burrell & Morgan created a dichotomy between objective and subjective approaches. Hopper & Powell (1985) only recognize three paradigms; the radical, interpretive and functionalist. They combine the radical humanism and radical structuralist paradigms into one radical paradigm because they argue that this is a mistaken position taken by authors (such as Althuser, 1969), who believe in the epistemological break between the earlier and later works of Marx on which the two paradigms are based. They point to the work of Giddens and Habermas who have made considerable efforts to incorporate both strands. Hopper & Powell (1985) hold that maintaining the division set up by Burrell & Morgan (1979) carry the risk that the concern of the radical structural analysis may be seen as incompatible or irreconcilable with those stressing consciousness, rather than seeing both as dialectical aspects of the same reality. Chua (1986) also finds the dichotomous division of the assumptions into subjective and objective (the division of human nature into free will versus environmentally determined) as problematic. She also criticises Burrell & Morgan for embracing a strongly relativist position of scientific truth and reason through a misreading of Kuhn (1970). Chua (1986) also points to a fundamental tension in Burrell & Morgan’s

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(1979) framework. While accepting Kuhn’s argument that there is no trans-historical, neutral, permanent language (set of criteria) for evaluating scientific theories, Burrell & Morgan (1979) adopt an inconsistent, non-evaluating stance and thereby attempt the use of a completely neutral language within which the rival paradigms can be fully expressed. While acknowledging Burrell & Morgan’s (1979) contribution in breaking the hold of a crude objectivism on accounting research, Boland (1989) criticises their posing a dichotomy between the subjective and objective realms. He asserts that, although both the subjective and objective are legitimate concerns, it is a mistake to suggest that there are two different kinds of researchers. He points out that they have laid a trap for subjectivist researchers by reifying the objective-subjective continuum as a kind of fundamental distinction that gives a new boundary to the accounting discourse. This has resulted in the replacement of an old mind set with a new one, which is as bad as the predecessor. Boland (1989) suggests that there is a need to appreciate the nature of their (subjective-objective) union in the experience of both accounting users and researchers. Each requires the other for context to be completed and to stand out as apart and separate. Thus the “objective fact is socially constructed and the symbolic meaning is empirically grounded”. Boland (1989) suggests that this subjective-objective constraint can be broken by studies, which form part of the hermeneutic turn in the social sciences. Taking a hermeneutic turn involves a special appreciation of the close intertwining of human action and human language embedded in a field of social practice. It means approaching the social world as a text that is alien and unfamiliar: a text with significance and meaning that will emerge only through interpretation. The researcher is a reader of the text or a reader of the way social actors read that text to themselves.

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This researcher takes the position of Hopper & Powell (1985) that there is no such thing as a totally objective and value free investigation and that certain fundamental theoretical and philosophical assumptions underlie any piece of research.

Many accounting researchers have called for researchers in accounting to “recognise and assess the underlying theoretical and philosophical assumptions “ behind their research to are consistent with of their own beliefs (Tinker et al., 1982; Hopper & Powell, 1985;Chua, 1986;Cooper & Hopper, 1990). The values to be examined

include the researchers’ own values and beliefs concerning the nature of society and the social sciences. The reason behind this call is that the researchers assert (and this researcher agrees with them) that the method and interpretation of results of any piece of research would depend on these assumptions, as no research is totally objective or value free. The confusing results of research on the same area, under alternative paradigms would become clearer if the assumptions underlying the research were made explicit. Hopper & Powell (1985) assert that, failure to take account of the researcher’s theoretical and philosophical assumptions, would make commonly held views and taken for granted ‘facts’, which rest upon such assumptions, to be unquestioningly accepted as fact resulting in developing and nurturing ‘myths’. Tinker et al. (1982) assert, that two such myths in accounting are that of pretensions of objectivity and independence. The failure to make explicit, the underlying normative assumptions, they assert, masks the “social allegiances and biases of accounting”. This is made possible by promoting positive, descriptive and empirical theories of “what is” as more realistic and factual and relevant than normative theories of “what ought to be”. Tinker et al. (1982) contend that even these so called positive theories which claim to be objective and value-free are themselves value

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laden and normative. They appear to be factual and value-free because, the nondisclosure of their underlying assumptions masks their conservative ideological bias in their accounting policy implications.

4.3.5 Locating this research
This research, however, cannot be located within any of the paradigms proposed by Burrell & Morgan (1979) because the underlying assumptions of the study do not coincide with their social science and nature of society assumptions. The theoretical framework and assumptions for this research is the Islamisation of knowledge, which from the above discussion on epistemology and paradigms can be seen as a search for an alternative epistemological paradigm located in a third dimension; the Islamic (see figure 4-4). According to Izetbegovic (1984), there are only three integral views of the world; the religious, the materialistic and the Islamic each reflecting three elemental possibilities; conscience, nature and man and each manifesting itself as Christianity, Materialism and Islam. The religious worldview takes only the existence of spirit into account, whereas the second worldview takes into account only the existence of matter. Islam takes into account the simultaneous existence of spirit and matter.

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The Islamic world-view or paradigm and the Islamisation of knowledge can be located in a third dimension. The front face of the box represents the four paradigms of Burrell & Morgan (using a subjectivist/objectivist approach). As the Islamic worldview is the unity of spirit and matter, then it has to be located in another dimension. For a theory of the nature of the social world, Islam views it as one of cycles; order to disorder and order again; the conflict between good and evil. The class conflict can be seen as one particular manifestation of this conflict between good and evil. The equilibrium state is justice and the conflict state is injustice. An Islamic view would seek to remove injustice by following its principles in the conduct of social and individual affairs and constantly monitor empirically the state of affairs to seek to move towards justice when there is conflict and to maintain the status quo of justice when there is equilibrium. Another point of note is that Islamisation of accounting can be seen as part of the interdisciplinary project in accounting (Roslender & Dillard, 1999). In many respects, the Islamisation of accounting can be seen as a extension or modification of the critical accounting sub-project within this interdisciplinary project. The problem with the interdisciplinary accounting project has already been highlighted by Roslender &

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Dillard, as being too narrow a confinement within the Marxist critical paradigm which has been superceded by other perspectives for example, Foucauldian accounting. Although, Islamisation may have the same concern for emancipation from the status quo to a more just system, the atheistic and overtly radical orientation of Marxism presents a problem for the researcher to locate this research within the critical paradigm. Islam has its own assumptions of society and social science. However, from the example of the Prophet (pbuh) and the methodology of gradual revelation of the Qur’an, an evolutionary strategy for changing society from inwards to outwards is indicated. This is also the strategy of Islamisation of the Muslim Brotherhood (one of the earliest radical but reformist Islamic movement) which is change through personal and family spiritual reform extending to the local and national community and then on to the world at large. This is also the strategy adopted by Gray et al. (1996) in the social and environmental accounting project. One problem which Western academics might have with the Islamisation of knowledge as an epistemological evolution is that, on the surface, it looks as if this is an attempt to re-introduce religious doctrine and dogma posing as knowledge. Secularisation has pervaded Western society to such an extent that this looks like it is a yearning for the past, a backward, retrogressive step. The secular mind finds it difficult to understand how knowledge that should be objective and neutral could be based on the basis of religious doctrine. The first answer to this is that Islam should not be thought of in a Western sense of religion. The importance of both perceptual knowledge and reason is a Qur’anic and Islamic imperative. Contemporary knowledge in the garb of objectivity and neutrality is in fact imbued with its own “religious” values- that of fundamental secularism which separates revelation from reason. According to al- Faruqi (1988), this separation of revelation and reason is utterly unacceptable, as “it is opposed to the central appeal of the Qur’an to reason, to weigh rationally all matters and to favour the more reasonable, more median course” (p35). Al- Faruqi (1988) further claims that:

Chapter 4 161 “Unlike those religions which sought to overwhelm man’s understanding – to overpower his conscience so that he would surrender to the irrational, or even the absurd – the call of Islam was rational and critical. Invariably, it invited men to use their intelligence; to apply their critical faculties to all claims;......and always to seek correspondence with reality. Such exhortations, injunctions and commands are found in practically every page of the Qur’an. Without reason, the truths of revelation cannot be appreciated”. (AlFaruqi, 1988, p 35)

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Further, knowledge from the Western perspective is not entirely value-fee and empirical. Tinker et al. (1982), shows even positive theories are embedded in normative value-laden normative origins. Sardar (1999) alludes to the fact that that knowledge at present is not only value neutral but also Eurocentric. He asserts that “ Eurocentrism is inherent in the way we organize knowledge”, in addition to it being, “ intrinsic in the way we think and conceptualise” (p 49). This was brought about because at the time, the various social science disciplines- from economics to anthropology, emerged, Europe was formulating its world-view and “virtually all (these disciplines) were geared to serving the needs and requirements of Western Society and promoting its outlook. Sardar (1999) further asserts that this Eurocentrism was overt and obvious during the period of colonisation but became deeply embedded and covert in their modernist and postmodernist incarnations. He point out the way knowledge is compartmentalised (or dichotomised) as physics and sociology, law and ethics, and religion and politics and opines that this is not due to any universal axiom but a product of the Western worldview. Thus:

“Neither nature nor human activities are divided into watertight compartments marked “sociology”, “political science” or “economics”. All those disciplines ... are culturally specific; they are products of a particular culture and particular way of looking at the world and are hierarchically subordinate to that culture and worldview. They do not have autonomous existences of their own but have meaning largely in the worldview of their origins and evolution”. (Sardar, 1999, p 50)

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This compartmentalisation reduced physical reality into smaller and smaller parts, removing the parts from the context and then studied it as an artificial construction. This also echoes the call of Gray et al. (1996) to use a General Systems Theory framework to study disciplines as opposed to viewing accounting from a reductionist perspective. The Eurocentric nature of this compartmentalisation of knowledge is especially evident in sociology and anthropology as pointed out by Sardar (1999). For example, when the West wanted to study its own society, it termed this discipline “sociology”. However, for studying, controlling and managing other cultures, it invented “Anthropology”. This, he says, is evident because many of these disciplines have no meaning in other cultures. For example, anthropology would be meaningless from the perspective of Australian Aboriginal scholars unless it is used to control and manage themselves or perhaps to study Western society? It is often said that in an age of globalisation, the Western scheme of learning and knowledge is validated by its adoption throughout the world. However, Sardar (1996) opines otherwise. Comparing the disciplines to burger and coke, he asserts that the presence of the latter does not demonstrate their universal acceptance as food, but the power and dominance of the culture that produced them. Similary “ disciplines too are like burgers and coke; they are made not in heaven nor do they exist out there in some ‘reality’ but are socially constructed and develop and grow within specific worldviews and cultural milieus” (p 60). Hence, according to Sardar (1999 p 60), the problem of Eurocentrism – the power to define categories and knowledge is thus the problem of knowledge itself. This charge of Eurocentrism in the monopolisation of defining knowledge is not too preposterous if we remember the study by Foucault on “The Order of Things” (Merquior, 1991). In this work, Foucault asserts that power relationships in history determined and defined what is knowledge. Hence at one time natural history, alchemy and astrology were considered knowledge, whereas the different epochs or

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‘epistemes’ as Foucault called them led the development of biology, chemistry and astronomy. Whereas in the Middle Ages, it was the power of the Church who defined and monopolised knowledge, “Western” scientists define what is knowledge today. This definitional power of societal –elitist structures is also evident in the definition of madness as the “other” in Foucault’s book, “Madness and Civilisation”. It can be seen that contemporary knowledge and methodology is not completely value-free and therefore there is no reason to fear Islamisation of knowledge will lead to an irrational dogma-bound monopoly of the religious class. The researcher, thus sees the Islamisation of knowledge, as not a contradiction in terms but part of the process of discovering “Other ways of knowing, being and doing- a problem of how to be human in ways other than those of Europe” (Sardar, 1999). Islamisation of knowledge in one way of de-centering Europe from knowledge and towards consonance with world-view of Muslim society. Further, even in Western epistemology, the possibility of religious and moral knowledge has not been excluded altogether. Audi (1988), for example views that moral and religious knowledge is possible, thus:

“The question, how far our knowledge and justification extend beyond our belief grounded directly in experience or reason turns out to be complicated. We have at least found warrant to rejecting the stereotypic view that whereas there obviously exist scientific knowledge as an upshot of proof, it is at best doubtful that there is any moral knowledge or even can be religious knowledge.... Moreover scientific knowledge does not often represent uncontroversial beliefs of precise generalizations but is typically approximate knowledge, often recognized to need refinement or knowledge of approximations formulated with restrictions left unspecified. There is good reason to think that we have ...moral knowledge. And there is no apparently decisive reason to deny the possibility of religious knowledge”.(Audi, 1988, p134)
Thus, the Islamic world view of unity of mind and matter, the Eurocentric nature of current knowledge posing as objective and value-free and the possibility of religious

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and ethical knowledge makes Islamisation of knowledge a logical

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epistemologically acceptable activity.

From the previous section, it can be seen that Islamisation of knowledge or even Islamisation of a modern discipline such as accounting is an enormous task that will take several decades and the efforts of hundreds of scholars. Further, the process, as suggested by the researcher is iterative where the output will be refined as time goes on with more experience of the process. Therefore, it is not possible, in this doctoral research project to Islamise accounting. However, a beginning can be made and the researcher argues, has to be made because of developments in the business environment in Muslim countries i.e. the development of Islamic economic institutions and the efforts at Islamising the economic systems of some Muslim countries. From the Islamisation seminars held so far, (IIIT, 1988 and 89; Muqim, 1997)

outlines have been presented for the Islamisation of economics, sociology, philosophy, arts and architecture, history, jurisprudence, philosophy of science, anthropology and psychology. The papers presented show the process at a very early stage being very general in their suggestions. To the researcher’s knowledge, no papers have been presented on the Islamisation of Accounting. This may be due to the general perception, that Accounting is a technical subject and like the physical and natural sciences not susceptible to Islamisation. The researcher has argued otherwise in the introduction to this research. The analysis of the Islamic legacy of knowledge which has been suggested by the proponents of Islamisation is beyond the scope of this research although some work has been done in this area (Zaid, 1997). What this research aims to do is to critically examine conventional accounting (which has been done to some extent in chapter 2 and 3) and incorporate the Islamic vision discerned from the overall worldview and

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economic objectives of Islam as explained in chapter 2. This will be mainly in the area of the objectives of Islamic accounting, suggestion of an Islamic theoretical framework (Islamic Accountability model, see chapter 6), the characteristics of Islamic accounting including measurement, disclosure and valuation principles. The hypotheses discerned by the researcher will be tested by means of a perception questionnaire as an attempt to elicit perception of Malaysian accounting academics and accountants in Malaysia. Further research can be extended to other groups and countries, which hopefully arrive at a general framework under which the Islamisation of accounting can proceed.


In this chapter, the researcher has attempted to outline the Islamisation of Knowledge which has been categorised as one category of pull factors necessitating the development of Islamic accounting. After defining the Islamisation of Knowledge, the researcher portrayed the need for the Islamisation of knowledge in the crisis of knowledge affecting the Muslim community. A short history of the movement for the Islamisation of knowledge was then outlined. This was then followed by a discussion of the various methodologies proposed for the Islamisation of knowledge. The various methodologies were categorised and tabulated by the researcher. Next the Islamisation of knowledge was viewed as a paradigm shift in knowledge by discussing the Islamisation of Knowledge in the context of development of Western epistemology and the sociological paradigms of Burrell & Morgan (1979). The researcher concluded that although Burrell & Morgan (1979) did have some relevance to the Islamic paradigm, it could not be placed in any of the four paradigms they suggested. Hence the researcher located his work outside their paradigms in a third dimension to take into account the ontology of the Islamic worldview. Although, the methodology suggested for Islamisation of knowledge could not be followed in this limited research project, this research is seen as a humble initial attempt to

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Islamise knowledge in the field of accounting, by taking into consideration some parts of the methodology suggested for Islamisation of knowledge. It is seen as a small part of the whole Islamisation of knowledge project. The researcher will discuss, in the next chapter (chapter 5), the second category of pull factors i.e. the establishment of Islamic organisations which provides a practical need for the development of Islamic accounting.

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CHAPTER 4: THE NEED FOR ISLAMIC ACCOUNTING: PULL FACTOR 1– THE ISLAMISATION OF KNOWLEDGE ............................................................................................. 118 4.0 Chapter outline: the pull factors ....................................................................................... 118

4.1 The Islamisation Of Knowledge ........................................................................................ 120 4.1.1 Islamisation of Knowledge and Islamisation. ............................................................... 120 4.1.2 The Need for Islamisation of Knowledge- the Malaise of the Muslim Ummah. .......... 122 4.1.3 Reactions To The Malaise ............................................................................................ 126 4.1.4 The Movement Towards Islamisation Of Knowledge .................................................. 129 4.2 The Methodology Of Islamisation Of Knowledge ............................................................ 130 4.2.1 The Three-Step Approach ............................................................................................ 131 4.2.2 A Work Plan for the Islamisation of Knowledge ......................................................... 133 4.2.3 Islamisation of Knowledge through discourses ............................................................ 136 4.2.4 The Two Processes Approach ...................................................................................... 138 4.3 ISLAMISATION OF KNOWLEDGE, A PARADIGM SHIFT IN EPISTEMOLOGY? ...... 143 4.3.1 Epistemology: The Development and Schools of Western Epistemology. .................. 143 4.3.2 Scientific revolutions and Sociological Paradigms ...................................................... 146 4.3.3 The Implications and critique of the paradigms. .......................................................... 153 4.3.4 Theoretical assumptions of this research ...................................................................... 157 4.3.5 Locating this research ................................................................................................... 158 4.4 4.5 an intial attempt at Islamisation of accounting. ................................................................ 164 Conclusion......................................................................................................................... 165

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