اسلام، طبیعت و حسابداری : اصول اسلامی و مفهوم حسابداری محیطی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|30||2006||21 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting Forum, Volume 30, Issue 3, September 2006, Pages 245–265
Islamic principles are suggestive of a variety of implications for governance and accounting. Reflecting upon Islamic principles, we here engage with the notion of accounting for the environment. Drawing from key Islamic texts and relevant prior literature, we elaborate and discuss key Islamic principles of relevance and delineate what they suggest for accounting. Our endeavours here are consistent with a concern to contribute to a critical theoretical project seeking to develop a progressive and emancipatory universalism that is respectful of difference, a project with its accounting implications. In concluding, we point, among other things, to the irony whereby Western transnational corporations have sought to promote their particular brand of corporate social (and environmental) responsibility accounting in Arab countries, variously influenced by Islam, with little to no mention of a notion of accounting for the environment integral to and deeply rooted in Islam.
‘Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day, are Signs for people of inward understanding who remember Allah, standing and seated, and upon their sides, and ponder as to the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Not for naught didst thou create this …’ (Quran 3: 190-191).1 For Edward Said, Islam has more often than not been seen or portrayed in negative terms by the West, often being taken as a threat to worry about (Said, 1978, Said, 1997, Said, 2001a and Said, 2001b; see Bahri, 2001 and Tinker, 2004; cf. Gallhofer, Gibson, Haslam, McNicholas, & Takiari, 2000, p. 382). One of our concerns here, via a specific accounting focus, is to enable the West to see Islam in terms different from this negative conception. In effect, we seek to challenge the bad rhetoric and ideology vis-à-vis Islam evident in the West, a rhetoric and ideology substantively reflecting how Islam actually and potentially threatens the dominant socio-political order. In the context of globalisation, a more worrying threat is to Islam's benevolent actual and potential influence in the world (Tinker, 2004). We hope here to indicate to those of alternative religious persuasions, including those who put their faith in secularism and atheism, that Islamic principles may beneficially and variously challenge, enhance and refine their positions (cf. Abdel Haleem, 1998, p. 10; Gallhofer et al., 2000 and Gallhofer and Haslam, 2004).2 Consistent with Gallhofer et al. (2000) and Gallhofer and Haslam (2004), a concern of this paper is thus to acknowledge the value of insights from a variety of cultures and value and belief systems for the development of accounting and governance systems.3 The paper thus aims to overcome the insensitive Eurocentrism and cultural imperialism of actually existing accounting/environmental accounting thought and practice (Annisette & Neu, 2004; Gallhofer & Chew, 2000; Gallhofer and Haslam, 1997a and Gallhofer and Haslam, 1997b) by bringing insights from Islamic teachings and culture, which have a significant influence on the lives of millions of people. Further, we also hope here to encourage Muslim engagement in Ijtihad (reasoned struggle to understand and apply Islam) and Fiqh (development of Islamic law or Sharia to reflect dynamic principles of jurisprudence in a changing context) so as to contribute, in relation to the accounting focus, to conceptual development within Islam (cf. Haniffa, 2001, p. 4).4 Our endeavours here are consistent with a concern to contribute to a critical theoretical project seeking to develop a progressive and emancipatory universalism that is respectful of difference (Calhoun, 1996), a project with its accounting implications.5 The relationship between Islamic principles and the notion of accounting for the environment constitutes something of a new emphasis in the literature. Studies on Islam and accounting, as indeed in the case of the general work of Muslim scholars, have tended to neglect substantive dimensions of an environmental focus, in spite, as we shall see, of Islam's teachings thereon (Al-Qaradawi, 2005b). Prior studies of Islam and accounting have tended to focus on the following: accounting issues in relation to the calculation of Islamic Zakat (the financial sum to be given to the needy or worthy, a pre-determined rate applied to the value of net assets that cannot be altered by the government, Ibrahim, 2000)6; the implications for accounting of the Islamic prohibition of interest or usury; accounting in countries substantively influenced by Islam vis-à-vis global accounting harmonisation projects (although many of these do not specifically consider the Islamic dimension); and, Islamic concerns with social accountability in relation to social accounting (Abdel-Magid, 1981; Abdul-Rahman & Goddard, 2003; Adnan & Gaffikin, 1997; Allam, 1997; Askary & Clarke, 1997; Baydoun and Willett, 1994, Baydoun and Willett, 1997 and Baydoun and Willett, 2000; Gambling and Karim, 1986 and Gambling and Karim, 1991; Hamat, 1994; Hamid, Craig, & Clarke, 1993; Haniffa, 2001 and Haniffa, 2002; Haniffa & Cooke, 2005; Haniffa & Hudaib, 2002; Haniffa, Hudaib, & Mirza 2002; Hussain et al., 2002 Hussain, Islam, Gunasekran, & Maskooki, 2002; Ibrahim, 2000 and Ibrahim, 2001; Karim, 1999 and Karim, 2001; Lewis, 2001; Maali, Casson, & Napier 2003; Mirza & Baydoun, 2000; Pomeranz, 1997; Rahman, 1995; Simpson & Willing, 1996; Taheri, 2000; Triyuwona & Gaffikin, 2001).7 To the extent that these studies are in effect concerned with at least some dimensions of a notion of accounting for the environment through an Islamic lens, they are drawn upon and referenced here. These studies, however, scarcely get beyond the social dimension of Islam's concern with the environment. There have been some studies that have given some attention to environmental accounting in countries influenced to some extent by Islam (e.g. Jahamani, 2003 and Nuhoglu, 2003). These, however, scarcely reflect an appreciation of environmentalism from an Islamic perspective, rather relying on Western conceptions (indeed, the literature and the marketing of corporate social responsibility accounting in the Arab, largely Islamic, world has tended to see notions of environmental accounting as new and from the West, see Arabic Middle East Information, 2006).8 The concern we have here, to theorise the relevance of particular (here, Islamic) thought and practice to more universal development, is also scarcely evident in studies to date.9 The specific focus of the paper here is to reflect on the notion of accounting for the environment through engagement with Islamic principles. This constitutes a contribution to a more substantive appreciation of the relevance of Islamic principles for the re-orientation of dominant accounting thought and practice. Given increasing agreement on the existence of an environmental crisis and given that Islamic principles are not limited to the metaphysical but provide practical direction (Omar Naseef, 1998, p. 14), this is an especially worthy focus. Islamic teachings and Quranic verses can provide a significant insight into ‘what matters’ in our lives, including in relation to the environment. Drawing throughout from key Islamic texts and relevant prior literature, the structure of the paper is as follows: we elaborate and discuss key Islamic principles of relevance and delineate insights therefrom for a notion of accounting for the environment.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
‘With Him are the keys (to the treasures) of the Unseen that no one knows but He knows whatever is on the earth and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but with His knowledge: there is not a grain in the earth's shadows, not a thing, freshly green or withered, but it is (inscribed) in a clear record’ (Quran 6: 59). Islam has a deeply rooted concern with the environment from a holistic perspective. There are clear principles to work out in terms of implications for accounting and governance following Ijtihad and we would hope that our contribution here encourages further substantive work within Islam. This is of clear relevance to Muslims. Further, we have sought to argue that the Islamic principles have a very general relevance in respect of concerns to govern our environment with its accounting implications. Reflection on these principles problematises Western ways, enhances and refines existing counter hegemonic positions and suggests new ways forward. How ironic it is that when major Western companies such as Shell, BP and MacDonalds attempted to market their particular brands of social responsibility accounting to countries variously influenced by Islam, ostensibly giving emphasis to sustainable development, they scarcely made any mention of the principles of Islam.32 The first Middle East Corporate Social Responsibility Summit was held in Dubai (UAE) in April 2003.33 The summit aimed at bringing ‘together the region's business leaders, government officials and NGOs, to discuss the necessity and benefits of implementing CSR as well as setting out a framework to do so’. The summit aimed also at examining ‘the emerging liability and accountability issues through various standards and regulations and suggesting ways in which companies in the region can improve their social, ethical and environmental performance thereby increasing brand awareness, customer loyalty and employee retention’ (IIRME, 2004). The summit was sponsored by Shell, British American Tobacco and McDonalds. Key contributors included: Marks & Spencers; BT; Standard Chartered Bank; SustainAbility and GRI. There were few Arab companies or bodies attending compared to the large numbers of Western companies and Organisations (see IIRME, 2004). Contributors and speakers at the summit concentrated on promoting CSR to Arab companies and businesses on the grounds that CSR would enhance company's profitability, management control and image. One speaker explained to the audience: ‘CSR is really a defensive mechanism for effective brand management ... Without a strategy for ensuring consistency and accountability, companies are exposed to risks that can, at best, hurt their stock price and, at worst, result in years of litigation with hostile jurors.’ (Simon Bryceson, an independent consultant, AMEINFO, 2004). The summit highlighted examples of best practices from companies such as Shell, British American Tobacco, Barclays and Kraft (see AMEINFO, 2004 and IIRME, 2004). GRI guidelines were promoted, with a number of sessions devoted to explaining the importance of this international initiative. Reporting according to the GRI guidelines, the summit concluded, ‘can have many benefits, such as generating pride and motivation amongst employees; enhancing trust and acceptance of the brand through displaying openness and transparency; and improving internal performance through the process of issue identification, performance measurement and communication’ (IIRME, 2004). The summit did not seem to incorporate any mention of cultural particularism and the relationship between Islam and corporate social responsibility, the environment or social reporting. The summit concentrated mainly on the business case for promoting a business-led, Western, voluntary form of accounting, where in actuality corporate social responsibility and social accounting are captured by narrow management control objectives and mobilised for the enhancement of problematic capitalistic interests (see Owen, Swift, Humphery, & Boweermna, 2000). The latter can be seen as cheating and creating false measure (supra). Such excluding of Islamic and cultural particularism from the promotion of corporate social responsibility in the Arab world highlights the imperialist and Eurocentric nature of these promotions. The relative exclusion of Islamic influence, especially Islam's strong emphasis on social justice and the environment, problematises the attempts of international organisations and MNCs, which have in effect silenced and displace Islamic principles from the global stage. Tinker (2004, p. 452) explains that Islam, until recently, ‘has managed to stand apart from capitalism, and has thus preserved some independence and identity’. This capacity to resist assimilation, Tinker (2004) explains, poses a special threat to capitalism, and thus its ‘demonisation is predictable’. Islam in Orientalists’ discourse is still presented largely as a threat to civilisation rather than a contributor to its betterment. The displacement of the already heavily repressed cultural and Islamic values that the promotion of Western corporate values in the Arab world undermines serious efforts to promote corporate social responsibility in this context. Social responsibility promoted according to the Islamic and cultural characteristics of Arab societies may be more convincing to Arabs including to Arab accountants, as it represent social responsibility as an integral practice of Muslims’ everyday lives. Islamic principles constitute a love of nature, and of people: the self and others, and an awareness of the importance of balance and the need to take reasoned actions to preserve this balance. Maybe this is the real threat of Islam: is it too much for those who may be termed corrupted by the socio-political order and its rhetoric, including accountants? Those whose perceived interests fuse with problematic hegemonic forces suffer from an obsessive irrationalism manifest in a tendency to destroy and reconstruct rather than engage in rational progressive development. As such they are more to be pitied than demonised. Yet, their destructive possibilities carry a huge environmental threat as environmentally destructive action and thought dominate today's world (Omar Naseef, 1998, p. 75). Still, there is hope in all things and, of all things, in accounting too, which Islam also teaches.