The Ethics of Islamic Leadership: A Cross-Cultural Approach for Public Administration

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Eman ElKaleh Eugenie Samier


This paper proposes bridging the gap between Muslims’ espoused and practiced values by teaching Islamic work ethics and Islamic leadership in administration and leadership professional programs. The argument for this is constructed in four stages: an overview of Islamic principles for building a good community; proposing a leadership model from an Islamic perspective that builds on the work of other management and administration scholars; a response to many scholars who have called for balancing Islamic religious values with Western leadership practices and scholarship by comparing the principles of Islamic leadership with servant and transformational theories of leadership, and public sector traditional values, all of which are close valuationally to Islamic conceptions; and the importance of teaching Islamic ethics, using national case studies and biographical materials of great Muslim leaders, as well as the Arabic ‘mirror of princes’ tradition, as teaching pedagogies. An important feature of Islamic and Arab literature relevant to this discussion is that it spans many centuries, has been contributed to from many countries, it is not unitary, consisting of a lively set of traditions, interpretive schools, debates, disagreements, and controversies that are often lost in the discussion of this intellectual heritage.

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