Like education, management is applicable merely on human beings. The term management reflects the influence human beings exert or receive. Thus, it is of paramount importance to understand the factors contributing to the formation of human character and to realize the rules governing human behavior in order to found management as a discipline.
Much debate is going on about human nature in scientific and philosophical inquiries. Different approaches to human nature have given rise to different theories on the models by which human behavior is explained. What marks the difference between these theories constitutes their vision of the universe, their conception of the creator, their value system, and their theory of knowledge.
Adopting a systematic vision and supposing that the epistemological subsystem in Islam coheres with the Islamic social subsystem, we can presume that the administrative subsystem of the Islamic religion is founded on the pillars of Islamic vision of human nature. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss this vision as a prelude to understanding Islamic principles of management.
I would like to begin with the claim that philanthropy is the fundamental theoretical notion both in the Islamic conception of education and the Islamic vision of administration. The subject matter of both is human being. We should discuss man in organization, organization of man, and human organization. The principle of philanthropy reflecting the fundamental notion of God-centeredness acknowledges freedom for man as an intrinsic right. This principle stems from two philosophical positions in theology as well as in our picture of human nature.
So for as theology is concerned, we can say Islam emphasizes the notion of monotheism. In regard to the Islamic picture of human nature, we can figure out that human intrinsic freedom stems from his exclusive capability of reasoning.
Islamic philanthropy rests on God-centeredness. In Islamic view, human beings search for God by nature. Their ultimate perfection is realized through their proximity to God. Human beings can reach the highest possible rank. Still, they remain creatures. Therefore, they need to develop towards perfection. Human perfection involves human reason and freedom. In order to stand for the responsibilities freedom requires, human reason must develop.
The principle of philanthropy, as a fundamental hypothesis in management and education, is comprised of the following elements:
1. Human dignity and freedom bestowed on man by God and built in his nature;
2. Both behavior and the theories constituting the content of thought must protect human dignity, freedom, and value both in education and management. They must not clash with the rank given to man exclusively by God;
3. Organizations must be formed with humanitarian frames and structure. As the most important element of an organization, human beings must enjoy freedom of choice as well as the possibility of spiritual elevation and the right to dignity;
4. Both the trainer and the trainee, the boss and the folk, are imperfect human beings in need of advancement but equipped with the faculty to understand God, discern good, and keep tranquil. The main objective in life is to attain proximity to God via climbing the spiritual ladder through developing the faculty of reason in order to achieve divinity and become capable of taking responsibility and making free choice.
Our main objective of this paper is not to prove that philanthropy is recognized in Islam. To take it for granted that philanthropy is recognized in Islam, it suffices to take a glance at Imam Ali’s sayings. We shall focus on those things that highlight the Imam’s attaching importance to philanthropy. It goes without saying that the subject matter can be studied from so many different angles. In this paper, we shall confine our discussion to sayings concerning economic management. In other words, we shall see that precepts issued by Imam Ali as the leader of Muslim community in regard to tax collection reflects an especial mentality He retained when He administered human society and managed the activities pertinent to tax collection. In this way, He employed everything and every move He had in the course of training human beings and educating society.
To treat the problem, we shall concentrate on the subject matter of tax as one aspect of economic management of human society. We shall mention a number of textual evidences proving that philanthropy constitutes the axis of management in Imam Ali’s model. We shall try to formalize suitable concepts and express them in the form of functional propositions.