Conceptualising Tadbīr as a Constituent of Governance in Islam

Mohd Zaidi Ismail,


The present-day Muslims, in addressing the con­temporary issue of governance, may not necessa­rily have to object to the way, or ways, it has been understood and defined by their Western counter­parts. Yet, they can still offer a more rather refined description of it which, as this article suggests,may come in the form of tadbīr being an essential constituent of governance. By elaborating on the concept projected by the term through a detailed explanation of its basic and derived meanings, both lexically and within the context of the Qurʾān and the Prophetic Traditions, as well as their vari­ous ethico-teleological implications, the article basically demonstrates that tadbīr in the religious, intellectual and scientific tradition of Islām is both thinking and act which are organically aimed at obtai­ning good outcomes and, when specifically applied to man, means the intellectual deliberation over the out­come of an affair, followed either by its implementation if the outcome is praiseworthy or its rejection if the result is estimated to be blameworthy.


tadbīr; governance; purpose; end; outcome; ethics; morality; good and bad; SunnatuʼLlāh; cosmos; uni­verse; cause-effect; history

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