How the principles of Henry Fayol coincide with Islam?

Muhammed Shafeeque Cm,


classical-approach-of-management-35-728Managers in the early 1900s had very few external resources to draw upon to guide and develop their management practice. But thanks to early theorists like Henri Fayol (1841-1925), managers began to get the tools they needed to lead and manage more effectively. Fayol, and others like him, are responsible for building the foundations of modern management theory. But in reality, we can proclaim that these principles were already laid down before centuries by the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. This discourse vividly explains the 14 principles of Henry fayol from an Islamic context. Indeed, prophet was a multi intellectual person who elucidates the companions about every spheres of life.


Henri Fayol was born in Istanbul in 1841. When he was 19, he began working as an engineer at a large mining company in France. He eventually became the director, at a time when the mining company employed more than 1,000 people.

Through the years, Fayol began to develop what he considered to be the 14 most important principles of management. Essentially, these explained how managers should organize and interact with staff.

In 1916, two years before he stepped down as director, he published his “14 Principles of Management” in the book “Administration Industrielle et Gnrale.” Fayol also created a list of the six primary functions of management, which go hand in hand with the Principles.

Fayol’s “14 Principles” was one of the earliest theories of management to be created, and remains one of the most comprehensive. He’s considered to be among the most influential contributors to the modern concept of management, even though people don’t refer to “The 14 Principles” often today.

Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management:

  1. Division of Work:

When employees are specialized, output can increase because they become increasingly skilled and efficient. This principle is explicitly expounded in Islamic creed.

No person is charged with more than his capacity. No mother should be harmed through her child, and no father through his child. And upon the [father’s] heir is [a duty] like that [of the father]. And if they both desire weaning through mutual consent from both of them and consultation, there is no blame upon either of them. Surah Al Baqarah 2:233. By this verse we came to understand that a person cannot bear all the work. The work wants to be divided among others.

Almighty Allah himself specified some angels to a specific area of vocation.

Let us look on the following verses of holy Quran.

He is the irresistible, supreme over his slaves, and he sends guardians (angels guarding and writing all of our good and bad deeds) over you, until when death approaches one of you, our messenger (Angel of death and his assistants) take his soul, and they never neglect their duty.(Surath Al Anaam61)

it almost bursts up with fury, every time a group ( specialized team under Malik, May Allah well pleased with him.), its keeper will ask: did no Warner come to you.(SurathAl Mulk 8)

Remember, that the two receivers (recording angels) receive (each human being after he or she has attained the age of puberty), one sitting on the right and one on the left (to note his or her actions.

Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is Raqeeb and Atheed by him ready (to record it). (Surath Al Khaf 17, 18)

From these verses we explicit that there are certain angels for noting our actions, for taking the soul, for guarding hell and paradise et cetera. Mainly Ibn kaseer in his book Bidayath Ul Nihaya he elucidates ten angels and their jobs[1]. This action well states that Islam motivates the principle of division of labor. Also we can notify the Islamic scientists who explored this principle from an academic mood. Even though Ibn khaldun was well famous for his travelogue, he was also known as the father of division of labor among academicians[2]. .

  1. Authority:

Managers must have the authority to give orders, but they must also keep in mind that with authority come responsibilities.

It has been conspicuous that the entire Sahaba‘s ultimate decency conception did create a factual authority that installed seeable effects on jurisprudential and political life of Islam. This authority occupied the position of the doctrinal one defined by God and explicated by the Prophet of God, owing to ordinary transmission and imitation.

In the most prominent doctrinal book of Islamic creed ‘Sharh Al Aqaeda, Imam Saad Ul Dheen Al Thafthazani states that it is mandatory for Muslims to have an authority to establish laws and order, to collect money based on almsgiving (zakath),to accept the words of witness et cetera[3].

By authority this paper refers to, the supreme seat of legitimization. It is sovereign and independent. It is also the ultimate code of punishment and reward, the source of legislation and annulment. (Khadduri 1955).However, the confusion that has arisen is due to the fact that Islam has not evolved a term of its own to specifically designate authority. Various expressions such as uli al-amri as found in the Quran in chapter 4 verse 59 O ye who believe! Obey God and obey the Apostle, and those charged with the authority among you (uli al-amri); He also term al-Hukm in chapter 12 verse 40. The command (al-hukm) is for none but God. He hath commanded that ye worship none but Him. Again in chapter 28 verse 88, al-hukm which states: To Him belongs the command, and to Him will (all) be brought back. While the word al-mulk found in chapter 4 verse 54 which states: God conferred on the successors of Abraham a great kingdom (al-mulk); has been used to designate authority, the same words has also been used to designate power[4].

In an essay published in Al-Liwa, the Jordanian journal, we can able to record the following facts: The Islamic doctrine has an authority; God’s Apostle (peace be upon him and his family). This doctrine pointed out the authority succeeding the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family). This is for the essential role of authority in the life.

Any family and government have an authority. This is by the reason that the authority is a principal element of any advocacy, association of individuals, doctrine and state. The gist of misfortunes the Muslims have been encountering is their banishing doctrinal authority assigned by Allah, and clinging to surrogate one imposed by the prevailing powers and humiliatingly concurred by people owing to their partisan pursuance[5].

  1. Discipline:

Discipline must be upheld in organizations, but methods for doing so can vary.

[1] Bidayath Ul Nihaya of Ibn kaseer Vol 1

[2] paper of Dr. Mohaned Talib Al-Hamidi at the international Conference on Ibn Khaldun in Madrid , Spain November 3-5, 2006

[3]Sharh Al Aqaeda of Saad Ul Dheen Al Thafthazani, section Khilafath

[4] Tafsir Ruh Al Bayan of Ismail Haqqi

[5] Al-Liwa, the Jordanian journal, issue: 955, dated: 17 / Safar / 1412 A.H.,

Allah (S.W.T) says in surat Huod, (verse 112), which is translated as, “So stand (O Muhammad) firm and straight (on Islam) as you are commanded and those who are with you (your companions) and do not transgress” Ibn Abbas (R.A.) said: “There was no verse in the Qur’an harder on the prophet (S.A.W.) than this verse.” For this reason, when the companions of the prophet (S.A.W.) said: “Your hair is getting gray early”, he replied: ” Surat Hood made my hair gray.[1]

Imam Muslim reported that a man said O Messenger of Allah; tell me something of Islam, which I will not ask anyone else about it. He (S.A.W.) said: “Say, I believe in Allah and then be steadfast. Imam An-Nawawi said: “This hadith is one of the great ones that Islam is based on[2].” To be steadfast is to abide by Islam and it is a high degree that shows complete belief and great strength. Omar (R.A.) said: “Steadfast is enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil and not deceit like the deceit of the fox.” This means discipline according to the Islamic system.

Islam also taught us to abide by all its rules concerning human relations, and business transactions. Some of them are not allowed. They have conditions that must be met before they become valid. The same applies to the rest of the rules of Halal and Haram. This teaches us discipline.

  1. Unity of Command:

Employees should have only one direct supervisor.

Had therein (in the heavens and the earth) Gods besides Allah, then verily both would have been ruined (Al Anbiya22). In the exegesis Jami Ul Ahkam il Bayan, Imam Qurthubi said regarding this verse: ‘if there are two Gods besides Allah, all the Gods and their community would have been destroyed[3].

It is clear from this verse that unity of command is an important principle expounded by Islam for ensuring the existence of the world. Similarly in business, there should be one manager to handle all affairs. If there are more besides one all of them would have been demolished. In the book Sharh Al Aqeda we can see that Islamic jurisprudence doesnt allow having more than one caliph at one period[4]. This law also exemplifies the principle unity of command.

  1. Unity of Direction

Teams with the same objective should work under the direction of one manager, using one plan. This will ensure that action is properly coordinated.

Both unity of command and unity of direction are co related. In the Islamic creed, there is only commander who is the God and there is only one objective which is the worship. Allah says in holy Quran:

And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and human except they should worship me (alone). [Surath Al Dhariyath 56]

Therefore the one and only objective of Islam is to worship the God. According to Imam Al Mahalliy this verse is not a contradiction to non worship of disbelievers of Allah because Almighty Allah just said the purpose of life is worship whether they agree or not[5]. The all persecutions and brutalities happening in the contemporary world are occurring due to the lack of worship which means lack of unity of direction. Similarly it is important for a company to have a unique objective. Otherwise it may collapse due to debate between company crews.

  1. Subordination of Individual Interests to the General Interest

The interests of one employee should not be allowed to become more important than those of the group. This includes managers.

[1] The exegesis Al Razi of Imam Razi, Surath Al Hood

[2] Sharh Muslim Of Imam An-Nawawi

[3] the exegesis Jami Ul Ahkam Il Bayan of Imam Qurthubi, Surath Al Anbiya22

[4]Sharh Al Aqaeda of Saad Ul Dheen Al Thafthazani, section Khilafath

[5] Tafsir Al-jalalayn of Imam Mahalliy, Surath Al Dhariyath

At the epoch of Uhd war, when swahaba tasted the death, people came towards them with water. But they sacrificed themselves to see the breath of others[1]. Also once our beloved prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him said: “no one will become a Muslim unless they love what his brother loved[2].

  1. Remuneration

Employee satisfaction depends on fair remuneration for everyone. This includes financial and non-financial compensation.

Islam encourages employers to reward their employees according to their qualification, experiences, knowledge, capabilities and amount of work they do. (Surah al-Yasin: 54, Surah An-Najm: 39).

As practiced and spelt in any contract of employment, the payment must be defined in advance by the employer to avoid any confusion and argument between both parties. This will create concentration and ensure that the employees work is according to a well-defined terms of the agreement. The formulation of the salary scale should be made carefully according to employees past experience and qualification. More importantly, the wage to be granted by the employer to the employee must commensurate with the work done and performance made by the employee. Islam encourages employers to reward their employees according to their qualification, experiences, knowledge, capabilities and amount of work they do. (Surah al-Yasin: 54, Surah An-Najm: 39).

There is no discrimination in rewarding workers no matter the gender of the worker is (Surah an-Nahl: 97; Surah al-Kahfi: 30, Surah al-Araf: 85)

It is also worth to be noted by the employer of the organization that salary should be given immediately after a job is completed by the employee (this is also in tandem with prominent Hadith by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) who has said “Pay the laborer his wages before his sweat dries and Anas (r.a) states that Prophet (s.a.w) never paid a low wage to any person. One of the three persons that the Prophet (s.a.w) will argue against on the Day of Judgment is a man who engaged a laborer and enjoyed full benefit from him, yet did not pay him (his due) wages. The reward should be given as soon as they have completed their work (Sunan Ibn Majah)[3]. To delay paying the employees is not allowed in Islam as it is an act of cruelty. Those employers that do not pay their workers are the enemies of the Holy Prophet and also Allah swt. (Sunan Bukhari, Surah Hud: 85; Surah al-Araf: 85; Surah al-Maidah: 8)

  1. Decentralization:

This principle refers to how close employees are to the decision-making process. It is important to aim for an appropriate balance.

This concept of decentralization has also been already depicted in the Quran 1400 years ago. It is mentioned in Surah Aal-e-Imran in ayat 159: So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]

This quote from the Koran can be explained as Allah says to Prophet to be kind to your followers and also consult with them in your affairs. This depicts the importance of consultation in different matters and affairs. The Prophet is ordered by Allah to consult and in the same manner the Prophet himself emphasized and motivated his followers to consult with their subordinates in different affairs because that can lead to a right direction through multiple alternatives.

We can see many instances in prophets life that he discussed with his companions for developing a law. At the time of miraj, prophet accepted the instructions of prophet Moosa[4], May Allah well pleased with him. He allowed other people in decision making process.

[1] Glimpses from the history of Swahaba, section Jabir( r)

[2] Swaheeh Al Muslim Of Imam Muslim

[3] Sunan Ibn Majah of Muhammed Bnu yazib Bnu Ibn Majah Al Qazvini

[4] Sayyid ul Bashr of Kodampuzha Bava Musliyar Bab ul Mi’araj

  1. Scalar Chain:

Employers should be aware of where they stand in the organization’s hierarchy, or chain of command.

The holy script of Quran neither was nor directly transmitted to prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him. But it consists a scalar chain. It was first transferred to Louh ul Mahfool then to the first sky and then it revealed to prophet by the angel Jibrael, may allah well pleased with him.[1]

By this Almighty Allah tries to teach the Ummath that there are certain connection to reach god. The Sufi order is a perfect example for this chain.

  1. Order:

The workplace facilities must be clean, tidy and safe for employees. Everything should have its place.

In the Holy Quran, there are a number of verses which shed light at the importance of cleanliness: “Truly, Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.” (Al Baqarah 2:222)

Almighty also instructs to hold safeguard measures. In Quran chapter 1, verse 195 we can see this principle. Allah says: and spend in the cause of Allah (i.e. Jihad of all kinds, et cetera) and do not throw yourselves into destruction (by not spending your wealth in the cause of Allah), and do good. Truly, Allah loves Al muhsineen (good doers).

  1. Equity:

Managers should be fair to staff at all times, both maintaining discipline as necessary and acting with kindness where appropriate.

“Allah does not take pity on one who does not have it for others[2](Tirimzi )

This Hadith shows the importance of kindness not only with subordinates but also with superiors. The Prophet emphasized a lot on the Kindness. If a person deals employees with courtesy and kindness he can get maximum output from them.

At the time of victory of Mecca, prophet ordered the black Bilal, may ALlah well pleased with him. This action explores the marvelous equity principle of ISlam[3].

  1. Stability of Tenure of Personnel:

Managers should strive to minimize employee turnover. Personnel planning should be a priority.

The Islamic creed provides four classes like Shafi, Hanafi, Hambali and Maliki. It’s important for the believer to accept one of these classes. Even though changing is possible, it is not at all seen in Ulemas. Here the stability plays a crucial role. Therefore it’s important for the managers to stabilize the employers in a specific job.

  1. Initiative:

Employees should be given the necessary level of freedom to create and carry out plans.

After the demise of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him khaleefa Umar, May Allah well pleased with him gathered people and performed the Tharaveeh prayer in the holy month Ramalan. It was not the style of worship done by beloved prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. When he questioned he replied: its a good innovation[4]. There are lots of such instances in the Islamic history. Khaleefa Usman, May Allah well pleased with him gave his maximum effort to join the holy Quran in afraid of devastation.

Similarly there are frequently notions in Quran asking the intellects to think on the creations of God. Its a real motive statement to find out innovations from our surroundings.

  1. Esprit de Corps:

[1] Uloom Ul Quran, Bab Al Vahy.

[2] Jami’ At Thirmidhi of Muhammed At Thirmudhi

[3] Sayyid ul Bashr of Kodampuzha Bava Musliyar Bab Fath Ul Mecca

[4]Sharh Al Aqaeda of Saad Ul Dheen Al Thafthazani, section Bid’a

Organizations should strive to promote team spirit and unity.

As per the Koran this principle is written in the following words:

(Telling the Prophet) if you had been stern and fierce of heart they (the companions and followers of Prophet) would have disappeared from around you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the conduct of affairs. Surah Aal Imran 3:159

In simple English language the following Ayat means Allah is saying to Prophet to treat his companions and followers with courtesy. Therefore, if any well versed manager wants to keep his employees motivated then he must treat them with courtesy so he can promote the Team Spirit and Unity within an organization.

From the above statements its vividly elucidated that the principles of Henry Fayol had already quoted by the beloved Muhammed, peace be upon him before years. Therefore it is good for the managers to follow what Quran had said to them.

[Biographical Note: Muhammad Shafeeque is enrolled in a special intensive programme in classical Islamic studies from Madeenathunnoor College of Islamic Science, Kozhikode, Kerala, India. His areas of interest are Quranic science, translation, theology, jurisprudence, and contemporary Islamic thought.]

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