The humanistic roots of Islamic administration and leadership for education : philosophical foundations for cross-cultural and transcultural teaching

Samier, Eugenie A.; Samier, Eugenie A. and Elkaleh, Eman S., eds. (2019) The humanistic roots of Islamic administration and leadership for education : philosophical foundations for cross-cultural and transcultural teaching. In: Teaching Educational Leadership in Muslim Countries. Educational Leadership Theory . Springer Publications, Singapore, pp. 23-38. ISBN 9789811368172 (

[thumbnail of Samier-Springer2019-The-humanistic-roots-of-Islamic-administration-and-leadership-for-education]
Text. Filename: Samier_Springer2019_The_humanistic_roots_of_Islamic_administration_and_leadership_for_education.pdf
Accepted Author Manuscript

Download (248kB)| Preview


For a number of decades, a humanistic approach has been a minor but persistent one in the Western field of administrative and leadership studies, and only recently has been broadening to include other humanist traditions (Dierksmeier et al., 2011) and has yet to be fully explored in educational administration and its pedagogy and curriculum although some foundational work has been done (e.g., Samier, 2005). The focus in this chapter is on the Islamic humanist tradition as it relates to the teaching of educational administration and leadership in a Muslim context, with implications for cross-cultural and transcultural use. The second purpose of the chapter is to show the correspondences that exist between the Islamic and Western humanist traditions in terms of human values, knowledge and educational ideal, which in this chapter are argued to be close to the Western Idealist tradition and the German Bildung conception of education as well as the strong interpretive and hermeneutic foundations that originated in the Islamic tradition and which influenced the foundations of many relevant European schools of thought, particularly in the Enlightenment.The initial section of the chapter is a comparative examination of the central principles of the Islamic humanist tradition from the classical through to contemporary times with the Western humanist tradition as they relate to conceptions of the good, ethics, the construction of meaning and a set of higher order values predicated upon human dignity, integrity, empathy, well-being, and the public good (Goodman, 2003) covering a number of important scholars like Al Farabi, al Isfanhani, and Edward Said (e.g., Kraemer, 1986). In both, professions are viewed as meaningful work that allow for large measures of decision making, and are grounded in human qualities and needs including autonomy, freedom and emancipation balanced with responsibilities, obligations and duties to society. These are compared with the corresponding principles of knowledge in Western humanism which includes a strong constructivist view of reality (Makdisi, 1990). Secondly, the chapter examines the principles of good or ideal leadership and administration that humanism aims at in its preparation of officials, including those in the educational sector in both the classical Islamic tradition (Hassi, 2012) and Western approaches to humanistic administration and leadership (Czarniawska-Joerges & Guillet de Monthoux, 1994; Gagliardi & Czarniawska, 2006; Leoussi, 2000). The third section focusses on close correspondences that exist between the Islamic (Afsaruddin, 2016; al-Attas, 1980; Yasin & Jani, 2013) and Western (Aloni, 2007; Veugelers, 2011) humanist education traditions in terms of educational ideal as well as the kind of teaching practices that distinguish these traditions (Daiber, 2013; Dossett, 2014) as they apply to educational administration and leadership (Greenfield & Ribbins, 1993). The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the Islamic humanist tradition can contribute to cross-cultural and transcultural graduate teaching in international educational administration (Khan & Amann, 2013).