Accountability in the sacred context: The case of management, accounting and reporting of a Malaysian cash awqaf institution

Hairul Suhaimi Nahar, Hisham Yaacob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The concept of accountability has long been argued in the academic and public policy debate to have been contextually ingrained in the technical processes of accounting and reporting. Both processes provide lenses through which the extent of managerial accountability in the corporate context could be objectively examined. The sacred religion of Islam as a social order with a complete code of life classifies accountability as being dual; in line with the duality concept in life – in this temporal world and eternal hereafter, necessitating for accountability concept in accounting and reporting from the Islamic worldview to transcend beyond the point of worldly objectives. Parallel to this line of reasoning, the purpose of this paper is to undertake a preliminary empirical investigation with respect to accounting, reporting and accountability practices of a Malaysian cash awqaf (Islamic endowment) management institution over a six-year period, from 2000 to 2005. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses triangulation research approach, consisting of case study method and archival documentation review and analysis. Findings – The preliminary findings indicate that, while the root of accountability in the management, accounting and reporting practices seems to exist in the awqaf entity studied, significant improvements remain necessary to ensure accountability could be continuously enhanced and uphold. Originality/value – Debating accountability concept in the context of management, accounting and reporting as practiced by faith-based institution of awqaf from the Islamic perspective inevitably directs this study to highlight the notion of Islamic accounting and reporting commonly and extensively discussed in the realm of Islamic finance and banking. The study's conjecture is that, by debunking the myth of Islamic accounting and reporting as only serving the acute domain of transactions reflecting the Islamic financial products in banking environment, it helps to reshape, broaden and emphasize the all encompassing relevance of Islamic accounting and reporting to that of not-for-profits, religiously grounded entities such as awqaf institutions. The study further contributes to the accountability and financial reporting literature in Islamic not-for-profit organizations by studying the importance of sound accounting practices and reporting transparency in ensuring accountability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-113
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 27 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Accountability
  • Accounting
  • Awqaf
  • Banking
  • Finance
  • Islam
  • Mutawallis (awqaf trustees)
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Reporting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Accounting
  • Strategy and Management


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