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The appointment qualifications of Muslim accountants in the Middle Ages

Omar Abdullah Zaid

Accounting Education, 2000, vol. 9, issue 4, 329-342

Abstract: Historically, accountants and accounting have played a very important role in Muslim societies. Accountants, who were known as Al-Kateb (accountants/bookkeepers/accounts clerks), held very prestigious positions in government, business and society. They were the advisors and decision-makers for the rulers, business peoples and society at large. The primary objective of accounting was the ascertainment of the adequacy of the transactions from the religious view point and the appropriate calculation of Zakat (religious levy). The role and responsibilities of Al-Kateb were much broader than those that exist in many instances today. The expanded role and status of Al-Kateb resulted in the establishment of comprehensive and demanding appointment criteria. Some of these criteria were of a compulsory nature while others were optional and were known as recommended appointment requirements. This paper examines the mandatory appointment requirements that were, at large, based on Shari'ah Islami'iah (Islamic teachings) that reflects the role of Islam as a comprehensive code of life for Muslims. Technical competence was also a mandatory requirement that had to serve the religious requirements in the process of recording and interpreting business transactions. Some of the mandatory appointment requirements of Al-Kateb are, in essence, similar to current Western practices. The similarity could have been prompted by historical business relationships between Muslim and Europeans (especially Italians) since the twelfth century.

Keywords: Accountants Appointment Qualifications Middle Ages Qualifications Shari'AH Islami'IAH Equitability Eloquence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2000
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DOI: 10.1080/09639280010012649

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Handle: RePEc:taf:accted:v:9:y:2000:i:4:p:329-342