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Towards Islamic Accounting Anthropology

Purpose The purpose of this study is to shed light on how accounting, which has been recognised as a contributor to the modernity problem, has been influenced by secular anthropology, which hinges on the concept of “self”. Based on Akbar S. Ahmed’s concept of Islamic Anthropology, Islamic Accounting Anthropology (IAA) is proposed as an answer to shift the accounting paradigm. Design/methodology/approach A case study in Indonesia was conducted by studying the development of the nation’s Shariah accounting from the perspective of diffusionism as an approach to anthropology. Following the constructivist tradition, IAA, which rejects the Social Darwinism notion of the superiority of the West over the East as the basis of the evolution of civilisation, is used as tool to realise Islamic norms through synchronic-diachronic study, constructing an accounting concept and invoking accounting transformation through accounting education. Findings This study finds that accounting has been greatly affected by secular Western culture through education and educators as agents that find their legitimation in country policies. Standard setters have also taken the same stance by siding with the capital market. By proposing IAA, it is hoped that Islam will replace the concept of “self-interest” as the faith of accounting and promote welfare for the ummah. Research limitations/implications The problem of modernisation lies in the newfound faith of self-interest. In accounting, self-interest is ingrained in accounting theories such as Positive Accounting Theory, Entity Theory and Agency Theory, and thus accounting has become a tool to support neoliberal society. IAA will help produce accounting that is rooted in local wisdom and necessity yet very much embedded in Islamic values. Practical implications IAA suggests that accounting education must be geared towards anthropology detached from the Orientalism-secularism concept. This shift can be accomplished by integrating IAA into the accounting education curriculum. Social implications Based on IAA, accounting practices can be designed under the guidance of the Quran and result using a synchronic-diachronic approach. By changing the ontological view through accounting education, accounting can drive societal consciousness towards the welfare of society instead of self-happiness. Originality/value Islamic accounting and anthropology are two subjects that are rarely discussed concurrently.

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