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Disequilibrium and Divinity Salience as Invariant Structures in The Halal Executives' Experience of Eudaimonia

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The global Halal industry is large and continues to grow as the global Muslim population increases in size and dispersion. There are 1.84 billion Muslims today spread over 200 countries and is expected to increase to 2.2 billion by 2030. The industry will be worth USD6.4 trillion by the end of 2018 with more non-traditional players and emergent markets. The stakes are high with pressures to generate novel and sustainable practices. This goes beyond systems and hard skills as it needs to cut into the self-the person of virtues in virtuous acts, not because they "have to" but because it is the purpose of humankind or his telos-to be "living well" and "acting well" or eudaimonia. This study seek to explore Halal executives' lived experience of "eudaimonia.". Using Giorgi's descriptive psychological phenomenological method for data analysis, the study elicits two distinct invariant structures-'disequilibrium in status quo' and 'divinity salience'.
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Advances in Business Research International Journal
109
Disequilibrium and Divinity Salience as Invariant
Structures in The Halal Executives’ Experience of
Eudaimonia
Jalilah Ahmad1, Rosmimah Mohd. Roslin2 and Mohd. Ali Bahari Abdul Kadir3
1,3Faculty of Business and Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA Selangor
2Arshad Ayub Graduate Business School (AAGBS), Universiti Teknologi MARA
jalilah309@salam.uitm.edu.my1
Received: 12 April 2019 Reviewed: 30 April 2019 Accepted: 25 May 2019
Abstract
The global Halal industry is large and continues to grow as the global Muslim population increases in size and
dispersion. There are 1.84 billion Muslims today spread over 200 countries and is expected to increase to 2.2
billion by 2030. The industry will be worth USD6.4 trillion by the end of 2018 with more non-traditional
players and emergent markets. The stakes are high with pressures to generate novel and sustainable practices.
This goes beyond systems and hard skills as it needs to cut into the self the person of virtues in virtuous acts,
not because they “have to” but because it is the purpose of humankind or his telos - to be “living well” and
“acting well” or eudaimonia. This study seek to explore Halal executives’ lived experience of “eudaimonia.”.
Using Giorgi’s descriptive psychological phenomenological method for data analysis, the study elicits two
distinct invariant structures ‘disequilibrium in status quo’ and ‘divinity salience’.
Keywords: disequilibrium in status quo, divinity salience, eudaimoniic well-being, Halal executives
Introduction
And when My slaves ask you [O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)] concerning Me, then [answer
them], I am indeed near [to them by My Knowledge]. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant
when he calls on Me [without any mediator or intercessor]. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so
that they may be led aright (Quran 2:186).
Earmarked as the global Halal center (Aziz, 2018), Malaysia’s Halal industry is all geared up
to become the country’s income generator. The industry contributes RM43 billion in export value that
translated to an approximate 7.5 percent of Malaysia’s GDP in 2017. In the same year, it attracted
RM13.3billion foreign investments and created 28000 jobs. Globally, the Halal industry will reach
USD6.4 trillion by the end of 2018 while the Malaysian export is expected to be worth RM50billion
in the same year (Rasid, 2018). Halal is however no just a brand. Halal is a gift from the Divine, the
divine Will of the all Mighty Creator who lovingly calls upon all his servants: "O' mankind! eat of
what is in the earth lawful and good; and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Surely he is a manifest
foe for you." (Quran 2:168). Halal food and services must be provided on a deeper spiritual level
(Ariff, 2018) for the benefits of the Muslims a provision that integrates the underlying philosophy of
Halal and tayyib. In a special address at the World Halal Conference 2018 (WHC 2018), the sultan
of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said,
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So, ladies and gentlemen: I hope we can behave by striving to make the world a better place for the
entire human race, thereby realizing our full potential and mandate as the Adamic man and woman.
We can make a start by understanding that the true philosophy of halal is one that embraces tayyib in
all of our end-to-end dealings in this world. Let us take this realization forward in continuing to
foster a truly halal economy, an economy in which the sum of its parts is not only in full legal
compliance, but is also in divine concord.”
The current trends of researching into regulations and systems alone is no longer sufficient .
There is a dearth need for new knowledge that spells out values, beliefs and mindsets of people
needed to drive the system. The quest for the divine concord will require more than just systems,
procedures and hard skills development. The anticipated 330000 Halal workforce and 15000
positions for Halal executives by 2019 (Bidin, 2016) is a number worthy of exploration. HEs are the
most sought after profession in the Halal industry (YADIM, 2019). The industry demands competent
food professionals (Riaz & Chaudry, 2018).
The idea of eudaimonia though coined up much earlier before Aristotle’s (384-322 BC) time,
he made it well known through his writings in the Nicomachean Ethics. It is his contention that,
there is exactly one final end per person, and what’s more, it is the same final end for each of us-
to be “living well” and “acting well” or eudaimonia. For the Muslims, eudaimonia should not be
something that is too alien because Muslims believe that man has been created “in the best of moulds
(fitrah)”. Allah says, And who is better in obedience (in deen) than he who resigns himself to Allah?
(Quran 4:125). The natural tendency to serve and worship God also referred to as deen is a specific
signification of the natural state of being, called “fitrah” or simply the pattern according to which God
has created all things. Submission to it brings harmony, for it means realization of what is inherent in
one’s true nature; opposition to it brings discord, for it means realization of what is extraneous to
one’s true nature’ (Al-Attas 1985: 57-58) as cited in Bhat (2016).
Since the consumption of Halal and tayyib products is a divine command, its provision is
therefore a form of servitude to God and an act of kindness to society. For the Halal executives, the
job requires a delicate balance between the worldly demands of commercialism and the divine decree.
This can be a real feat in an industry largely owned and managed by non-Muslims (Rashid, 2016) and
where commercialization, consumerism and industry practices are unsustainable and non-conforming
to the Islamic scriptures (Tieman & Hassan, 2015). For the Halal executives who managed to remain
long in an industry where turnover is a concern, understanding the well-being of those who stayed
long enough would provide invaluable insights on a knowledge that is largely western dominated.
Their experience of eudaimonic well-being will provide an avenue for looking at the phenomenon of
eudaimonia from an Islamic worldview. Though well researched in many parts of the world, the
interest on eudaimonic well-being has not gain much traction in Malaysia except for but a few (Khaw
& Kern, 2014; Momtaz, Hamid, Haron, & Bagat, 2016; Naeemi & Tamam, 2017; Ping¹, Li, & Eu,
2017) despite its phenomenal benefits.
Aristotle postulated that living well and doing well in acts directed towards fulfillment of
one’s potentials and excellence adorned by virtues are deliberate and conscious efforts. These efforts
may incorporate an element of hope in obtaining an appropriate amount of external goods or pleasure
(Vitterso, 2017), but is not its main purpose. Aristotle placed virtue and striving towards excellence
in achieving one’s unique potential as notably higher in ultimate life goods than pleasure. At its
foundation, eudaimonia is about self-knowledge and self-responsibility : know thyself and become
what you are (Carol D Ryff & Boylan, 2016, p. 55). Eudaimonia, generally translated as happiness
for Ryff (2018a, 2018b) is well-being with soul. This is so because it has the capability to advance
graceful transitions of one’s life with psychosocial flexibility (Bauer, Graham, Lauber, & Lynch,
2018; Carol D Ryff, 2017; Saunders, Huta, & Sweet, 2018; Straume & Vittersø, 2017; Waterman,
2017). Joshanloo (2018), who studied Muslims’ eudaimonia is of the opinion that understanding of
human well-being will be incomplete without incorporating eudaimonic well-being elements, for the
(ἔργον) ergon or function of a human being are consist in activity of the rational part of the soul in
accordance with virtue that transcends the self (Belzak, Thrash, Sim, & Wadsworth, 2017; Kraut,
2018).
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Modern interest in eudaimonia is highly attributed to Waterman (1990). Translating
Aristotle’s thoughts of eudaimonia as an experience, he believes that eudaimonic experience can be
found in personal expressiveness’ made up of two fundamental components, 1) activities through
which individuals advance their highest potentials, and 2) activities that further their purposes in
living (Waterman, 1990, p. 54). Together with Veronika Huta, Waterman clustered eudaimonic well-
being into four distinct clusters of research traditions noting that they share four common elements :
authenticity, meaning, excellence and growth (Huta & Waterman, 2014). The four clusters are; First,
experience: research on experience involves affects and cognitive-affective appraisals and generally
assessed through self-reports (Ryan & Martela, 2016; Vittersø, 2016; Waterman, 1990, 2013, 2015).
Second, Orientation: the orientation tradition seeks to address the ‘whys’ of behavior and often
studied as predictors of behaviours (Huta, 2015, 2016; Huta & Ryan, 2010). Third, Functioning : this
approach’s focus is on the ways of behaving, thinking and functioning and often seen as outcomes
(Carol D. Ryff, 2016; Carol D Ryff & Singer, 2013), and lastly behaviour: this category of analysis
addresses the what of a behavior. It includes the contents of a behavior as well as the characteristics
of the activity involved (Deci & Ryan, 2008; Fave, Massimini, & Bassi, 2011; Steger, 2016).
Exploring the phenomenon of eudaimonia within the Halal executives will benefit the
industry in general and would invariably fill contextual gaps in knowledge about the HEs and
theoretical gaps in the theory of well-being. This is a case of faith-based employment to ensure that
the food served to the masses is wholesome and good regardless of their faith. Echoing Joshanloo
(2018), the findings will better advice policy makers on the direction of the national well-being in
general and the Halal industry in particular.
This paper is part of a larger research intent and seek to focus only on the experience of
divergence in equilibrium and divinity salience as emergent and invariant structures in the whole
structure of HEs eudaimonic well-being experience. We describe HE’s lived experience of
divergence in equilibrium using Kurt Lewin’s (1943) force-field concept as this concept provides a
sound method for “analyzing causal relations and of building scientific construct” (Lewin (1943, p.
294)). The elements of divinity salience was traced to various Quranic verses and sayings of the
prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Of interest are the ones related to the concept of taqwa. Mohsen (2007)
submits that the elements of submission to the Divine or taqwa is composed of two fundamental
dimensions: 1) Islamic spirituality - the relationship of an individual to Allah; and 2) Islamic social
responsibility - the relationship or intentional acts of an individual with others or his environment for
the sake of Allah. Taqwa encompasses the ideal ethical value summed in the Quran. It represents the
moral grounding that underlies human action and the ethical conscience that keeps Muslims vigilant
of their responsibilities to God and society (Nanji, 1991, p. 3).
Methodology
The goal of this research was to answer the question “what is the experience like?” and was
better advised using the person-driven approach; one that is contextual in nature and allow for
manifestations of multiple realities of the lived experience of the Halal executives. From the
philosophical point of view, phenomenology is a meaning-giving method of inquiry that hinges on the
belief that consciousness is both pure and bare. The phenomenological epistemology and ontology
guided the study. “The flexibility of the method allows its creative adaptation to diverse topics,
research problems,, and styles of researchers” (Wertz et al., 2011, p. 130). This research adopted
Giorgi’s (2009) phenomenological psychological methodology for data analysis. It is a psychological
research method using lifeworld descriptions applicable to the full spectrum of psychological subject
matter (Giorgi, Giorgi, & Morley, 2017). The learned Professor Giorgi had confirmed via an email to
the researcher on 15 November 2017 as regards flexibility and applicability of the method in the
current research. The method provides not only clear description of procedures for collecting
concrete, lifeworld psychological phenomena but also the processes for analyzing the structures and
meanings of the phenomena.
Three participants who are Halal executives from three different Halal certified food and
beverage companies fit and fulfilled the requirements as participants for the research. They each have
Jalilah Ahmad, Rosmimah Mohd. Roslin and Mohd. Ali Bahari Abdul Kadir
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served as Halal executives in their respective companies for more than six years and had experienced
eudaimonic well-being some time in their lives as Halal executives. Sampling was purposive
followed by snowballing, a technique best suited to answer questions on lived experiences. The lead
researcher approached and interviewed nine participants from different Halal certified food and
beverage companies. Selection of participants for full interview depended on their ability to provide
rich data. Those dropped were either too shy or had problem in describing the experience. The
number of participants selected was three. The search for participants stopped at the ninth HE who
became the third selected participant when data reached saturation. There was nothing new that we
were able to gain from the third participant. To ensure confidentiality and comfort, we conducted the
interviews in a private and quiet room of the HEs place of work. Each interview had lasted for
approximately one hour. To ensure transcribed data retain the freshness in the experience described,
the researcher had obtained permissions for the interviews to be audiotaped. For the same reason,
audio materials were transcribed on the same day. The researchers had adopted two different
methodologies for data analysis - NVivo 12 software for qualitative data management to explore
salient constructs that describe the experience and Giorgi (2005 ) 4 steps descriptive psychological
phenomenological method for data analysis to determine invariant structures that describe the tapestry
of the experience as experienced by the HEs. Together, both methods support a robust analysis of the
data collected.
Method 1: Using NVivo12 to explore the data
NVivo is a Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS). The main function of
CAQDAS is not to analyze data but rather to aid the analysis process not to supplant ways of
learning from data but to increase effectiveness and efficiency of such learning, and examining the
meaning of what is recorded. With the capacity to sort, match and link data, it can assist researchers
to answer research questions from the data without losing access to the source data or contexts from
which the data had come. The use of the software helps ensure rigour in the analysis process (Bazeley
& Jackson, 2013, p. 3). The software helped the researchers manage data, manage ideas, query their
data, visualize their data and generate reports from the data. As a qualitative data management
software, it allows the researcher to gain richer insights from their data. Word frequencies and key
words in context allowed the researcher to identify patterns in the content across their data sources.
Miles, Huberman, and Saldana (2013, p. 10) suggest some commonalties in the descriptive analysis
that can be easily adopted in phenomenological studies and in many ways supported by NVivo;
Assigning codes or themes: theming the data is appropriate for exploring a participant’s psychological
world, their emotional experiences, identity development and constructs (Giorgi, 2012; Wertz et al.,
2011).
Step 1: Word frequency query
The word frequency query is a data-mining tool that conduct searches in selected text and identify
the (up to 1,000) most frequently used words in that text. It displays the result as a summary list or tag
cloud and serves to also search for stemmed words and synonyms. It is therefore an appropriate
strategy for generating ideas for follow up with other interpretive tools. The researchers began with
identifying five most frequently used stemmed words with three letters. They then proceeded to
review the list of words found and follow up by reviewing particular keywords in their immediate
context. The words were found to be useful in surprising ways and had been important for our
exploratory work as proposed by Bazeley and Jackson (2013, p. 110). Word frequency query in
NVivo is particularly helpful in the early stages of a project. It provides a list of the most frequently
occurring words or concepts in the transcripts and helps to identify possible themes. The cluster
analysis extracted in Figure 1 was based on five most frequently occurring words made up of a
minimum of three alphabets. The words “community”, “acts”, “changed”, “event“, and “think
emerged.
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Figure 1 Cluster analysis of the top 5 concepts found
in HEs’ Eudaimonic well-being experience
Working on the words ‘community’, ‘acts’, “change” and “think”, we seek to illuminate patterns in
the content of HEs’ psychological reality from descriptions of their life spaces.
Step 2: Coding and Themeing data using NVivo12
Miles et al. (2013, p. 200) had suggested that the use of inVivo or the act of assigning themes direct
from the participants’ own language is amicable. The researchers refrain from doing so to maintain
trustworthiness of the data and the psychological descriptions provided. Giorgi’s descriptive
psychological phenomenological method provided the tool needed to uncover themes present in the
transcribed text. This method to the researcher is not an option but a necessity due to the nature of the
methodology chosen descriptive phenomenology. Thus, psychological meanings delineated in
Giorgi’s Step 3 became the basis for identifying emerging themes. The extracted themes were fed
into NVivo as nodes for further explication of meaningful results. What emerged were numerous
interrelated constituents that were both temporal and spiritual in nature that constitute HEs invariant
structure of experience.
Method 2: Giorgi’s method for data analysis
Giorg’s procedure subscribed to the “nothing is added and nothing is subtracted” (Giorgi, 2009)
axiom and hold the researcher to scientific accountability. The procedure provides credible and
trustworthy treatment of the transcribed interview in clear steps and control; and guiding discoveries
into meanings and structures for describing the life world of psychological phenomena. The analysis
is explicit, systematic and accountable (Wertz et al., 2011, p. 131). The four essential steps are
outlined in Figure 2.
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Figure 2: Giorgi’s Descriptive Phenomenological Psychological Method
Source: Adapted from Giorgi et al. (2017, p. 182)
Results and Discussion
From patterns in the content of the transcribed data, the five important concepts that emerged
provided a sound basis to further discoveries along this line of thought - community, act, change,
events and think. We concluded that HEs’ experience of eudaimonia is essentially the interplay of
definite temporal and spiritual processes grounded in the divine and the social structures around them.
Following Aristotle’s position that eudaimonia is an activity, we found that for each of the HEs, it was
an activity with an awareness of Allah’s power and Will. These activities to the HEs were
unexpected, perceived to be novel and complex, and has the capacity to displace their status quo.
Even though in a state of disequilibrium, the HEs had proceeded with intent and vigour bolstered by
divine faith and clearly defined valuable goals. Figure 3 is the project map of the experience
produced in NVivo12. We shall now proceed to describe the invariant structure of disequilibrium in
status quo using Lewin’s force field theory.
R = researcher
P = Participant
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Figure 3: Project map - The invariant structure of disequilibrium in status quo
Lewin suggested that at a differential change in the position dx during a differential time-period dt, the
change at the time of t depends only on the situation St at that time or;

  
A person’s psychological space or his ‘life space’ that Lewin refers to as a ‘psychological
field’ lies herein psychological locomotion or structural changes for a person. It is worthwhile noting
Aristotelian dynamics as cited by Lewin, “every object tends, so far as not prevented by other objects,
toward perfection or toward his telos while physical events are outcomes of “psychological drives”
(Lewin, 1936a, p. 41). Inserting all the elements found in the invariant structure of disequilibrium in
status quo produced equation 2. Equation 2 can then be simplified into equation 3 where HEs’
behaviour (B) is a function of the person (P) of the HEs themselves and his/her environment (E) or his
psychological region defined as ‘each part of the life space a region is to be coordinated’ (Lewin,
1936b, p. 170). For Lewin, it is a region that everything an object of the life space or in this study the
HE has his/her place, a space in which he/she moves and through which he/she carries out
locomotions. It is also a space in which the researcher can distinguish several positions or parts at the
same time, or which is part of a more inclusive whole. In this sense, the person himself/herself (the
HE) is represented as a region in the life space everything that is shown as a region in representing a
situation must be part of the life space. Lewin (1936b, pp. 171-170) stressed that in psychological
investigations one will have to use qualitative properties as well as locomotions in determining
psychological regions and their positions. The fact that the HE is in a particular region (RR) at a
given moment (P<RR) is fundamental for his/her behavioural decisions. The divergence/
disequilibrium to HE’s status quo is seen as consisting of various forces as perceived by them and
illuminated in the project map in Figure 3: Complexity (C1), Curiosity (C2), Novelty (N1), Need for
new motive state (N2), Unexpectedness (U), a valuable goal worth pursuing (V) and the ensuing state
of readiness for change (R). Inserting these into Equation 1 produces Equation 2. Equation 3
simplifies Equation 2. The forces at play in the topography of HE’s psychological environment as
she/he experienced disequilibrium is in Figure 4.
[1]
Equation 1
Jalilah Ahmad, Rosmimah Mohd. Roslin and Mohd. Ali Bahari Abdul Kadir
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
 F (C1 C2 N1 N2Ut,V 
B = f(PE)
Figure 4: Forces in HEs’ psychological environment of disequilibrium in status quo (DSQ)
Sample references from the transcribed data describing the state of disequilibrium and ‘valuable goal’
is provided;
P1: The day of the presentation, I wasn’t too sure, mufti’s office is all man I am a woman trying to
convince the ustaz and all (complex (C1). […] No matter what, I need to attract and convince the
mufti. (V)
P2: I think, when I didn’t do like that, they can do anything. Maybe they think just only Muslim.
Maybe can bargain. No, not with me” (Unexpected - U). […] I feel Allah give me that, maybe I must
be a strong to do something for halal. Because you are maybe the right person to do. Maybe Allah
give me the way. (V)
P3: I am not a talkative person. You know I am not the type that has influence (Need for new
motive state). […] I tell myself I must try … for how long will I be just like this. Then I try to
compare with my friends in other companies … not given the opportunity to try and do training (V)
We will now proceed to describe the invariant structure of divinity salience. Figure 5 is the project
map for divinity salience.
[2]
[3]
Equation 3
Equation 2
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Figure 5: Project map of the invariant structure “divinity salience”
Eudaimonia for the HEs were activities of the soul and of the intellect, manifesting itself in
well-defined intent and effort. The experience has a distinct awareness of the divine and appears to
be experienced in various acts of worships illuminated in virtues and desires, and in their religious
fear and hope. Their acts of worship of Allah as they described them are essentially not sheer
formalization nor in restricted ways of specific rites or specific devotional acts but are to be found in
their descriptions of their beliefs, feelings and their chosen acts of devotion to Allah. Gulen (2017)
psychological approach to the concept of worship is commendable and enlightening. Describing
human as beings that detest pain and attracted to pleasure, Gulen contends that we are inclined to bind
ourselves to the causes of pleasure with hope and ambition. He warned that it is crucial that we strike
a balance between them. Hope and fear are identified as “praiseworthy” when associated with God as
the ultimate object The comprehensiveness of the concept of ‘worship’ in Islam is found in two
distinct elements that are pleasurable to Him. They are (1) specific beliefs, feeling and visible acts of
devotion paid in homage to which He has commanded; and (2) all other acts of goodness generally
encouraged in the life of a Muslim since life itself is an interrelated and integrated whole of conscious
submissions to Allah (Bahmani, Amini, Tabei, & Abbasi, 2018). Basharat (2009, p. 30) is of the view
that Islam, which means ‘peace’ is underscored by peaceful relationship between man and his creator
and between man themselves (Badawi, 1989, pp. 95-96).
Divinity Salience as an invariant structure of eudaimonia
For the HEs, the experience of eudaimonia manifested itself in divinity salience. They
experienced the heightened awareness of the presence and power of the Divine creator that evoked a
sense of ‘fear’ of His wreath or hope for His mercy. They also experienced the awareness of the
purpose of the Divine’s wills and patterns; and in the freedom to be’ or according to Furqani (2017,
p. 141) the freedom ‘to do’ and ‘to act’ within the ‘protective code’ of the Divine will.
Awareness of the purpose of the Divine’s will
Human’s rights according to the shariah are a consequence of human obligations while the
effect of fulfilling such obligations are the gifts of certain rights and freedoms outlined by the Divine
Law. Islam has always considered the positive aspect of the intellect ('aql), but it is the Shari'ah that
guarantees the wholesomeness of the intellect. Pure freedom belongs to God alone, and personal
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freedom therefore lies in fact to the surrender to the Divine will (Nasr, 1981, p. 17). Sample
references from the transcribed data describing the structure of divinity salience
P1:“That day the PA said, “the mufti will call you after lunch.” I got the call from mufti that
afternoon. He said, “lets plan to do sesi pencerahan (enlightenment session) we call it, with all the
staff in the mufti department and the majlis agama of state A and then you can do your sesi
pencerahan at that time.” So, because at that time I was wondering what can I do, who should I
contact and all. Somehow mufti meaning he might got the message to call me (P1 shakes her
head, raises both hands and laughs excitedly). And then I manged to do the sesi pencerahan
(enlightenment session) within the next … he gave me two days to prepare.”
For P2, the experience with the serious non-compliance of Halal was the case for it. It was
the first of such case ever heard of in her years of service as HE and she describes it as God destined:
“Maybe Allah give me inspiration. Then he ask me why you. Why only you saw the situation, why
before this didn’t happen, the situation did not happen. I don’t know, but today I go the surrounding
my feeling not comfortable, I just wait. I want to know.” P3’s experience was described in his
acceptance that his position as HE was destined by the Divine and in his awe at the discovery of a
new potential, which for him was a gift from the Divine. You know I am not the type that has
influence. In a group I always follow. I never thought of becoming a HE but Allah arranged
everything[] Then I think to myself, wow… I have talent for training that I never knew I had.
Actually, I think I am good at it, it is something that Allah gave me, and I did not know.”
Praiseworthy fear
Al Ghazali describes the essence of fear as “the expression of the suffering of the heart and its
conflagration by means of the anticipation of what is abhorred as a future contingency” comprised of
three conceptual elements: emotional, cognitive and behavioural (Al Ghazali, 1965, p. 25). Fear or
khawf is identified as praiseworthy when associated with God as the ultimate goal (Bahmani et al.,
2018). In the case of P2, the pain of witnessing the sanctity of Halal being molested by irresponsible
agents that her company appointed was too unbearable. Her divinity salience was experienced as the
fear of God’s wreath. To P2, she was duty bound by her role as Allah’s vicegerent on earth and with
the earthly role of HE to ensure Halalness of the products that her company produce. P2 describes
her experience of ‘fear’; Allah can ask me why you as halal person, why you didn’t you do better,
why you don’t investigate first before this? Why you take third party supplier not Muslim? I feel so
sad because I am the person do the audit and I saw the non-compliance? [] I feel Allah will
punish me. I am khalif of Allah, I must responsible.” P3’s fear had been a result of being conscious
of his duty towards the Divine and an awareness of his accountability to Him - to spread valid
knowledge and to correct those that are not conforming to the shariah. As a Muslim with the
knowledge I must correct the beliefs that were wrong” … “felt my responsibility in Islam, the
knowledge will be spread out [] as a Muslim, to deliver knowledge, information.”
Justified hope
Hope is described by Al Ghazali (1965, p. 2) as “something desired, with pleasure and relief
of heart resulting from the expectation of it and the attachment of the heart to it and the occurrence of
its existence to your mind, that relief is hope.” It is a future oriented state, to attain pleasure in an
expected future (Bahmani et al., 2018). In the Quranic language hope is pleasant. It’s object relates to
God’s attributes of mercy and is founded on the belief in the life to come, and doing righteous deeds
with sincere intention (Iizuka, Hosono, & Katz, 2016).
It seems for P1 that all her worldly efforts would not suffice in the face of perceived
inferiority before a significant other the mufti. P1 describes her experience of divinity salience in
her hope and in her awareness of His presence and power through her earnest reciting of the doa or
invocations to the Divine: When I got in the car that morning I recite all the doa. I was nervous.
[…] When I reach the mufti place I stayed in the car to calm down and said all the doa that I can
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remember. No matter what, I need to attract and convince the mufti. P2 describes her experience of
“hope” : When I think about that, I feel Allah give me that, maybe I must be a strong to do something
for halal. Because you are maybe the right person to do. Maybe Allah give me the way. On the
experience of ‘hope’ P3 describes, I thought if they share the knowledge to others I will get the
pahala(reward from the Divine).
These are experiences of justified hope as described in al-Qahtani (1981) and McKane (1962).
A Muslim’s affirmation of faith according to al-Qahtani (1981) affirms four important elements; (1)
that the object of one’s worship is Allah; (2) that glorification and love are for Allah alone; (3) that
hope and fear are due only to Allah; and (4) that you are aware of Allah’s power and might, this is
taqwa. For the believer, love is for Allah alone and Hope too, is exclusively in Allah and one fears
nothing but Him and will not know hopelessness or despair. Citing the works of the famous imam Al
Ghazali, McKane (1962) describes three types of hopes (1)’justified hope’ when there are means of
obtaining the expected, (2) ‘self-deceit’ when the means are defective or in disorder, and (3) ‘wishful
thinking’ when the means are unknown. The hopes expressed by all HEs are indeed justified hope and
not self-deceit nor ‘wishful thinking’. They communicated their hopes to the Divine after ensuring
the best path to achieving their goal and after much time and energy being spent on it. According to
Al Ghazali (McKane, 1962), the essence of hope comprises state, knowledge and deed. The state
determines the deed, but knowledge produce the state. The action that succeeds hope is of higher
order action that follows fear. Allah says, “do not despair of the mercy of Allah (Quran 39:54). The
balance between hope and fear can result in the submission to the Divine and a wholehearted practice
of divine law and ethics (Bahmani et al., 2018). The HEs descriptions of their means of obtaining the
expected are as follows;
P1: First thing I plan was to ensure that the deck for the sesi pencerahan is totally fill up with
information, that I want the deck when I present, I want people to believe it, can take it and to ensure
it’s the new input to the mufti office that this is what Company X is about”. […] “I prepared the deck,
run through with corporate office to ensure that they are correct, practice a few hours, and a few
more hours. P2: Then they want to me to do … to check the documentations first. But I said, I want
to see the surrounding, the plant first, the documentation I can review after that. I want to go to cold
room first, the plant, logistic first. […] “I am feeling … because before this I didn’t feel brave. I feel
nobody can stop what I want to do at that time. P3: The preparation not only done in the office,
back at home also I prepared. I check the slides again and again, then I tried to give the speech at
home in front of my wife. I wanted to try out and test myself …..
Freedom “to be”
Humans, according to Islam, progress and develop according to the ontological source of
human existence and it lies in their surrender to the Divine will. Freedom to act and to do must
succumb to the guidance of the freedom to be or the freedom with the necessity to conform to the
Divine will which rules both the cosmos and human society, and which alone can prevent men from
becoming imprisoned in the narrow confines of their own passions” (Nasr, 1981, p. 20). HEs’
descriptions of their freedom ‘to be’;
P1: “My aim now I’m not into wanting higher position I’m more into sharing right now. I would like
to share. P2: “I think, “when I didn’t do like that, they can do anything. Maybe they think just only
Muslim. Maybe can bargain. No, not with me” P3: After the experience I believe that new things
will increase my value as a person and I can use the value for the benefit of other people around me.”
This is then translated into a topography of forces in the HE’s psychological environment.
We can now show how divinity salience (DS) supresses the restraining forces and the barrier to bring
the HEs (H) closer to their goals (V) in Figure 6.
Jalilah Ahmad, Rosmimah Mohd. Roslin and Mohd. Ali Bahari Abdul Kadir
120
Figure 6: Divinity salience as a driving factor in HE’s psychological environment
Conclusions
Extending existing research traditions on eudaimonia, the current research seeks to identify
the essence of eudaimonic well-being experience for HEs as Muslims in religious commercial roles.
The phenomenon of eudaimonic well-being experienced by the HEs invariably involves the structure
of disequilibrium in status quo and divinity salience. It fills a gap in knowledge on how a Muslim
entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the permissibility and wholesomeness of the food they
bring to the society at large experience their eudaimonic well-being. Well-being for them is more
than just ‘doing well’ and ‘living well’, but a well-being founded on the thoughts, feelings and actions
that are pleasurable to the divine, that is Allah. It is our hope that our discovery of the essence of
divinity salience as an invariant structure in the eudaimonic well-being experience will open up new
interest in understanding eudaimonia in different religion and cultures. In the context of the Halal
industry, promoting divinity salience will provide a sound foundation for the Halal economy to
integrate business with underlying philosophy of Halal and tayyib managed by people who live
virtuously in fulfillment of their purpose or telos. We suggest that future research would consider
fully operationalizing and developing instruments to measure divinity salience and its correlates,
determinants and outcomes.
Acknowledgments
The researchers would like to thank the Halal management team of Nestle for assisting in the
preliminaries. Their assistance has made it possible to develop a more rigorous interview protocol
used in this study.
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... Research on human well-being or qualities of lives has explored two general perspectives [34] that date back to Greek philosophers more than 2000 years ago: the hedonic (pleasure-oriented) approach, which focuses on happiness and defines well-being in terms of pleasure attainment and pain avoidance; and the eudaimonic approach, which focuses on meaning and self-realization and defines well-being in terms of the degree to which a person is fully functioning [35]. It refers to a perception of social harmony, reflected in societal concepts as adat in Indonesian cultures [36], satoyama landscapes in Japan [37], yin-yang in Chinese philosophy [38], or religious concepts such as kosher or halal [39]. Eudaimonic well-being may well be an acquired taste during an individual's development, achieved when aspirations, rationalizations, and actions match [40,41]. ...
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