Culture and Geography in Islamic Marketing

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Any serious study into Islamic Marketing has to take into account the different ways Islam is practiced in different parts of the world. While the underlying beliefs are the same, these differences could stem from a mixture of:

  • Different schools of thought in jurisprudence (mazahib) resulting in different interpretations of laws relating to modesty, culture and levels of acceptance in fashion whilst still trying to remain faithful to the Islamic values and principles
  • Different cultural elements unique to the setting of the region, possibly certain pre-Islamic practices which remain prevalent or due to the context in which the Islamic society finds itself in

These differences could give rise to different perceived acceptances in the way we market certain products and services. For example, certain dress codes which may be suitable for Muslim communities in Southeast Asia may be deemed to be unacceptable to other regions such as the Middle East, due to the different schools of thought underlying such opinions. It could also be that certain products and services may face the need to market from a more domestic inward angle rather than for others to admire (e.g. women’s clothing which serve the needs of pleasing the husband as supposed to outward showing to society).

The ability to grasp such nuances lies in a knowledge of the Syariah (Islamic jurisprudence) as well as a good cultural understanding of the region. Not having both is risky for the business as it may be perceived to not being respectful of the tradition should it unknowingly transgress these taboos.

See also:  Saying "Thank You" to the Customer in Islam

About Author

I have +10 years of unique industry and academic marketing experience in various sectors of the Islamic Business ecosystem, including integrated marketing communications of Zakat (Islamic alms-giving), product and brand management of Wakaf (Islamic endowments), and marketing and feasibility studies in Islamic Education. My Masters thesis studied factors affecting halal-food purchasing by non-Muslims in Singapore. I’ve also spoken at seminars and conferences including the Global Islamic Marketing Conference. I’ve published several works as academic journal paper, books, newspaper commentaries and website articles. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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