Iqtibas and Learning Marketing from the West

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In our attempts to persuade others to the truth, discouraging others from doing wrong, and calling others towards Islam with our character and good deeds, a fair amount of marketing is definitely involved. As Muslims, we all are technically required to execute marketing, everyday.

However the very word itself, marketing, was rarely used in the Islamic world when dealing with theology, and much of the advances in marketing has come from the west, with recent new fields such as neuromarketing. With that, can we borrow concepts from the West, and apply and adapt in matters of theology?

Of course, the answer is in the affirmative yes. The concept of doing so, is called Iqtibas, which describes the act of taking something of good value and knowledge that is beneficial from others, even those not in the Islamic faith, and adapting it to strengthen the Islamic community itself. An example of such an act was from the Prophet (saw) himself who, during the Ahzab war, listened to the foreign Persian advice to build a trench, which then proved to be a decisive winning tactic for the Muslims.

This concept of adaptation or Iqtibas is much needed in today’s world, as we try to correct not only the perceptual misunderstandings non-Muslims have about Islam, but to also advise our increasingly opinionated fellow Muslim brothers and sisters on what is only good for them. We need all the help we can get, and we should seize such marketing knowledge if it does not contradict with Islam, from whichever corner this knowledge comes from.

See also:  Threat of ISIS: Why religious teachers in Singapore need to learn marketing (with 3 key suggestions)

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.

2 Comments

  1. Muhammad Arham on

    Assalamualaikum wr.wb,

    Dear Sir,

    In light of your article above, I would like to note that although we could take the conventional marketing theory from the west, we shall not forget the foundation of that knowledge. The western knowledge is value free and do not based itself from Quran and Hadith. Moreover, taking the knowledge and apply it without further investigation regarding that knowledge is an intellectual gambling.

    Sir, in my humble opinion, any knowledge from the western world should be scrutinized first before being informed to the muslim world. This is to avoid the less informed muslim brother and sister from mistakenly “chew” the wrong knowledge of Marketing.

    This, among others, could be seen from the old adage “Customers Are The King”. If customers would like to have Riba based finance, would we want to provide one for them? The Quran and Hadith are the king. Allah is the king. Consumers are never the king because of the appearance of the so-called lust (nafs), and also judgment could be clouded by Syaitan, and hence it could lead to false demand. This is an obvious example of the material-emphasize character of conventional marketing, in comparison with spiritual-emphasize of Islamic Marketing.

    Only Allah knows best.

    Jazakallah,

    Muhammad Arham

    • Wslm, yes you have highlighted one very important point, in that at the heart of some of these concepts are principles which may not be in line with that of Islam, and in adapting these to suit a halal window, we may just be unknowingly endorsing something which we shouldn’t. I believe the endevour of Islamic Marketing will start with adaptations first, and as you have pointed out these are double edged if not threaded carefully. Truly reforming marketing from its principles should be the end goal of any serious initiative.

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