Marketing Reflections from the Creation of Prophet Adam (as)

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Firstly, let me make a qualifier that this is not a Quranic commentary that should not be taken as Tafsir (or compared with any of the great Tafsir which already exist) by any accounts, but rather a mere personal reflection. This is because any Tafsir requires ample knowledge of the Arabic language in present and past contexts, reasons of revelation, and relevant Prophetic traditions that surround the Quranic verses, among other specializations in Islamic textual sciences.

In the Quran, God describes the creation of Adam in Chapter 2, verses 30 to 34 which means:

And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.” (2:30)

And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.” (2:31)

They said, “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.” (2:32)

He said, “O Adam, inform them of their names.” And when he had informed them of their names, He said, “Did I not tell you that I know the unseen [aspects]of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed.” (2:33)

And [mention]when We said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam”; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers. (2:34)

Here are my personal reflections of the verses above, and how they relate to the process of marketing:

  1. 2:30 – The Birth of Marketing in Time: This could perhaps be the beginning of the science of marketing in time itself, when a new being is created, and a query is being made regarding the value of the being. Hence, a moment is created to market the being, in this case, Prophet Adam (as), in order to communicate the value proposition to the angels.
  2. 2:31 – Product Creation First, Before Promotions: Notice here that God in His infinite wisdom teaches Prophet Adam (as) the names of all things first before He asks the angels if they knew the names. I believe the order here is significant as it shows us that we have to prepare our products first with its actual value, before we start our persuasive advertising (and not the opposite which is to advertise even before we have the actual products or services ready).
  3. 2:32 – The Responsibility & Ethics of Consumers: As consumers, we cannot be arrogant and blind to value as well. We also have to acknowledge, give due respect, and respond appropriately when the proper body, organization, and even company, is attempting to present to us a solution to our problems. Our own unwillingness to accept our weaknesses, especially when solutions present themselves to us, will be our own fall.
  4. 2:33 – Again, the Birth of Marketing, & The Need to Promote: There is absolutely no need for God in His infinite power to even go through this persuasion process; He could have just made the angels prostrate and not go through the entire conversation which follows. But God allows the subsequent dialogue of convincing and persuasion to happen to teach us mankind valuable lessons in marketing and the fact that just because you have a good product doesn’t mean you don’t need to promote its value. God is the Teacher, and He is the first to introduce and teach us marketing. Even angels require persuasion from God.
  5. 2:34 – Not Everyone Will be Convinced: In marketing, Iblees is the epitome of the ignorant and arrogant target audience who will never consume the product despite its true value and ability to solve the person’s problems. Here, we are not saying that those who do not consume your products and services are Iblees. But rather, the lesson here is not to worry if your product never does manage to convince everyone; there will always be skeptics and laggards who will (or may never) consume your product only years after everyone else has. This does not mean however that you do not market your products and services with the best of efforts, but that after you’ve tried your best, know that there will be outliers who will not consume your product. So focus your resources on what matters and the value of the product, and do not be disheartened. Even God did not persuade Iblees (even though He easily could), in order to show us this valuable lesson in customer conversion.
See also:  Iqtibas and Learning Marketing from the West

And God knows best. These are personal reflections which are open to agreement, and disagreement as well. I welcome feedback.

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. Saud Alrakhayes on

    Great and Deep reflection Hafihz.
    I always had that thought that marketing started when Iblees tried to persuade Adam to eat from the apple tree utilizing its value proposition of giving eternity. Your reflections gave me a different way of looking at this. I just believe that some of these reflections are not easily understood by everyone as Marketing, because people unfortunately just see marketing as advertising.

    All the best.

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