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Islamic challenges to advertising: a Saudi Arabian perspective

Akram Abdul Cader (Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA.)

Journal of Islamic Marketing

ISSN: 1759-0833

Article publication date: 8 June 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to synthesize the existing research on Islam and advertising with the perspective of the Salafi authority of Saudi Arabia. This study is an exploration of the impact of the conservative interpretation of Islam on advertising.

Design/methodology/approach

This study critically reviews the literature on advertising in Islam, specifically in the context of the conservative religious Saudi Arabia, Islam and advertising and its connection with the interpretations of the religiously conservative segment of Saudi Arabian society. This systematic review covered 42 studies in Islamic advertising and Salafist/Hanbali jurisprudence, ranging from 1980 to 2014. These studies were validated through data triangulation using a meta-synthesis of 39 articles with 5 articles on Salafism and 5 Hanbali juristic texts.

Findings

The investigation concludes that there are several factors to be considered when developing advertising messages and content for the conservative segment of Islam. The considerations are as follows: (C1) avoidance of Islamic creedal taboos and displays of immorality; (C2) avoiding usage of musical instruments and taboo entertainment; (C3) women must be dressed appropriately, and gender roles must be in conjunction with Islamic texts; and (C4) avoiding deceptive marketing, defaming competition, and ambiguous transactions. Although there was a general consensus on C1 and C3, few studies discussed C2 and C4. Hanbali jurisprudence, the official school of thought in Saudi Arabia, was found to be in agreement with all four considerations. Additionally, the study synthesizes previous studies and contributes more knowledge to the few existing literature on the topic of Islam and advertising. A better understanding of the conservative interpretation of Islam can contribute to scholarship in the field of Islamic marketing.

Research limitations/implications

This paper was limited to the Salafist/Wahhabist interpretation of Islam based on Hanbali jurisprudence found in Saudi Arabia. The findings of this paper can be extended and validated through studying the attitudes of Salafists in different regions toward advertising messages and content.

Practical implications

This paper was limited to the Salafist/Wahhabist interpretation of Islam based on Hanbali jurisprudence found in Saudi Arabia. The findings of this paper can be extended and validated through studying the attitudes of Salafists in different regions toward advertising messages and content.

Originality/value

This study adds to the limited research on Islamic attitudes and challenges toward advertising in the Middle East. The study reviews existing research and utilizes religious rulings to research the conservative Islamic perspective of advertising.

Keywords

Citation

Abdul Cader, A. (2015), "Islamic challenges to advertising: a Saudi Arabian perspective", Journal of Islamic Marketing, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 166-187. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIMA-03-2014-0028

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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