Islamic marketing: the birth of a new social science

Journal of Islamic Marketing

ISSN: 1759-0833

Article publication date: 26 March 2010



Alserhan, B.A. (2010), "Islamic marketing: the birth of a new social science", Journal of Islamic Marketing, Vol. 1 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Islamic marketing: the birth of a new social science

Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Islamic Marketing, Volume 1, Issue 1

It is with a great deal of pleasure and enthusiasm that we, the journals’ Editor, Editorial Advisory Board, and publishers, welcome readers, authors, and contributors to the inaugural issue of the Journal of Islamic Marketing (JIMA). The journal has been founded to support Islamic marketing as a newly established social science that is introduced as an alternative to the traditional marketing theory and practice. It does that through adding a religious-based ethical framework to the practice of marketing. Such a framework, which opens a whole new array of marketing opportunities, affects the behavior of the consumer, community, and company in ways that could not even be envisioned by marketing practitioners who are restrained by short-term requirements dictated by the conventional marketing thought.

Why Islamic marketing?

In an Islamic market, religious teachings clearly influence the choices of Muslims. For example, the concept of Halal, which is comparable to Kosher in Judaism but with much broader applications since, unlike Kosher, it is not only restricted to food, affects every single aspect of a Muslim’s life; it affects the decisions of what to buy and what to sell, the terms, time, and place of the sale, the promotional activities, and whom to transact with. It also affects margins, markups, and ingredients. In addition to Halal, these activities and decisions are also subject to the central Islamic concept of “no harm” which forbids all exchanges, activities, and transactions that cause harm to the Earth or to any of its occupants, including humans, trees and animals, seas and oceans, and land and air. An exchange that is perceived to be in violation of these or any of the other numerous detailed Islamic principles is likely to face major obstacles in a Muslim market that is increasingly becoming aware of the values dictated by its religion, which is creating complex challenges for international marketers who are used to neglecting religion in their marketing campaigns. The changes brought by this awareness are influencing Muslims economic decisions and forcing marketers targeting them to play by new roles and often in unfamiliar playgrounds that are characterized by transformed world markets, unusual advertising strategies, and religious instead of the rational model of consumer behavior.

The benefits of applying the principles of Islamic marketing, which adds an ethical dimension that is grounded in religion to marketing relationships and decision-making processes, clearly outweigh those of solely relying on the conventional marketing wisdom, which has a less than honorable record; one can easily notice that such wisdom has done little to bring order to the prevailing economic chaos or ease the severity of the economic hardships of the past two years, that is of course, if it is at all possible to assume that conventional marketing wisdom was innocent from creating such chaos in the first place.

A second important factor that is giving rise to the practice of Islamic marketing is the sheer size of the Islamic market, which is usually estimated between 1.5 and 2 billion consumers representing nearly a quarter of the current world population (Huda, 2009; PRC, 2009). The largest Islamic body, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, is composed of the economies of 57 member states, 50 of which are overly Muslim. The remaining members have large Muslim populations, although Muslims are not a majority in them. These 57 countries have a combined GDP of nearly US$8 trillion (before the oil boom of 2008).

These countries currently import US$1 trillion worth of products and export US$1.4 trillion, creating a growing combined market of US$2.4 trillion. Although a significant percentage of exports are oil-related, both exports and imports span all types of industrial and consumer goods and services.

Muslims represent a majority in more than 50 countries and about one person in four of the world population heeds Islam’s call, embracing the religion at a rate that makes it the fastest growing of all religions on Earth. The impressive size of the Islamic market translate into real economic figures, with some of the Muslim countries today are, by far, the richest in the world. Moreover, although the overwhelming majority of Muslims live in countries that are overly Islamic countries, Muslims live in economically feasible numbers in most countries in the world, with very few countries having small Muslim communities that are not feasible to target. Muslims are increasingly becoming more observing and the rules that guide their lives are being increasingly Islamized as more and more people resort to religion as an identity and as a way of salvation. As the influence of the Sharia-compliant supporters increases, the whole society is being driven towards Sharia-compliant marketing practices. For example, more and more television advertisements in the Arab world are being produced using animations and cartoons or women wearing head scarves. The traditional reliance on the look of beautiful Arab women wearing non-Islamic outfits to sell, although still having many advocates, is being gradually replaced by more Islamic substitutes under the overly strong influence of the more conservative trends in these societies.

Research opportunities in Islamic marketing

Islamic marketing provides almost unprecedented research opportunities for researchers, academics, and professionals. Moreover, the publication arena in this area remains virtually vacant and researchers have much greater possibilities for publishing and making actual pioneering contributions than in any other comparable social science. It is indeed a rare chance that is hard to come by again, it should not be missed. After all, it is not everyday that a new social science is introduced?

Possible areas of investigation in Islamic marketing include, but not limited to, trade with the Islamic world, the Muslim consumer, the Islamic marketing mix, Islamic branding, Islamic retail and distribution channels’ practices, Islamic pricing practices, Islamic franchising practices, Islamic market segmentation, the Muslim consumption pattern, the Muslim dressing pattern, gender separation and its implications, Islamic life style markets, Islamic marketing/business ideals, advertisements and promotions to Muslims, current trends in Islamic markets, commercialising Islam, global events and the Muslim consumer, Islamic hotel branding and Muslim hospitality, the global Halal market and the Halal supply chains, Halal excellence centers, the global Islamic finance market, Islamic financial services marketing, e-marketing in Islamic markets, Islamization of commerce, Islamic products global image positioning, etc.

The journal’s progress

The JIMA has had a warm welcome by academics and professionals around the world. Numerous messages of support, encouragement, and interest continue to be received from as far as Argentina and Brazil in the West to New Zealand and Australia down under. This interest has been expressed in the noticeable number of submissions received from authors having different academic, professional, cultural, and religious backgrounds, which truly helps position and promote the journal as having an international focus. The journal has also helped create awareness and momentum in the field of Islamic marketing worldwide. International research teams composed of well-known researchers are being formed with the help and participation of some of the Journal’s Editorial Advisory Board to establish research in the various fields of Islamic marketing, including Islamic branding, Islamic hospitality, Halal innovation, and the Islamic food bridge, to mention only a few. The journal promotion has also instigated the idea of Islamic marketing conferences, which is currently being pursued in several countries in three continents.

The journal’s outlook

The JIMA is envisioned to be among the most widely acknowledged journals in the field of marketing and to be a top-tier journal within the first five years of its launch. Towards that end, the Journal:

  • continues to attract some of the world’s most brilliant minds in marketing and management to serve on its Editorial Advisory Board and to guide its progress;

  • continues to establish links with researchers and research institutions all over the world;

  • implements coordinated awareness campaigns utilizing the skills, resources, and networks of its dedicated EAB members and publishers; and

  • adheres to a very strict policy of author service as indicated in its code of conduct.

The code of conduct of the JIMA

The Editorial Team of the JIMA including the Editor, the Editorial Advisory Board, and the publishers acknowledge and respect the importance of the time factor for the journal’s authors and hence vow not to waste it and not to keep authors waiting needlessly. To achieve that, the Editorial Team will abide by the following set of rules in managing the various affairs of the Journal:

  • Authors’ general and support inquiries will be answered within 24-48 hours.

  • Decisions on manuscripts will be made within a maximum period of 15 weeks. The Journal’s Editorial and Review Teams will provide professional reviews benchmarked against the best journals in the area of marketing within the specified time frame.

  • If, during the review process, it becomes evident that a review will take longer than the specified 15-weeks period, affected authors will be notified and given the choice to either keep the paper in the journal’s review process or to withdraw it.

  • If authors decide to withdraw a manuscript from the Journal’s review process their future submissions will not be affected whatsoever.

  • Authors will never be asked to reference papers published in the JIMA as an “implied” precondition for publication in the Journal.

  • The quality and contribution of the manuscript is the only factor underlying the publication decision.

Bakr Ahmad Alserhan


Huda (2009), “World’s Muslim population: statistics about the Muslim population of the world”, available at: (accessed December 21, 2009)

PRC (2009), Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population, Pew Research Center, Washington, DC

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