Generally, level of faith in stating, ‘None of

Generally, ethics are the application of values to human actions
and behaviours. In lslam, ethics deal with issues of right and wrong, morality
of conduct and relationships in marketplace. Ethics are moral standards that
govern human conduct and individual relations with others. Islamic ethics are
founded on four interrelated concepts: ihsan, relationship with others, equity
and accountability. These set the framework for ethical conduct and behaviour. The
philosophy of ihsan implies goodness and generosity in inter action and
conduct, be it at a personal or organizational level. Ihsan is a commonly held
philosophy which closely shapes individual and group interaction within
organizations. As projection goodness and generosity ihsan, practically and
spiritually, encompasses mercy, justice, forgiveness, tolerance and
attentiveness. These aspects are related to the second element which is succinctly
articulated by the Prophet Muhammad’s saying: ‘Al-din al-muaamala’ (religion is
found the way of dealing with other people) That is, judging whether any action
or conduct is right or wrong must stem primarily from its benefit to people and
society.

Stating it differently, the philosophy of ihsan treats
relationships and interaction as primarily personal, non-discriminatory, and
beneficial beyond self and immediate interests. In the Qur’an (49:13) states,
“The noblest of you in the sight of God is the best of you in
conduct.” The Prophet Muhammad underscored this when he defined the obligations
of the faithful in terms of relationships to others and with a responsibility
to: ‘feed (the poor) and offer 
salutation to whom you know and to whom you do not know.’ In the
marketplace, the Prophet underscores the necessity of sincere and pleasant conduct:
“May god have mercy on the person who is generous when he buys and when he
sells and in what he demands.”  Human considerations,
therefore, in the marketplace, take a priority in matters related to organizational
conduct and exchange. According to the Quran (2:148). “To each is a goal to
which God turns him: then strive together towards all that is good.”

 This non-discriminatory
aspect, in terms of exchange, implies a fair and equal treatment of all players
the marketing process. The Qur’an (49:13) explains, “O mankind! We created
you from a single (pair) of male and female and made you into nations and tribes
that you might know each other….” Knowing each other implies not only a quest
for familiarity but also an exchange process. It is in this exchange process
that neither coercion nor deception is sanctioned. This is exemplified by the
saying of the Prophet, ‘The buyer and the seller have the option (of cancelling
the contract) as long as they have not parted, then if they are both truthful
and transparent, their transaction shall be blessed, and if they conceal and
tell lies, the blessing of their transaction shall be obliterated.’
Furthermore, the goal of the exchange must be beneficial to all participants
and to society at large. The Prophet elevates selflessness to the level of
faith in stating, ‘None of you has faith unless he loves for his brother what
he loves for himself’ and ‘Every good deed is charity.’ This along with Quran
instruction (49:13) is expected to lead to harmonious relations among players
in the exchange function resulting in smooth transactions and operations.

Equity constitutes a necessary element in the workplace to ensure
that social welfare is strengthened and fairness is not overlooked. It is
reported that an Arab woman questioned the fourth Muslim Caliph, Ali (598-66l
CE), because her food allowance was equal to that of a non-Arab female, He
informed her, ‘I looked in the Qur’an and did not find a preference for the
sons of Ismail Arabs over those of Isaac Jews’ (quoted in Glaachi, 2000,
p.39). Nevertheless, differences do exist in knowledge and capabilities. The
Our’an (46:19) states ‘And to all are degrees according to their deeds’ and
(39:9) say: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not
know?” In marketing, this implies that while corporations should treat
customers equally regardless of where they are residing, customers in their
capacity to buy, spend and perceive marketing messages, among others, are
different These differences must be capitalized on in order to optimize service
to customers and meet the demands of multistakeholders (influential actors who
have an interest in the actions of a company).

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The fourth foundation of Islamic ethics is responsibility. The
Qur’an clarifies that what one does is solely his/her responsibility and no one
should be held responsible for the mistakes of others (17:15): ‘No bearer of
burdens can bear the burden of another.’ In the context of marketing,
responsibility primarily centers on avoiding cheating and misleading others.
For this reason, Islamic ethics prohibit hiding known defects. The Prophet
instructs, ‘A seller must not sell an item to a buyer without stating its
defect’ ( quoted in Raghib, 1995. p.341). Furthermore, decoy shoppers (those
who bid on a product to induce a potential buyer to pay a higher price and
elicit interest in the item or who intentionally lure a consumer to select a
product over others) are prohibited as evidenced in the instructions of the
Prophet: ‘Decoying in sales is prohibited’ (quoted in Raghib, 1995. p.341).