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Survey of Electronic Business in an Islamic Environment Research Paper


Electronic business, also known as E-business is the fastest growing industry in the world. The emerging technologies have given this industry a new shape. As Piercy (2009) notes, electronic business has undergone a complete revolution. This scholar holds that this industry is the most affected by the emerging technologies.

This is partly attributed to the increasing globalization that is taking place in the world. The world has been turned into a global village. The geographical barrier has been completely broken by sophisticated technological inventions. The boundaries have been eliminated, and cultures integrated.

The biggest beneficiary of this globalization is the business sector. By breaking the geographical barrier, it has been possible for business to operate in different countries simultaneously, opening up the space for growth.

An American firm can manufacture its products in Japan, and sell them in Saudi Arabia. This would call for sophisticated electronic gadgets that would help in coordinating these numerous units in different region. A manager, who is based in Japan where production is taking place, should be able to communicate with the head office in United States of America, and monitor progress in the Saudi market.

This can only be achieved if there is proper means of communication. Electronics have come up strongly as the solution to this requirement. Communication has been made easier through electronics. Video conferencing, phone calls, mass media (televisions and radios) and social media are some of the electronic inventions that have gained popularity in the business sector. In other words, electronic business has been facilitated by technology, which is changing at a pace that not many had predicted before.

New inventions and innovations are coming into existence and this has a very strong impact on human beings. No one can predict what tomorrow would be in terms of technology. Technology has left humanity guessing what tomorrow would bring. The scientists are also not able to predict what they would invent in future.

A number of analysts observe that after being in the technology industry for long, they cannot accurately predict what the future would be in terms of technology. Academicians note that when a scientist moves to the laboratory, he or she may not clearly know what kind of products he or she wants to introduce

Electronic inventions have also been popular in the social spectrum. Entertainment is very important aspect of the social welfare of humankind. Electronics offer the best form of entertainment. There has been an increasing demand for electronics like the radios, phones and television as the world embraces technology. Mobile phones have also become a necessity to many people as the need to communicate increases in the world.

Computers are also on high demand both for business purposes and for domestic consumptions. Technological inventions saw the introduction of iPad in the market. This electronic gadget (popularly referred to as the palm computer in some quarters), have gained popularity in this industry because of its unique features that makes it easy to use. All these products can be purchased electronically, using the website of the companies that deal in them

This business, just like any other, is strongly influenced by the type of environment within which it is operated. Islamic environment is one such environment that has very strong influence on this industry. According to Fifield (2007), religion strongly influences business performance because it defines the culture of the society. This culture can be advantageous or disadvantageous to a specific business.

Islamic environment has had a great impact on the electronic business. Islamic culture would always dictate the way men and women are supposed to behave within the society. It would dictate what women should own and what they cannot. Vincente (2009) states that women in an Islamic environment are always curtailed in various front.

Because of the power of communication with which electronics come, the society has been conservative in the adoption of these electronic gadgets. Conversely, these gadgets have been important in fostering the Islamic culture. Given the above factors, Islamic environment offer mixed fortunes to the electronic business.

This study aims to ascertain the potentiality of electronic business in an Islamic environment; putting focus on Saudi Arabia.

In this study, the researcher has specific objectives that are to be met, based on the topic of this research.

  1. To investigate the effect of religion and culture on business in general
  2. To ascertain the effect of Islamic religion on electronic business with focus on Saudi Arabia

In order to achieve the aforementioned objectives for this study, it would be important to justify the need for the study.

Electronic business is a relatively young industry in the world. Many electronic gadgets have been sold through brick and moter basis. Some of the old electronic gadgets like radio and television have undergone a complete shift from their original structure, and with this improvement, have come a new way of making sale of these products. New inventions have been made. A customer can make a purchase from the comfort of his house using the internet.

This has brought complete revolution to the communication industry. Electronics have completely redefined man’s way of life. A virtual market has been created in offices and homes as long as one has access to the computer connected to the internet. Many of the middle class individuals do not have time to go shopping.

Because of the possibilities of making the purchase through the websites, there has been a rise in the demand for electronic available products. The more the society finds electronics relevant to their social and domestic life, the more they purchase the items. Families would purchase video players, radios and television for entertainment, phones for communication and computers to help in various duties at workplace through the internet.

One fact that is important to note is that electronic business, just like many other businesses, is strongly affected by culture and religion of the society. Some religions are strongly attached to the cultural practices of the society. In United States, the societal practices can easily be detached by religious beliefs of the society. Religion would therefore play a lesser important role in business environment.

However, the opposite would be true in an Islamic environment like Saudi Arabia. In most of the countries that practice Islamic religion, it is very difficult to differentiate religion from cultural practices. Religion affects every aspect of the societal structure. Even the law governing this society is closely related to this law.

It can therefore be seen that a business environment in a non-Islamic country differs a great deal from that in an Islamic environment. A study conducted in a non-Islamic country like United Kingdom would not be applicable to an Islamic environment in many fronts. Many of the literatures available in this field heavily talks about this industry in general. Most of them have their set-up in Christian environments.

As such, they may not be applicable in an Islamic environment like Saudi Arabia. There are gaps in the literatures that are talking about electronic business in Islamic environment. This is despite the increasing relevance of this industry in this environment. This study was therefore aimed at filling the missing gaps.

It was meant to provide information that was missing concerning this industry in this environment to help investors who are either planning to invest in such an environment, or those who are already in it. This report would also be important to other scholars who would be interested in conducting research in this field. It would provide them with a basis upon which they can develop their study.

Electronic Business Environment in General

Electronic business is one of the fastest developing industries in the world. It is very robust and as Vincente (2008) notes, it is very dynamic. Electronics business has become very popular and they make the face of the current emerging technologies. According to a report by Baily (1996), electronics business is very popular because of many reasons. Many of the working class have very limited time to go shopping, unlike it was before.

They leave their houses very early in the morning and come back late at night. They work for six days a week, with the seventh day dedicated for prayers and visiting families and friends. As such, making the market available to them in their houses and offices through websites has been the best invention both to the business fraternity and to the customers.

Moreover, electronic business is less time consuming to the customer. A customer can go through several lines of products in the store within a short period of time. Some of the best products that are best sold through the internet are the electronic products used in various fields.

As Earl (2009) says, professionals need different types of electronics to perform different functions. Electronics are used in hospitals as life saving gadgets. An engineer would need some form of electronic, and so would a teacher, a lawyer, architecture, and virtually any other professional. All these products can be purchased electronically.

This industry has therefore become indispensable. Because of this, the industry has undergone many developments over the past half a decade. For instance, the computer sector has undergone a lot of transition. From large computers, which would consume a lot of space and energy, to current laptops and hand held computers like iPad? Computers are relevant in almost all the sectors of the economy. Because of its reduced price, people can purchase it for personal use. With the internet, electronic business is now a possibility.

Mobile telephone is another new invention that has completely changed the lives of many within the global village. The current internet enabled phones can facilitate e-market. Users can access websites of various companies using the phones and make a complete purchase, just as he or she would have done using computers.

According to Baily (1996), different environments pose different opportunities and threats. In general, business environment can be looked at from different fronts. The first front would be the economical front. Some of the electronic products are very expensive.

A product like the recently invented iPad is very expensive. It is a very relevant gadget to many individuals because it is internet enabled, but the price is prohibitive. A customer who wants to buy this product should be ready to pay huge sums of money. Economic strength of the environment would therefore determine how lucrative this business would be in a given region. However, some of the Chinese firms have been able to segment the world market based on economic status.

These firms manufacture products of high quality and sell them at higher prices to the first word countries through the e-market. It also manufactures lower quality products and sells them to third world countries at cheaper prices through brick and moter market. This way, they have been able to bring on board both the rich and the poor into their pool of customers. However, this is a hindrance to the development of the electronic business.

Another factor that affects the international business environment in general is the social structure of the society. Civilization may be given several definitions given different cultural practices in the world. Each culture is civilized in its own way. However, given the western civilization as per the western world specifications, most regions especially in the third world are not civilized.

Electronic business would boom in regions that are civilized. Such regions that have its populace appreciating the need to go digital in most of their operations poses as better markets for this business. At this point, culture and religion would be considered to play a major role.

According to Vincente (2008), religion may seem not to have any direct link to the electronic business. However, religion plays a direct important role in shaping this business. Religion would shape such factors as laws that run businesses in a given region. For instance, because of religious reasons, most Islamic countries have formulated laws that bar sale of pork within their countries.

Similarly, because the Christian culture and belief that holds that drug abuse is bad, very stringent measures have been put in place to bar sale or consumption of this product in many countries. A trader in the two products cannot sale them to these countries electronically or otherwise because it would lead to immediate apprehension. Religion defines culture; just at it would be influenced by the very culture. The culture and religion are the basis of law. The law would regulate various activities within a given environment, businesses included.

China has come out strongly as one of the major electronic manufactures in the world, besides other manufactures from developed countries. Products from this country find their way to other world markets, especially the developing nations where competition is less stiff. Because of the development of e-business, it is now possible for a customer in Saudi Arabia to make purchase of these Chinese products without leaving the Saudi borders only with the help of the company website.

An Overview of Saudi Electronic Business Environment

Saudi Arabia is the second largest Arabic nation after Algeria. It is an Islamic nation, headed by the king. Although the country has several sectors well developed, oil industry is the main economic income for the country.

Because of its wealth in oil, it is one of the most attractive business environments in the world to the manufacturers, traders in agricultural products, and many other products. In order to have a detailed analysis of the country’s business environment, we would analyze the country’s political, economical, social, technological, environmental and legal concerns

The political environment of Saudi Arabia has been very stable. A king, who has absolute powers and direct control over various issues concerning the state, leads the country. No serious political unrest that could pose a challenge to any form of business has been witnessed in this county. As such, the electronic business has had the opportunity to grow. The economical environment of Saudi Arabia has also been very attractive.

The country depends largely on oil as the main economic activity. The price of oil in the world has been very attractive, making the country able to finance most of its economic activities. Electronic business has therefore thrived because the country’s populace is in position to purchase electronic products that enables e-business. The social environment has posed mixed fortunes for the electronic products.

Whereas some aspects of Islamic religion strongly recommend the use of electronic business in undertaking certain purchases like learning materials, some sections of this law strictly prohibits consumption use of the internet because of some of the freely available contents, which are considered immoral. The technological environment of Saudi Arabia has been a motivation to the electronic business. The need for the country to adopt emerging technologies that make life easier has seen it embrace electronic business.

Environmental concerns have majorly been on pollution. Because this country is a developing nation, many electronic business firms may be tempted to dump aging computers here at cheap prices, with pretext of encouraging e-business. Environmentalists have strongly come up against such move, slowing down the sale of such products in the country. Legal issues have been on Shariah law. Saudi Arabia closely follows the teaching of Shariah. This law has largely influenced the electronic business both positively and negatively, as discussed below.

Laws of Electronic Business in the World

Every sector in any given economy is governed by a set of laws and regulations that help in its regulations. Electronic business is no exception. The world has a set of laws that govern the way this business should be operated in the world. One of the most important laws in this sector is the law of patent. The electronics is one of the fastest growing technologies. Inventions and innovation of the electronics take place at very close successions.

As Vincente (2008) notes, imitations of electronic inventions is very easy. However, this habit is always a big blow to the innovative minds. It takes a lot of effort, time and resources to come up with a new invention. When others steal this invention, the originator of the idea would be the one to lose. As such, the patent law has been put to protect the copyright of the electronic inventions. For instance, Apple Inc. has the taken patent of the iPad technology.

No other firm can produce this product or another product but using the same technology without permission of this company. Similarly, the search engines like Google have their technology protected by the law. Another electronic company that has benefited from this law is the Microsoft Corporation. Most of its products are patented and any firm wishing to use a similar technology must pay Microsoft Corporation some royalties.

This law has encouraged innovation in the world. Innovators know that other firms would not steal their inventions. The current electronic firms are also challenged to increase their research because if they are to match market competition, then they have to embrace innovation. They cannot imitate other competitors’ inventions. They have to come up with their own inventions in order to be relevant in the market.

Many societies around the world have not developed strict laws to govern contents that are made available by most of the electronic markets (the websites). The major concern has been pornographic materials that are available through the internet. The younger generations are easily attracted to pornography, which, as Harvey and North (2003) say, is very addictive.

This scholar laments that many of the principles that were cherished in many world societies like virginity among the girls are currently trodden upon by the youths whose minds have been polluted by such content. Although the society may wish to put a complete ban on availability of such products, these are adults and the governments may have little authority to curtail this trend, as long as in so doing, they do not interfere with other members of the society.

Many governments have put measures to control consumptions of these products in specified places. For instance, the law prohibits viewing of pornographic materials in public places. The law also prohibits viewing of such products by individuals who are not above the age of eighteen. While this law does not spell clearly the kind of punishment that may be mated against children who do not obey this law, there is a clearly spelt punishment for adults who make available, these products to the children.

The aim of this is not ensure that these minors’ minds are not polluted by the adult content. Any business firm that sells such products through their websites must develop some means though which they can ensure that people considered underage, as required by the law, do not consume their products.

Another very vital law governing manufacturer and sale of electronic products is the environmental regulation law. Electronic gadgets pose a very great danger to the environment. Environmentalists have protested at the rate at which electronic manufactures pollute the environment. Through conventions, laws have been enacted to regulate the production of the electronic products. There has been close watch by the environmentalists on the raw materials used by these firms.

Some specific raw materials are banned, as they are very dangerous air polluters. Besides the pollution at the manufacturing plants, these products require proper disposal because the wastes coming from them are also very poisonous. In many of the developed countries, laws have been enacted where consumers of electronic products would take these products back to the manufactures when they are worn out, and in turn, they would get some incentives from these firms.

This policy is meant to ensure that the environment is kept free of contaminated waste substances. Anyone who is found disposing electronic products any like other wastes would face charges. This has ensured responsible consumption and disposal of electronic products. As such, business firms that sell their products electronically are required to spell out clearly to the customers how their products should be disposed. The website should explain dangers that one may face if proper disposal is not done to the product.

Islamic Law and the Development of Electronic Business

Islamic law is one of the most important aspects of Islamic culture. It stems out of the Islamic religion. Islam as a religion covers many countries in the world. It is ranked the second largest in the world, with a population of about 1.5 billion worshipers. Although this religion is practiced in part, in many countries in the world, in other countries it is the national religion. Such country as Saudi Arabia has this religion as the national religion.

The state law is based on this law. Abdurrahman explains that Saudi Arabia is the heart of the Islamic religion. The two religious towns of Mecca and Medina are all in this state. All Muslims around the world are expected to pay a visit to this city at least once in their lifetime to pay respect to the founder of this religion. The state closely controls most of the nation’s activities.

The state law, which is based on the Shariah principles, is a guide to the nation’s social way of life. Until recently when the government gave in to the international pressure, government had control over most of the sectors in this kingdom. The government ensured that the nation closely adhered to Islamic religion. Although the government has since relaxed its rules on this, its presence is still heavily felt.

Law affects business in many fronts. Law regulates and at times completely prohibits some type of business within a given country. The Shariah law has influenced businesses within this country in a number of ways. Electronic business has been positively affected by the Shariah law.

Shariah law customer books are currently available in the e-markets. Amazon, the largest electronic business firm, has so many books available in its websites. A customer in Saudi Arabia can easily make a purchase of these products through the website. Baily (1994) explains that Shariah law may require learners to make purchase of specific books, most of which are available electronically. Such a customer will make the purchase because of the need to learn this law.

Religious leaders have heavily depended on local television and radio channels to reach out to the larger population of Muslims in this country, irrespective of their age. Because of the availability of these products in the e-market, it has been easy for the faithful to buy them in order to get such messages. Through this market, it is easier for the customers to know if there are new products that come with better services. This

The government has also found e-business very relevant. Technology is bringing in new products with better capabilities. Most of the newly invented products can only be found in the e-markets first. The Saudi government would easily get the desired product when they visit various websites. The government of Saudi Arabia is closely intertwined with the religion. As such, the products bought by the government electronically should be acceptable by the Shariah law.

Islamic Law as an Impediment on the development of Electronic Business

Although some of the Islamic laws may act towards improving electronic business, the law is very restrictive to this business in some respects. The Islamic religion, unlike other religions, strongly dictates the way people live. It has a number of practices it strongly prohibits, and in case the adherents break the laws, they would receive immediate punishment; some of which may even lead to death.

This distinguishes it from other religions, especially Christianity. Unlike the Christian religion that holds that punishment would come after one dies, the Islamic religion believes on immediate punishment here on earth. This has made Muslims follow the teachings of Quran.

One such country that closely follows this religion is Saudi Arabia. This is a purely Islamic state. Businesses are closely controlled by this religion. As Baily (1994), Shariah law has been entrenched into the national law. The two are inseparable. The law dictates the products that may be allowed into the country. The law has had mixed fortunes for the electronic businesses. Although this religion has been advantageous to this business as stated above, it has posed a major threat to electronic business.

Islamic law strictly prohibits certain practices among its citizens. There is a strict manner in which men and women should behave and relate. For instance, a man and a woman should not have body contact with each other unless they are close relatives. However, some of the electronically available products encourage this habit.

This has been major threat to this religion as Muslim youths feel attracted to this lifestyle, which to them is more liberal and less restraining. The society has therefore been concerned about this trend. In order to ensure that their children do not get to learn these habits from the electronically available products like radio and televisions, some have avoided purchasing these items, lowering the sales volume and attractiveness of the electronic business.

Although the government has not banned the sale of these products directly, some religious leaders have openly criticized some of the products. They have openly said that these products are major impediments to the growth of Islamic culture and religion. This negative public image has made sale of these products low in this country.

Women make very attractive market segment for such products as mobile phones, jewelry and other fashion products that are easily available through websites of different companies. According to a report by Fifield (2007), women wear are some of the products that are easily available in the electronic business firms.

As Soles (2010) reports, in the Islamic society, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in specific, women do not have the freedom men have. They have to seek consent from men in order to do certain things. When it comes to such items as mobile phones, women can only own them when their husbands approves of it. This has been a hindrance in the electronic business.

It is often that the husbands or parents would deny this group opportunity to own some of the products available in the electronic markets. They view this market to be giving women access to some products that to them are beyond their consumption. To parent, they would see this as a way of their daughters getting freedom as they can reach the outside world at any moment without the consent of anyone, a fact that goes against the teaching of the Shariah law.

Some also believe that by allowing their daughters make purchase of these products such as mobile phones, it may be easier for men to reach them without the knowledge of their parents because of ease of communication. As such, they may get involved in immoral acts that are against the law. It is therefore much easier to monitor their movements by denying them access to such products.

This would help them (daughters) keep the faith and the Islamic culture without the attempt to deviate from it. As such, they are strictly prohibited from making a purchase using the websites, where parents cannot monitor and regulate their purchase.

To the married women, electronic business poses a threat to the husbands. As explained by Soles, men in this society have been keen to ensure that they remain at the major decision makers in their respective families. Women are not given chance to express themselves, however much they may have the desire to do this.

The Shariah law supports this. According to this law, women have their place within the homestead, taking care of the children and keeping the homestead tidy. However, by accessing the e-markers, some husbands feel that women would be in a position to purchase any product right inside their houses. Purchase of products through e-markets has been made easier.

Some of the newly invented electronics in the world like iPad has received a massive acceptance in many regions in the world. It is currently one of the main products sold through electronic means. This product has been so attractive among the youths because of its advanced features.

This product allows users to access the internet with much ease. However, some features that make this product attractive in the market are the same factors that make the product loathed in many of the Islamic religion. The product allows user easy access to the internet, which many Islamic leaders have criticized as being too immoral. This has seen the sale of this product slow. Many religious leaders in this country have registered their dissatisfaction with the content of the internet.

As Vincente (2008) reports, many parents and religious leaders keen on following the teachings of Shariah law have been very uncomfortable with the content of the internet. They have therefore been keen to monitor their youths and not only discourage them from being attached to it, but have also taken measures to ensure that these youngsters do not access the electronics that would make it easy for them to access these sites.

This has been a major blow to this industry. Youths make a very attractive customer segments to such electronic products such as the iPad and internet enabled phones. However, due to the restrictions by the law and culture, the products have become almost illegal to this society. It is a symbol of immorality. It is looked upon as an item that gives a leeway for the younger generations to break away from the cultural practices of this nation.

This has had a direct negative effect on the electronic business. This so because the society is based on strict Shariah laws which demands that children have to obey the parents and follow their wish. As such, a large portion of the youths has avoided these electronic gadgets, not out of their own wish, but because of the wish of their parents and religious leaders.

As explained above, Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that have closely held the Islamic principles as put forth by the Shariah law. It one of the remaining few Islamic countries that has the Shariah law deeply entrenched in its national law. The principles of Shariah therefore are still closely held in this nation. Although freedom of the press is not curtailed, some of the content available has been viewed as a threat to the national unity.

The recent spate of violence in a number of Arab countries has made the government of Saudi Arabia question the role of media in this society. When it started out in Tunisia, many thought that it was an internal dissatisfaction of the Tunisia nationals with their leadership.

The whole world followed it through the mass media and the social media. However, when it moved to Egypt, one of the strongest Arab countries in the world, it was a sign that it was more than just a simple dissatisfaction of the Tunisia nationals. Hosni Mubarak, a strong military ruler of this nation who had managed to control this country closely was forced out of office and was subsequently arrested.

Before long, Libya government, with its longest serving military ruler, Colonel Muhamar Gaddafi was overthrown in a bloody coup. Other Arabic nations were also experiencing a lot of disquiet from the citizens. In all the coups, the militia or any other militant organization, but people of the nations did not organize it. The Egyptian case for example involved protests of the citizens in the streets.

The mass media and the social media would bring these events to the citizens of Saudi Arabia. The online content has not been very easy to control. The only way that the government can manage this is to use Islamic law as a deterrent to the youths who would be tempted to do as their colleagues elsewhere.

The government has managed to manipulate the law, heavily borrowing from Shariah law, to curtail sale of products that are viewed easing access to the media. This has reduced sale of electronic products. Through the same law, this government has put spirited effort to discourage the use of electronic gadgets that would enable the youths have access to the social media, which has been blamed in part, as the channel that has championed these revolution. This has further cut down the attractiveness of electronic business.

The best way through which this government has managed to limit the sale of some specific products electronically is through increased taxation. Because this government cannot put a total ban on such electronic business firms for fear of the repercussion from the international forum, the best way to minimize the usage of some these gadgets has been to increase the barriers.

The government has also restricted sale of cheap electronics, especially from China, into its country. Although the state said that this piece of legislation was meant to ensure that the country is not turned into a damp site for electronic products, it was clear that the country was trying to restrain some of these products from reaching the common public. As such, products such as the iPad and computers have remained very expensive even in the e-market.

Only a few from affluent families can access them. This law has seen a large section of the market curved out, reducing the sales margin, hence the profits gained by the traders of this industry. Although the upper classes may seem to be a more attractive market segment, the lower classes are always the defining force for a firm. This is especially so because of their numbers. Their great numbers would mean increased market share.

Some products that are available electronically such as electronic gadgets are completely banned as per the Shariah law. Such practices like homosexuality and lesbianism are strictly prohibited by the Shariah law and the state law. If one were found guilty of such offence, punishment would always be very severe. Because of this, the state law has completely prohibited the sale of products that in one way or the other help in the process of practicing such habits.

These include electronic toys facilitate this process. As Baily (1996) notes, these electronic toys have become very popular, especially in such countries like America. However, in Saudi Arabia, this product has no access completely. It is treated as an illegal product, just like hard drugs.

Moreover, these products need a society that is free, a society that would allow one to express his or her views without fear of intimidation by the society, or punishment. As such, traders of these products would be forced to look for alternative market for these products.

Another limiting factor of this law is its overemphasis on the boy child at the expense of the girl child. This has seen many of the girls stop their education at early stages in life. Although this may seem not to be a direct barrier to the electronic business in general, it poses hindrances to this business in a number of ways.

A society with less educated people, as Baily (1996) explains, would have limited need for electronics, especially such modern electronics like computers, iPads, electronics used by professionals and many others that would require some deep knowledge in order to use. Such products would therefore be irrelevant to this section of the market. Given the fact that this section of the Saudi nationals do not go to higher levels of education, they also do not get the chance to get descent employment that would earn them descent income.

As such, their purchasing power is reduced. They have to ask for the money from the male relatives, a fact that has seen them become lesser attractive customer segment for the electronic products. Given that they are the majority, this makes the country lesser attractive to the electronic business in general.

The perception and attitude of the society towards the emerging technologies has been an impediment to the electronic business. The older generation of this society who are deeply entrenched in the Shariah law view emerging technologies as a thing of the west. They consider technological advancements as a way through which America and its allies are trying to influence the world and further their culture.

The Hollywood movies have been a strong pointer to these members of the society of America’s determination to poison the culture that the Muslim society has held closely. Their music is also negatively influencing their youth as far as the principles of Shariah law are concerned. These products are easily available in the electronic businesses.

Youths who watch these movies would try to behave like the stars they see, while the songs make the girls feel that the world society offers much freedom to them with regard to dressing and general way of conduct. This perception has seen this group vehemently oppose the development of electronic businesses, because electronics introduces the youths to the outside world.

The law and the religious factors consequently affect the sales of Hollywood movies. These movies have great market in the entire world. They have shaped the behavior of youths in various corners of the world.

Although the youths of Saudi Arabia are equally attracted to movies, just in same way other youths around the world, the religious factors, coupled with the Shariah principles have been a great impediment to the development of this business. Many have restrained from these products as a way of obeying the law and staying true to the teachings of Shariah law.

Measures to remedy this challenge

Saudi Arabia forms can support electronic market due to a number of reasons. It is one of the largest Arabic countries. Because of its oil reserves, it means that the population exhibits strong purchasing power. They can easily purchase many of the products offered in the electronic market.

Many of the citizens of this country have embraced the emerging technologies, especially the youths. Selling products electronically in this country without any restrictions put on the business units can be a great experience to the concerned firms. However, now that the law exists and that there is need for development of this business, the stakeholders have been looking for a way through which the above restrictive laws can be amended to be friendlier.

The teachings of Shariah law and other Islamic principles are always done in the Arabic language. This law has always furthered the development of the Arabic language at the expense of other languages. Most of the electronic markets available in Saudi Arabia have their main language as English.

The websites of such firms as can only be navigated in English. To operate them successfully, it would require some understanding of English. Most of the citizens of this nation speak fluent Arabic, but then they struggle to speak in English. This has been a major impediment in the development of Information Technology.

As such, electronic business is slowed due to little technological knowledge. As such, there is need for the Saudi nationals to learn English in order to find it easy in using the websites. The law should also be specific on what should be avoided in the websites. No blanket ban on websites that sell various products in this country should be tolerated. Instead, the ban should be on specific products that are considered unwanted by the religion, the law and the state.

Laws of Electronic Business

The government and the business society all agree that there is need for laws that would help run the electronic business in this particular country. It is a fact that both the government and the business society agree with, that some forms of products that are electronically available are negatively influencing the youths of this society. They both agree that this may be an impediment to the development of Islamic culture.

Laws are therefore the best means that would help ensure that as this business thrives in the country, culture of the society is left intact, without any form of interference. As Piercy (2009) states, since King Abdullah took the reign of this country in 2005, he has been keen to make this society a little more liberal as per the demand of the international society. The international society has been putting more pressure on this country to reconsider some of the principles as put forth by the Shariah law.

The Shariah law was in existence before the electronic business. The electronic business should therefore be in line with the law. There are laws that have been developed to help balance off the society’s concerns, and the need to conduct business. These laws are meant to ensure that electronic business is given its space, but within this space, it does not undermine Islamic cultural beliefs and laws.


Electronic business is one of the fastest growing businesses in the world. In the world over, electronic business has been on the rise due to the emerging technologies that have brought new products, while improving the existing ones. E-market has become very popular, especially among the working class population which do not have time to go shopping.

They find shopping through the internet very easy. With internet-enabled phones, they are able to make purchase of any item, which would then be delivered to their doorsteps. The recent invention of iPad has been a major boost to this industry.

Like any other business, electronic business operates in various environments, which pose different opportunities and threats. The environmental factors may act as a motivation if it allows the normal operation of this business with limited or no restrictions. This environment can similarly be an impediment if it hinders the running of the business in one way or the other (Abdurrahman, 2010).

In any given environment, law is very important. No business can operate in a lawless environment. It would be very difficult to operate in such an environment because other entities may infringe into the business and because there is no law to guide the sector in case of such occurrences; businesses would be left with no option but to quite its operations in such locations. The electronic business has some guiding laws that help it operate normally.

One such law is the patent law. It protects the copyright of a given invention. Although these firms can stock any product, they cannot manufacture such products as their own. In Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, the law has an influence on electronic business. The teachers of the Islamic law use electronic books to pass on knowledge to learners.

These books are also available for sale in various websites. The arms of the government also need the electronics to store, transfer and retrieve required information with much ease. These electronic equipments are easily available through the internet.

However, this law strictly prohibits usage of some of the electronically available products. All the products with adult content are strictly prohibited by law. This is meant to curb habits that are considered immoral by the state. The law has some reservations towards some of the recently invented electronics that give users easy access to the adult contents. Although it has not barred the use of electronic market, this law has limited the type of products that can be made available through it.

Despite the above restrictions, Saudi Arabia remains one of the most potential business environments in the world for electronic business. Although the law has regulated sale of some items, it has equally been a motivation in the consumption of others.

For any business entity that may be interested in investing on electronic business in Saudi Arabia, or any other Islamic country that observes Shariah law for that matter, the most important factor to consider is the regulations put by the state on such products. With this, conducting electronic business in such states can be of great success.


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Rihanna Key studied at San Diego State University, USA, with average GPA 3.44 out of 4.0.

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Key, R. (2019, May 19). Survey of Electronic Business in an Islamic Environment [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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Key, Rihanna. "Survey of Electronic Business in an Islamic Environment." IvyPanda, 19 May 2019,

1. Rihanna Key. "Survey of Electronic Business in an Islamic Environment." IvyPanda (blog), May 19, 2019.


Key, Rihanna. "Survey of Electronic Business in an Islamic Environment." IvyPanda (blog), May 19, 2019.


Key, Rihanna. 2019. "Survey of Electronic Business in an Islamic Environment." IvyPanda (blog), May 19, 2019.


Key, R. (2019) 'Survey of Electronic Business in an Islamic Environment'. IvyPanda, 19 May.

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