Islamic Law, Globalization and Emerging Electronic Commerce Technologies
12 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2006
Date Written: February 10, 2003
Network effects created by the use of electronic commerce technologies may put pressure on the community of the Muslim faithful to assimilate into global markets that do not comply with the requirements of Islamic law. At the same time, however, they hold the promise of greater access to global markets constituted in a manner that comports with Islamic law. There are significant structural differences in commercial transactions conducted in conformity with Islamic law and those conducted according to Western secular norms. As a result, the automation of Islamic commercial transactions will require the development and implementation of significantly different technical standards. Many Muslim countries now have low penetration rates for electronic commerce technologies, and the development of technical standards to support automated transaction processing in a manner that conforms to Islamic law does not appear to be a policy priority in those countries. If such standards are developed, then strategy and relative bargaining power will determine whether secular Western organizations wishing to trade with Islamic organizations are required to implement both Western and Islamic technologies in order to gain access to markets in Islamic nations, or organizations in Islamic nations are required to implement both in order to gain access to global markets.
Keywords: Islamic law, network effect, electronic commerce, fiqh, standard setting
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