There seem to be some difficulties in understanding the role and orientation of IM for some people. So here are the differences between IM and the usual online stores targeting Muslims, listed point by point.

The product range is not necessarily “typically Muslim”; the business conduct is.

IM is not specifically targeted at Muslims, but at everyone. What makes the marketplace Islamic is not necessarily the products and services offered there, but rather the way business is conducted.

In typical Muslim online stores, you’ll find items like prayer rugs, hijabs, 7/8 pants, or prayer time alarms. You might not find such items (yet) on IM, but you’ll find everything else that is halal.

While the typical Muslim online store sells Muslim products from Muslims to Muslims, it often unfortunately follows secular-business practices. Fake testimonials, selling goods not in stock at the time of sale (forward-selling), manipulated sales top lists, or negligent handling of returns or very poor compliance with consumer and data protection rules are unfortunately very common in these Islamic stores. So, in terms of business conduct, they are not particularly Muslim.

IM takes the opposite approach. Unfair business practices are not tolerated, the most advanced consumer and data protection laws are adhered to, conflicts are quickly and personally addressed, etc. The “Islamic” in ‘Islamic Marketplace’ refers more to how we do business than what we sell or who is allowed to buy and sell there (which does not mean that we allow the sale of haram products or services).

We try to stay ‘clean’ – from the currency we use to fulfillment

We believe that every aspect of a business should be as clean as possible. See also the article “Ethical Website Creation“, which summarizes:

“All intermediate economic steps in the production of a good or the provision of a service are relevant. And in all intermediate steps, morals and ethics should be meticulously observed.”

And this starts with the currency used for transactions, which should ideally be riba-free in its creation and therefore socially acceptable, up to the flawless delivery of the product or service. Conducting business based on riba-infested currencies is like building a house on a rotten, moldy foundation. Therefore, currently only gold and Bitcoin would be valid payment options. Since remote trade with precious metals as a means of payment is not very practical in the age of e-commerce, Bitcoin is the only option left.

That’s why the merchants listed on IM must accept Bitcoin as a means of payment, for those who want to keep their businesses clean from the ground up. (What they accept elsewhere as a means of payment is none of our concern).

For Muslims, this is a matter of taqwa and hoping for baraka in every business transaction. For everyone else, it’s freedom from payment service providers and intermediaries that can be disruptive or even create extra costs. Regardless of one’s worldview, Bitcoin as a means of payment is better for everyone.

Moderated, Controlled

There are marketplace projects that take a decentralized approach, such as on a Nostr basis. But then who ensures compliance with the rules? That’s why this concept of IM has been set up centrally on a web server. Someone has to control that only quality providers are listed in this directory and that the terms and conditions are adhered to.

The principle of non-interference

Although it’s called a marketplace, strictly speaking, IM is just a directory. A place where all merchants and service providers can showcase themselves and their goods. The purchasing process does not go through IM. There’s no shopping cart, no checkout, IM doesn’t act as an escrow or payment service provider. Each transaction is direct between the customer and the provider, peer-to-peer. All we provide is a contact form on each product and merchant page. The inquiries sent by a customer there go directly to the provider as an email. We don’t intervene here either; we don’t see the emails, we don’t even log who wrote to whom. Everything happens ‘behind our backs,’ as we have no right to intervene in any way. Everything is in compliance with data protection laws. All we do is take the contact email address from the provider and protect it behind a contact form, which is only visible after login, from spammers and other abuse. What happens after the first contact between customer and provider is entirely up to them.

The only case where we intervene, actively get involved, is when a business transaction goes awry or one party behaves unfairly. Then we are reachable and try to mediate. Furthermore, the customer also has the option to rate and leave a review about the provider, which must also correspond to the facts.

Free of charge for everybody

And now the best part: It costs providers nothing. Absolutely nothing. As I said, we don’t take any commission per sale, no membership fee. We don’t even display ads or monetize IM in any other way. We don’t collect and sell data from anyone. IM itself has no business model, no income at all. Maybe sponsors someday, but they wouldn’t get anything more than a sponsor link in the site footer.

And of course, it doesn’t cost customers anything to register with IM and contact a provider.


That’s the philosophy behind IM. That’s what makes IM unique on the internet.

Comments

  • Susann
    Reply

    So many good points, mashAllah. I hope more people will try out the advantages of this project .

  • Fajr
    Reply

    May Allah increase the Good in it🤲🏿

    • Islamic Marketplace Logo
      Islamic Marketplace
      Reply

      Jazakuallah Khairan

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