Anonymous, 5 Jul 2020
Research on Middle East, Islam and digital media

The Islamic Concept of Meeting Place and its Application in E-Commerce

The Islamic Concept of Meeting Place and its Application in E-Commerce

Since the emergence of electronic commerce, a massive development and a considerable increase has occurred in every aspect of business life worldwide. The conducting of commercial activities via the World Wide Web (Internet), in particular, has played a significant part in the development of the commercial and economical sectors in many parts of the world.

Initially, commercial activities conducted electronically were not, specifically, regulated because it was commonly perceived that regulations might disturb and hinder the growth of e-commerce. However, as a result of the notable expansion of electronic market activities globally, many legal disputes and concerns have surfaced. This indicates the need for regulations to govern the new activities. Various countries and organisations globally have introduced rules and guidelines, based on their national laws, as a response to such need. However, little has been done to regulate the phenomena according the Islamic legal system. The scarcity of specific Islamic rulings for the online market has dissuaded many Muslim traders and customers from participating in electronic commerce.

t is obligatory upon Muslims to implement Islamic rules in every aspects of their life including commercial ones. From a purely commercial perspective, Islam has provided its followers with general guidelines which must not be ignored or infringed. Intentionally, the door is left open for market activities to be ruled on according to what the most suitable and beneficial approach would be, based on prevalent trade practises and customs. Since the early phase of Islam, comprehensive efforts have been offered to regulate the Islamic commercial sector. However, in the case of electronic commerce there remains a need for further examination by Muslim jurists and appropriate Islamic rules are required for the development of this new phenomenon.

The emerging electronic market has given rise to many legal issues; one of the major themes is online contracting or the ‘electronic contract’. Generally speaking, one possible approach to regulating electronic contracts would be the adaptation of existing rules from the off-line world, for online contracting. This approach would not only retain consistency but also provide minimal hindrance to the development of e-commerce.

There are numerous smaller legal issues which stem from the larger theme of the law of contract in Islamic law. The focus in this paper will be the Islamic concept of parties’ ‘sitting place’ of transactions. As a starting point, attempt will be made to define, in brief, the concept and explain its importance in the Islamic legal system. The discussion will be divided into two main situations; where the transaction is conducted with both parties in the same place (in one another’s presence), and the other case where the parties form the contact at a distance from each other. The issue of when the contract will be concluded and legally enforceable in the above two cases will be discussed next. Clarification will be provided afterward to the Islamic notion of parties’ option to withdraw after the conclusion of the contract known as “Option of Sitting Place”. An attempt will then be made to apply the concept of parties’ sitting place of contract to the online market. The application of the concept to e-commerce will thus be based on the real world Islamic commercial rules.