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CHAPTER 13 ARAB CULTURE Arab Culture PRISMs? In today’s world, should all cultures be secularized? Can religion be the basis for social law? Have organized religions helped or hurt the world more? Should all cultures be subject to a universal code of civil rights?

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chapter 13



arab culture prisms
Arab Culture PRISMs?
  • In today’s world, should all cultures be secularized?
  • Can religion be the basis for social law?
  • Have organized religions helped or hurt the world more?
  • Should all cultures be subject to a universal code of civil rights?
  • Should cultures have the right to discriminate on the basis of religious differences?

Extended family




Low Context

High Context

Social Ambiguity

Social Certainty

Low Power Distance

High power Distance



Emotionally Neutral

Emotionally Expressive

Quantity of Life

Quality of life

arab culture is diverse
Arab culture is diverse

There are 22 Arab nations

Only 20 % of Muslims are Arab—Indonesia & India both have more Muslims than all Middle East nations combined.
  • A fourth of all people are Muslim
  • Islam is second largest religion in many European nations (especially France & Britain) & the fastest growing American religion (with 1200 mosques in the USA).
  • Large populations of Muslims live in India, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia & East Asia.
The Arab nations that have traditionally cooperated with the West have been Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, & Qatar
  • The West has experienced the greatest frictions with Iran, Iraq, & Libya
  • Islam has no official ruling agency (such as the Vatican) and Muslims don’t have to belong to a mosque.
  • The 3 Muslim holy cities are Mecca & Medina in Saudi Arabia, and Jerusalem.
the 7 geographical zones of islam

Zone 1: Arabic (mainly the Arabian peninsula(Dominant language: Arabic)

Zone 2: Iraq to the Persian Gulf: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan. (Dominant language: Farsi (also called Dari & Tajik)

Zone 3: Black Africa (150M people): Ethiopia, Mali, Senegal, Chad, Sudan, Morocco, Syria, Algeria, Libya

Zone 4: Turkic zone people groups: Chechen, Uighur, Uzbdk, Kirghiz, Turkeman (Dominant language: the Altaic family of languages)

Zone 5: Indian subcontinent: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Muslims scattered throughout India & Nepal

Zone 6: Malay populations in Southeast Asia (220M Muslims): Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, sizable minorities in Thailand & the Philippines; smaller minorities in Cambodia & Vietnam

Zone 7: European Muslim minority populations: Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia; North Africans in France, & large populations of Turk & Kurd immigrants in Germany & 2M Indian Muslim immigrants in Britain.

arab nation democracy rankings the higher the score the more democratic
ARAB NATION DEMOCRACY RANKINGS (the higher the score, the more democratic)

Morocco: 35

Lebanon: 34

Iraq: 32

Jordan: 32

Qatar: 31

Kuwait: 30

Syria: 20

Algeria: 18

Libya: 15

Saudi Arabia: 13

1. Unlike Westerners, most Arabs don’t have a strong nation state concept (because so many of today’s Middle Eastern nations were set up by the colonial West in the first half of the 20th century). Arabs identify more with tribal identities and Islamic sects than with nation states, yet Western powers continue to relate to the Middle East from an unrealistic nation state perspective.
  • From a philosophical point of view, Arab cultures never went through the equivalent of the Western Enlightenment with its emphasis on secularization, nation states, & scientific skepticism.
Growth in per-capita income in Arab nations is the lowest in the world except for sub-Saharan Africa. On average, citizens in industrialized nations double their income every decade vs. 140 years for the average Arab citizen. Of 280M Arabs in 22 Arab nations, 65M are illiterate (2/3 of whom are women). The combined GDP of all 22 Arab nations is less than Spain’s; 1/5 of Arabs live on less than $2 daily.
muslims in america

American Muslims are fairly affluent, averaging more than $50,000 in annual income (vs. a national average of $32,000). Two-thirds have college degrees (vs. below half of the American adult population). American Muslims have larger families than non-Muslims.




Precise time of sunrises and sunsets 
  • Longitude and latitude 
  • Magnetic compass 
  • Extracted perfumes from fragrant flowers and herbs
Silk weaving 
  • Steel forging 
  • Harp, bagpipe, lyre, zither, drum, tambourine, flute, oboe and reed instruments
  • Water wheel, cisterns, irrigation 
  • Arab mathematicians developed the concept of zero, the decimal system, algebra, and made great strides in trigonometry. 
Reformed the calendar with a margin of error only one day in five thousand years
  • Investigated the relative speeds of sound and light
  • Arabs grafted a single vine so that it would bear grapes in different colors, and their vineyards were responsible for Europe’s future wine industries.
  • Brought cotton to European markets
arabic calligraphy
Arabic Calligraphy

28 characters read from right to left

classic arab literature
  • Sufi Muslims led the development of classic Arab literature.
  • Famous poets include ibn al-Farid (died in 1235) & Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273). Classic prose writers include al-Ghazali (1058-1111), Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (1077-1166), ibn Arabi (1165-1240) & Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyya (1292-1350).




Islam is meant to be a worldwide religion, not just for the Middle East. Muslims consider Allah to be the same deity worshipped by Jews & Christians (but Muslims don’t believe in the Christian Trinity, viewing it as polytheism).
  • Islam means “those who submit” (to Allah)
  • Islamic cultures are a theocracy with no separation of church and state
  • Holy law (Shari’a law) is based on the Qur’an rather than secular law
  • Fatalism: God’s will overcomes man’s will. Man is thus seen to have limited “free will”
similarities between judaism islam
  • Monotheism
  • Abraham (who fathered the 2 sons whose lineage led to both Judaism & Islam)
  • Old Testament based
  • Legalistic/Ritualistic
  • Classifying people into two categories (true believers vs. gentile unbelievers)
those who submit to allah
Those who submit to Allah

Most historically Islamic nations are

still strongly Islamic, while most

historically Christian nations are only

marginally Christian now.


Mosques hold religious services

at noon on Fridays (because Allah

created humans on a Friday)

the 3 branches of islam


About 90% (800M) of Muslims are Sunni, the moderate branch of Islam in the practice of Islam & interpretation of the Qur’an. In 661, the Sunni split from the Shiites (10% of Muslims—100M), a more religiously conservative branch of Islam

Most Middle Eastern nations have Sunni majorities, as well as Pakistan, Turkey, & Afghanistan.

The Shiites are most prominent in Iraq & Iran.

The Wahhabi of Saudi Arabia are the strictest Muslim group, who interpret the Koran literally.
  • The Sufi historically practiced Islam with an inward-focus somewhat in the same vein as monastic monks in the Medieval Christian tradition, emphasizing mystical closeness to God through intense religious experience, self-denial, simplicity of life, & disdain for materialism. They strive for the religious state of al-insan alkamin (“the perfect human being”), which they feel was modeled by Mohammad.
“Millions of people in developing nations (such as the Middle East) know Western culture only through television and film. The picture they see is of a rich but morally decadent society corrupted by alcohol, drugs, family breakdown, crime, abuse of sex, and economic exploitation in which many innocent victims suffer without redress. They want to resist any forces that could lead them in the same direction.”





The prophet Mohammad (Ubu’l-Kassim) was born in Mecca in 570; died in 632. Islam considers Mohammed to be the last of the line of Old Testament prophets that includes Abraham, Moses, & Jesus. Mohammad means “the most praised one,” or messenger.
  • He was orphaned at an early age & raised by his grandfather & uncle. He later married & became a prosperous merchant.
  • He encountered the angel Gabriel during Ramadan in a cave on Mt. Hira (above the city of Mecca) in 610 and developed the Qur’an (“recitation”) over many years.
Mohammad was a social reformer who sought to end age-old conflicts between family clans & tribal groups. He called people to radical change in the personal faith & lifestyles, serving as a personal role model of religious rightousness.
  • His reform efforts threatened the Quraysh established social elite, who violently resisted Mohammad’s success.
  • Mohammad was a prophet for 10 years in the present day Saudi Arabian city of Mecca & then another 10 years in the city of Medina. During this time he united the warring clans, unifying Arabia.
In a quest to spread Islam, Muhammad’s army achieved its first victory in 624. Within 21 years after after Muhammad’s death, armies of his successors (the caliphs) expanded Muslim territory to an area as large as the Roman empire. For the next 700 years, Christian armies (fighting a series of “Crusades”) pushed the Muslims out of France & Spain.
  • After Mohammad’s death, Islam split into major factions over disagreement on which caliph was to be his successor. The Sunni faction felt the successor should primarily be a political leader who would protect the borders of Islam & maintain peace. The Shiites preferred a leader who was a scholar in Islamic law.
The minority Shia also accepted Ali as the first legitimate Islamic Imam (religious leader). Those who supported Ali were called the followers of Ali, or Shi’a Ali (today’s Shi’a).
  • The Sunnis were the majority Muslim group, choosing Abu Bakr (died in 656) as the Caliph (leader). His immediate Sunni successors included Umar (led from 634-644), Uthman (died in 656) & Ali &died in 661).
“The way Mohammad lived has become a role model for Muslims down through the centuries. He set the example of hospitality and trustworthiness in all his dealings. He showed humility in his relations with other people and always claimed only to be the servant of God. In practical ways, he was also a role model, such as dressing in white, especially for prayer.”
  • Muslims don’t regard Mohammad as divine, but rather as a messenger form God who brings good news. He is seen as God’s final prophet, not the founder of a new religion, but rather as the prophet who restored the alleged historical corruptions of Judaism & Christianity.



Beginning in 610, Muhammad began receiving a series of messages from the angel Gabriel that continued until for 23 years until the remainder of his life.
  • The resulting Qur’an (“recitation” or “gathering”) is divided into 114 sections (suras, or chapters arranged non-chronologically by length) & contains 6,225 verses of varying lengths. It consists of two kinds of revelation: literal dictations from Gabriel & Muhammad’s inspired writings. The Qur’an is considered by all Muslims to be the literal, undistorted word of God.
The prophet Mohammad’s were put into writing by various disciples & interpreted by as series of caliphs (especially Abu Bak & Uthman) who succeeded Mohammad after his death.
  • Like Christianity, Islam is divided into different schools of thought (sects) based on different interpretations of the Qur’an.
The Qur’an holds the Hebrew & Christian religious traditions in high respect, with 93 references to Jesus, who is viewed an an important prophet & teacher, though not the son of God.
  • Many Muslims view Jesus as an example of selfless devotion to God.
  • “The Qur’an sees Jesus as a prophet to the Hebrew nation, but not a universal prophet sent to all mankind, a role reserved for Mohammad.”




Today Islam is divided into 3 levels of believers based on the depth & intensity of their faith. The first level, called Muslims, are those who surrender to Allah & Islam; the Mumin, who master the faith intellectually, compose the second level; the third level of Mushins seek to maximize virtue through their righteous practice of the faith. The hafiz are those who have memorized the entire Qur’an.
TAQWA: the over-riding purpose of Islam: remembering God in every aspect of life & living accordingly.
  • SALAT (“formal”): the formal group prayers required of all Muslims 5 times daily, which build taqwa (bringing believers closer to God). Salat can be offered anywhere people congregate at home or work.
  • ADHAN: the formal “call to prayer”
  • SURAT AL-FATIHA: the Friday holy day prayer which is compulsory for Muslims to attend
the 5 times of daily prayer salat
  • Salat al-Fajr: Prayer before sunrise
  • Salat al-Zuhr: noon prayer
  • Salat al-’Asr: late afternoon prayer
  • Salat al-Maghrib: prayer directly after sunset
  • Salat al-’Isha: nighttime prayer
the adhan prayer shahada creed
THE ADHAN PRAYER (Shahada Creed)

“God is most great

I bear witness that there is no god but Allah

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God

Hurry to prayer

Hurry to success

God is most great

There is no god but Allah”

An imam (“one who presides”) leads Muslim prayer services. “Imam are the sinless guides of a Muslim community who hold both religious & political power. They are held to be infallible in interpreting the Qur’an.”
surat al fatiha friday holy day prayer
SURAT AL FATIHA (Friday holy day prayer)

“In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful.

Praise be to God, the Lord of creation.

Master of the day of judgment

You alone do we worship & to you alone we pray for help.

Guide us to the straight path,

The path of those whom you have favored,

Not of those who have incurred your wrath,

Nor of those who have gone astray.”

In prayer rituals, the average Muslim invokes the name of Allah 20 plus times a day.
  • More Muslims are named Mohammed than any other first name in the world.
  • More passages of the Qur’an are committed to memory than any other religious book.
  • Women may say prayers with men in mosques, but physical separation is maintained to avoid distraction.
  • The Qur’an forbids Muslims from consuming alcohol & drugs & prohibits gambling.
ramadan sawm or fasting
RAMADAN (sawm, or fasting)

1. The most important Muslim annual religious time period which celebrates the angel Gabriel reciting the Koran (“recitation”) to Mohammad

2. Al haj, the trip to Mecca, is next in importance

3. Occurs during the 9th month of the Muslim calendar (based the Arab lunar calendar which is 11 days shorter than the solar year Western calendar)

Ramadan, the holiest time of the Muslim year, is a month-long daytime fast from all food, drink, tobacco, & sexual activity. Both psychological & physical purification is sought via intensification of prayer, recitation of the Qu’ran, & acts of charity (zakah).
The fast-breaking evening meal after sunset is know as the “iftar”
  • Eid al-Fitr begins at the end of Ramadan (when the new moon is sighted), with 2 or 3 days of joy & thanksgiving.
other important islam religious practices
  • Zakat: To purify personal wealth by giving to the poor
  • Haji: to make a pilgrimage to Mecca (the holy Islamic city in Saudi Arabia) once in a lifetime, if health & wealth permit. Takes placeon 5 days during ther Islamic month of Dhu ‘l-Hijja
  • Amr bil munkar: the command to do good
  • Nahy anil munkar: forbidding evil
  • Halal: Living in righteous ways, including eating religiously blessed food & not exploiting others.




The Qu’ran’s religious rituals & practical applications are gathered into books (the Sunnah & Hadith) which compose the laws for personal conduct called the Shariah (“road” or “path”) law.
  • The Islamic laws of jurisprudence (proper judicial decision-making) are the usul al-fiqh.
major contributors of islamic religious law
  • Key developers of Hadith in Sunni law: Al-Bakhari (810-870); Abu Dawud (817-888); Al-Tirmidhi (824-222); An-Nasa’i (830-915), Ibn Majah (824-886)
  • Shi’a legal scholars: al-Kulayni (died 940); Shaykh Saduq (923-991); al-Tusi-Ali (995-1067)
There are 5 schools of Sharia-based

Islamic legalistic regulations which range

from mandatory to optional:

  • Wajib (or fard): Obligatory laws such

as supporting one’s family, feeding the

hungry, or paying a dowry for one’s wife.

2. Mandub: Recommended behaviors such

as extra charity beyond what is required

or performing extra prayers beyond the

daily minimum.

3. Haram: Laws over forbidden activities, such as

murder, adultery, theft, eating pork, usury

(charging interest), drinking alcohol, & gambling.

4. Makruh: Laws against abominations such as

cross dressing or making an offer on a piece of

property that already has a valid offer made on it.

5. Muhad: Permissible behaviors such as eating

ceremonially unclean meat when one is starving.

(Muslims are required to eat only halal meat,

which has been ceremonially slaughtered in the

name of Allah.)

Figh is the science of Islamic law. When confronted with questions about how to live in proper accordance with Islamic law, Muslims can contact “judges” (mufti) who will issue a legal opinion (a fatwa). More than one legal judgment may be rendered by different mufti on the same question of law.




  • Take care of those you are responsible for at home & in the workplace
  • Your honor (“face”) is on the line
  • Be loyal to your friends, nation/kingdom & religion
the status of women in muslim cultures
  • In most Muslim cultures, the woman is the “mistress” of the household (master of her domain) & the husband is the “guest.”
  • In pre-industrial times, Shari’a law extended Muslim women considerably more economic rights than most other cultures.
Muslims feel the main freedom of a women is to be able to stay home with her children and to mange the family (a freedom most Western women no longer have).
  • Mohammad taught that God put men “a degree above” women and that the men should be “managers of the affairs of women.” However, he clearly did not advocate male domination or insensitivity toward women.
understanding the arab mindset through the concept of face
  • Maintaining paternalistic duties
  • No backing down in public
  • No tolerance of insults, especially to Allah
  • Retribution is required to regain lost face
Arab nations vary widely in how strict their behavioral standards are. Saudi Arabia & Kuwait forbid alcohol, but wine, beer, & liquor are sold throughout Egypt & women have been voting for nearly a hundred years.
  • Saudi Arabia bases its constitution on the Qu’ran, yet Lebanon’s constitution doesn’t even contain the word Allah.





1. Muslims believe that the rights of those who submit to Allah’s laws should take precedence over those who don’t submit.

2. For example, it is not against the law for an American to curse God on a city street, but he or she could be sued for cursing an individual. The reverse is true in Islamic societies. Islamic culture values their tradition of freedom of religion over the prevailing Western tradition of freedom from religion.

3. Muslims have historically viewed Islam as a key means for protecting society against political tyranny & violation of individual rights. The theocratic (religious based laws) orientation of most Muslim governments has acted as a buffer zone between government power and individual/family security.

4. Even in the less democratic Muslims nations, the average citizen plays a decisive role in choosing the political leaders—local village officials– who actually wield the greatest amount of influence over the lives of individuals.

5. Muslims would point out that the outcome of most elections in Western representative democracies is determined mainly by the campaign financing of political machines, thus greatly nullifying the influence of rank and file voters in elections and political affairs.

6. The main freedom desired by Muslims today is the freedom to confront their own political problems and find their own solutions within a Islamic religious context.





institutional problems in arab nations
  • Many absolute autocracies—most Arab governments are not representative of their populations
  • Widespread bogus elections
  • Weak courts system
  • Low freedom of the press
  • Intolerant social environment
  • Unequal status for women
Only 1 in 5 Muslim nations have democratic institutions
  • The GDP of most Islamic nations has fallen or plateaued over the past 25 years
  • Per capita income growth over the past 20 years in Muslim nations (.5%) is the lowest in the world except for Africa
  • 20% of Arabs live on $2 a day
  • Yemen’s median annual income is $190; Syria’s is $900; Sudan’s is $170; Egypt’s is $1000-$1500
75%-90% of all books produced in the Arab world today are religious in nature, & 90% of the funding for publishing them comes from Saudi Arabia.
  • The main causes of division between the Arab world & the USA are support of Israel & the creation of a Palestinian state.
  • The main internal challenge Arab nations face in the future is developing institutional societies & controlling the political instability brought on by Islamic fundamentalist groups.
15. In traditional Arab culture, personal “face” (honor, reputation, or dignity) is on the line when someone, or their family, is insulted or wronged in some manner. Face can be regained only through personal retaliation or revenge. Impersonal institutional remedies (courts of law, etc.) are rarely a satisfactory substitute for personal intervention.

A small minority fringe ofmilitant Muslims believe that Western secularism&America’s support of Israel justify terrorism as a way to save the face of Arab nations, as well as Allah.

  • Arab militants aspire to take over the Middle East to establish it as Allah’s kingdom on earth. During the 1990s they largely abandoned the strategy of civil war within Arab kingdoms & switched to attacking the U.S. outright to remove its presence in Arab regions.
  • Most Arabs disagree with terrorism but support the policy of kicking the USA out of Arab lands.
western foreign policy mistakes underlying current tensions with the arab world
  • The first half of the 20th century saw heavy British, European, & Soviet exploitative oil colonialism in the Middle East. In 1918, the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement between the British & French divided up the Palestinian region into colonies. France got Syria & half of Palestine, while Britain got Iraq, Saudi Arabia, & the other half of Palestine.
  • Israel was created by a British/U.S./UN deal in the mid-20th century, & the USA has aggressively backed Israel financially ever since.
3. This long period of Western colonization left many areas of the Middle East more secularized than any point in its history (especially with secular Western “puppet” leaders imposed on Egypt & Iran), setting the stage for a major resurgence of Islamic theocracy in the 1970s.

4. During the 1980s, Soviet Russia took over the central Asian Muslim nations (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, & Kyrgyzstan) & drew arbitrary/artificial borders around them, creating civil unrest between Muslims

5.The U.S. backed the Afghan Mujahedeenagainst Russia in the 1980s; replaced democratic Islamic regimes in Iran & Indonesia; supplied arms to both Iraq and Iran in their 1980s war; invaded Iraq in the 1990s & again in 2001; ousted the Iraqi government in 2002 & set up secular Western political & economic prototype systems.

6. Lack of cooperation between Arab nations has been a major historical roadblock to stable relations with the West & peace negotiations with Israel.

political tensions in the new iraqi government

Iraq’s new coalitional government is dominated by Shias & Kurds (secular-leaning). The large, internally divided Sunni community feels disaffected.

“There is practically no part of the ummah (Muslim culture) that hasn’t been ruled by others and remains today, to a greater or lesser degree, under the influence or occupation of the West. Arab nations have been on the losing end of history for the past 500 years, and especially in the last decade. This explains why so many Muslims today cling to the powerful combination of national and religious identities.”
salafism the rise of ultraconservative islam

Salafism, a new fundamentalist movement, is spreading rapidly in liberal Arab nations (especially Egypt, Jordan & Lebanon). Aided by Saudi-based religious television & the Internet, Salafism is a direct offshoot of Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism, the most puritanical sect of Islam that has the strictest standards for Muslim dress, public piety, & martyrdom/jihad. “When people are filled with stress and uncertainty, black & white is very good and it’s easy to manage.”

Salafism reflects the trend towards growing nationalism throughout the Middle East. Traditionally “quietist” (non-violent and obedient to rulers) Salafists worry many moderate Muslims who fear that the many dictator-leaders in Muslim cultures will use the Salafist combination of obedience & nationalism as a means to rule via both religion & the military. In Algeria, Salafists have recently slide into violence, aligning themselves with the terrorist organization A-Qaida.



In its most general sense, jihad refers to withdrawing from evil or corruption, whether in the private lives of Islamic believers, in organizations & institutions, or in international affairs.
  • “Jihad means to struggle & strive on the path of God to establish goodness and justice and to root out evil oppression. The Muslim is not supposed to sit back & allow evil to pollute the world. This helps to explain why some Muslims are prepared to fight against injustice even at the cost of their own lives.”
“When action is necessary, Islam is not a pacifist way of life. If there is no alternative & everything else has been tried, the Muslim is permitted & indeed required to fight for the just cause” (a military jihad).
  • However, military jihad is subject to strict standards of conduct: (1) fighting only in defense; (2) protecting the innocent; (3) not seeking territorial gain; (4) a collective effort based on consensus; (5) avoidance of weapons or tactics of indiscriminate or mass destruction.
Muslim religious & military leaders are currently split over the issue of whether martyr by suicide is an acceptable tactic of jihad.
  • “Those Muslim scholars who have given a justification for these acts have argued that they are a legitimate form of warfare specifically against the overwhelming military superiority of what they see as the oppressors. A strong majority opinion among scholars on this question has been achieved only in the case of Palestinian attacks on Israel.”



insha allah if god wills
“Insha Allah” (If God wills)

“Man plans his way, but God

directs his steps” (Solomon—Proverbs)

Fatalism: Muslims believe Allah is in charge of human affairs, so people should not act as though they are the authors of their own fate. By contrast, the mindset of Western secularism implies that God perhaps controls one’s soul, but people call the shots in their professional lives.
  • Arab businesses have a fatalistic tendency to stay small and uncomplicated so as not to imply that their owners are seeking to usurp Allah’s guiding hand.

Muslims believe that time belongs to Allah, not to us. Allah controls the future, & our knowledge of it is uncertain.

We should wait on Allah to intervene into human affairs rather than to plan out grand strategies which reflect only man’s finite (& perhaps self-serving) perspective.

Muslim fatalism directly reflects a cultural external locus of control in which man is ultimately not in charge of human affairs.

current religious tensions in the usa
  • Should the American government act as a “theocracy” by backing certain religious beliefs: outlawing abortion & stem cell research & gay marriage; funding of religious organizations to carry on welfare activities; funding of school vouchers; regulating television content, etc.?
  • Or should such be left up to the private decisions of American citizens?
  • The compartmentalized religious tradition of the West sees religion as a private matter (often relegated to Sunday mornings).
“Bukra isha Allah”(polychronic culture)It will happen as soon as possible, but only Allah knows when that will be.

Western culture has an empire building

mentality that ignores God’spossible

providence in historical events.

Arabs feel that words (reflecting philosophical commitment) are often an acceptable substitute for action
personalized close proximity emotional deal making emotion binds people together motivates them
Personalized, close-proximity, emotional deal-making (Emotion binds people together & motivates them)
turkish proverb coffee espresso should be black as hell strong as death and as sweet as love
Turkish Proverb: "Coffee (espresso) should be black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love."




Ever since Mohammed and his wife Khadijah pursued business activities, the merchant class has always played an honored role in Islamic society.
  • Village bazaars (bazari) are not only the hub of business activity in most Arab cultures, but also social activities as well.
business at its most basic interpersonal
Business at its most basic & interpersonal

No need to lock the business up

when the owner is running errands

business under sharia law
  • Traditional Sharia law outlaws the charging of interest (riba), but many Arab banks have experimented with innovative ways to lend money at a profit, primarily through giving lenders a share of the company’s future profits.
  • Sukak is a Sharia-approved type of bond that pays no direct interest & cannot be used for improper products or activities (alcohol, gambling, tobacco, etc.).
marketing to muslims in western nations


The global market for halal products (prepared to Islamic religious standards) is $580B.

McDonald's recently experimented with halal fast food in London. Coca Cola uses the Ramadan Islamic holy season to feature marketing initiatives focused on key themes such as tolerance and charity.

A Syrian company markets the Fulla dark-haired doll as an ethnic alternative to the ubiquitous Barbie doll.