Religion is not marketing

By: Ahmad Soffian Mohd Shariff

COMMERCIALISATION of the Islamic religion is somewhat a trend nowadays. From the ordinary soap to ice cream, it seems that more and more Muslim businesses are opting to use religion as a way to market their products. Even our television channels are flooded by religious shows that are sponsored by those who use religion to promote and market their business.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Muslim and I try my best to adhere to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him). However, it irked me to see that some of these businesses are getting overboard with the use of the word sunnah (or the way of the Prophet) on their commercial products.

Indeed, the Prophet did say that items such as honey, dates and black cumin seeds may have health benefits to the human body, but it is irresponsible to state that your product is part of the religion. Some businesses would go as far as to claim that if the customer uses their product, they will obtain berkat or blessings from the Prophet.

That’s not all, some food products like raisins, bottled water, cocoa powder and juices that can be widely found on the market claim that they are laced with prayers. They also claim not only that these products can cure illnesses but also make children smarter and more obedient to their parents and teachers.

I strongly believe that all these false claims are outrageous and ridiculous. Instead of uplifting the image of Islam by making high quality products that can be used by all, they opted to use superstitions and cover it with what they perceived as part of the religion.

Like Muslims from all over the world, Malaysian Muslims also love to reminisce about the Golden Age of Islam by mentioning the contribution of Islamic scientists to the world, for example Al-Khawarizmi, Ibnu Sina and many others.

Just imagine, what if all these scientists, mathematicians and scholars are here now, would they be proud of what has become of the current state of the Muslim people? Their legacy in mastering science, mathematics and technology is forgotten and pushed aside to make way for modern superstitions and pseudo-science.

All Muslims need to realise that Islam doesn’t restrict them in any way to excel in science and technology. Let us celebrate the memories of these legendary Muslim scientists and scholars by following their footsteps in making the world a better place.

Their actions not only benefit the Muslim community, but also all of mankind.

Muslim consumers should take a stand and refrain from purchasing any products that use religion as part of their marketing strategy.

We already have our hands full with our battle against terrorism and extremism. We don’t have to carry the burden to support greedy businesses who use the name of Islam just to make easy money.

The author is the Executive Secretary of Shah Alam Welfare Association.

Source: The Star (9th January 2017)

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