MuslimBrands follows the guidelines from Sharia compliance e-commerce trust (SCE-C). The Sharia compliance trust concerns over the conventional e-commerce systems among devoted Muslims causes reluctance and abstinence to partake in e-commerce transactions. Although e-commerce trust building mechanisms have been highlighted in the extant literature, there has not been any integrative or exhaustive solution to the Sharia compliance trust concerns of Muslims. Therefore, it became necessary to develop a framework that will provide a guide towards achieving Sharia compliance e-commerce trust (SCE-C). Consequently, relevant literature on e-commerce trust from a conventional perspective and the Sharia perspective were reviewed to gain a background. It provided the basis for proffering a framework for SCE-C trust with a view to enhancing e-commerce adoption and use by Muslims around the world. The framework for SCE-C Trust highlights that e-commerce vendor trustworthiness factors comprising of Sharia compliance, integrity, benevolence, competence, website quality, and third-party assurance if positively moderated by consumer trust propensity and religious commitment will ensure SCE-C trust.

3. A framework for SCE-C trust

Based on the typology of e-commerce trust, the model for building e-commerce trust from an Islamic law of contract perspective and the Muslim-intention-to-purchase-online framework, we proffer a framework for developing SCE-C trust. The Framework for SCE-C trust is proposed to bridge the gap between studies on conventional e-commerce trust and e-commerce trust from a Sharia perspective. This confluence is bound to provide a contextual understanding in developing SCE-C trust among Muslim consumers. Unlike previous e-commerce trust frameworks, a dual approach is carried out to ensure that Sharia compliance requirements are fulfilled at the same time addressing the traditional e-commerce trust concerns customers.

The SCE-C trust framework postulates Sharia compliance, integrity, competence, benevolence, and SCE-C web quality as factors that will positively influence e-commerce vendor trustworthiness. These factors are moderated by the third party assurances of vendors, and the religious commitment and trust propensity of consumers towards SCE-C trust. Therefore, this study postulates a positive moderating relationship between consumer religious commitment, trust propensity, and third party assurances of a site and consumer’s perception of e-commerce trustworthiness (Sharia compliance, integrity, benevolence, competence, SCE website quality and third party assurance) and consequently SCE-C trust. These relationships are depicted in the framework for SCE-C Trust (refer to below figure).

3.1. Religious commitment

Religious commitment is an individual’s level of devotion to the teachings and practice of Islamic religion in this context. For the Muslims, it is obligatory to patronize only products and services that are deemed Sharia compliant. Therefore, a Muslim with high religious commitment will be hesitant to engage in an e-commerce transaction that is perceived to be non-Sharia compliant. Thus, the higher the religious commitment of a Muslim consumer, the more likely he or she will perceive a SCE-C platform to be trustworthy and inclined towards SCE-C trust. Similarly, when an e-commerce platform is deemed not Sharia compliant, the less it will be perceived as trustworthy or be trusted by consumers.

3.2. Trust propensity

Trust propensity is a factor of an individual willingness to depend on the commitment of others. Therefore, the influences of e-commerce trust factors are positively moderated by a consumer’s propensity to trust. Because, an individual’s propensity to trust can be influenced by attributes such as cultural and religious background, personality, and experience, whereas articulated them as perception-based factors (PBFs), experience-based factors (EBFs), knowledge-based factors (KBFs) and attitude. Trust propensity is a consumer trait that moderates the perception of e-commerce trustworthiness of online vendors. Therefore, it can positively influence consumer perception of e-commerce trustworthiness and SCE-C trust. It moderates the relationship between e-commerce trustworthiness of a site and SCE-C trust such that, the higher the trust propensity, the stronger the positive relationship between e-commerce trustworthiness of a site and SCE-C trust.

3.3. Third-party assurance

Third-party assurance is provided to customers as an assurance and advisory service that aid an independent view of the controls and processes of a web vendor. It is carried out based on certain principles and criteria regarding the assurance offered. The third-party assurance provides an endorsement of e-commerce vendors through seals of approval, trust marks, directories of trusted sites, trust intermediaries and label bureaus. Islamic religious authorities can also serve as a third-party assurance body to certify the Sharia compliance status of e-commerce systems is advocated. Therefore, we propose third-party assurance to encompass assurances on Sharia compliance, process, and technology which will ensure privacy for customers, security of transactions, and SCE-C trust.

3.4. E-commerce trustworthiness

E-commerce trustworthiness is a factor of integrity, competence, benevolence and web quality inherent in an e-commerce system. Validated integrity, competence, and benevolence as factors that influence e-commerce trust. Basically, trust reveals a trustee to whom trust is focused on, the confidence that trust will be upheld and the disposition to act on that basis. Therefore, the perception of e-commerce trustworthiness is moderated by the religious commitment and trust propensity of consumers and the third-party assurances of an e-commerce site on SCE-C trust. E-commerce trustworthiness of a site has a positive effect on SCE-C trust which is positively influenced by Sharia compliance, integrity, competence, benevolence and SCE-C website quality.

3.5. Sharia compliance

Sharia compliance denotes obedience to Sharia Law. Therefore, e-commerce systems are required to work in conformity with the principles of Islamic law of contract and to be devoid of fundamentally prohibited elements (riba, gharar, maysir and haram objects) as a prerequisite for Sharia compliance. Islamic law of contract defined and set the principles for fulfilling form (offer and acceptance), contracting parties (buyer and sellers) and subject matter (object and price) requirements by an e-commerce system. These requirements are primarily aimed at ensuring cohesion and the mutual of vendors, customers, and the society. Therefore, Sharia compliance of an e-commerce site is positively related to Muslim consumer’s perception of SCE-C trust.

3.6. Integrity

Integrity is a quality of honesty and uprightness that is guided by moral principles. Therefore, it reflects the expectation of an e-commerce vendor to act in good faith, with absolute honesty and be guided by ethical obligations from initiation to the fulfillment of an e-commerce transaction. Integrity is mainly centered around the character of the trustee and the ability to fulfill promises and obligations to the trustor. Furthermore, it is an important component of e-commerce vendor trustworthiness and a prerequisite for SCE-C trust. Therefore, the integrity of an e-commerce site is positively related to a consumer’s perception of e-commerce trustworthiness and SCE-C trust.

3.7. Competence

Competence depicts the ability of a trustee to serve the needs of a trustor. It reflects the ability to successfully initiate and accomplish e-commerce transaction by a vendor and the capacity to produce desired results or effect in a system. Furthermore, it is a motivating force that reduces uncertainty and enhances understanding, forecasting, and control of people’s behavior. The competence of an e-commerce vendor is tested base on the ability to ensure a hitch-free transaction experience. Therefore, the competence of an e-commerce system is positively related to consumer’s perception of SCE-C trust.

3.8. Benevolence

Benevolence is the general belief of extending goodwill to others. It is seen as the concern and motivation of a trustee to act in the interest of the trustor. Therefore, benevolence is the deliberate effort by an e-commerce vendor to serve the best interest of his or her customers without any prejudice of their knowledge. The extent of benevolence will reflect on the level of trust a consumer has in a vendor. Thus, the perception of e-commerce vendor benevolence is positively related to SCE-C trust.

3.9. SCE-C website/app quality

The concept of SCE-C website/app quality is a convergence of conventional e-commerce website quality attributes of system quality, information quality and service quality, in addition to ensuring that Sharia compliance requirements are fulfilled. It entails the desired characteristics of e-commerce systems such as reliability, usability, assurances, empathy, and effective online support capabilities. Furthermore, fulfilling the requirements of Islamic law of contract which must be devoid of any fundamentally prohibited element. The concept of SCE-C website/app quality is postulated considering the influence of web/app quality on consumer’s online purchasing decisions and experience. Therefore, it is fundamental to redress e-commerce quality concerns and ensure that e-commerce systems provide operations, services, and information in consonance with Sharia prescriptions.

3.10. SCE-C trust

SCE-C trust is posited to be a convergence of traditional antecedents of e-commerce trust and Sharia compliance requirements. There is a consensus among researchers that SCE-C must fulfill the obligations of Islamic law of contract and be free from any fundamentally prohibited element (riba, gharar, haram objects and maysir). Muslim consumers are inclined to trust and patronize only systems that fulfill Sharia requirements and other ethical obligations. Therefore, SCE-C trust is a factor of e-commerce system trustworthiness and third-party assurance which is necessary to influence Muslim consumer intention to engage in e-commerce. It is also critical in ensuring e-commerce inclusiveness of Muslims to accord them the sanctity and benefits of engaging e-commerce.

4. Conclusion

The most fundamental aspect in developing SCE-C trust is to ensure adherence to the requirements of Islamic law of contract and avoidance of any fundamentally prohibited element of riba, gharar, haram objects, and maysir. These Sharia requirements are hypothetically interwoven with some of the generic antecedents of e-commerce trust such as, integrity, competence, quality and ensuring the mutual good of contracting parties. Therefore, a convergence of Sharia requirements and generic antecedents of e-commerce trust is envisaged to bolster SCE-C trust. This will enhance Muslim consumer’s intention to engage in an SCE-C transaction. It will also foster e-commerce inclusion for a huge number of devoted Muslims around the world and guide future researchers and other e-commerce stakeholders in the development processes of SCE-C systems. The framework for SCE-C trust bridges the gap between previous studies on e-commerce trust in a conventional setting and recent studies that scrutinized e-commerce trust from an Islamic perspective. Therefore, Sharia compliance, integrity, competence, benevolence, website quality and third party assurance of e-commerce systems will bring about SCE-C trust. While these assertions stand to be very potent when put into the perspective of existing literature, further empirical studies need to be carried out to validate the proposed framework.