Islamic Finance

Emirates Islamic: "The time for Islamic banking to come to the forefront of the finance sector is now"

Dubai: The 2019 edition of the ISLAMIC BANKING INDEX by EMIRATES ISLAMIC™ demonstrates significant progress made by the Islamic banking sector across parameters, with Islamic banking penetration reaching its highest level since the inception of the Index five years ago.   

The ISLAMIC BANKING INDEX by EMIRATES ISLAMIC™ is a benchmark survey revealing the progress, penetration and perception of the Shari’a-compliant banking sector in the UAE, as well as the future intentions of the nation’s banking customers.

Top-line findings of this year’s milestone edition of the Index indicate that the sector continues to widen its appeal to an increasing number of both Muslim and non-Muslim customers.

“The positive findings of the Index against the backdrop of Expo 2020 Dubai next year – the first time the event is being held in an Islamic country – present a unique opportunity to continue the growth of Islamic finance, said Wasim Saifi, Deputy CEO-Consumer Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates Islamic“As the official Islamic banking partner of the event, Emirates Islamic is gearing to showcase the benefits of our sector to the world as we strongly believe that this an opportune time for Islamic banking to be at the forefront of the finance sector.”

Saifi continued, “We are in a dynamic period for the finance sector, with technology such as block chain and artificial intelligence changing the ways in which we transact. Both Islamic and conventional banks have made huge strides forward in this regard, and at Emirates Islamic, our investment in technology and infrastructure with ongoing product innovations have contributed to strengthening customer perception of Emirates Islamic as a truly innovative Islamic bank. In the years ahead, we look forward  to expanding the penetration of Islamic banking in the UAE and creating innovative solutions that will support the growing needs of individuals, corporates and SMEs. We plan to showcase the benefits of Shari’a-compliant finance to millions of visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai, and cement Dubai’s position as the capital of the Islamic economy, as per the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.”



  • Islamic banking is on the rise in the UAE - three out of five respondents now have at least one Shari’a compliant product - 60% - up from 55% in 2018.
  • Respondents’ use of conventional banking products has rallied by two percentage points since 2019, but has fallen overall by five percentage points since 2015
  • Usage of Islamic products have grown by 13 percentage points in the last 5 years.


  • The overall perception of Islamic banks continues to improve, with the percentage of customers agreeing that Islamic banks have a range of positive attributes rising from 35% in 2018 to 38% in 2019.
  • Perception of Islamic banks has improved steadily from 26% in 2015, with significant improvements in key areas relating to technology and customer service.


  • Knowledge or awareness of Islamic banking terminology has not seen clear improvement since the ISLAMIC BANKING INDEX by EMIRATES ISLAMIC™ was first launched in 2015, starting at 36% five years ago, before rising to 39% in 2018 and falling to 37% in 2019.
  • Awareness of Islamic banking terms has risen for some products, such as Takaful, that have become successful in the financial sector.


  • The number of customers who say they would subscribe to an Islamic banking product in the next six months has remained consistent since 2018 – four out of five, or 80%.
  • There has, however, been a large increase in intention amongst non-Muslims over the last five years, from 59% to 76%.



Launched in 2015, The ISLAMIC BANKING INDEX by EMIRATES ISLAMIC is a first-of-its-kind consumer survey that measures the progress of the Islamic banking sector in the UAE by tracking consumer behaviour and sentiment towards Shari’a-compliant banking products and services. The Index benchmarks against four indicators: ‘penetration – customers who have an Islamic banking product; perception – the average rating of Islamic banks on a range of attributes; knowledge – consumers’ understanding of Islamic banking terms; and intention – how likely consumers are to subscribe to an Islamic banking product.

  • Responses were gathered online, in the second quarter of 2019, from over nine hundred respondents aged 18+, with a bank account in the UAE and earning more than AED 5,000 per month.
  • The sample is representative of the UAE banking consumers over 18 years, covers all nationality groups living in the UAE, men and women, across all seven emirates.
  • Penetration score is the percentage of consumers who have any Islamic product from any financial provider
  • Knowledge score is the percentage of consumers who are able to correctly define Murabahah.This is computed by multiplying the percentage of those aware of any Islamic concept by the percentage of those selecting the correct definition of the concept.
  • Perception score is the average of the ratings of Islamic banks on a range of attributes.
  • Intention score is the percentage of those who would subscribe to any Islamic banking product in the next six months among total intenders of Islamic and conventional banking products

© Press Releases 2019


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