The Top 15 countries in the world by sharia-compliant assets (SCAs) are determined not only by the size of each country’s financial sector but also the degree to which it is sharia compliant.

As economies evolve and financial institutions do more business through Islamic or sharia-compliant channels, leading countries such as Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Kuwait will rise up the rankings. At present, the share of the above three countries’ SCAs as a proportion of total assets is relatively low at 31.58%, 25.11% and 37.3% respectively, well below the 100% sharia compliance declared by the Iranian institutions.

The Banker believes that as Islamic finance evolves these proportions, low at present, will move much closer to those of 100% countries such as Iran, Brunei and Turkey. The infant nature of the markets in some cases and the difficult political process in terms of the transition from conventional finance to sharia-compliant products provides some anomalies in how some institutions and countries are shown in this first listing. The only certainty appears to be that subsequent listings will look significantly different as more data from all parties becomes available.

Clearly with countries such as Egypt, 15th in our ranking, which has a large financial sector of $57.9bn but only $3.9bn (6.7%) of that in SCAs, there is room for massive growth in Islamic finance, which is likely to take place in the years ahead.

To relate the high growth potential of Islamic finance to the high population areas of countries such as Indonesia, Egypt, Iran and Turkey, we have included maps (see pages 30 and 31) to help provide a broader global assessment.

Meanwhile, here we include two Top 15 growth tables showing both the percentage growth and the value of increased SCAs. In the percentage table, Malaysia’s Bank Perusahaan showed massive growth in SCAs. This table includes a number of insurance companies, such as Sudan’s Watania Co-operative Insurance and El Nilein Insurance, which both showed growth in excess of 300%. In the volume table, Iranian banks are the key driver, led by Bank Melli Iran, but large Gulf Islamic banks, Dubai Islamic Bank and Kuwait Finance House also figure prominently.



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