CHAPTER 1Overview of the Islamic Capital Market

By Simon Archer, Brandon Davies and Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim

This chapter provides an extensive overview of the Islamic capital market (ICM), or more broadly the Shari'ah-compliant finance industry, and its various segments, including equities, sukuk (Islamic investment certificates), investment funds and Islamic banks. This overview is presented in the context of the international capital markets of which the ICM forms a growing part. Later chapters in this volume deal in more detail with various aspects of the ICM, including Islamic equities, sukuk, Islamic investment funds and legal, Shari'ah and regulatory issues.


The beginning of the modern Islamic financial industry can be dated to the mid-1970s. Fundamentally different in some important respects from the conventional financial model, Islamic finance has its religious identity and is based on the principles of Shari'ah (Islamic law) and the rules of Fiqh al Muamalat (Shari'ah commercial jurisprudence).

Total assets of Shari'ah-compliant financial institutions have grown by an average of 15–20 percent per annum over the past five years, suggesting strong demand for Islamic investing. It is expected that Islamic finance will continue to grow at this rate for the next few years. The figure for total assets in Islamic finance was around USD2.0 trillion at the end of 2015.

The growth in Shari'ah-compliant finance has also been mirrored in the growth of Shari'ah-compliant ...

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