By Al Tamimi & Company is the largest independent law firm in the United Arab Emirates, with offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi,Sharjah and the Dubai Internet City. The Firm generally acts in the all areas of business law, and provides specialized legal services in the fields of shipping, construction, property, commercial and Islamic banking, project finance, intellectual property, information technology, media law, arbitration and local and foreign litigation matters. The Al Tamimi & Company team is comprised of qualified and experienced lawyers from the UK, North America, Europe, South Africa, the UAE, Iraq and other Arab countries. Our clients depend on our proficiency in local and regional laws. Within the UAE we enjoy long established contacts within the public sector, and regularly confer with government departments and ministries, with respect to new legislation and regulations. Such local contacts and regional knowledge greatly assist our private sector clients and the international corporations that represent the majority of our client base.

Almost three decades ago, the concept of Islamic finance was considered wishful thinking. Today, more than three hundred Islamic financial institutions are operating worldwide, estimated to be managing funds in the region of US$ 200 billion. Their clientele are not confined to citizens of Muslim countries, but are spread over Europe, the United States of America and the Far East. Muslims now have the opportunity to invest their financial resources in accordance with the ethics and philosophy of Islam.

The first thorough studies devoted to the establishment of Islamic financial institutions (referred to hereafter as ‘Islamic Banks’) appeared in the 1940s. Although Muslim-owned banks were established in the 1920s and 1930s, they adopted similar practices to conventional banks. In the 1940s and 1950s, several experiments with small Islamic Banks were undertaken in Malaysia and Pakistan. The first great success was the establishment of an Islamic Bank in the Egyptian village of Mit Ghamr, in 1963. Other successes include the establishment of the Inter-Governmental Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah in 1975, and a number of commercial Islamic Banks such as the Dubai Islamic Bank, the Kuwait Finance House and the Bahrain Islamic Bank in the 1970s and 1980s. Commercial banks have also realised the potential of this new field, and a number of major worldwide institutions have grasped Islamic banking as a significant mechanism for more diversified growth.

This brochure aims to provide a general overview of Islamic finance. It describes the fundamental principles of Islamic finance, the main financing techniques, the services usually offered by Islamic Banks and relevant laws and regulations for establishing such Islamic Banks.

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