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Islamic social finance for achieving sustainable development goals: a systematic literature review and future research agenda

Khadar Ahmed Dirie (Islamic Business School, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Malaysia)
Md. Mahmudul Alam (Economic and Financial Policy Institute, School of Economics, Finance and Banking, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Malaysia and Accounting Research Institutes, University Technology MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia)
Selamah Maamor (Islamic Business School, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Malaysia)

International Journal of Ethics and Systems

ISSN: 2514-9369

Article publication date: 10 July 2023




The sustainable development goals (SDGs) devised by the United Nations (UN) call on countries – whether rich or poor – to solve global issues, improve lives and save the planet for future generations. However, the UN predicts that between $5 and $7tn will need to be spent annually between now and 2030 to accomplish these goals, posing a major financial hurdle. Islamic social finance, if used ethically, seeks to realise SDGs through fairness, justice and equity. Thus, this study aims to determine how Islamic social finance instruments such as Zakat, Waqf, Sadaqat and Qard-hasan contribute to realising SDGs.


This study used a preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses-based systematic literature review. Scopus and Google Scholar were chosen for the qualitative and meta-analysis of studies. The topic was reviewed in 178 academic papers from 2000 to 2022. The required articles were analysed after careful review.


Islamic social financing mechanisms have the capacity to solve many social issues and create better welfare conditions by ensuring economic, social and environmental sustainability in line with the SDGs. Indonesia and Malaysia lead Islamic social finance research, the survey found. The review revealed that Islamic social funding can achieve 11 out of 17 SDGs. Islamic commercial finance can be used for the remaining goals. The paper highlights Islamic social funding research limitations and opportunities.

Research limitations/implications

The review study shows that Islamic social finance can fill the SDG funding gap, especially considering the post-pandemic financial crisis that has increased global income inequality and social disparities.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this article is the first of its kind to review the potential of Islamic social financing instruments to help achieve the SDGs.



Funding: The authors received no funding for this work.

Ethical consideration: The authors understand the Ethical Guidelines and adhere to all the statements regarding Ethics in the Publishing of Emerald. The authors also confirm that the paper is not submitted or under review in any other journal.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any affiliated agency of the authors.


Dirie, K.A., Alam, M.M. and Maamor, S. (2023), "Islamic social finance for achieving sustainable development goals: a systematic literature review and future research agenda", International Journal of Ethics and Systems, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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