Religion in the United Arab Emirates

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Religion in the United Arab Emirates (2005 census)[1]

  Islam (76%)
  Other religions (Hinduism and other Asian religions) (15%)
  Christianity (9%)

Islam is the majority religion in the United Arab Emirates. Virtually all native Emiratis are adherents of Islam. Approximately 78% are Sunni and 22% are Shi'a. There are also smaller numbers of Ismaili Muslims.[2] The Al Nahayan and Al Maktoum ruling families adhere to Sunni Islam of Maliki school of jurisprudence. Other religions represented in the country including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism are practiced by non-nationals.[3]


There are more Sunni than Shiite Muslims among the residents. There are smaller number of Ismailis and Ahmadi Muslims.[4] The country has various courts. [3] There is a Shariah court although it cannot enforce many of the Shariah punishments like neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Waqfa, Eid al-Adha, the Islamic New Year, Mawlid, Lailat al Miraj, and Eid al-Fitr are national holidays. [3] Maliki Shariah applies in cases of divorce.[3] Polygamy is legal (up to four wives are allowed per man).[3] Conversion from Islam to another religion is not permitted.[3]


Protestants and Roman Catholics form significant proportions of the Christian minority. The country has at least 33 churches.[3] The schools in public ownership have no Christian religious education.[5] Many Christians in the United Arab Emirates are of Asian origin.[6]

Hinduism and Jainism[edit]

Hinduism and Jainism are practiced by a large percentage of the community of Indians and Sindhis living in the UAE. To acknowledge the contribution of the Indian business community towards the early development of Dubai as a trade port, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum granted the permission and the land to build a temple complex in Bur Dubai.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "United Arab Emirates International Religious Freedom Report". Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  2. ^ "The World Factbook". CIA. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "United Arab Emirates". Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  4. ^ "The World Factbook". CIA. 
  5. ^ John Pike (2006-04-17). "United Arab Emirates-Religion". Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  6. ^ "Groeiende en vitale kerk in Arabische Golf - Nieuws - Reformatorisch Dagblad". Retrieved 2010-11-24.