Demand for Halal mortgages remains unfulfilled

Access to financing is a perennial problem for devout Canadian Muslims, industry players say

Demand for Halal mortgages remains unfulfilled

At present, the demand for Halal mortgages significantly outweighs the number of providers of such products in Canada, according to members of the Canadian Muslim community.

Loans that adhere to Muslim ethical principles do not have interest, or what Shariah calls “riba”. This criterion automatically excludes the vast majority of mortgages offered by Canadian banks from Halal status.

Mohamad Sawwaf, co-founder and CEO of the Toronto-based Islamic financial institution Manzil, said that this situation has rendered a significant number of Canadian Muslims financially disadvantaged.

“They’re basically keeping themselves outside of this conventional banking system because it doesn’t align with their religious or ethical principles, and so it becomes very difficult to access financing,” Sawwaf said in an interview with “Not everyone is receiving equal benefit when it comes to banking.”

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Thomas Lukaszuk, director and co-founder of the Canadian Halal Financial Corporation, said that many Muslims in Canada are renters due to these roadblocks.

“Most of our clients were born in Canada [and] are what I would consider to be rather young families and… above-average educated,” Lukaszuk said. “We have medical doctors and specialists who have been renting homes for [up to] 20 years and would qualify for a conventional mortgage [at a major bank] no questions asked.”

Data from Statistics Canada showed that Islam is the second-most practised religion in the country, numbering 1.8 million adherents as of 2021.