Islamic banking deposits are fundamentally structured in a different way than the conventional banking deposits. Each type of Islamic banking deposits, such as savings, demand, and timed deposits, is devised using the approved Shari’ah contracts such as qard, wadiah, murabahah, and mudarabah. These contracts are opposed to the conventional concepts, as they are based on the concept of a ‘lender-borrower’ relationship. In addition, the Shari’ah-approved contracts are unique as they feature a different nature of risk and return. This is especially the case for mudarabah contracts (henceforth referred to as profit-sharing contracts). The uniqueness of profit-sharing contracts in deposit products has been given due recognition in theory and also in practice, as most of the Islamic banks in Malaysia offered this product. In addition, the unique features and characteristics of profit-sharing based deposit accounts are also highlighted in the prudential standards issued by prominent regulatory bodies such as AAOIFI and IFSB which, have been adopted by the Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia). \ud \ud Nevertheless, it is argued by many Islamic banks practitioners, especially in Malaysia, that the concept of profit-sharing in deposits products is not practical in reality, because the depositors do not behave according to, nor accept the principles that have been laid down in the Shari’ah. Thus it is argued that both the depositors and the Islamic bankers have treated the product similar to any other conventional banking deposits products.\ud \ud The main aim of this study, hence, is to explore and examine the level of awareness, knowledge, perceptions, and attitude of the Islamic banking depositors in Malaysia towards characteristics of profit-sharing deposits accounts in accordance with the fundamental Shari’ah principles but also the regulations prevailing. In addition, this research also attempts to explore the significant determinant factors that encourage the depositors to engage with Islamic banking deposits accounts in general and profit-sharing deposits accounts in particular. \ud \ud In fulfilling the aim of the study, primary data collection research was adopted through a survey questionnaire technique. The questionnaires were distributed to eight Islamic banks representing various types of Islamic banks in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. The questionnaire asked various pertinent questions, which intended to elicit the depositors’ opinions, perceptions, and attitudes towards the unique characteristics of profit-sharing contract as specified in Shari’ah muamalah principles. The characteristics among others are: (i) concept of uncertain deposits returns; (ii) concept of non-guarantee for the deposits; (iii) concept of profit equalization reserve. A total 649 of the returned questionnaires were complete and fit for analysis purpose. The data were analysed using various statistical analysis techniques ranging from simple frequency distribution analysis to the more advanced analyses such as non-parametric statistical analysis, factor analysis, and logistic regression. \ud \ud In general, the results of the study show that the level of awareness of the need to have Islamic banking deposits accounts because of religious reasons is considered as high among the Malaysian depositors. Nevertheless, the results also indicate that a high level of awareness is not being translated into a high level of understanding concerning the objectives of the products which are structured in accordance to the Shari’ah-compliant contracts. This can be seen in the major findings of this study: the characteristics of profit-sharing contracts, which arguably are the most desirable Shari’ah-compliant contracts, are not acceptable to the depositors. This indirectly implies that they are still strongly influenced by the nature of conventional banking products. In addition, the logistics regression results further proved that related factors (‘financial services’ and ‘income’) emerged as the main determinants in creating demand for profit-sharing deposits accounts. \ud \ud The results of the research should draw the attention of the Islamic bankers and also the regulators to finding ways for improving the level of understanding among the depositors. However, the critical successful factor in educating the depositors is highly dependent on the level of knowledge exhibited by the Islamic bankers themselves, which can be a real concern as highlighted by the findings of this study.\u
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