RETAIL investors will soon get to invest in Singapore's first Syariah-compliant real estate investment trust (Reit).

In fact, the Sabana Reit - set to hold about $850 million of Singapore industrial properties - is expected to be the world's largest certified Syariah-compliant Reit when it goes on sale late this year.

That is exciting news, but let's back up a moment.

Even many savvy investors are hazy when it comes to the apparently mysterious world of Islamic finance.

How does a Syariah-compliant financial product differs from a conventional one?

To add to the confusion, there are unfamiliar Islamic finance-related terms such as riba, haraam, sukuk and murabahah to contend with.

Exploring Islamic finance