The 30-year-old man, identified only by his initials M.T., was convicted of possessing 24 kilogrammes (53 pounds) of heroin that was stashed in five bags with hidden compartments, the Gulf News daily said.
“When we opened the bags, we found prayer mats, prayer beads and copies of the Quran along with food and the drugs,” a Dubai International Airport customs inspector was quoted as saying.
The defendant was fined 200,000 dirhams ($54,500) and will be deported after serving his sentence, the report said.
He has 15 days to appeal the ruling by the Dubai court of first instance.
Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, has strict drug laws.