Two companies have launched a hedge fund designed to fund Muslims' trips to Mecca.
The Hajj Fund is designed to allow Muslims to save for the trip to the Saudi Arabian city where Muslim prophet Muhammed first proclaimed Islam. Able-bodied Muslims who are able to afford it are required to go on Hajj at least once in their lifetime.
Given that requirement, the fund's managers, AmanahRaya Capital Group and Fattan Finance, expect that as many as one million Kazakhs will invest in the fund, which aims to return between 6% and 8% annually. The fund expects to be able to send about 200 people to Mecca over the next two years.
"This Hajj Fund is actually a fund to enable the Muslim community in Kazakhstan to have a saving program to enable them to perform Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam," co-manager Ahmad Rodzi Pawanteh told Bloomberg News.
As befits such a pious enterprise, the Hajj Fund will be Shariah-compliant, investing primarily in real estate and stocks.