There's a lot of things you may not know about the Islamic world. For starters, in many Islamic nations, the weekend starts around lunchtime Thursday and goes through Friday, while Saturday and Sunday are workdays. (So you'll find many offices closed on Fridays in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates, for example.)

Also, for a long time, conventional insurance has been frowned upon in the Islamic world, since it contradicts teachings of Islamic Shari'ah law. (It's seen as a lopsided agreement, with the two parties involved not being treated equally.)

But there are ways around the objection. Takaful is an acceptable alternative in which the insured parties contribute to a fund that pays claims.

Why does this matter to Western non-Islamic investors? Some of the companies in which we already invest are now getting into the takaful business. Insurance giant American International Group (NYSE:AIG), for example, is planning to soon begin offering its first insurance coverage to comply with Islamic law. According to a report in Dubai's Khaleej Times, the Islamic market for such offerings might be worth $15 billion by 2015.

According to the article: "AIG's Enaya unit will offer Islamic insurance coverage, or takaful, for areas such as health, motor and property to Gulf Arab customers, before expanding to Asia . The market for takaful, which is based on a concept similar to mutual funds, is growing at about 20% a year."

And while insurance is on your mind, why not take a few minutes to assess your personal insurance needs? It might prove much more important and profitable than any insurance-company stock. If you fail to protect yourself on a critical front, you may end up wiped out financially, or at least severely hurt.

Learn more about the boring-but-critical topic of insurance in our Insurance Center. You may not have thought about some kinds of insurance, such as disability or long-term care insurance, but they're as vital as property insurance for many people. Take a little time to learn more. If some calamity occurs in the future, you may be very happy you did.

Further Foolishness is our policy:

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian holds no financial position in any companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a healthy disclosure policy.