Frankly, I don’t know if there are sex toy—er, “marital aid”—stores out there just for Christians or Jews, but now there is one just for Muslims.
Abdelaziz Aouragh, a 29-year old Dutch-Moroccan and a practicing Muslim, has launched El Asira, a rather unlikely, if not daring, enterprise in the Netherlands. It is the first halal “sex shop”. The question is whether the concept, which is raising many eye brows, will be accepted by an increasing skeptical niche market.
“The image of women in the kitchen, submissive, dressed in a burkah isn’t true. There is a lot of love. Islam has a lot of respect for women. Our shop puts the woman at the centre of things.
Sensual stimulants, organic lubricating gels, pure power capsules for men or women … El Asira, the first halal sex shop made in the Netherlands has opened its doors. Solely available on the Internet, the shop was inaugurated March 24 by Abdelaziz Aouragh, a 29-year old Dutch-Moroccan Muslim.
Halal? Really? Yes, says the young entrepreneur. “There is even a fatwa (religious decree,) on the subject,” he says. The fatwa was given after he contacted a local imam who in turn consulted with a Saudi Sheikh who gave his blessing, provided that the products are used, strictly, within the context of marriage.
The product range is diverse, from “Lovpil” capsules, to fight against everyday stress that “may affect sexual energy and pleasure”, to “Gel Max”, a lubricating gel that promises greater “sexual performance.” Jewelry and lingerie will soon be added to their range of products.
But is El Asira’s Halal online Sex Shop really a sex shop? This is where opinions differ. Despite the manager’s decision to label his business as the first Muslim online boutique to sell erotic items and beauty care products, Al-Kanz, another site dedicated to Muslim consumers, says it is not a sex shop. “This was predictable. It is neither salacious nor beggarly. Simply some products of comfort”, the site reads.
The site is careful not to depart from set moral standards. With a purple-pink interface for women and brown for men, the site denotes itself with a calculated discretion. In fact, it shies away from the use of enticing photos of men or women as well as suggestive allusions.
But the site, albeit discreet, has failed to reassure some potential customers. And skepticism over the site’s intention looks like the winning argument. “I don’t see the point,” says Redhouane, a 32 year-old Muslim, “but if some couples need it due to physiological problems, it’s understandable.”
The idea of the online halal sex shop, suggested by his financial partners, had initially been met with skepticism from Abdelaziz Aouragh. But whether or not a halal sex shop will be welcomed by Muslim couples, the decision is theirs to make. AFRIK