Although the website has been referred to as a “halal sex shop,” in truth it’s light years away from the mainstream conception of a sex toy outlet. There are no dildos or porn on the store’s site; its wares are more on the sensual side of the spectrum, as opposed to the downright erotic. Products include various creams and the euphemistic-sounding but totally innocent “glamour lotion”:
This luxurious body lotion, containing white tea, organic vine leaf extracts, envelops the skin in golden glamour with the sensual scent of El Asira.
Here’s what the homepage looks like.
When reached for comment, store owner Abdelaziz Aouragh explained to the Daily Dot that while he operates the online version of the shop in the Netherlands, the plan has always been to expand to a brick-and-mortar “concept store” in Saudi Arabia.
“We have had only positive reactions [in Saudi Arabia],” Aouragh told the Daily Dot. “People were very skeptical at first, but that had to do [with coming] across an item in the media labeling us a ‘halal sex shop’ etc.”
Aouragh objects to the media’s conception of El Asira as a “halal sex shop.” “We do not profile ourselves as an sex shop in any way,” a press representative from El Asira said in an email. “A halal sex shop doesn’t exist and if there would [be] a venture claiming such concepts, rest assured that it’s a regular sex shop.”
When pressed further, Aouragh directed the Daily Dot to the shop’s frequently asked questions page, which lays out the specifics on what “halal” and “Sharia-compliant” mean. Essentially, the shop adheres to Islamic religious rules, while simultaneously selling products geared at heightening sexual arousal.
‘Sharia’ means ‘the way’. It consists of a collection of teachings which derives from the Quran and other sources such as the Hadith, traditions and the Sunnah, the practices relating to the Prophet Mohammed and his earliest followers during the 7th century B.C.
Contrary to popular belief, sharia compliance is not something eerie; it just means something is ‘halal’, i.e. permissible by Islamic law.
While the standard dildos and harnesses at Babeland likely wouldn’t qualify as halal, Aouragh says the candles and lotions sold at El Asira fall into that category.
“I do agree that there is a lack of knowledge when it comes to sexuality and Islam, not only among Muslims but also among non-Muslims,” he told the Daily Dot. “Pleasure within the sexual lives of Muslim couples is a must. That can even be found in the Quran and authentic hadiths of the prophet Mohammed. So as long as Muslims and non-Muslims do not take the time to gain knowledge about this subject they will never learn.”