Why start Halal Bedroom?
From a very young age, the virtues of getting married, especially early on in life, was always a major topic of conversation within our home. Marriage had been held at such a high pedestal and it was portrayed that my life would life really "begin" upon getting married.
The thought of marriage however was scary. Going through puberty in a highly liberalized western world, left me conflicted with the traditional Muslim values that I had been brought up with. This lead me feeling award and guilty about the physical and emotional changes within me. I had started to notice girls, and while my parents had caught on, the "talk" and advice of dealing with this was lacking, awkward and clinical. Getting married was the solution proposed, advice on how to setup "house" was good but nothing was designed to help on setting up the bedroom. I know I wasn't the only one. Speaking with my Muslim friends and family, they too were feeling the same thing.
What made it more difficult was reading Islamic literature. It was hard to make sense due to the traditional language and reading style, but despite this it showed glimpses of a different world when it came to Islam and sexuality. I saw a world where sexual exploration within marriage was embraced, encouraged and made close to mandatory. Muslim leaders and parents by enlarge fail to communicate this even today. A Hadith here or there is often all we hear, but no real guidance or practical advice on how to get started, maintain or improve our sex lives.
It is because of this failure I decided to start Halal Bedroom. I believe that our sex life is a microcosm of our relationship with our spouse. If we work toward having fruitful, fun and loving sex lives, we will empower our lives outside of it.
The world of our parents and forefathers doesn't need to exist. We have to take charge and ask our spouses for our right (pleasure in the bedroom) and break down barriers such as ego (both male and female), shyness and shame. In the 21st century it is time to liberate ourselves, openly communicate with our spouses about sex and work to build gratifying bedroom lives all while respecting our Islamic beliefs.
Through Halal Bedroom, I want to empower Muslim couples to live gratifying sex lives. The online store is just the beginning. I will expand the revolution and help eradicate the "loveless" marriage.
How Halal Bedroom started?
My 20s were filled with a faith and cultural identity crisis. I wasn't able to tell the difference of where religion stopped and where culture began. The lines were often blurred and sometimes even culture won over religion. For example, while Islam does not see race, the reality is, plenty of racism and intolerance exists within our communities.
Unable to cope with it I decided to forgo my faith for a while. All this showed me was that I can't actually live without a belief in Allah SWT. I realized I had to chart my own path, and discard the cultural values I felt were incompatible with my faith.
Combined with this discovery was an entrepreneurial mind. At the end of 2014, a friend of mine came across an article about an online sex shop based out of Turkey catering to Muslims. The site had close to 30,000 views in 4 days and was featured by various media outlets. Despite this publicity, visiting the website left me feeling gross because:
- it was trashy
- it was cheap
- the product line left a lot to be desired (tightening creams!)
We decided then that we should start one ourselves.
We both realized that this was one of the toughest businesses to be in as a Muslim. Family and community play a huge role in our lives and starting something controversial impacts more than just ourselves. Initially, we worked towards building this together, but after a while he decided to go off in a different direction.
I was conflicted. Adding to the family and cultural impacts of starting such a venture, the main stream sex industry is not compatible with Islamic values. This makes finding vendors, products and packaging a challenge.
I thought about parking the idea, but even back then I knew that our Ummah needed this. I also knew that this was my calling and that is what drove me daily. I needed to find ways of empowering Muslim couples to live amazing bedroom lives. Islam today has many challenges but this was one I could actually do something about. I decided to stick with it and push forward.
Progress was slow, but eventually I found my groove and started to build the first iteration. It took me almost two years, plenty of hiccups and setbacks along the way, but in November of 2016 Halal Bedroom was born. The work is just beginning and the only way I see is up!