Muslim Marriage Apps and Community Pressure – Frustrations Faced by Single American Muslims
She pulled her phone out and started taking pictures of me.
Ummm khalto (auntie), what are you doing? I asked.
Oh nothing habibti, just taking a photo of you so I can post it online and say that you’re looking for a man.
I wish I was kidding.
As embarrassing as it is, this story happened to me a few weeks ago.
It has also happened to several of my single Muslim friends above the age of 25.
One auntie even told a friend of mine she was going to put her face on an ad on the men’s side at the masjid.
Sad, but true.
I keep telling myself that it comes from a place of love.
The aunties in the community just want to see us happy. Our families just want us to be married to a good man.
Enter the struggles of a single Muslim woman in America.
The “Halal” Marriage/Dating App
When you’re a single Muslim woman living in America, it seems like you have one of two options.
Option 1 – Marry a cousin from overseas.
Option 2 – Make an account on a Muslim marriage or “dating” app.
If you or a friend opted for option 2, you know it goes something like this:
Swipe right, swipe left, match, get ghosted, rinse, repeat.
Not the most sustainable option.
While I do have friends who have met really great guys online, there is so much stigma that comes with it.
If you are going to go for this option, the best advice I have is to be open with your family about it.
Otherwise, you’ll be scratching your head to come up with a story for how you met a guy living halfway across the country.
The biggest frustration I hear from friends is being uncomfortable sharing their photo with thousands of guys online.
Many of the men and women online are not serious about marriage, and the ones who are serious are very hard to find.
The Fine Line Between Halal and Haram
We often hear people say that it’s okay to talk to someone with the intention of getting married.
But let’s be honest here – there are limits.
And with “halal” dating apps, sometimes those limits seem far fetched.
It’s so easy to get carried away, so whether you’re a guy or a girl, it’s never a good idea to join if you simply want to “see what’s out there”.
Chances are you’ll be doing more harm than good.
At the end of the day, talking for the sake of having a good time is haram.
A good friend of mine ended up meeting her spouse online. She had a simple test though.
If she felt like someone could be a good match, she didn’t hesitate to bring her family into the picture.
If a guy didn’t like the fact that her family was aware, she knew he wasn’t serious and that he wasn’t the one. Simple as that.
Other Options for Single Muslim Women
Let’s say you don’t want to go onto a Muslim marriage app, and you don’t want to marry a cousin from back home.
What other options do you have?
One frustration I hear from my friends is that they never met anyone through school, there was no one good from MSA, or that their families don’t know anyone.
I can totally relate.
Thankfully, there are other good options out there.
You just have to be willing to give it a try.
Matchmaking is Making a Comeback
The word Muslim matchmaker has such a negative stigma attached to it.
“I don’t want to be match-made”.
“I don’t want someone getting my information and matching me with someone I barely know.”
I totally understand – it was weird for me at first too.
Here’s my two cents:
Islamic matchmaking has completely changed over the last few years.
Options 1 and 2 are not good options for most people, and the best alternative is working with someone you know and trust.
Someone who only works with good, decent people.
Someone who is looking out for you.
A matchmaker who can help you build your dream family.
And you can say that a mutual contact connected the two of you!
Seriously, what do you have to lose?
The Matchmaking Process
I always viewed my matchmaker in a friendly way.
You wouldn’t hesitate to ask a friend to help you out, and a matchmaker is no different.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking the help of someone in order to find your spouse and complete half your deen.
The process goes something like this:
- You fill out a detailed profile about yourself
- You write a private and personalized message to your matchmaker describing what you are looking for
- You write a different message that will go to the person you are matched with, which says a little about you and describes the qualities you are looking for
- You have a session with your matchmaker
- You and your matchmaker get to know one another with monthly check-ins
- Your matchmaker will send you an email when she thinks she may have found you a match
- You can decide whether or not to move forward
If both parties agree, the matchmaker will set up an intro and exchange information.
If you decide the person isn’t the one for you, not hard feelings. Your matchmaker will be on your side and support you with whatever you decide.
If you think you might need some premarital counseling, or want to talk through any issues you are facing, your matchmaker can also help.
Looking at the Bright Side
Yes, single Muslim women in America struggle so much to find a compatible man.
Yes, we are frustrated with all the overseas proposals and the creeps online.
Yes, we want to settle down with someone who understands us.
The frustrations are out there, and no woman is alone.
Despite all these frustrations, the best advice I have is to keep trying and to never give up.
You could be one match away from the “one”.
You really never know where your naseeb will come from!