Follow linnytayls Humaira Mubeen has just returned from a trip to Pakistan to visit her father. But as the oldest daughter, it was no ordinary catch-up. This is because Mubeen is single. Even though she was born and bred in the US, being an unmarried Muslim at her age is a worry for her parents. In fact, her recent Pakistan trip involved yet another awkward matchmatching experience.
I'm 25 and I'm still not married. In an online forum aptly called 'Mipsterz', Mubeen jokingly wrote that she would start a dating website where all her cool Mipster friends could connect. But when they thought she was serious and asked to sign up, Mubeen decided to take the plunge. She teamed up with her friend Shereen Nourollahi whom she met on Mipsterz , and enlisted the help of developers Hassan Shaikley and Sadique Ali to turn 'Hipster Shaadi' into a reality.
The site, which has since been renamed ' Ishqr ', is a quirky, tongue-in-cheek take on conservative Muslim matrimonial websites, such as Shaadi or SingleMuslim.
She is currently developing a mobile app for the site. One of Ishqr's taglines read: And young Muslim Americans are trying to show that, 'Yes, we're proud Muslims but we're also very proud Americans and it is very possible to live with these two identities together. Because it's more difficult for young Muslim Americans or Muslims in the West to find compatible like-minded, potential spouses because we hold this unique identity.
For Australian Zeynab Gamieldien, 24, Muslim singleness is the focus of her popular blog ' Love Haqtually ', but she doesn't believe it's a 'Muslim issue' per se. Everybody seems to be facing that issue, that's why sites like RSVP, Tinder are popping up because a lot of people are finding it hard to meet someone.
They don't know where to go about it, people are really busy. And since Muslims make up only 2. Parents who have migrated to Western countries no longer have the same extended family and community connections they once did in their home country, Dr Ahmad said, who researches Muslim marriages and relationships in Britain. With smaller social networks, parents aren't able to provide their children with suitable matrimonial partners.
And that is creating a need for suitably educated partners especially from a women's perspective. There's an expectation on the part of men that women should be baby providers or in the domestic sphere.
They have the ideal of the working wife, but their ideal doesn't match the reality. The marriage issue seems to be the biggest issue that is facing Muslims in terms of their personal lives. Like popular dating app Tinder, users swipe right on someone's profile if they're interested, and swipe left if they're not. The app will launch in the coming months. And yet outside, in the rest of our lives, we can meet and hang out with anyone that we want.
We're taking that process and putting it into a technological form, and taking it away from the hands of the aunties and uncles, and giving it to the people who are actually affected by this. Its Los Angeles-based founder, Hamid, 33, who didn't wish to use his surname, said mobile technology is an ideal alternative to traditional practices, particularly for single women. For example, you'll filter things down from: Do they wear covering? Do you want someone with covering?
What ethnicity are they? I remember meeting with other Muslims — we were all brainstorming ideas like how can we make it halal to date. So if you're a woman, you've already met all the guys who could've had potential. I remember meeting with other Muslims — we were all brainstorming ideas like how can we make it halal to date," she laughed.
Although she's now married, Awad said online technology would have been a great help during her quest for love. While convenient and an obvious by-product of modern technology, Dr Ahmad isn't convinced online dating is the answer. The internet can be seen as a source of security and they can engage with somebody for period of weeks or months and not have to face them.
She pointed out that it was common for men to use online dating sites to find second or third wives. Dr Ahmad also believed online dating placed too much emphasis on specific criteria, for example, age, ethnicity and location. It's there, it's convenient. They can fit it into their working lives. So I don't think we can go back from that now. The very fact that they're on a Muslim site already shows that they have a different intention in mind.
This is for someone to meet someone of quality and to have a relationship with," he said. Jessa, founder of Salaam Swipe, also insisted that using a Muslim dating app is a good indicator of one's commitment to their faith and cultural values. So I don't think that's really a valid concern. There is no clear right or wrong and it depends on a person's personal convictions. There are going to be critics and there are going to be proponents.
I think it comes down to the individual's choice. It just comes down to their religious viewpoints. So I think families are increasingly more accepting of different ways of meeting a partner because their interest is seeing their child get married. And so they will often adapt their expectations to see that happen.
And this is what they're facing right now. And how do they deal with this? They deal with it how the way they deal with everything else: