Half Our Deen
Fig. 1. Half Our Deen. Courtesy of ummah films.

Muslimah Media Watch, "a Muslim feminist perspective" online platform, conducted a research on muslim matchmaking sites and males' responses towards certain female profiles. The research examines four matrimonial sites, Muslima.com, Qiran.com, MuslimMatch.com and a newly established, "very visually attractive" Halfourdeen.com, and highlights their features and differences between them. To detect men's preferences, the researchers have created various fake profiles that depict three Muslim women who differ in age, family background, ethnic/racial origin, social/economic/educational status and religious practises.

Whether these technological advancements in terms of marriage are more modern or not is questionable. It is still easy to see that representations of femininity and masculinity remain fairly consistent. Men still expect to marry younger women, who have never been married and who don’t have children. They also expect to be attractive to Muslim, North African and Arab women without any sense of romance, softness or even interest in the partner. However, it is assumed that a man should deal differently with Western girls.

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The popular image of a Muslim man looking to marry and financially care for a ‘proper’ Muslim woman, whose faith is an important trait may no longer be viable. Only few men, at least in these sites, felt compelled by a woman who aimed to fulfill a “traditional Islamic” role, whose priority was her religious beliefs, and who aimed to find a religious man for marriage.

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Nonetheless, things have changed a bit. Social and financial constraints have transformed marriage, in some cases, into a social mobility tool not only for women, but also for men. Marriage for love, the common Western ideal, seems to remain a taboo for many Muslims on these sites, especially when it comes to communicating with women from non-white backgrounds.

Read the full article Muslim Matchmaking Sites and the Technology of Marriage.