Written by Zahra Zereshk
I met my fiancé on muzmatch and I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends and family the news - I found someone! Then comes the big question, “how did you two meet?" Bracing myself for the backlash, I laughed nervously and exclaimed: “we met on an app!” They winced, “an app?”
It’s 2019 and despite the way the internet and apps have changed every aspect of our lives - be it through online shopping, ordering food, finding jobs or even doing your laundry, when it comes to your love life the use of this digital realm hasn’t been accepted to the same extent - especially if you're from a Muslim background.
The general consensus is that if you use an app to find your future partner, you’re seen as 'desperate', 'lonely' or 'not attractive enough' to find someone in the “real world.” You’re effectively seen as a loser. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, especially if you’re using halal means.
What could be so wrong about taking control of your life, not leaving things to chance and still managing to find someone in a convenient, yet efficient way? I mean, how am I supposed to meet anyone at work, if I work with non-Muslims? I get home late and I don't have any family connections to potential suitors (actually I don't like who they set me up with). Do you see the problem? However, with just a series of taps and swipes on your phone, you can make informed decisions and determine your future. You choose what photos to show, what you want to say about yourself and apply filters to find exactly what you want in someone so that they’re compatible with you.
In Islam, these empowering values of free will and rationality are encouraged when finding a spouse. We need look no further than how Prophet Muhammad (SAW) met Lady Khadija (AS), which is a remarkable pairing even by today’s standards.
Khadija was not only 15 years older than the Prophet, but she was also wealthy, powerful, a widower and not to mention his boss. She broke all the social norms and dynamics at that time. In today’s age, it is customary for men to propose. However, Lady Khadija didn’t wait for the Prophet to approach her, she took the initiative and asked for his hand! The same way that women today are taking charge by using apps to find their future partner, and vice versa.
We must also look at the reasons Lady Khadija had for choosing the Prophet. Khadija knew of the stellar character of Prophet Muhammad; she learned that he was kind, reliable and a hard worker. She observed him from afar and used an intermediary, her friend, to ask for his hand. Is this not dissimilar to using a buffer (i.e. an app) to make that connection?
In the Qur'an, Allah instructs believers to marry fellow believers:
'And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you. Those invite [you] to the Fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes clear His verses to the people that perhaps they may remember.' | Qur’an 2:22
Muslims live as minorities in western countries. The harsh reality is that the odds are against you if you want to find a suitable Muslim spouse. Apps designed for Muslims concentrate the dating pool so that the likelihood of fulfilling your deen increases. Think of the app as a tool that can narrow the geographical gap between you and your potential partner. Why should where you happen to be in the world be a determining factor to decide who your future loved-one should be?
One of the other reasons matchmaking apps get a bad rep is that it “kills the romance” because it makes it easier to find your love interest. Firstly, if you’re reading this as a Muslim, you should already know that romance comes after marriage anyway. Secondly, who says getting things easily is a bad thing? In the Qur'an, Allah constantly wishes ease for us.
'...Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.' | Qur'an 2:185
'...Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you.' | Qur'an 5:6
'...He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty.' | Qur'an 22:78
'...And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]' | Qur'an 4:28
If these reasons didn't convince you, must I remind you that Muslims were once the pioneers of science and technology? Muslims made groundbreaking inventions and discoveries that shaped the modern world. Thanks to Muslims, we have algebra, surgery, cameras, airplanes, clocks , etc.— the list is endless. Surely utilising an app to find your partner can’t be that much of an innovative step?
So the next time someone asks you how you met your husband or wife, just say you swiped right! Let's end this stigma.