Older, unmarried female Muslims outnumber their male counterparts for many reasons. Fussiness is not one of them.
A few years ago, at the behest of my mother, I attended a Muslim marriage event in Glasgow. These are events where Muslim men and women meet for the purpose of seeking an ideal marriage partner.
At the event, there were around five women to every man. Well-turned-out women sat around dejected, twiddling their thumbs, waiting to speak to the select few.
Sadly, it’s not an isolated example. Up and down the country, hundreds of women in their 30s and 40s within the Asian Muslim community are struggling to find a marriage partner.
Nearly all Muslim singles events are female-dominated, unless organisers artificially construct a level playing field by selling equal numbers of male and female tickets.
In the latter case, there’s always a stampede for female tickets. December’s Canary Wharf Professionals Muslim marriage event saw the female ticket quota sell out three weeks before, whereas the male ticket quota only sold out days before.
Moreover, the average age of women at such events is typically higher than men.
Such occurrences are symptomatic of the growing Muslim spinster crisis, which has been brewing for some time and is rooted in cultural, rather than religious, trends.
First, there has always been a tradition for British men originating from the Indian subcontinent to marry women from their country of origin. Families encourage their sons to do so for a host of reasons, including the cultural expectation that girls from “back home” will stay with and look after their in-laws.
The second trend is for Muslim men to marry “women of the book” (Christian or Jewish women), which is permissible in Islam. Men are more likely to work and socialise with British Christian women than their female Muslim counterparts, which leads to a higher chance of such marriages occurring.
Both trends lead to a shortfall of available Muslim men.
For Muslim women, marrying men from their country of origin is rarely considered an option as they tend to want social, economic and intellectual equals or superiors. Men from their country of origin tend to have different mindsets and struggle to find jobs no matter how well qualified they are, thereby leaving women as the main breadwinners. This situation can often create a strenuous dynamic in relationships with men from patriarchal cultures.
Muslim women, unlike men, are restricted as to whom they can marry. Marrying men outside the faith is only considered permissible in most communities if the men convert.
Moreover, in line with national trends, Muslim women academically outperform the men. According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s How Fair is Britain? report, Bangladeshi and Pakistani women are more likely to be employed as professionals than their male counterparts. This means that professional Muslim women have an even smaller pool of intellectual and economic equals to choose from.
This is exacerbated by the fact that Asian men are likely to choose partners of lower economic and intellectual status as they traditionally grow up with working fathers and stay-at-home mothers, and generally choose to replicate this model.
Unfortunately, these imbalances are not widely acknowledged – many label older unmarried women as fussy. The effect on women is crippling. Many become depressed as a huge amount of importance is attached to marriage, and unmarried women are made to feel that they’ve failed.
Any real solution would require a complete cultural shift in mindset by parents, community leaders and imams. This will need geographically, socially and economically fractured communities to work together to achieve change – no easy feat. Until they do so, many women who want to marry men of the same faith will continue to struggle.
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My name is Halima and I'm from Gauteng, South Africa and my husband (Arshad) is from Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa; we are both South African Indians.
He liked my profile on muzmatch on the 8th of April 2018 and on the 9th we started chatting and Alhamdulillah, today we are husband and wife.
About a month before I joined muzmatch I remember speaking to my mother in the kitchen as we cooked supper and she had full confidence that I'd be getting married soon.
I told her that I felt that maybe I'm just not meant to get married and be happy, taking into consideration that I personally felt like one could never find a decent man whose intention is to make Nikah in this day and age.
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We then saw each other once again in August 2018 (25th - A surprise for my 21st birthday planned by him and my mum); and again in November 2018 when he flew up to attend my younger sister's wedding with his mum, younger sister and brother-in-law.
Slowly the long distance had become difficult, our younger sisters were both already married and settled and we started wondering when would we actually get married. In February this year he decided to relocate to Gauteng and found a temporary job.
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Today I am happily married, living my dream with my husband and I have wonderful in-laws that love me as much as they love Arshad.
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Jazak'Allah muzmatch! Arshad has found me due to the creation of this wonderful app (He always says that he found me, not the other way around).
I would advise everyone to put their trust and faith in Allah SWT, never give up hope that Allah SWT will send the one who is meant for you when the time is right - for Allah is the greatest of planners. May all the other individuals find their spouses through this app as well Insha'Allah.
Halima & Arshad
My name is Yasmeen and I found my husband, Taymoor, on muzmatch on the last day of last ramadan. We were both divorced.
The first time we talked on muzmatch was in June and we got married one month later in August 2018. I always wanted to send our story to inspire others who are searching for a good husband and wife.
We are both Egyptians, from Cairo, we even work & live very near to each others in New Cairo city. I am a digital marketing manager and Taymoor is an IT manager. I am 37 years old and he is 40.
I have a daughter who is 12 years old, and I was searching for a real Muslim man who would be a good husband and father. Finally I found Taymoor, who is a good man and a good Muslim, he is very kind.
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My name is Sara and I just wanted to thank muzmatch and let you know that I finally got engaged on 24th December 2018 and found my Fiance - Ghazunfar on the App.
We are really happy Alhamdulilah and just wanted to thank you for creating a platform for Muslims to find a suitable match for marriage!
I believe it's a real blessing because initially we matched but we didn't talk as he hadn't read my messages and was not appearing online. After around 4 weeks, I unmatched however after some weeks I logged in and I came across his profile again. After some giving it some thought I decided to rematch and give it a try again.
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