This article was authored by Emily Gerson and published by datingadvice.com on 21/12/17.
The Short Version: Many Muslim singles are finding that the contemporary dating landscape can pose a number of unique challenges. Level of religiosity, sect, family background, and ethnicity, among other factors, are sometimes top of mind when seeking a compatible partner. As a result, more than 300,000 Muslims have turned to muzmatch for help. The free dating app’s two main search features, Discover and Explore, are effective tools for singles to find and bond with others who share their Islamic values and beliefs. It’s a completely private, community-rated, and secure platform where thousands of modern Muslims are meeting their soul mates.
When it comes to dating for Muslims, Shahzad Younas, CEO and Founder of muzmatch, said several unique factors come into play, including religion, family background, and ethnicity, among others. There’s a focus on marriage early on, he noted, and casual dating as a concept doesn’t suit most single Muslims.
“If you speak to Muslim people in the community, in the West especially, there’s a real social problem of young people finding partners,” he said.
Muslim parents discourage casual dating, but, at the same time, they put pressure on their children to get married, Shahzad told us, making young people feel torn between these scenarios.
When Shahzad identified this dissonance and began looking at what resources were out there, he realized all the existing dating services were incredibly expensive, old-fashioned, awkward, and provided an overall unpleasant user experience. Nothing really worked for modern Muslims looking for a partner, so he decided to create a solution and launched muzmatch in April 2015.
“As a basic premise, we’re essentially trying to take the good things from Western dating apps and overlay that with Islamic sensibilities in a nice, clean way that really works,” he said.
And it is working, with at least 8,000 members successfully engaged or married. Shahzad told us muzmatch recently experienced a huge success when one user signed up and found her perfect match within three days — and she’s now happily married.
Shahzad also fondly remembers when a male user from Uganda emailed muzmatch to give thanks for its role in helping him find his partner, whom he recently wed, on the app.
“I remember thinking ‘I don’t think we have many members in Uganda,’” he said. “I looked in the database, and literally he was the only guy and she was the only woman on muzmatch in the whole of Uganda. For them to find each other and get married was pretty amazing.”
muzmatch has been very successful, with more than 300,000 members across the world. Nearly half of the app’s users are from the UK, Shahzad said, with another third from the US and Canada. The areas with the next highest number of users are Europe and Australia. muzmatch is also big in Indonesia and Turkey, and the remaining members are scattered throughout 160 countries.
The average muzmatch user is 27 years old, and membership is two-thirds male and one-third female, which Shahzad said is in line with other dating apps. He told us more than 70% of the app’s users also have at least a university education.
muzmatch membership spans the globe, and many users are open to finding matches in other countries because it expands their potential dating pool.
“We’ve had people from Morocco find someone from the Far East,” he said. “There’s a real mix of people who are willing to travel. That’s one thing that’s interesting about our app — people are willing and open to looking at people in other countries and actually going out there and meeting the families.”
Shahzad noted that many of the successes they’ve had have been couples from completely different ethnicities and backgrounds who never would normally have met.
“One thing that’s prevalent in the Muslim community is people generally search along ethnic lines or family backgrounds because family is a big part of Muslim marriage on both sides,” he said. “But we’ve found with our app with the success we’ve had, we’ve had a lot of interethnic marriages, which we’re really proud of. I think that’s the progressive nature of what we’re doing.”
Shahzad said they’ve also talked to people with different backgrounds, such as those with divorces or children from other marriages, who had given up on finding someone but found success with muzmatch.
Another thing that makes muzmatch unique is its extensive verification process, Ryan Brodie, muzmatch’s CTO and Co-Founder, told us. Every profile is manually vetted by the admin team.
muzmatch confirms users by SMS messages and by GPS location. The team also employs a selfie verification process, and Ryan said muzmatch is the first dating app to do that.
Users also have the ability to keep their photos hidden until they’re ready and can use a nickname. This helps members feel more comfortable until they get to know someone better, and it keeps them anonymous from friends and family.
muzmatch also has a feature that caters to the needs of more traditional Muslim daters.
“If family involvement is important to you, which it is for many of our users, you can actually involve a chaperone in your experience,” Ryan said.
Your designated family member or close friend will have access to all of your activity in the app, and it’s clear to both daters a chaperone is present.
“We’re solving a problem and can keep the traditionalist happy in that way,” Ryan said.
muzmatch’s app has two places where you can meet other Muslim singles. The first is Discover.
“For Discover, we use an algorithm like Tinder that stacks nearby profiles that might be interesting to you,” Ryan said.
Members can like or pass on each user, and if both parties like each other, the pair can start talking.
The other tool is Explore, which Ryan said he finds more interesting because it only filters other singles by age and location.
“We’re really quite passionate about bringing people from different backgrounds together and showing you people who might not be in your immediate filters but are still relevant to you,” he said.
Shahzad has always made it his goal to deliver a modern, top-notch dating app for Muslims.
“One thing that’s really been lacking in the Muslim space is that the quality hasn’t been there,” he said. “If you look at other Muslim services out there, websites or app, they’re pretty terrible — I’ve tried them all, and it’s a shame.”
From the start, Shahzad said he’s aimed to make muzmatch high-quality and meet what he calls the Western standard.
“Our customers are all using Instagram and WhatsApp and Facebook, and they know a good app when they see it, so it’s about making sure we fit into that category,” he said. “muzmatch views itself as a high-tech company with a high bar.”
That means Shahzad’s’ goal for 2018 is to not only grow the app’s users, brand, and awareness, but also to enrich the app even further by adding features and making it even sleeker and user-friendly.
Shahzad noted that the app has grown almost totally organically, and it’s the first Muslim-centric company to ever be backed by Y Combinator, a popular seed accelerator in Silicon Valley. Despite its successes, Shahzad said it’s important to him, and part of the company’s social responsibility, to keep the app free.
“We’re a premium product and all of the additional features are paid for, but one thing we’ve tried to do from day one is have a really capable, really high-quality free app so essentially people can use our app to match, chat, message someone, and get married without paying a penny,” Shahzad said. “We want to make sure we’re the best service out there for Muslims trying to find a partner.”
This article was authored by Emily Gerson and published by datingadvice.com
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
Hey everyone, it’s Ayesha from My Big Fat Halal Blog (MBFHB)! MBFHB is one of the UK’s biggest halal food platforms where I share halal restaurant reviews, recipes and travel guides! You can find out more about what I do on my website or Instagram.
Today, I’m collaborating with muzmatch to share some of my top Ramadan recipes. We hope you try them out and we would love to see any of your recreations.
Here’s a simple recipe for this delicious, filling smoothie bowl packed with nutritious dates… the only dates you should be having this Ramadan! ;)
1 banana, plus extra slices to garnish
5 pitted medjool dates, plus extra, chopped, to garnish
250ml semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp cocoa powder
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground nuts, to decorate
Simply put all the ingredients in a blender, and whizz until smooth. Pour into a bowl, over ice, if you like, then arrange the nuts, extra banana and dates over the top to serve.
Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be Ramadan without fried treats! Below is a recipe for my spicy, moreish potato cutlets. They’re always a hit with everyone!
750g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
11⁄2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
Handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Chutney/spicy salsa, to serve
1.Put the potatoes in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then cook for 18-20 mins, until tender. Drain and set aside for 15-20 mins, until cool enough to handle.
2. Add the garam masala, chilli powder, ground coriander and fresh coriander to the potatoes. Season, then mash until smooth.
3. Wet your hands, then shape the mixture into 10 round patties, about 1cm thick.
4. Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs onto separate plates, then dip each patty first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs to coat.
5. Heat the oil to medium-high, then fry the patties in batches for 2-3 mins on each side, until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper, then serve with a chutney/ spicy salsa for dipping.
A feast would not be complete without dessert! Try out this delicious Egyptian bread pudding known as Um Ali. It’s made with croissants, nuts and condensed milk and it’s absolutely delicious!
850ml semi-skimmed milk
1⁄2 x 397g can condensed milk
1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra to serve
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml double cream
1 tsp unsalted butter
4 all butter croissants, roughly torn
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
2 tbsp flaked almonds
2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, chopped
2 tbsp seedless raisins
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4.
2. Stir the milk, condensed milk, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla extract together in a saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2mins, stirring occasionally. Add the cream and carefully bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat.
3. Using the butter, grease a round baking dish, roughly 22cm in diameter and 5cm deep, and cover the base with half the croissant pieces.
4. Sprinkle over half each of the coconut, almonds, pistachios and raisins, then pour over the milk mixture.
5. Top with the remaining croissants, nuts and raisins, plus an extra pinch of cinnamon.
6. Bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden and bubbling, then leave to stand for 10 mins before serving.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and will try them out! You can find more of my recipes at mybigfathalalblog.com.
My husband and I got married last week! I wanted to share our story with you. Jarred and I started talking earlier this year and had an instant connection.
Jarred is from Connecticut and I'm from Texas. He was in Arkansas for school and recently graduated and was interested in meeting someone so he downloaded muzmatch.
We started talking and realized how much we had in common and quickly became serious about each other. We complimented each another in so many ways: prioritizing our deen, family and wanting to make a positive difference in the world.
Jarred then drove to see me. After that, we were certain we wanted to get married and decided to have our nikkah before Ramadan. We've been married almost a month now and it's been a wonderful adventure!
We're so happy! Jazakallah khair for connecting us!
Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah and the muzmatch team!
I'm from Indonesia and my husband is from Germany, but he is Russian.
What a blessing it is to have a mixed raced marriage!
I knew my husband from muzmatch since May 2017 and then he visited Indonesia in November 2017. I didn't believe he was serious until he visited me and my family.
Months later, I flew to Germany and found work there because I wanted to be close to him.
I was in love.
Finally on 28 Dec 2018, we had our nikkah which fell on the last Jumu'ah of the month and in March 2019 we got officially married.
Thank you to the muzmatch team!