Wedding season has just passed, and almost all the new couples that I have come across met their spouses online. Muslim matrimonial sites have burgeoned in the last few years, ranging from the standard sites such as SingleMuslim.com, to sites that aim to match personalities such as HalfOurDeen.com, to sites aimed at only practicing Muslims such as PureMatrimony.com, to sites for specific ethnicities such as MauritianMuslim.com and to even pay as you go sites such as Muzmatch.com (to name but a few)!

However, the taboo of advertising oneself online and this being a “desperate last attempt” remains. Parents are still sceptical of using this method, worried about other people's opinion and also uncomfortable about stepping outside the traditional methods of family and friends. For this reason, this topic is rarely discussed to the detriment of those using this system and those who want to but are not sure how to start.

Therefore, the purpose of this article is to kick start a discussion with some basic advice. The content of this article was created from the experiences of a disparate group of sisters who have all been online for a considerable time, some of who have been successful. Of course marriage – like any other social issue – can never follow one template and there is no “one-size fits all” solution; everyone has specific circumstances, which cannot be fully incorporated in an article. Hopefully through comments, people – especially brothers as this advice is gleaned from sisters –can add their own stories to help and encourage others.

Family Involvement:

This is probably the most difficult yet the most important piece of advice. Many brothers/sisters have the impression that they will find a spouse online and once they are happy, introduce them to their parents. In reality, parents want to be involved from the start.  Think for a moment about your future children – you raised them and know them well and you want a role in deciding who their future spouse should be.

Remember, marriage is not just about two people coming together; it is also about two families joining. Even if the parents disagree with finding a spouse online, it is important that they have an active role in your search and they know whom you are speaking with. One of the main reason parents are sceptical of matchmaking online is the lack of control and the fear of the unknown. By getting them more involved it will ease them into the process. Not just for basic safety measures, but because the process of getting married is not a one man job. The family plays a vital role in judging the character of your prospective spouse and his/her family. Since you can come across literally hundreds of profiles online, it is wise to inform your family after compatibility is established, but definitely before a more serious bond is formed..

Moreover, when families are involved on both sides, it dramatically increases the level of seriousness and eliminates those people who are online for fun. If the person you are speaking to refuses to tell his parents about you, then that is a sign that they are either not serious about marriage or not serious about you. Informing parents does not mean a marriage invitation, it means that you are seriously considering this person for marriage and want your family to consider them and give their input as well. Also, if your parents do not agree to the person at this stage for whatever reason, it is better to end it early without too much emotional attachment. It may cause family drama to let them know early on, but the emotional damage to get to know someone and end it after many months of chatting away due to parents not agreeing is far worse. Also emotions are high throughout the process, and families help the prospective couple see clearly and to remind them not to expect perfection if they are being too selective.

“”I was speaking to this guy online who would always whisper, as he did not want his parents to know he was online looking for a wife! Not only that but he lied on his profile about his ethnicity and height and sent me a dodgy picture, again to remain anonymous. I ended it immediately, as there was no guarantee that even if we were compatible his parents would accept me. Why should I invest my time and energy in someone who does not have the courage to tell his mum he wants a wife!””

“”My spouse first spoke to my mum for a short time, and only after her approval was he allowed to speak to me! From the start, my mum was involved which made her happy. Also this pushed him to get his family involved early on too. Both families were happy as they got to know each other and their presence ensured we both remained focused on getting to know each other for marriage and not wasting time.””

 “”I got to know this guy for 6 months and alhamdolilah we both liked each other and wanted to get married. He knew his parents would not be too thrilled but since both of us were of the age where we did not require parental consent we both continued. Also he said that no matter what his parents say, he would marry me. Yet his parents simply refused and he went back on his word. We were both devastated. Make sure families are involved near the beginning of the process. You might think your parents would be happy with whom you are speaking to but you could be wrong.””

Don't put all your eggs in one basket:

Simple advice – matrimonial sites are only one method. Don't reject other methods such as matrimonial events and contacting match-makers or even traditional methods such as recommendations from family.

 “”I was on the Internet on a handful of websites, attended many matrimonial events and my family and friends were also on the scavenger hunt. Alhamdolilah, after sticking with this method for 5 years, (early years probably not as active as the last few!) I found my husband through the recommendation of a friend. If I have one tip to give to any girl – don't put all your eggs into one basket. Give everything a try and definitely sign up to more than one website. The good news is once you have one profile it is a copy and paste job! Many people reading this might feel a bit embarrassed for being that active. Why? You are searching for halal marriage, and as long as you keep your parents actively involved at all stages and stay within the bounds, there is nothing wrong with actively looking for a spouse – it is half your deen and natural to want to settle down and start a family. If you want to get married, then stop moaning and get proactive.””

Be Wise on the Net – what goes online, stays online:

If you are serious about finding a spouse, then you need to invest time crafting a decent profile and finding the right pictures to represent yourself. When you are preparing to look for a job, the first thing you do is iron out your C.V. Similarly, you must put in the time and effort on your profile so that it shows your personality and what you are looking for. A good litmus test is asking yourself, “If my uncle read this and saw my photo would I be embarrassed?” Inappropriate photos or comments in your profile will not only attract the wrong type of people but can also come back to haunt you. There is no point in lying, be honest and upfront. Sisters – you are looking to attract a prospective spouse, so while you should point out your qualifications, don't forget to also write about your personality. Brothers – if you are not financially stable, then too, be upfront about it and state your plans.

With that all being said, never judge a person by their profile. It is easy to write a good/bad profile. Give people a chance. Some people are better communicators in person, rather than on paper. For others, it takes a little time for their personality to shine through.

Moreover, there are many people who go on these sites just for a good time. There are liars, cheaters, time wasters and –for lack of a better term – downright psychos! Always be on guard; never give out personal information too soon. Family involvement early on helps to eliminate these types. If you cannot speak to your family, it is useful to always talk through your experience with someone else.  A third person may find it easier to spot liars and stories that don't quite add up.

“”I spoke to this guy who seemed down to earth and genuine but when it came to getting the parents to speak over the phone he came up with many stories. While none of the stories were actually far fetched, the point is a serious guy will get his parents on the phone for a quick initial conversation.  I didn't spot the inconsistencies at first, but it was only after talking it through with family I myself realised something was not right. Also I started getting prank messages from a different number. It got so messy that I ended up calling the matrimonial site for help. Alhamdolilah I blocked his number and ended all contact and he hasn't bothered me since.””

Emotions, Emotions, Emotions!

In any method, but more so on the Internet, you can either get desperate or depressed. After scouring through hundreds of profiles for years it is easy to fall into either one of these two camps. Seeing profile after profile, going through initial messages and conversations, you feel the need to just settle for the next person that accepts you. Or the opposite experience of repeatedly going through the process yet not finding anyone that suits you can leave you feeling hopeless.

The Internet generally gives you quantity, not quality. First and foremost, strengthen your relationship with Allah and increase the intensity of your du'a. Also use friends/family for support. Many people hide this from their friends, but it is at times like these good friends keep you sane and focused. [For more information about getting over a prospective spouse please see Picking up the pieces: Love drug syndrome article].

“”I had been looking for a few years on the Internet, and then found a guy who looked decent in theory – he was educated, financially stable, practicing and he found me attractive. The only issue was that I did not find him attractive in neither personality nor physical appearance. In short, I was desperate – I had to make this work. I tried so hard to convince myself but I found myself doing everything I could just to avoid speaking with him.  At that point I realised, if I can't even speak to him over the phone for a minute, how can I marry the guy!? Alhamdolilah, a few years later, I met Mr. Right. In short, don't force yourself. Listen to your instincts. The right guy will come when the time is right insha Allah.””

“”I was on the internet looking for a spouse and I can honestly say, after Allah's help, the single thing that helped me get through it was my best friend. We both were in the same boat, and hearing that we both were having similar experiences made us feel normal. We both encouraged each other to continue, especially on those days when I just wanted to give up and accept a life without a husband or was about to continue with a guy out of desperation.””

Level of Piety and Manners:

A very common description of a future spouse is “practicing” or “religious”. Yet the definition of “religious” varies from person to person. For example, some people classify praying 5 times a day as very religious; others see it as a starting point. It is impossible to determine the level of piety by a profile – this only happens when you get to know the other person better. Some people act overly religious, others hide it and yet others need the right person to bring it out in them. The point is that this is an aspect of a person that has to be seen over time. . In short, don't judge a person by their profile, but by the way they conduct themselves whilst interacting with you and your family.

“”This one guy refused to speak to my dad. My dad just wanted an initial light conversation. That one refusal told me all I needed to know about his manners and respect towards elders.””

The above is a short – but by no means exhaustive – list of advice by sisters who have had experience  in finding a spouse over the Internet. Some successful while others not. Matrimonial sites are just another method of looking for a partner and just like any method has  its pros/cons and do's/don'ts. However due to the stigma attached, this topic is hardly discussed. Insha Allah it is hoped that this article will help break some taboos and lead to some interesting discussions.

39 Responses

  1. faizan

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Zaheer

      Wa ‘alaykum salaam faizan,

      As others have pointed out – this is a dangerous view. Thinking it’s ok for parents to fix up marriages which don’t work out, because then the kids are blame-free – you’re ignoring the fact that blame has nothing to do with it. What about the children of the marriage? Do you think it’s any comfort for them to have their parents tell them “sorry we’re divorced but it’s your granny’s fault”? I’m not even talking about the potential damage done to the wife and husband.

      It’s nice to play the blame game, but when things go wrong, the effects are felt by all, not just those who initiated/coordinated the marriage.

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    • Zaheer

      Another thing – both of your conclusions indicate selfishness. It seems you’re only concerned about being “an obedient son” and/or not being “the one to be blamed”. To hell with your spouse, kids, parents, and others who may be affected by the breakup of a bad marriage.

      How can you say you want to be married if this is your view on it? You’re giving arranged marriages a bad name, man…people will think anyone who approves of arranged marriages does so because of selfish and short-sighted reasons like yours.

      I also think you are being arrogant in assuming a bad marriage won’t affect you – the way you nonchalantly dismiss the possibility of a bad marriage is – ” o well, not my fault. moving on…”. Truth is we only know just how devastating a breakup or acrimonious marriage can be once we experience it.

      Apologies if I’m being overly confrontational, but I think it needs to be said. May Allah forgive me if I have misinterpreted what you said.

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      • Hira Amin

        Salaam

        Jazak Allah Khair for your responses. Not sure if Faizan was being sarcastic, or had not really thought through his argument. But I found when it comes to marriage, everyone is different. While some do not mind the idea of an arranged by parents, others would abhor it. But the key here is what Zaheer has summarised very well and that is marriage is not a light matter and you can potentially harm someone else and future children if you do not take these decisions wisely and with considerable thought.

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    • Saira

      In reponse to br Faizan – what a one sided and unrealistic view you present of the marriage process being completely in your parent’s hands! Br Zaheer nailed it on the head when he spoke about the children of such marriages and then blaming the granny.

      I know because I too am in this position where I’m now divorced and my ex husband’s family are getting all the blame. Islam gives you a CHOICE and I can tell you for sure that parents DO NOT ALWAYS KNOW WHAT’S BEST. After all, 5 of my sister in laws were forced into marriage – one has been divorced twice, another is separated after taking years of physical abuse, another is divorced with kids and married again, one is living with an abusive husband and is too scared to leave him and the other married quite possibly, the most stupidest man ever to have lived on the face of this planet (she has a masters degree and this guy she married is from back home in pakistan, been in the UK for 16 years and can’t speak a word of English or support his family). In EVERY single case, each one of them was forced to marry cousins or relatives from back home – who is suffering? THE KIDS.

      So no, parents don’t always do what’s best. Allah gave you a brain to use and part of that is not to be so selfish as to think if it goes wrong, I can blame my family. No, Allah gave you a CHOICE. It is your HAQ – so use it and fight for the rights of your unborn children!

      This is the problem with the ummah today – very short sighted and selfish. They don’t think about their future, or their kids or the consequences of their actions.

      Shame on all the men who do whatever mummy wants and couldn’t care less about the consequences. Lives are ruined and destroyed and you can’t put a price on that ever.

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  2. iman

    Assalam alaykum. Okay I met my husband online on qone if the sites mentioned above. From the very beginning y family was involved, I always had my brother sit-in our video chats which was requested by my husband. He seemed perfect, he spoke to my mum from early on and he was just perfect really, practising, polite etc. We lived in different continents. My family did the research on his family but we never actually got to speak to them cos he always wanted us to get married 1st and then speak to them, I found that quiet strange but dismissed the idea. Well to cut the story short after we got married I went and visited him his family and everything was perfect again. I came back home after a month and a bit. We continued speak on Skype for 5months and we both decided that we wanted to live together as a couple, so I moved to his country and was staying in different city to his family. After being there for a month with him I started seeing a completely different person from the person he said he was. As they say “YOU ONLY KNOW THE PERSON WHEN YOU START LIVING OTH THEM” so true Subhan’Allah. I saw a side of him I didn’t like. He wasn’t practising or polite or anything he said he was. After staying there for 3months I came back home, well he forced me to come back so I can get him to the UK apparently so we can have a “successful marriage” Subhan’Allah. I got to know the person he really is whilst I was there if I never went to him I would’ve thought he was perfect still. Alhamdulillah Allah had showed me. We’ve been married for a year and a bit and now I’ve decided to ask him for my divorce, at 1st he tried changing my mind and I kept giving in but Alhamdulillah now I’m ready to move on with my life without him. So sisters I advice you get to know his family and ask them about him in detail, something I didn’t do. Also if you have any doubts please speak to your family and let them sort it for you otherwise all you’ll hear from him are things he wants you to hear not the truth. So sorry to have written an essay, hope it all makes sense insha Allah

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    • Hira Amin

      Salaam

      Jazak Allah khair for sharing your experience with us. Allah is the best of planners and in this test there is great wisdom – I pray He rewards you for your patience. I think what your story shows, is that it is very important to get to know the family as well as the person as this reduces the risk. Also to be mindful when certain things are dismissed. However, even after all precautions have been taken, it still does not mean the marriage will work and will be perfect. So I would not blame yourself for making the wrong decision, as from your story it seems like you took a lot of measures and your family worked hard to ensure he was a good man. These things still happen even with the utmost precautions. May Allah give you the strength to move on. Ameen.

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      • Iman

        Jazaka’Allah khayr

        In shaa Allah all will be khayr. This process has defiantly made me a strong muslimah Alhamdulillah.

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  3. Jessi

    Assalamu alaikum

    This article addresses a very important topic, but surprisingly leaves out one of the most critical parts: caution about connecting with someone overseas.

    I know several women (usually revert American sisters) who have gotten badly burned by a man seeking money and/or papers.

    Women really need someone to check out the prospective spouse, even if she is a little older or has been divorced. We women are very trusting, and it can be hard enough to accurately judge a man in real life when he is seeking to impress you, much less one you only know online.

    Someone (preferably male, with the woman’s best intrests in mind) MUST be able to check him out for her.

    Unless that can happen, my strong advice is to find someone local.

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    • Hira Amin

      Salaam

      Jazak Allah Khair for your comment. There are soo many different scenarios that I could not cover all in detail, which is why I wanted people to post their own experiences and advice in the comments – which you have done, so jazak Allah for that.

      The reason I personally did not include overseas in a separate category as I feel that regardless of whether a person is in your country or overseas, the same amount of vigour should be taken. Families/friends must interview the person and caution should be taken with everyone.

      ws

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  4. Mohammad

    walaikum salam
    I do not know if you were being sarcastic with your last 2 points, but trust me, when a marriage does not work out, both parents and the child feel awful, regardless of whose choice it was. You are talking of the child not being blamed but seeing a parent or guardian feel guilty all his/her life because of pushing for the wrong choice is terrible as well

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  5. Ali

    My post was a reply to Fayzan, for some reason it appears at the bottom rather than as part of a message under his post

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  6. Umm Zainab

    Asalaamu alaikum, This is a nice article, however, as islam is growing fast all over the globe alhumdulillah, there are a lot of muslim reverts that do not have muslim families to help them in this process. Lots of reverts (including myself) end up with community walis that aren’t willing to do the footwork to make sure sisters aren’t going to end up with paper seekers or abusive men. I think there should be more articles focusing on people who do not have muslim families to lean on as well as those that do.

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    • Hira Amin

      Salaam

      Jazak Allah Khair for your comment. Yes, you are absolutely right that muslim converts without families/support is another huge topic in and of itself. This is a good opportunity for married convert sisters to share their experiences and how they managed to find their spouse through the comments section. Or a convert reading this, may want to write a follow up article summarising their own experiences and advice for others.

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  7. Zaheer

    As-salaamu alaikum,

    I am male, but have not used any matrimonial sites. However, since I am looking to get married, I think I should a male perspective on the issue. Of course, those brothers who have used these sites (successfully or not) should be able to give a more relevant and first-hand perspective.

    Generally speaking, I distrust the Internet. When it comes to Islamic knowledge, world news, etc., I generally take everything I read with a grain of salt. Usually I try to confirm what’s online with that which is in the real world, from multiple sources.

    Generally I only trust the Internet with lesser topics – usually of a technical nature. So while it may be true that the Internet, like any medium of information, is what you make of it, its highly accessible, convenient, and ubiquitous nature makes it far more prone to abuse, misinterpretation, etc.

    That being said, I don’t see why you can’t _meet_ potential spouses online. I don’t think you should base the entire thing online, but simply connecting with a potential spouse, is not de facto a bad idea. However, as some have pointed out, it’s extremely difficult to verify whether anyone online is genuine. This ranges from lies about their appearance, personality, views on marriage, child-rearing, family etc. to lies about their intentions, which can even enter the dangerous territory of sexual predators/kidnappers/murderers etc. The internet is riddled with such types, and many of them are hard to detect, especially for those who are gullible.

    Since people who interact with the opposite sex without imposing strict limits on themselves tend to get very emotional, they are easy to trick. A few here have said that this applies mostly to women; I think this is true, but men can also be taken advantage of when they “fall head over heels in love”.

    So I think one needs to be extremely cautious if choosing this medium. Marriage is already a minefield, and prospective spouses, and their families, are lying to each other, as we speak ,about past life, intentions, family, etc. (almost anything you can think of) when they are meeting face to face, and did everything the traditional “tried and tested” way.

    So if you add the extra risk of online matchmaking – where far less “rules” apply, and a lot of the regulation depends on coincidence and sincere people happening to meet only other sincere people – you need to be extremely cautious all the time.

    The risks are higher, and I’m not sure there are any greater rewards than the traditional method – however I think most people who try this are doing so because they are not having success with the other more established methods.

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    • Hira Amin

      Salaam

      Jazak Allah khair for sharing your experiences and thoughts. Greatly appreciated.

      Online matrimonial does not suit everyone, and of course it is your choice. But one thing I want to point out as there is a common negative vibe amongst all the comments is that there are many success stories. A lot of people feel negative and have a lot of distrust about the internet. While this is justified, and as I wrote in the article there are many psychos and liars out there, it is not all doom and gloom! With some care and perseverance it is possible :)

      I hope more people can share their positive stories to balance out the negative ones!

      ws

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      • Zaheer

        Wa ‘alaykum salaam,

        Jazak Allah khair for writing the article because it is becoming more and more relevant in today’s age.

        As I’ve said, my input here may not be all that relevant because I’ve never actually tried these sites. I just thought I’d give a theoretical take on it, based on what I have experienced about the internet in general, and people’s willingness to abuse a system given half the opportunity. It all comes back to the intentions and the sincerity of the people involved, just as it does with the traditional way of meeting people; it’s just that the internet is a scarier place where the baddies can more fully practice their obfuscation :-|

        So, like all of us, I’m waiting for the first brave brother to share his online matrimonial experiences with us, good or bad!

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      • Insaan

        ……here goes!

        I took to looking for a wife on the internet even after being adamant for many years that I would NEVER do such a thing! As the years went by and I was approaching my ‘sell by date’, I took the plunge.

        All my qualms have subsequently been justified!

        We had NOTHING in common, except that we both desperately wanted/needed to get married. Every promise made by her has not been fulfilled; we have been ‘married’ for just over a year. I have increased in my devotion to Islam; Alhamdulillah, whilst she resents this (she grudgingly wears the hijaab; the headscarf only, removing it whenever she has run off back home!). We end up arguing at Fajr time, because she refuses to wake up!

        She has run off back to her home on 2 occasions; unfortunately her parents spoil her and especially her mother continually undermines my status as a husband by for example making plans to go to places, even though I have my own plans.

        I am far from perfect, I lack patience and either we have full blown arguments or just don’t speak with her! I have tried on numerous occasions to sit and reason with her, however she just feels the need to argue and disagree with me rather than actually trying to listen and understand what it is I am trying to say to her.

        Over the last few months we have rarely been intimate, when it does happen it’s a case of ‘let’s get it over and done with’.

        Educationally we are poles apart; I’m a post-graduate whilst she has completed a few years of high school. We have no common interests.

        Early on in this ‘marriage’ I came to the conclusion that she just wanted to have a ‘wedding’ (I was coerced into spending thousands of pounds on a somewhat lavish wedding, only to be told that it wasn’t a big deal)….

        …….unfortunately she forgot that there was a groom involved!

        I am absolutely stuck! What is almost laughable is that I have gone back to marriage sites again! I keep awake at night either looking for another wife or planning my escape!

        I don’t expect a ‘silver bullet’, however you wanted “a brave brother to share his online matrimonial experiences with us, good or bad!”

        …here it is!

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      • Iman

        I was in a similar situation with my husband whom I met online too.
        I don’t believe we are stuck. We just have to make decisions for ourselves and rely on Allah completely.

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      • Hira Amin

        Salaam

        Jazak Allah Khair for your brave post. Since you decided to post it in public, I thought I would reply online.

        1) The situation you have described (of being “desperate” and getting married quickly) is common AND it is not restricted to the internet. It can happen if you are introduced through family, or any other method. Just because you chose the internet, does not mean this is the case for all. In fact, recently I know of a sister in the same situation as yourself. She got married to a proposal that came to her house. Even though they were not compatible she was “desperate” and went for it. They had a lavish wedding masha Allah that was the talk of the town and had a divorce a few months later as they just were not compatible. Very sad subhanallah. So basic point, it is not the internet’s fault – this type of situation can happen through any medium.

        2) Religion. The situation when one partner is more religious than the other is very common. My advice is as follows: practice Islam yourself, and do NOT enforce it on the other. Through your gentleness, kind manners and dua, they will eventually see the benefits and themselves decide to become more practicing. This will not happen over night, but will take time – continue making dua. Religion is something that you cannot force on someone. Imagine if someone ordered you to pray – what would that prayer be like? As opposed to praying because you have to the realisation that it is important. By constantly harassing the other person, you are stifling them and not allowing them to make that discovery on their own. Everyone is different and needs different time frames to reach this. Be the positive example – rather than a dictator. Get up for fajr, don’t make too much noise so as to disturb her sleep, pray and go back to sleep. Rather than having an argument at 5am and being in a bad mood the whole day. The same goes for hijab – give her the space to come to the conclusion herself. Ordering her to wear it, will distance her from it even more.

        3) Intimacy. Another very common issue. I would advise you to look up Shaykh Yasir’s lectures on this issue. The likeagarment series talks exactly about this issue. Women are not excited about intimacy if outside the bedroom they do not feel loved and respected. Show her love, respect and tell her how beautiful she is OUTSIDE the bedroom. Women need romance first. This will then filter down in your intimate life. Also the above points – imagine someone dictating you to pray, wear Islamic dress, arguing, not showing love, respect, not saying how nice you look and then after all that expect you to be intimate with them? Work on your relationship outside the bedroom, and the rest should naturally follow.

        4) Compatibility. Again, very common! Who in the world is truly compatible? Marriage is something unique – two people who have grown up in different houses, leading separate lives, all of a sudden are thrown together and have to live together, breathe together and be intimate together! This is difficult. Successful marriages are never about compatibility, but it is about patience and respect for each other, and the determination to make your marriage work. Every marriage there are disagreements and differing points of view. This is marriage. What you have to do is build a life together. You have to “experience” things together and build a common ground. My advice here is to both do activities together. Short spa breaks, holidays. You don’t have to spend loads of money; many deals are available over the internet. It doesn’t have to be lavish – there are many things you can do together. Planning it together will also be a nice activity and will get you both excited about it. It is about building your life together as a couple – sharing experiences together from now. This will also help get away from family.

        5) Understand. Two books I would recommend are “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” and “Why men don’t listen and women cant read maps.” Some say these books are essentialised, but they teach some basic fundamentals about how men/women communicate and it might help you understand her more and your own reactions. [Again don’t force her to read it, but you can tell her that you want this marriage to work and are trying hard to do so]

        6) Going online again and looking for a way out: Marriage is tough. The first year, despite what people say, is difficult because you both are getting to know each other. No matter whom you marry, it will be like this. The grass always looks greener, but it never is – classic saying but it is true! Stick with it and make it work. Stop looking at other websites, cancel those accounts and make a firm decision today that you will make your marriage work. You can only discover the island, once you burn the bridge! You get the point lol.

        7) Increase your dua tenfold. Make your marriage work. Don’t give up but work with it. Marriage is difficult – this is why it is half your deen!

        This is my humble advice. Not everyone will give you the same advice nor agree entirely with the above.

        I pray Allah brings about a deep love between your hearts and helps you to have a peaceful marriage. Ameen

        Ws

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      • mohamed

        thanks and i agree with you that if we share our experience we will be better in shaa allah we will get useful from others

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    • Hyde

      Kudos. My thoughts exactly. The whole social media medium is distrustworthy, and there are plenty of men who are creepy to begin with and the internet just gives them free reign. Not to mention that some muslim girls are conspicuously naive when it comes to men (“watch out for those pious brothas”)
      But men are the only one who lie online. So do women, especially women who have checkered pasts, which let’s be the honest is the norm today. Most girls are not virgin when they marry anyway. So it goes both ways. Liars and cheaters find the medium of the internet to play against each other.

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  8. Said Hasan

    Well researched article. I think I may consider trying it in the future, in shaa Allah.

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  9. ZAI

    Good article.
    Very pragmatic and practical advice.
    I would’ve liked to see one or two comments from the male perspective, because
    many men have been burned with internet experiences as well…but that’s a small
    quibble. Tashakkur Sr. Hira. Well written and informative.

    I think in the end it boils down to what works for someone.
    If you have a large family/community network, go for it.
    If you lack that or simply prefer to do the actual search yourself, the internet
    is not a bad idea as long as some things are kept in mind:

    #1 Don’t talk TOO long w/o making a decision, proceeding to something more official or getting families involved. Chats, etc. that go on too long w/o proceeding to anything concrete
    can begin to evolve into infatuation, attachment or even love. At that point, despite there being no
    physical relationship, you might encounter the same emotional stress or even heartbreak that
    are so common in non-internet pre-marital “relationships” or dating.

    Get the info you need, get to know each other concerning important non-negotiable issues, get
    a feel for each others personalities, and then make a decision and get moving to something concrete. This an an issue w/ non-internet searches as well, but even more important w/ the internet
    because of the reality of less inhibition behind a screen.

    #2 Please respect the other persons feelings. The golden rule of treating others as you want to be treated as related by Isa(AS) or loving for others what you love for yourself as related by Mohammad(S) seems so easy, but is so routinely disregarded. Do NOT talk to a huge number of people at the same time as if you’re on a game show. This is an easy thing to fall into on the internet. It is very hurtful to the other party who might be more invested in the conversation and seeing where it goes. Unfortunately there are a lot of girls/guys out there who talk to a bunch of people, stringing all of them along as “backups” or “2nd” or “3rd” choices and it is wrong. Give your attention to one person, just as you’d want them to give attention to you and if it DOESN’T work out…THEN move on to another prospect. No one wants to feel that they’re some kind of backup choice or whatever…Respect others just as you want to be respected.

    All said,
    A good article and wise advice…

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    • Zaheer

      Salaam,

      Good points here – I think it’s important to remember that bad experiences from this can result from people unwittingly hurting and deceiving others, too.

      Sister Hira covered this in the article but it’s important that we remember it’s not only those who come to sites with the intention of causing hurt, using people for their own sick games, etc.

      Sometimes it’s people who are perhaps not good at regulating their interaction with the opposite sex (this is a skill which few people have), and hence their “matchmaking” devolves into what you’ve described. Basically, online dating, and suddenly marriage and the original intention of using the site simply to connect to a potential spouse, blooms into a full-on online affair, cyber sex game-show. And since it’s online, it’s simply a matter of a few clicks to add another affair, or two, or three, or 10 to it.

      So there are pitfalls left, right and centre. But as has been pointed out, the idea in itself is commendable, and may be the only choice left to those who do not have extended family/friend/community networks. Sadly, this is increasingly becoming a more common occurrence for the Muslimeen, and not only the reverts.

      May Allah guide us to correct marital conduct, Insha-Allah

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  10. mohamed

    salam Alikom first thanks for the great post i like it and i follow you in shaa Allah , second i think that love is more than you say or write i love on internet or in real , real love starts after marriage like we say the light of love start after marriage , you tell each other that you love by acts and deeds . jazzak allah khairian

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  11. IMHA

    As-Salamu-Alaykum,
     
    MashaAllah – very good article, thank you!
     
    I guess, it’s a balancing-act between searching for the right partner via the appropriate means and keeping that family involvement in-tact. Of course, striking that balance is never going to be easy, especially with one’s own expectations and that of family too!
     
    Taking a slice of my life. I found my beautiful wife on the internet and alhumdillah we are both happily married and love each other dearly :)
     
    Having said that i get it when people say internet sites are just as unpredictable as the non-digital version. You never know how things are going to evolve until they do. But the benefit, is that online gives you access to a lot more people than you’d ordinarily ever get to meet. Although, this doesn’t mean that the net improves romantic outcomes, but it might just mean that interaction between two people is a rich and complex process where each might have their own needs, wishes and priorities etc.

    Personally speaking, its not so much about the traditional / digital methods as they are merely enablers. The actual work begins whilst interacting and building up the relationship with trust, openness and good communication.

    May Allah swt guide us all on the path of righteousness and truth iA

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  12. Olivia Kompier

    “Remember, marriage is not just about two people coming together; it is also about two families joining”

    i dont really agree with this. my family did not join my husband’s family when i got married,and while alhamdulillah they get along, i dont think my husband’s family has to like my family and vice versa for a marriage/match to be good. i dont even think one set of parents really has to like the other. one problem i see with how muslim marriages are handled is that everyone in the family wants a say on the spouse, when the wedding should be, etc. or expects too much from the other’s family. sometimes think is too much family involvement and otherwise good marriage/match gets trashed bc of Z TV family drama. like i cant imagine calling a happy engagement because my aunt doesn’t like his mom, or even my mom doesn’t like his mom. i think this attitude/expectations this has more to do with urf than islam.

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    • Zaheer

      Salaam,

      You have a point here – it’s not critical to the success of the marriage for the families to merge into one, big happy family. Especially in specific cases like reverts whose family are not happy about their child choosing Islam – it’s unrealistic to expect them to play happy family with their in-laws.

      However, I do think you are de-emphasizing the role a family plays in the well-being of person’s life; marriage is a major part of one’s life (or should be), so to have your family support it, and to have your family and your spouse’s interact amicably, at the very least, is important to the correct development of the marriage.

      That is not even mentioning the development of the resultant children of their marriage. We take it for granted because most families try to at least appear united for the sake of their children, and grandchildren. But if we were to follow an attitude of “o well I don’t care if my family hates my spouse, all that matters is I love them”, we’d be shocked at how the children’s (as in, children of the marriage) development will be stunted due to them not knowing, or ever seeing, one set of grandparents, for instance.

      So family unity is definitely important. Family _approval_, is another matter. I don’t think it’s strictly necessary for your mother’s sister’s husband’s cousin to absolutely love your spouse; and I agree that in some families this kind of thing is overemphasised, especially when it comes to people wanting to have a say in the wedding planning etc. This has more to do with some people’s inclinations to have an opinion about everything – so a new marriage is just one more topic they’d like to share their oh-so-valued, but unasked for, opinion about.

      Also, a lot of this type of thinking is based on ‘urf. Besides this being no reason to “look down” on it (as Islam overrides ‘urf, but doesn’t unnecessarily denigrate it), there is also the fact that maintaining family relations is entrenched within Islam. Most of these are based on hadith, and it’s important to note the Nabiyy’s (saws) dire warnings for those who cut off family ties, as well as the reward for those who maintain them.

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  13. Insaan

    Assalaamualaykum Wa Rahmatuallah,

    I don’t want to go into the details here, however I would appreciate it if Sister Hira would contact me, or alternatively, provide me with an email address. I have a dire issue regarding the article and I feel that the sister has an insight into the issue of ‘Internet marriages’. JazakAllah Khayran.

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  14. Insaan

    ….even though I have the ‘luxury’ of anonymity behind the keyboard, I still feel it is wrong to both discuss my and my ‘other half’s issue in public. Hence my humble request. Many thanks.

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  15. Samba

    I met my husband online. I would give several tips to make the process easier.

    1. Always make sure you only look for local people in your area. Its a headache if you meet and like someone who is far . It’s hard to meet them and verfy that they are who they claim to be. It’s hard for families to meet, if they are not in the same country.

    2. Meet their family as soon as possible, go to their home and make sure they do not have strange views on things.

    3. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions and you don’t have to be nice when you are weeding people out. If someone tells you they are over the age or requirements don’t meet, then immediatly stop the conversation and say Asalamu alikum. Any hint of something inappropriate just close the screen and block them permenantly.

    4. Use the search filter effectively…look for a certain age, non smoking , no alcohol, etc etc and again local so that if it works well, you can meet them ASAP. Not years from now or until they get a travel visa.

    Hope that helps.

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  16. Sahar

    Hira, given the cultural stigma especially in women using these sites, how should these websites be mentioned to those who grew up with traditional methods and see websites as an act of desperation?

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    • Hira Amin

      Wasalaam

      I am assuming that you mean your parents or elders who don’t want to use this method. If not, let me know!

      Firstly, the point to underline to them is that you are not stopping traditional methods and encourage them to continue asking friends/family etc but add that you will also try the internet. This way you are not rejecting their methodology.

      Secondly, involve them in your search on the internet. So once you have established some basic compatibility with someone (as on the internet you will literally encounter 100′s of profiles) then get them involved. The more they interact with it, the easier it will get for them to adjust. Also if they see that they are a part of the process, rather than you deciding without them, they will be more likely to agree.

      Thirdly, tell them positive stories of friends who got married using the internet. You can use the ones in my article if you don’t have friends who are on matrimonial sites. But there are loads of success stories out there.

      Remember, no one likes change. And the internet is something quite daunting for the elders. They are your parents, and want what is best for you. They don’t know the internet and what can happen through it, who these people are etc… so they would rather leave it.

      May Allah make it easy for you. Ameen :)

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  17. Umm Ammarah

    Salaam Sis Hira,

    MashaAllah a very interesting article! I too found my husband on one of the sites mentioned above. Alhamdulillah my family were involved right from the beginning. As I constantly asked and asked my husband questions, I felt through that and his profile I had enough information I needed to make a decision and prayed istikhara and left it in Allah’s hands. Both families met on 2 or 3 occasions and we were married within 3 months mashaAllah. My father spoke to him before I asked all the many questions too :)

    Alhamdulillah things are great, he is exactly how I expected from the conversations and answers he gave. All is in Allah’s hands, it could have gone pear-shaped but Allah had better plans for us alhamdulillah.

    I think its important to keep an open relationship with parents as yes they do have an experience of the world but of marriage too. But as my parents are from the sub-continent they know I being a British Muslimah needed someone from here.

    It might not work for all, but certainly for me alhamdulillah :)

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  18. Rashid

    Assalamualaikum!

    I was talk to a sister over a practicing matrimony site but we shifted to fb as her account was suspended. Initially she looked very interested. I explained each everything about myself, informed my parents, she also informed her mother initially. Due to fitnah involved in chatting on fb I started reminding her this issue regularly and we end up unfriending and talking each other on a positive manner. On our last message we exchanged our idea of maintaining tawwakul and patience now it been a week neither she is messaging me nor I am approaching her because of the fear of fitnah but unable to forget her even I think about her 24*7. I am a highly practicing and she is also a practicing mulsimah. I do not know what should I do, I guess I have become possesive also.

    Please suggest what should I do??

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    • Hira Amin

      Salaam

      Jazak Allah khair for your message. This issue always carries with it high emotion, so you are not alone! Ok so it sounds like you both like each other, so I am not clear as to why you don’t just get parents involved and take it from there? So have your parents call her parents and arrange a meeting where the two families meet and see each other and take it from there? Typically in Pakistani families, the boys side call first and they go to the girls house first, but follow your own customs obviously :)

      Also, ensure you do istikhara. Take a step back and make a rational decision and slow down. Marriage is a huge decision about who your life partner is, how you will bring up your children and overall lead your life.

      Let us know how it turns out!

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