Blogger The Imposter explores the difficulty in balancing tradition and happiness for modern Muslim singles who want to start dating.
Table of contents
- Single Muslim? Meet Your Life-long Partner Here
- 10 Best Muslim Dating Sites ()
- Meeting Single Muslims in the UK
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Single Muslim? Meet Your Life-long Partner Here
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Muslim dating and long term love. Related articles London dating: Meet professional singles in the capital city Want to meet Asian singles in the UK? We can aid your search Looking for black dating opportunities? Before the rise of a Western cultural influence, finding a spouse was a task almost solely assigned to parents or relatives.
But young Muslims have now taken it upon themselves to find their partners, relying on their own version of dating to do so. Older Muslims continue to reject dating because they worry that a Western world will also create Western expectations of premarital sex in these relationships. Adam Hodges, a former sociolinguistics professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, argues there is an added layer of culture and context to the term "dating" that is often overlooked.
So the way that we label events or phenomena, such as dating, is definitely going to provide a certain perspective on what that means for us," he says. Therefore, taking on the dating vernacular to describe their relationship and labeling their significant other as "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" does put some couples at risk of falling into the physical expectations that come with dating, Hodges says.
But, he adds, these fears can be allayed because "the most important connotation that is borrowed is the ability to choose your own mate," which is also the main precept of dating in the West. One way that some young Muslim couples are rebutting the idea of dating being offensive is by terming it "halal dating.
By adding the permissibility factor, some young couples argue, they are removing the idea that anything haram, or prohibited, such as premarital sex, is happening in the relationship.
10 Best Muslim Dating Sites ()
On the other hand, some young couples believe there should be no stigma attached to dating and, therefore, reject the idea of calling it halal. Khalil Jessa, founder of Salaam Swipe, a dating app that caters to young Muslims, also believes that the negative associations attached to dating depend on the particular society. When they take the word dating, they're adding this connotation to it, and I don't think that's necessarily the case.
It's up to each individual and each couple to choose how they wish to interact with one another," Jessa argues. Getting to know someone and making the informed decision to marry them is not an alien concept in Islamic societies.
Abdullah Al-Arian, a history professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, says that the idea of courtship has been present in Muslim societies for centuries but was subdued in colonial times. When the British and the rest of Europe colonized much of the world, they also placed social restrictions on sexual interactions between unmarried couples, Arian says.
These social restrictions also took hold in certain Islamic societies, with religious restrictions on sex leading some to go as far as segregating the genders as much as possible, including in schools, universities and even at social gatherings. These practices began to disintegrate as women started entering the workforce, demanding their rights for universal education and pursuing higher education, Arian says.
Meeting Single Muslims in the UK
Segregating because of religious dogma became harder. And so, as the genders mixed, dating relationships also took root in some societies. This, he says, further facilitated the imitation of Western relationships. Changing ideas about modernity, widespread urbanization and the West's cultural hegemony influenced something as intimate and personal as relationships, Arian says.
But the most influential factor is globalization. These "shared experiences," as he calls them, have given birth to third-culture kids. These multicultural generations are growing up with a "very different moral compass that is rooted in a number of influences; and not just the local, but the global as well," Arian says. Before social media and the prevalence of pop culture, it was a lot easier to enforce whatever ideologies you wanted your child to follow. But as globalization increased, this changed.
Young people became increasingly exposed to the rest of the world. Today, their ideologies and values no longer find a basis in what their priest or imam preaches but in what social media and pop culture influencers might be saying and doing. Dating apps and websites that cater to young Muslims looking for meaningful long-term relationships are easy to find. Muzmatch, a dating app launched two years ago, has , people signed up. Other apps, like Salaam Swipe and Minder, report high success rates for young Muslims who previously had a hard time finding a partner.
These apps allow people to filter their searches based on level of religiosity, the kind of relationship they're looking for and other aspects such as whether the woman wears a headscarf and the man sports a beard.
While the men behind these apps launched them with the hope of giving young Muslims a positive platform to interact on, they say there are still many in their societies that oppose the idea of young couples interacting. Haroon Mokhtarzada, founder of Minder, says that a lot of this disapproval stems more from the fear of people in their communities gossiping than it does from the actual interaction the couples have.
So I don't think it's the parents who are worried for themselves because they don't want their daughter talking to a guy or whatever, as much as it's them worrying about their family name and people talking and becoming part of a gossip mill," he says.