Presented in partnership with muzmatch.
Just the other day, my mother told me my aunt had been scoping out LA for potential rishtas.
As a 19-year-old Pakistani Muslim woman in college, everyone around me seems to be subtly hinting that I’m getting older these days, so obviously I should be thinking about the “M” word: marriage. That didn’t sit well with me – I want to have the final say in who I marry and find them on my own.
It’s an understatement to say that most Muslims our age struggle to find their partner, especially given today’s hookup culture and the casual dating scene. Even though I live in a community with a pretty large South Asian population, I’ve found that the struggle is real to find the right one. The men (not boys – important distinction here) that lived close by or attended the same college were never really as interesting as I wanted them to be. That’s led to a certain amount of frustration – especially when I see how happy my friends are in their engagements and marriages.
[bctt tweet=”I’m sick of boys who hit me up but turned out to be nothing more than losers. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
So I decided to try something different out.
Instead of looking for someone in person, why not go online? Because the dating scene has so heavily shifted to social media, people seem to be turning more and more to apps to look for something more serious, like marriage. Initially, it felt embarrassing to admit I was having issues finding someone. Who wants to be seen as that person?
It wasn’t until I heard about my friend’s success finding her fiancé on an app that I decided to give the unconventional route a go. Besides, I was sick and tired of dealing with the boys who hit me up but turned out to be nothing more than losers after a few conversations.
Most dating or “marriage-focused” apps that I tried out seemed to cater more towards hooking up or casual relationships. After I tried those apps out, it was official: those were getting a hard pass moving forward, especially given the trouble I had trying to establish a genuine connection with someone whose intentions aren’t always clear.
I decided to give it a try, and to my surprise, quickly became intrigued with the app. Unlike any other dating app, muzmatch is directly tailored to Muslim men and women looking to get married.
I made my profile and added a few low-key pictures of myself (selfies, mainly). I filled in the basic profile information, which included my ethnicity, sect (Sunni, Shia, or Other), and occupation. The signup process was fast and much easier than the typical marriage site, and I felt good about the fact that I was asked to provide a “security selfie” to prove that my profile was really mine. Because we had to work through adding an email address, phone number, and that “security selfie,” it was pretty easy to see why my friend had recommended I try muzmatch – I wasn’t afraid of running into catfishes or fake profiles.
I’ve had a bad experience with being catfished. Don’t ask.
The most interesting part? Selecting your timeline for when you were looking to get married. I chose 3-4 years.
It was officially official. I was on muzmatch.
As you first create your profile, the message and goals of the app are very clear. It’s meant to be a perfectly halal yet fun app for people looking to meet one another and eventually get married. And honestly, it’s exactly that.
The faith-based vibe to the app is prominent, yet comforting. Smaller details, like whether you eat halal, drink, or smoke, are also included in one’s profile.
After I made my profile, I began looking through other people’s profiles. Unlike other apps, you’re able to view people who’ve liked you or “visited” you. This made it so much easier to connect with people I was actually interested in, as opposed to swiping left and right constantly.
Within the first day of using the app, it felt like muzmatch was the perfect app to find my husband on. Matching with others and finding people with similar backgrounds and interests was super easy and downright fun. It didn’t feel like the app was forcing any sort of chemistry, or creating barriers where there didn’t need to be any. The different features I played around with helped me find my comfort level in interacting with the men on the app.
When I started using the app, I instantly matched with a few men. Some were a few years older, while others were right around my age. I found out that muzmatch broke the ice for you once you got matched, which helped my social anxiety a bit – it automatically shoots you an idea or question you can ask, prompting me to start the conversation without much pressure.
Instant ice-breaker, y’all.
As a younger woman, I felt some pressure having to reach out to people first. But the suggestions made it so much easier to initiate conversation.
The app was super easy to navigate and it made me enjoy the process of looking for someone, despite the stereotypes surrounding the average dating app. People tend to approach other apps with hesitation, but for me, muzmatch made the process that much easier.
My first full-on conversation was with a guy who was a little too eager to show off his Bollywood knowledge. It was hilarious, let’s be real:
To be honest, it didn’t really get anywhere from there. But hey, he gets an A for effort, right?
I realized pretty quickly that muzmatch really wasn’t playing around: you know you’re talking to real, genuine people. Out of the matches I got, I didn’t come across one person that was sketchy, strange, or inappropriate.
I was eager to talk to people who were looking for something real, so I only replied to people that I actually saw a possible future with. At one point, I came across a guy who shared my interest in working out. From there on out, I referred to him as the “Gym Guy.”
Within the next few days, my conversations escalated. It got easier using the app, which meant finding matches who were really interested in learning about me, my life, and my interests soon got simpler. Nobody was here to waste time – people were serious about getting to know each other because we were all on the app for the same reason.
Strangely enough, that calmed down the nerves I’d been feeling when I first started using muzmatch.
I met one guy who was super cool, making a real effort to get to know me. He asked what I liked to do – and when I told him I had a passion for writing, he immediately wanted to read my work. From there, the conversation got even better.
Even though I didn’t need it personally, muzmatch offered the ability to include a Wali (Guardian) in your chats with possible matches. I know some of my friends definitely would vibe with that option, especially considering the ability for conversations to go from 0 to 100 real quick. The option allowed you to have someone monitor your conversations if you didn’t feel comfortable talking to someone one-on-one.
If that isn’t halal, I don’t know what is.
Another feature they offer is for women that are less comfortable being sized up physically by possible matches. I haven’t seen it elsewhere: the ability to turn on privacy for your photos, controlling who sees it (and when). Effectively, you’re able to move past the question of being judged for your looks, rather than your personality – that was really both surprising and cool to see.
muzmatch was more than a simple app experience for me. It helped me move beyond the fear we all deal with around the question of finding that special someone, ensuring that the pathway to finding your partner was smooth and straightforward.
On top of that, the app didn’t attract just one type of person – I found people from every kind of background, job, and belief set. Granted, I might not be interested in all those guys, but the options made me feel a bit better that I wouldn’t be stuck dealing with the same kind of Wallah Bro through the process. It made things more unpredictable – the variety of men that reached out to me weren’t always what I might have expected, but hey. That’s part of the fun, right?
Within my first week on the app, I had already made countless connections. Some of the guys weren’t my cup of tea, but I met a few that piqued my interest.
As expected, my mom brought up the rishta search the aunties were on a few days later – but this time, I wasn’t listening with some kind of hopeless feeling. Things were different this time.
I was doing things on my own, too – as unconventional as my mom might find it.
Let’s just say I found someone on muzmatch, but that story? That’s for another time.
Fatima Ali is at the University of San Francisco, studying Politics and Computer Science. She's passionate about journalism and social justice, and believes that everyone's voice deserves to be heard. When she's not writing a new article for her school newspaper, she's most likely watching Empire, online shopping, or obsessing over makeup.