The Matrimonial Minefield

I’m sure I’m not the only convert to Islam who has found it difficult to find a wife. I’m 27, and converted to Islam in 1998 when I was 21. For much of that time I have been actively looking for a Muslim lady to get married to. My first ports of call were Islamic bookshops, but all the women they put me in touch with turned out to be unsuitable and one or two of them gave me the runaround. I then turned to the Internet, to the burgeoning industry of online matrimonial databases. In the early days the databases at Zmats.com - run by the same group as Zawaj.com - was free, and I did succeed in meeting people through that service. There was another free service at Islam.tc, and I received a number of responses through that, but the service gives out your email address, leaving you vulnerable to spammers and scammers (see here). Time moved on, and Zmats.com started charging while Islam.tc appears to have dried up, although the website is still there.

Since then a number of new online databases have appeared, most of which charge money. While this is not in itself a bad thing, one wonders about the desirability of this duplication of service. Of course, these people have to pay for their computer equipment and web hosting or their connection, even if not wages. On top of this, some of the prices being charged are simply extortionate. One of them, SingleMuslim.co.uk, charges a minimum of ?10.49 per month if you buy 9 months’ membership - membership fees for shorter periods are much higher. Worse still, while ripping off Muslim men, they give membership to women free! MuslimMatch.com is more reasonable, however, charging a minimum of ?3.90 for a week’s membership - more expensive per day than what SingleMuslim offers, but easier on the wallet as one can pay for a week’s membership and send out several messages, each containing a contacting address.

Still, it makes it no easier to cope with some of the other problems one finds in this area. Among them are people who post misleading ads, not mentioning that they do not want to get married for well over a year, or ads for cousins who actually do not want to get married at all. Also among them are sisters (mostly) whose parents are not willing to allow them to marry outside their racial group, or insist on marrying from their biraderi (Pakistani caste - this affects politics as well as marriage - see this BBC report). Not to mention the people who give you the runaround, or who suddenly break off contact without explanation. Ladies, I can take a woman telling me I’m not attractive to you. I’m a grown man. I know how you feel, because just as you find some men attractive and some not, I find some women attractive and some not. I’m not doing you any favours by marrying someone I find unattractive and neither are you. Being left hanging annoys me far more than that.

Oh, and if any ladies reading this are single and looking, please get in touch!

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