Exploring Relationships

This Digital British Islam archive collection explores the world of relationships and marriage apps.

Muslim marriage apps are a relatively new occurrence as online platforms for meeting potential spouses, which have evolved from web-based services to multifeatured interfaces modelled on similar non-Muslim apps. Their emergence also coincides with the massive expansion of the global halal goods and services sector, which has expanded significantly in the early 21st Century.  Muslim entrepreneurs seek to monetise on younger generations of Muslims who are not attracted to more traditional matchmaking routes that involve families or personal introduction. While the traditional approaches to seeking marriage partners are still intact, Millennials and GenZ Muslims generally gravitate to high-tech options that give them the freedom to search for a partner independent of their parents and thus allow companies such as Muzz to become popular portals to search for a spouse.

Image: Muzz screenshot

These sites have varying degrees of compliance with Islamic norms, and users are given various options for the type of person they seek regarding religiosity, race, nationality and physical characteristics. More conservative critics of these apps are concerned that many of these apps have encouraged  “halal dating” and are antithetical to Islamic values and religiously acceptable norms of pre-marriage interaction. In response, other developers such as  Muslim Marriage UK at Muslima.com and My Salafi Spouse | Matchmaking According To The Sunnah have produced more religiously aligned products that are respectful of these expectations and will, for example, prohibit direct contact without a family member acting as a chaperone in face to face meetings.

Furthermore, new commercial enterprises such as Bare Foot Institute and Tea for Two were set up to offer courses, relationship advice, and counselling to married couples and singles looking for spouses, which were not addressed in conventional marriage fora.