THE WEDDING PLANNER: The Revival Guide to Muslim Matrimonial Sites

By Irfan Jalil

So your mum's on your back telling you to get hitched and move out. But all your cousins are married and you were never any good with meeting girls at college. What does a good Muslim boy or girl like you do? You get on-line and search for an e-bride or e-husband!

You can find a plethora of websites which claim to be able to find you your Mr or Mrs Right. They'll offer you lifetime memberships if that's how long it's going to take for someone to take pity on you. Muslims from all over the world can be found on an on-line marriage bureau. You may also find guys pretending to be girls, married people just messing about and people who are just being nosy and snooping around. Remember that on the internet people can be anonymous and choose to only show you their "best side" (or even a "false side").

If you were to go to a real life marriage bureau or introductions event then you'd be expected to be accompanied by a Mahram – someone who is a relative and can act as your guardian and moral trouble-shooter for the evening. But on-line marriage bureaus seem to offer no such safeguards. It's best to choose someone to be an on-line Wali (guardian) who can contact potential candidates so you never have to contact a suitor directly. Your Wali can screen all suitors by performing reference checks, and talking to Muslims in the local area.

Is it Islamic?

Scholarly opinions on this subject are few and far between. But you'll find plenty of Shayks advising you about the etiquette of talking on-line with members of the opposite sex. Ustadha Zaynab Ansari advises that "it is permitted to talk to a member of the opposite sex when there is some purpose" and that "talking to someone with the intention of getting to know that person for marriage is both purposeful and permissible." Further, "as a matter of caution, you should avoid chatting in private, and, particularly, at night. It's very easy for an ostensibly legitimate conversation to digress into grey areas." [1] So steer clear of talking about what you saw on the telly last night. Unless of course you reckon your married life will feature constant fights over who gets control of the remote.

Using such sites you'll have a wider choice of prospective partners than just people in your immediate network of family friends and acquaintances. A bigger plus is that if you go down this route you don't have to marry your cousin. Result!

An alternative?

This way of doing things is an alternative to arranged marriage and love marriage, and maybe, even a compromise. If you don't want your parents to choose your marriage partner for you then you can work with them to pick someone out from an internet marriage site. You can have a list of your preferences and they'll have a list of theirs. Then you can check off your list with theirs and reach a compromise.

It's essential that you have the right attitude when using these sites. Make sure you have thought through what getting married entails. Consult your local Imam if necessary. And be sure to talk things through with your family before you get Googling. You don't want to find the partner of your dreams and then get stuck for a year trying to explain to your elderly parents what the internet is. When on-line, as a rule of thumb, be polite, be honest, and reply to all messages.

There are some good sites that a worth your while and there are others that people started up but then forgot about them. Make sure that the site you're using is registered under the Data Protection Act. This way, if anything goes wrong you have recourse to the law.

Where do I start...?

So, you've thrown caution to the wind and want to find yourself an e-bride or e-husband. First off get yourself to a computer and check out your options. Make sure the site you're using is secure and is reliable. Then register and fill in your essentials (height, eye colour, hair colour etc.), upload a photo and start sending messages to whoever tickles your fancy. But if you find yourself cornered by someone who's not your cup of tea then simply click on the 'send to a friend' button.

The sites mentioned below are not my recommendations but be sure to check each service carefully before signing up and keep your wits about you.

Sisters, it turns out, don't have to pay to join this site. But the brothers, to prepare them for married life, get lumbered with a sign up fee of just under £100. However, if you think no-one will ever have you but you would still like to experience the thrill of the chase then you can sign up for a 'Lifetime Membership' for £132. This also comes in handy when looking for wives number 2, 3 and 4.

Once you've registered and uploaded a sensible picture this site lets you send virtual flowers to your prospective "the wife". But beardies beware - sisters can screen out anyone with a beard.

An on-line chat room is available to get you mingling and talking. There's a small bookshop where you can read up on the essentials of being a good Muslim, the five pillars and Dua (for those times when you regret ever signing up to look for a marriage partner through the internet). If you do get hitched the people at will give you two tickets to go and do Umrah.

Then there's – a site for people from the Indian Subcontinent area. You can search for only Muslim marriage partners or even see if Mr Singh's daughter from across the road has a profile on there. Various membership packages are offered including free membership. But beware, instead of getting Islamic advice on marriage etiquette and such, you get an astrology service to tell you whether the stars are aligned favourably and whether your marriage partner is suited to you by virtue of his or her birthday.

If your real life aunties can't find you a wife then maybe some on-line "Aunties" can intercede and find an unlucky girl for you. An army of "Aunties" and "Sheikhs" will hunt down people that don't even use the internet. But it seems this site hasn't been updated for the last few months. It offers free membership until 2007!

If you don't want to pay and look forward to getting married on the cheap you can join this site for free. But you get what you pay for. There is no advice on how to get married or what to do when married.

This is another free site which seems to be run by just one guy who offers you a "lifetime supply" of marriage partners. I'd like to see his warehouse.

These sites are not just for the holy molies. People who follow their faith to varying degrees can be found on these sites. Don't be alarmed to find profiles such as sweetkuri4u, ash26y4u, and nohijab4me.

But if you insist on being a holy moly, want to be married to someone similar, and you are of a particular brand of holy moly then you might want to consider . They don't let you get married to anyone who is a "Shia, Sufi, or a clear deviant". (But that is for USA only, I just put it in for the sake of the joke.)

You should be able to report misuse and trouble-makers. Make sure the site you're using is one which is well-staffed and takes these matters seriously. If and when you decide you want to meet someone in person directly through a marriage site, meet in a public place. And this is where your Wali comes in handy. There are other things you should be wary of and the good marriage sites offer advice on how to handle difficult situations. Be sure to read this advice.

Bear in mind on-line bride or groom hunting doesn't have to be all chat rooms, profiles, and dodgy photos. offers the chance to register on-line and then meet prospective marriage partners at an event organised by Islamic Circles and overseen by a scholar. But they make you sit through a discussion about marriage before you can go about finding Mr or Mrs Wrong. You have to be sure to take someone with you to act as your Mahram. If you don't then your mate is going to have to pay to get in.

However, on a serious note, sites such as these offer new converts to Islam a chance to find marriage partners. They also act as a service for divorcees and widowers who due to cultural, and not Islamic, barriers may find it harder to marry. These sites are useful for people who have small family networks and want to look outside of their immediate circle of friends to find a spouse. You might think it’s easy to find a marriage partner but you don't have to face social stereotypes, cultural barriers and prejudice. This might not be how you want to do things but for some people there is very little choice. If all this still sounds well dodgy to you then think about how much better this is to meeting someone in a nightclub!

It really makes you see arranged marriages in a new light, doesn't it? The most traditional, typical and Islamically acceptable way of finding a partner.

If you’re almost 30 and you haven’t managed to get your own man/gal then Muslim matrimonial sites could be your answer. You're not getting any younger, so what are you waiting for? Getting married has never been so easy.

The Revival's Verdict: If all else fails, finding your partner on-line might be an option. But keep away from the dodgy sites, make sure your guardians are involved and keep it Halaal.