Half Our Deen Is Focused on Marriage | SoundVision.com

Half Our Deen Is Focused on Marriage

Marriage is one of life’s biggest blessings. Every Muslim dreams of finding a suitable spouse who can fulfill our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs while abiding by the laws of our religion. The importance of marriage cannot be overstated. There is a notable hadith or saying of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him:

“Whoever marries has achieved one half of one’s religion.”

With such a big impact on every aspect of daily life, the search for a spouse can be a daunting task for parents and single Muslim men and woean.

According to a study in 2020, there are 1.9 billion Muslims, making up about 24.7% of the world population. Large numbers do not make the task of finding a suitable mate necessarily easier, however. And the search can be even more challenging for Muslims living in non-Muslim countries. Traditional searches through family and friends can also limit choices and are not always a viable option for Muslim singles or parents who are also converts to Islam.

A large number of online matchmaking services have attempted to fill the gaps and make it quicker and easier to connect with eligible singles from around the world. They vary in size, scope, and rates of success, however. Most allow the user to develop a profile and “shop” for eligibles who are like-minded. But how detailed the profile is depends on the site and whether the focus is on just the hook-up or more of a long range goal, i.e. marriage. Many of the sites that target Muslim singles are modeled after popular dating sites, using the casual “swipe” template that is largley based on visual appearance and very limited personal data. Some of these sites like Muzmatch boast of millions of potential suitors. But in the matchmaking game, large numbers don’t always generate lasting results.

In spite of the challenges, Muslim singles and parents looking to find suitable spouses for their children might want to consider the use of an online matrimonial site. One site that is hitting impressive marks and may be a good place to start is called Half Our Deen. The group boasts of more than 2,600 success stories and nearly a quarter of a million likes on FaceBook! I recently sat down with its founder, internationally-famous Muslim comedian Baba Ali, to get more details.

First, Some Background

In 2001, Ali was a young practicing Muslim man looking to get married. He had listened intently to the advices from imams, sheikhs, and his friends about the importance of lowering his gaze and marriage but he had run into a problem. As a convert to Islam from Iran, he didn’t exactly fit the candidate profile that many community members had in mind. His family could not provide much assistance either. Not seeing many viable alternatives, he turned to a popular online dating site.

Ali was reluctant at first because he didn’t want to waste his time talking to a lot of sisters. He studied the innerworkings of the online service but decided to add his own filters. He drafted a number questions that had no right or wrong answers; that way, respondents wouldn’t just “tell me what they thought I wanted to hear.” Out of 17 responses, one sister answered to his liking, but there was an added complication - she lived in London. After a few more conversations, he decided to take the trek across the ocean to meet and and they married 9 days later. That was more than 20 happily married years ago!

The “magical” questions gained quite a reputation of their own as Ali passed them to a few of his friends who also found suitable mates. Over the years he heard horror stories about arranged marriages, abusive spouses, wild rides on dating sites, increasing rates of divorce, and decided to take matters into his own hands. He thought long and hard about the importance of comprehensive profiles, about privacy, about scammers, and about how he could not only help bring together single Muslim men and women but also fortify their unions into successful marriages that met the test of time. On July 16, 2010, he and his partner Sarfaraz Ahmed launched Half Our Deen.

It’s All about the Details

According to the website, Half Our Deen’s primary goal is to “get the reward of helping our brothers and sisters get married.” Much of the strategy behind this matrimonial service lies in gathering data and building comprehensive profiles that go beyond resume highlights and demographic details.

The service is private, for members only. Members are mostly from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K; but there are also members from over 50 countries including Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, UAE, Egypt, Australia, and Singapore. They each pay a monthly fee (which ranges from $7-19 per month dependent upon the payment plan) and are asked to answer a number of questions that speak to the areas of attraction and tolerance. According to Ali, attraction can be a catalyst to starting a relationship, but it will be tolerance that determines whether a couple can weather the storms. Another important feature is the use of personality testing. Using data analytics and algorithms, members are matched to like-minded men or women based on compatibility.

The service also provides offline events in various cities throughout the U.S. The private events are invitation-only in order to ensure there are an equal number of eligible men and women who are matched in terms of compatibility. Participants will not see a typical speed dating exercise. Instead they engage in fun and interesting activities designed to break the ice and eliminate the awkwardness. Some of the games they play were designed by Baba Ali who is also a game designer. He showed me two of the latest - called Perfect Match and Kitchen Chaos - which sounded like great fun and also like a great way to see real personalities on display.  From these encounters and observations, individuals can then express interest and do more research about potential suitors through the Half Our Deen website.

A number of well-respected Islamic organizations have partnered with Half Our Deen to support the effort including Al-Maghrib Institute, Muslim American Society, Global Deaf Muslim, MSA West, IQRA Institute, Center for Muslim Life, and various masjid communities. Another recent addition - MUHSEN (Muslims Understanding & Helping Special Education Needs) - will assist with ensuring the site is accommodating for Muslims with disabilities.

Mulism singles and parents searching for spouses for their children have serious work to do in order to pursue every possible means to a successful marriage outcome. From what I know about Baba Ali and now what I know about Half Our Deen, this service can offer solid resources to aid that effort. In addition to the energy and necessary homework, be sure to also keep your intentions pure and seek Allah’s assistance through sincere duaa. 

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