The pandemic was less than ideal for relationships. Some locked down couples rekindled love, whilst others reconsidered things. With human interaction shifting online, and more traditional ways of finding love put on hold, there was also a natural surge in the popularity of dating apps. But this experience is not the same for all.
In Islam there are nuances to dating, with many debating that it’s considered haram (forbidden) in the religion. However, renowned scholar Ismail Menk argues that Muslims are not prevented from finding love, if done in the “right way”, “involving families from an early stage.”
This cultural difference in approach to dating between the Western and the Muslims population may also explain the recent rise of marriage-focussed halal (permissable) dating apps, catering to the cultural sensitivities required to make the process of courtship respectful in accordance with religious practices. Muzz is one such app, with over nine million subscribers from more than 190 countries.
A new study titled ‘Match to Marriage’ spanning three years (2021-2023) and across Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Germany, and the United Kingdom mined data from 158,586 social media conversations to indicate a rapid digital transformation of Muslim dating.
The report also addresses the journey Muslim youth go on in the process of marriage. With 1.9 billion Muslim consumers worldwide, and a reported demographic spent of more than US$2 trillion in 2021, a projected US$2.8 trillion spent by 2025, this is an insightful report for businesses and brand marketers highlighting a strong demand for products and services that cater to the Islamic way of life.
Digital transformation of Muslim dating
With nearly eight out of 10 Muslims turning to online matchmaking platforms to find life partners, there is a significant shift in the way Muslim singles are approaching dating in the digital age.
Key halal dating apps among the 25 to 34-year-olds: Muzz, Salams, and BaitulJannah, are playing a pivotal role in connecting Muslim singles.
Quest for marriage is not without challenges
Today the Muslim youth lives and interacts with culturally diverse backgrounds and conversations surrounding interfaith marriages are of significant interest.
- Around 62% are concerned about marriage regulations between different faiths as well as conversion to Islam as part of interfaith marriage.
- Nearly 20% cite lack of guidance as the second largest barrier as they are unsure whether their approach in forming an acquaintance is aligned with Islamic teachings.
- Nearly 4% cite language barriers.
- Halal dating apps are doing something right that Tinder, Bumble etc. have yet to figure out—the fear of being scammed or in matchmaking realms is as low as 3% in Muslim dating apps.
- Less than 3% are worried about mismatched intentions with individuals who may have a different outlook, especially those who are serious about their intent about marriage.
“With different levels of intent among Muslims who date, we have come to realise that there are areas of transformation that innately occur when they are preparing themselves for marriage.
“Through meticulous analysis of data found in social media conversations, the report identifies 8 Areas of Marriage Readiness which lists out spirituality, character, family consent and blessings, communication, financial and security, health, future home, and finally, the Nikkah/Wedding,” added Nazirah Ashari, head of 65 DB Kuala Lumpur, strategy director at Halal Wave, TBWA Asia and author of the report.
Stage of marriage readiness
Within the stage of marriage readiness, there are three distinct personas that encapsulate the clarity & action as well as the seriousness of intent towards marriage.
Someday, InshaAllah—individuals have an open timeline, seeking deeper understanding and practical knowledge for marriage.
One Day, InshaAllah—seekers are actively planning for their future, aiming for growth, stability, and a reliable family-building plan.
Today, InshaAllah—individuals are certain of their intention to marry, prioritizing blessings over extravagant spending.
“As one who is also journeying on this path of finding Mr Right, I find myself fascinated by the plethora of opportunities available for the financial, real estate and wedding industries.
“Household management, financial planning, and cost-effective wedding planning are amongst the many services that businesses can offer for all three different segments of the marriage personas,” added Nazirah Ashari of TBWA Asia.