Watching shows and films on television showing teenagers pursuing relationships openly made me feel major FOMO when even talking about dating at home was taboo.
Every simple argument can send alarm bells ringing in your head when you start thinking “This is the future father of my children?
This man who plays video games in his underwear until 3am?
I only wanted to find somebody likeminded, travelling the same spiritual path as me, sharing the most intimate parts of myself with that person alone. Of course it’s not a perfect model, and the institution of religious marriage alienates many queer Muslims, or other Muslims for whom an Islamic marriage (nikkah) is not accessible to, for various reasons.
I will be honest in saying I don’t have an answer nor a solution for that other than continued dialogue and understanding, however the intellectual process behind attempting to find a life partner at a relatively young age is something I subscribe to on a personal level too.
It sounds really bizarre when I discuss this with non-Muslims, but for me there is some kind of refreshing transparency when two people are both on the same page about long-term commitment.
The onus on marriage from the get-go kind of transcends a purely sexual connection and requires a real effort to get to know someone intellectually and emotionally.
Selecting my religiosity on a sliding scale for a marriage app gave me a mini existential crisis, how practicing even am I?!
Does it seem insincere to portray myself as more religious than I am?
As such, it became increasingly clear to me that I was not interested in random hook-ups or throwaway dating culture with no long-term prospects. As it turned out, getting to know Muslim guys and finding the right one was just like getting to know any other type of guy – exhausting and emotionally draining.
I found my own spiritual identity in adulthood and realised that I’m not just a Muslim by name, or out of respect for my parents’ traditions or my cultural heritage, but because I believe in this religion and that it holds profound truth about the world we live in. I loved, and still love the idea of getting to know someone exclusively for marriage.
Aisha, 23, told me “I would much rather meet a guy in person, I mean I have nothing against meeting your spouse online, however I feel like meeting someone in person is different…