“Down for halal sex.” I snorted and sank further underneath my cherry-red duvet.The midafternoon sunlight pushing through the blinds cast a glare on my phone, making it hard to view the man whose dating profile I’d stumbled on.Once I graduated from college and landed my first real job, my parents were ready for me to get hitched. First I tried Ishqr, a dating site specifically for millennial Muslims. Users see one another listed through a username and questionnaire about their interests.
If a guy who hadn’t even graduated from high school yet wanted to get married, where did that leave me?
Like Ishqr, Minder didn’t have many users near where I live. There was no anonymity on Minder, which made me nervous.
Western dating norms are too relaxed for their standards. My parents met once before their wedding day, and I don’t think my grandmother even met my grandfather before marrying him when she was 16 years old. On the other hand, I also hate the idea of constantly butting heads with my family. After some digging, I found that plenty of other children of immigrant parents want to date in a manner that combines their Western ways with their Muslim values.
It’s been ingrained in me that I will either allow my parents to arrange a marriage for me; or marry someone they disapprove of and be ostracized because of it. My parents don’t look at the whole person; they look at a man’s biodata (a kind of résumé for marital candidates) that lists his education and genealogy, including his relatives’ career choices. Which usually equals dating sites and apps geared toward Muslims.
Even though I joined these sites for my parents, I didn’t see them wholly approving of them either.
In their eyes, online dating probably wouldn’t be halal.
However, this preoccupation with what was “halal,” meaning is what is permissible in Islam, ran rampant not on the app and in my mind.
I wouldn’t even be on Minder if it weren’t for my religious upbringing.
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