An anonymous sister sent in a story of her personal experience with online Muslim dating sites. She hopes that the lessons she has learned from her years of searching and continuous disappointment can serve as a guide for the numerous Muslimahs looking for love out there. Read her story below.
eHarmony, match.com, singlemuslims.com, muslima.com, OKCupid—after 8 years worth of dealing with online scammers and catfish while fruitlessly attempting to find the Muslim man of my dreams, I’ve finally worked up the courage to allow my story to serve as a cautionary tale for Muslim women that wish to find a mate online. This is my story.
I am a divorced woman in my thirties; I am educated, successful, intelligent, and I have a well-paying job in the Information Technology sector. While I was initially a bit apprehensive at the thought of sitting behind a screen and sifting through hundreds of profiles in an effort to find the man that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I eventually gave in and decided that because so much of the world we live in can be experienced from behind a phone screen or computer monitor, there just isn’t a legitimate reason as to why a marriage can’t be done in much the same way.
While I may have entered this new medium of finding a spouse with this sense of excitement and anticipation at the mere thought of finally marrying the right person, I have exited the online dating world with much disappointment, resentment, and quite frankly, disgust towards the sheer number of people that come to these sites for the sole purpose of wasting others’ time and finding a source of entertainment. One of my earlier experiences of online dating started out to be promising but ultimately turned out to be disastrous. I had been speaking to the guy for quite some time, and I liked him enough to agree to meet him in the real world. But before doing so, I decided that I needed to check on his story; he mentioned the university that he graduated from. My fingers danced on the keyboard as I Googled the university’s number. I dialed the number and then self-consciously gave the man’s name to verify that he really did graduate from this university. After quite a long time on hold, I was informed that he did not in fact graduate from this university. I hung up, extremely disappointed.
Despite this man’s apparent dishonesty, I still wished to meet him in real life and confront him about it—perhaps to give him an opportunity to explain, to show me some sort of redeeming quality in him so that we could put this behind us as a mishap. When I did eventually meet him and ask to see his degree certificate, I immediately became aware of how defensive he became. “Why would you want to see that?” he asked. I told him about the background check I did, and that it didn’t really matter to me whether he graduated or not—I just wanted him to be honest. After much prodding and convincing, he finally did send me a copy of his degree. To my own disgust, I found that the signature on the copy sent did not match the real signature of the president of the school, and the logo on the certificate differed from the official school logo. Unable to tolerate this fraudulence, I cut off all connections to him.
Several years later, after a string of scammers and catfish, saying that I was disappointed would be an understatement. However, I felt well equipped with the knowledge of how to spot these types of people, and I was more determined than ever to find a life partner. I decided to try a reputable Islamic dating site called Half Our Deen—I figured that the Muslims on this site would have genuine intentions and wouldn’t fool around with something in Islam as sacred as marriage. In retrospect, my naivety is astonishing. The first guy I met seemed alright, so after I screened his profile, I Googled the email address he provided. My heart sank when it showed up on a spam list. Guy Number Two had many red flags, but in my desperation to find someone and give him the benefit of the doubt, I contacted the administrators of Half Our Deen to ask them to check this guy out. They replied, saying that he seemed legitimate and that there didn’t seem to be a valid reason to block him. Still hesitant, I did pursue him, but after reverse Google searching a picture that he posted, I wasn’t surprised to find that the picture belonged to somebody else.
My story serves as a precautionary tale to any woman that is interested in online dating. Being an IT specialist, here are the tips that I’ve come up with to help you be proactive and alert when attempting to find a partner online.
- Search his profile picture using the Google image search. https://images.google.com/ After searching for the picture, if the search engine comes up with names and accounts other than the one listed on his profile, it’s very possible that he’s stolen somebody else’s photo.
- Google and Facebook search him. For example, let’s say a person’s name is Ali, he lives in Miami, Florida, and he works for AT&T. All you have to do is Google “Ali lives in Florida,” or “Ali AT&T.” On Facebook, you can search “People named Ali who live in Miami, Florida” or “People named Ali who work at AT&T in Miami, Florida.”
- Use LinkedIn. If he gives a company name, use LinkedIn—under advanced options, you can put where they work, which university they attended, etc.
- Search his email address on Google, Google+, and Facebook. The designated profile will pop up associated with their email.
- Search his property. If he owns property, go to the county’s website and then type in his name since it’s all in public records.
- Call the university he went to and verify if he was a student there.
Lastly, my personal advice to Muslim women: If anything, this incredibly disappointing 8-year-long attempt at finding a husband has only reaffirmed my spirituality and faith in God. Throughout this Ramadan, I prayed the Islamic prayer known as Istikhara—a prayer asking for divine guidance. While doing so, I kept finding that God was giving me clues, revealing the true identities of the guys I had been speaking with. For example, the photo of one man that I had been corresponding with had shown up on Instagram under another person’s name. Time and time again, I placed my faith in God—and however disappointing the truth was, He rewarded me with answers.
I’ve contacted Half Our Deen, telling them that regardless of how hectic my life is with my job, I will use my IT skills to sort through every single one of the profiles on their site and make sure that they are legitimate and real. I want to do this without payment; the only gain I want out of this is to protect other people, to prevent innocent women from falling for men that are only after a good laugh. After my disastrous dating experiences, I’ve come to the acceptance that there is a possibility that I may not get married, that maybe I won’t find the man of my dreams. With this new realization, I have also come to the understanding that I want to help prevent this same dilemma from happening to other women, a dilemma that takes an unimaginable emotional toll. I’ve also decided that I think I want to adopt a child—while I may not be married, I still want to have the honor of being a mother, of raising a good, honest individual that will have a positive impact on our society.