A newly launched social media platform called Muslimface, which describes itself as “Sharia friendly”, recently announced the wedding of two of their members, consituting the first marriage to take place through this platform.
The company, which has 300,000 users, said in a statement that the newlyweds are Gulf groom Abdullah Rashed and a Canadian woman of Pakistani heritage, Hana Rahman. They met through the Find Spouse feature on the website.
This feature allows for online communication between men and women in the virtual presence of the woman's mahram (a family member they cannot marry).
According to Muslim Sharia, if a man wants to get married and he has decided to propose to a particular girl, he may go to her guardian on his own, or with one of his relatives, such as his father or brother. The introductory meeting usually takes place in the presence of the girl's mahram.
Egypt Independent spoke with the website's PR manager, Ahmed Elkaoud, about the company's guarantees in providing privacy and security when dealing with potential love matches.
”The spousal search is disciplined and serious,” said Elkaoud.
When asked how the website guarantees that accounts added to protect a woman's virtue are the woman's true mahram and not fake ones, Elkaoud admitted they could not 100 percent guarantee that these people are real, as fraud could happen everywhere and on any website.
"It depends on people's intentions, we only protect the privacy of each female account," said Elkaoud.
The PR manager went on to say that the website, which was launched in June 2015, funded the couple's honeymoon, which included trips to Turkey and the holy cities of Mecca and Madinah.
“We wish the couple happiness. We emphasize that the platform is a good place to connect with people, and a good place to find a life partner,” said Elkaoud.
The website was founded by two young Muslim businessmen, Brit Shoaib Fadie and American Rohail Amin M. Shoaib.
While the UK-registered website, which is available in 10 languages, is open to people of other faiths, it abides by Sharia law and is "structured and vitalized" by the Hadith and Quran, according to the company.
“The founders have been working on the project since 2013, aiming to connect Muslim communities under one social networking platform, “said Elkaoud.
In addition to the matchmaking service, Muslimface offers a variety of other Muslim-oriented features, including a prayer alert, an app to locate the nearest mosque and information on how to find halal restaurants.
Becoming a member is free, although applicants must sumbit a request and wait for approval before becoming a part of the online community.
Veering off the beaten path?
Not all Muslims are excited about this platform, however. Former secretary of Al-Azhar, Mahmoud Ashour, condemned all online websites which assist in bringing couples together, believing that they are not in line with traditional Islamic marriages. "If a man wants to know a girl or propose to her, he should go directly to her home instead chatting online," said Ashour.
"According to Islamic Sharia, with regards to introductory marriage protocol, the couples cannot sit together without a mahram who safeguards the girl's dignity and value. I don't believe these things can be fully guaranteed online," Ashour added.
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