Two couples who found love on a Muslim dating app have made wedding plans within months after their relationships were “accelerated” by lockdown restrictions.
When the traditional method of being introduced to a potential partner by family was put on hold due to social-distancing measures, many young Muslims turned to dating apps to find love.
Aisha Rosalie and her husband Sultan Akhtar met online just weeks before restrictions came into force and said lockdown gave them a “sense of fear” about the future.
That encouraged them to speed up their relationship — at one point even considering an online marriage.
Aisha, 23, said: “We didn’t see each other for three months, we spoke every single day. We were just so topsy turvy because we didn’t have that in-person contact.
“When you take your time to sit and think, wow I want to be with someone. I want to share everything I am going through, I want to share my successes and my failures with someone — being in lockdown forces you think like that.”
After a whirlwind romance, they were married in a small nikah ceremony in July. A nikah ceremony is an Islamic wedding ceremony, where the marriage contract is signed.
Sultan, 25, said: “It put things in perspective.”
He added: “I had a lot of time off work and in that time we were able to get to know each other, which obviously did help.
“Otherwise I would have come home from work and been a bit tired, and we would have only been able to spend a few hours rather than entire days.
“Even if it is on the phone, it did help us understand each other quite quickly.”
After restrictions banned public gatherings, another couple said “being bored” was the reason the ended up spending more time on dating app Muzmatch — and ultimately ended up together.
The couple asked that their names be changed due to a “stigma” in the Muslim community over meeting online.
Mariam told the PA news agency she “never normally” liked other profiles, instead choosing to browse those who had liked hers.
The 33-year-old said: “There was one night that I came across Maheer’s profile when I’d just loaded up the app. He ticked all the boxes and I thought, I am going to give this guy a like, which I never do. I then didn’t hear anything.”
However, because she had opted to blur her photos — one of the features on the halal dating app — Maheer had immediately put her profile in the recycling bin.
Maheer, 35, said: “During lockdown, it was so boring. I was so bored I went into my recycling bin and started looking through the profiles. I never do that.
“As I was going onto Mariam’s profile I started reading it.
“I thought she seemed quite nice, I liked her profile, I couldn’t see her pictures but I thought I’d message her and see where it goes.”
The couple were able to meet up the following week as restrictions eased and now hope to be married before the end of the year, restrictions permitting.
Maheer said: “It was very unexpected. I never thought I would have met someone on Muzmatch and it end up being serious.”
Mariam said despite the fast-paced nature of their relationship “when you know, you know.”