In this digital era of ours, just about anything is possible really. So, it hardly comes as a surprise that an established systemized platform has taken marriage to a whole new level under the name of religion. Putting aside all the marriage websites that have been taking the internet by storm, Zawagislamy.com is the most unfunny joke you’ll ever come across.
“Syrians for immediate marriage”, “A widow with a kid”, “A 30-year-old man looking for a serious relationship”, were all advertisements that first introduced us to the website. Digging deeper, we realized that this creation is governed by supposedly strict rules and regulations that ensure that the process is what they call “Islamic”. And as you roam about their general information, you’ll find that the website specifies themselves as a facility for marriage, and not friendship or any other informal cause as it only welcomes those who are serious about commitment and are looking forward to a legal Islamic marriage.
“By even signing up you are subscribing to being part of a marketplace for marriage”
This is not like a regular online dating site, where there is a far more relaxed atmosphere and every individual might be looking for something different, by even signing up you are subscribing to being part of a marketplace for marriage. According to their acclaimed rules, users must be at least 16 years old and may not create fake accounts and must include detailed and personal information about themselves. And while it is an interesting set of rules, is it actually enforced? For instance the website states that a user can’t include his or her personal contact information and must only communicate with his matchup through the website.
However this rebel of a user thinks otherwise.
Once the account is created you can search away my friend depending on all the qualities you are looking for in a partner. And with a press of a button you get a list of eligible candidates. Each profile is provided with details such as this person’s age, education, weight, height, eye color, hair color, skin color, health, smoker or non-smoker, veiled or not veiled, prays or does not pray and even their income! You essentially create a shopping list of characteristics for your perfect spouse, except interests and personality barely feature amongst the more ‘important’ matters of their praying habits and the amount of money they make.
And to market their goodies, the website posts advertisements on google with an image of the person in attempt of finding him the perfect match. According to their regulations the users can’t post inappropriate images of themselves or cross any red lines during the chat or they might risk being removed.
“You essentially create a shopping list of characteristics for your perfect spouse”
The hideousness doesn’t stop there, because they aren’t just going to get you into a relationship without prepping you first. Zawag Islamy provides an articles section specialized in giving relationship tips and tricks. One of the headlines that caught our attention was an article about training women on how to react when their husbands tell them they have married other women. The piece goes on and on about how religiously it is acceptable and that women must learn to accept it.
What is worth mentioning is the website enjoys a wide range of traffic and users who are as serious about this game of mix and match as it gets. When did we decide it was “Islamic” of us to put our heights and incomes on the internet and pretend that this is a proper way of building a home or starting a life?
This is not a religious solution but rather a societal one. This is a cry out for help, a last-minute chance before the train of life runs you over and the clock explodes half way through ticking. This is because we think a woman shouldn’t be 30 and single, this is because we think a man’s ultimate goal is to have a descendant. So, we market ourselves like any product that might just get corrupted if left outside the fridge. This is because our culture and norms root back to an age where a khatba used to rule the game.