“…Why is finding a marriage partner so difficult in the Muslim community?” ..Intrigued by this questioning statement on my Facebook news feed (I know, the modern news reel these days!) I clicked on the provided link and found myself thoroughly entertained watching the hour-long BBC documentary, “Strictly Soulmates”.
This particular episode saw cameras closely follow three very different Muslim’s search to find another Muslim companion; Zubair, the 23 year old fist-length bearded Engineer student, Tabassum ‘Dimpy’ the modern 31 year old female doctor in rupture for Mr Doctor and Naila, the 22-year old braving her mum to do her search to find Mr Right.
The shows title placement of the cold toned word, ‘strict‘ alongside the love embossed word, ‘soulmates‘ immediately provoked me to wonder, ‘Is the marital search for religious persons ‘strict’ because of their faith ?” ’‘How different is a religious persons search for a marriage partner?’.
Love for a religious person certainly marrows the search pool, I would not necessarily agree in describing religion as a ‘strict’ marital criteria but rather more of a founding preference, which any person regardless of faith would have some form of gradient preference of the type of person they are attracted to settle down with.
Nonetheless, as aptly highlighted by the commentator during the beginning of the episode that socialite dating or co-habiting prior to settling with ‘The One’ is disallowed for Muslims, thus a singleton’s search naturally requires a form of analysis to assess prospective partner character suitability. Questions like, “Can we live together” “Does his/her lifestyle suit mine”do become direct forefront considerations.
The programme demonstrates the various social tools now used as an interactive spouse search by Muslims in Britain, this includes a CV catalogue matchmaker known to the respective family, a singleton database log with the local mosque and even Marriage Workshops to enlighten the practical adjustment needs of married life for the searching souls.
It is not a surprise than that all 3 participants spoke at length with close family and friends both before and after they met their potential matches. Naila’s loving trust in her mum as her “Cilla Black” and Dimpy’s brother vetting a prospective ‘CV’ for his sister shows encouraging family support during this ultimately life-changing decision in their lives. Zubair pointed out his lack of interaction with girls until this point of now searching ‘Ms Wife’ did mean he leaned to receive tips from Mizan, the marriage guru for a smooth ‘first impressions’, including tip of being a gentleman by paying the food bill (it certainly can’t hurt!).
Importantly, Zubair, Dimpy and Naila individual criteria’s were likewise significant factors in their search of a partner. Dimpy’s want for the right Pakistani Doctor meant she had rejected 60 proposals so far and Zubair’s dream to do charity work in Pakistan saw him eventually broaden his search to finding a wife in Pakistan after struggling to find someone in Britain to join his philanthropist dream.
The shows participants were open enough to also share their physical insecurities that affected the marital search; Dimpy vocalised her want to lose weight to feel more confident and Zubair’s worry of being dismissed as an extremist or boring by his ‘religious’ fist length beard do reflect butterflies most feel when meeting a potential someone – clearly religion is not the the only focus, and I would say unsurprisingly so since this is a wholesome search of a life partner.
‘Strictly Soulmates’ interestingly highlighted the development of various social and media means used by Muslim’s in Britain for their marriage search. Highlighting, akin to the Facebook mean in which I was informed of this show and where Dimpy became ‘Facebook friends’ with a prospective partner upon which helped her realise lifestyles were actually not compatible does illustrate the 21st Century social media tools are likewise allowing Muslims to explore and ascertain ‘prospective “The One”‘ is right for them.
Ultimately, ‘Strictly Soulmates’ demonstrates that ‘yes’ religion plays an important direction for a Muslim’s search of a life partner but each individuals preference’s were also determining factors, along with with all the nervous emotional trimmings.
Best of luck to Naila, Dimpy and Zubair on their soulmate search and many thanks for sharing this personal journey with us …and my congratulations to darling friend Imz who has recently become engaged to her soul mate ;).
To watch clips from BBC, “Strictly Soulmates” click on the following: here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01brd8w