Ten Years of Making Muslim Matches

wael on April 2nd, 2008

It just occurred to me that I have been running a Muslim personals website for ten years now.

Yes, that’s right, Zawaj.com is ten years old. As far as I can tell Zawaj.com is the oldest existing Muslim personals or Muslim matrimonial website. Shaadi.com and Matrimonials.com are older, but they are not specifically Muslim websites; rather they are for Indians in general, including Hindus.

MuslimWedding.org, another old veteran of the Muslim personals industry, didn’t come around until 1999, a year after Zawaj.com. I remember that the Muslim Family Network (al-usrah.net) introduced a free Muslim personals database around that time as well. Zafaf.com (created in 2001) was another Muslim personals pioneer, but it only lasted a few years then shut down. Many others have shut down or dropped out since then.

MuslimMatch.com hails from the same era, around 2001. Today’s big daddies of the Muslim personals industry, such as Nikah.com (2003) and Qiran.com (2004), are all latecomers, introduced in recent years with funding behind them and corporate offices around the world.

Zawaj.com predated them all and outlasted them all. And where are we now, ten years in?

  1. The Zawaj.com Muslim personals service is 100% free, with no fees or premium memberships, and that’s something I’m particularly proud of because it makes the service available to poor people, for example women from Morocco or Egypt who could otherwise not afford it. At the same time we continue to attract Muslims from the USA, Canada, Britain and Europe.
  2. We have a huge database of articles about marriage in Islam, Islamic family issues, and women in Islam.
  3. We have spun off a few other successful Islamic websites, such as AskBilqis.com, TeenPerspectives.com and a new one we’re working on, IslamiNet.com.
  4. Many, many Muslim couples have met through Zawaj.com and built successful marriages and families.

What Needs to Be Done

In spite of all our progress, we’re kind of stuck in a holding pattern at the moment. The Muslim personals database desperately needs to be re-built from scratch, as the programming is several years old. I hope to find a sponsor to fund this, or perhaps a grateful former member.

Another project waiting to happen is to rebuild the main site using a content management system, rather than the straight HTML pages that it consists of now. This would not be so expensive, but will be time-consuming and laborious.

On the whole, however, I’m optimistic about Zawaj.com’s future. The site is heavily linked on the internet, ranks well in the search engines, has been reported on many times in the media, and is virtually a household name in the Muslim community. Also, the fact that the site needs to be rebuilt is not entirely a negative, because when we rebuild it we can add in all kinds of advanced features. This is a fantastic base to build from and I’m excited to see how things will evolve in the next few years Insha’Allah.

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