The process of matchmaking can be arduous for the modern day single Muslim. Luckily, Muslims have an arsenal of dating applications (apps) that help to navigate the thin line between allowed matchmaking and irreligious dating. Thus, I’m presenting these app reviews for someone who is looking for a serious relationship. As of now, I don’t really think there are any Muslim hookup apps and the idea of one seems like an oxymoron.
I know for some of you who’ve tried Tinder or Dil Mile type dating apps might seem down by the erratic and terrible behavior of some of the people who use them. These apps have plenty of good, open-minded people; however, it might not have that Islamic focus that so many of you are trying to find in a future spouse. Also, many people on these apps may not want anything serious. Thus, that can be problematic for a person who really wants to have a stable relationship that may eventually culminate with an engagement. Because of this, I put my focus on how these apps try to facilitate an actual marriage.
To give you a little background, I’m an iPhone user and I got all the following on the Apple’s App Store. I used them all simultaneously for three weeks to give them a fair trial, because I want to make sure that you, as the reader, can feel safe in venturing into the wilderness of matchmaking. I’ve set up a rating system on a scale of 0 to 5 qalbs (hearts) to make it easier for the reader. So let’s begin…
YelliThe interface and app design looks very clean and attractive and Yelli got rave reviews at the beginning of 2015. However, by the time summer came around, user ratings started plummeting, because I’m assuming that the developers haven’t fixed the buggy system. I ranked this app last, because I couldn’t sign up; Yelli is broken. In addition, I asked some other Muslim friends to sign up and test their luck, but even they couldn’t past the error message pops up. I would suggest some of the readers to check it out and see if the creators have fixed the sign up glitch. But in the meantime, I would give this app a 0 out of 5 qalbs.
Muslim Faces I was on this app for about an hour and I think it was the biggest waste of my time. Overall, it looks super sketchy and is extremely glitchy. The images and the interface are skewed and the developers really need to take the time to fix it. The matching algorithm is subpar at best; that is, if it even works. If you get a match, it can take weeks for someone to see your message or for you to others’ messages. What’s more is that if someone sends you message, you have to have a premium membership to read it. Also, it’s nearly impossible to navigate through the app, because it’s so clunky. If that’s not enough, creating a profile on this app is so time consuming. They expect you to answer a million random, irrelevant questions, like your weight and how attractive you are, and it’s mandatory to answer all of them. It really turns me off from using this app, and I would recommend the readers to do the same. One thing to keep in mind is that they also have a website version of this app. I haven’t tried it out, but if some of you readers do, then please tell us in the comments below. Expect nothing more than 1 out of 5 qalbs.
Single Muslims From my time on Single Muslims, I realized that the same developers of Muslim Faces created this app. Actually, a little researching on the App Store lead me to find that the group, Web Vision, created this and numerous other dating apps. They have everything from Divorced Dating and 50 Plus Dating to a couple of funny ones like Sugar Daddy Dating. So, obviously, we can see that these people only want to make money, and don’t really care about the quality of their product. Thus, you see a lot of cutting corners. For example, I saw profiles from Muslim Faces on Single Muslims, which is strange, considering how you have to create separate logins for the two apps. Readers, the only thing I can say is that I would skip this one as well. Obviously, I would have to go with 1 out of 5 qalbs.
Free Shaadi The people who brought you Muslim Faces and Single Muslims also bring you Free Shaadi, another mediocre app to clog up your storage space. It has the exact same issues that the previously mentioned apps have, but there are more profiles. It’s also focused towards a South Asian demographic, so there were people from different religions on this app. As I mentioned before, the developers are notorious for recycling profiles from their other dating apps. Not much to say here, folks. 1 out of 5 qalbs.
SalaamSwipeOriginally, the screenshots on the App Store makes this app seem like its usable and has a good interface, but once you try it, you’ll be sorely mistaken. There are so many issues that the developers need to work on. For example, the pictures get distorted and the interface can sometimes freeze up. Also, the matching algorithm is really bad, because I kept getting matches in Ontario even though I set my preferences to 100 miles. Moreover, the people on the app barely use it, so it takes weeks to get matches. After using it for three weeks, I got only one match out. The profiles keep coming back, even after you swipe left or right. I will give SalaamSwipe 2 out of 5 qalbs.
CrescentThis was a really nice looking app. The interface is cute and it’s easy to work with. However, it is very buggy. For example, on my preferences, I said I only wanted to see guys show up, but I kept getting girl profiles on my dashboard. In addition, even after I swipe left or right, the same old profiles keep showing up. A lot of the problems that were on SalaamSwipe kept coming up in Crescent. They seem like great ideas and have attractive screenshots on the AppStore, but they’re really just 2 out of 5 qalbs.
buzzArabThis app wasn’t too bad. There were people of all kinds of ethnicities on this app, but mostly Arab as expected. Maybe if I were from a Middle Eastern, I would have found this app more useful. The messaging system is okay and the app design seems fine. It is not the prettiest app on this list, but it works. I thought it wasn’t as buggy as the others on this list, so it’s moderately usable. They have a lot of profiles on this app, but my main issue was that it would keep showing people who were really far away. It’s kind of hard to start matchmaking with someone who lives on the other side of the country, so I think that’s my main issue with buzzArab. Also, there’s a website version of this app. I haven’t tried it, but if you have experience or are willing to give it a go, then tell us in the comments! Overall, I would give buzzArab 3 out of 5 qalbs.
Maghreb (Muslims) in LoveMaghreb in Love would have been awesome if I was Moroccan or Algerian or maybe if I spoke French. I think this one in particular was meant for older, French speaking Muslims, because most of the guys were in their 30’s and 40’s and were messaging me from France, Algeria, and Luxembourg. It was kind of awkward to talk to guys on the other side of the planet, who were old enough to be your dad. Most people on this app couldn’t speak English, so it was nearly impossible to start meaningful conversations with anyone near my age. Also, there are some really seedy people on Maghreb in Love, but the reporting and blocking system is great. I like the graphics and interface. The app isn’t too buggy and the message system is usable. If you fall into the category of Moroccan/Algerian/French speaker and are close to middle aged, I think you would definitely like this. I would give this app 3 out of 5 qalbs.
Minder I loved the concept behind it. The name is cute too. My main issue was with this app was that they never verified my profile, so I couldn’t really use it. However, I ranked Minder third, because some of my other friends have used this app and thought it was great. I got a chance to look at their profiles and use the app on their phones to get a feel for it. Minder isn’t too glitchy; I think the developers did a great job on this app. Also, one of my friends mentioned how the matching algorithms were subpar, because she kept getting profiles of people who lived on the other side of the country. However, I thought many of the guys on Minder seemed decent and people I might actually talk to. One of my friends, who is thinking about marriage, has continued talking to one of her matches on Minder. So far, from her perspective, she seems to like what the app has done for her. With that in mind, I give it 3 out of 5 qalbs because it got great reviews from those who I trust. Nonetheless, I’m not ready to give it 4 qalbs, because I didn’t use it myself to the extent of the others on this list.
Nikah Explorer For more practicing Muslims, I think Nikah Explorer is the best. It’s very rigorous and strict, in terms of what you can do and what things you can post. All the pictures and profiles have to be approved by the administrators, though you will be approved almost all of the time. The messaging system is a bit clunky, but that’s not what turns off Nikah Explorer for me. I have an issue with the fact that you have to wait 24 hours to read messages that people send you and you can’t reply back to them, if you don’t buy a premium membership. Also, the website has a points system where you get points for answering profile questions, uploading pictures, and similar activities. The more points you have, the more visible your profile will be to other members. I find this really annoying, because it gives me the impression that the developers just want to make money and not care about their user base. Moreover, most of the profiles were of really creepy guys from India and Pakistan (think: fresh off the boat). If you’re down for that or if you think you’re very conservative, I would say to go with Nikah Explorer. However, I will give it 3 out of 5 qalbs.
Out of the entire haystack of the App Store’s Muslim dating apps, I think this is the needle. The developers of Muzmatch might have outdone even Dil Mile, which is the main matchmaking app among South Asians. I genuinely liked the guys who kept coming up, and I think that might be in part to the matching algorithms that they use. Their customer service is superb; you can easily message them through the app if there’s a problem. I feel like they create an easy and safe environment for meeting other Muslim people who are serious about a relationship. Even so, if you’re just a causal explorer of what’s out there, I would say to definitely start with Muzmatch. This is the only app out of all the other ones that I’m actually keeping and trying out for the future. I’ve even met a couple of really nice guys on here, so I’m definitely coming back to Muzmatch for more. However, the glitchy messaging system does force me to give this 4 out of 5 qalbs.