Interviewing Half Our Deen Founder Baba Ali, Why A Muslim Marriage Site?

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As-salaam `alaykum, MUSLIMNESS writer Zahra here, The Immigrant, speaking from Canada! That is for anyone who may have even noticed I was gone. Well I'm back, and with an awesome interview that's bound to make you re-assess the Muslim marriage scene.

Let’s just call my absence maternity leave, which of course is a nice way of saying I was so strung out from lack of sleep, stressing about car seats, safety, mountains of poopy nappies and all the other fun things that go hand in hand with the first year of new life. I'm officially a Mom.

It feels like just yesterday I met my husband, and now we are certified parents. I wonder how I ever lived without my daughter. I couldn’t imagine life without her, unmarried life even. It seems like being single and childless is all a distant memory. And to think, it all started with a few key strokes, not how I ever imagined meeting my future husband.

Most people don’t actually know that me and my husband met online. Now that I think of it, a large portion of my friends met their partners online, and started families of their own. Is this the newest trend, or the beginning of what will become the norm?

muslim marriage matrimonial site baba ali ummah films
So I asked an expert of sorts, Ali Ardekani, founder of, the online Muslim marriage site. When Muslims cannot go through their parents, reliable friends or mosque services to seek a partner, there are many marriage sites that claim exclusive catering to Muslims. But it is very easy to get lost among the mess of scary sites scattering the World Wide Web.

Like I, Ali Ardekani, better known to millions as filmography sensation Baba Ali, met his partner online. Ali later felt a need to create a friendlier marriage service that helped single Muslims find their match. But why an internet site? How safe are internet courtships and is that what single Muslims are doing through Half Our Deen, "dating"? Ali was more than happy to answer our questions.

MUSLIMNESS: Firstly dear Ali, your matrimonial site Half Our Deen is known for its unorthodox approach to marriage and nearly 170 people have claimed to have found their other half on the site. Do you think finding a spouse online is becoming a norm?

Baba Ali: With Half Our Deen, we wanted to recreate the way people meet in person leading up to marriage. Since the typical conversations when two people meet face to face doesn't start with "how much do you weigh?" or "what is your income?", we ask questions on the site that we think are more realistic for determining qualities for marriage.

Thus, our unique questionnaire provides members with many questions on finding out more about the potential partner's personality or character. That way you can learn real things and get to know the "real" person, insha'Allah, God willing.

When I was looking for someone ten years ago, the idea of finding your future spouse online was taboo but I really didn't have much choice since I didn't find my match locally. Today, 1 out of every 4 relationships starts online, which shows you how much times have changed, even for Muslims.

MUSLIMNESS: What are the advantages to meeting a future spouse online as opposed to traditional Muslim routes - being introduced to family friends, seeking help through local mosques?

Baba Ali: I still think the best way to meet someone is through your parents. Unfortunately, many people like myself, don't like the choices that our parents have setup for us because their decisions have been influenced by culture rather than attachment to the Deen, path, of Islam.

So we set out on our own, stumbling and learning, trying to find someone compatible and we all aspire to look for their Deen first.

As far as finding people locally, most communities do not have marriage programs and it is really hard to find any "Muslim" system that actually works, in comparison to the very few that do.

For Muslims, finding your other half is far more difficult that most people think it is. We don't date, we can't get emotionally attached, so it's difficult to work out who's "the one". Just ask any single Muslim who is searching now!

MUSLIMNESS: What major disadvantage is there to finding a spouse online?

Baba Ali: Half Our Deen is open to all, our members register from across the globe. One of the biggest obstacles for new relationships is that one person, which could be either the man or the woman, will need to relocate to live with their new husband or wife. And that means starting a new life, in a new place. That can be challenging for some people who haven't left home before or prepared for the move.

MUSLIMNESS: How safe is Half Our Deen?

Baba Ali: I think there's a common misconception that the whole world will know you're "looking" online to get married when you sign up to Half Our Deen. People don't usually want everyone and their mama to know they're seeking a spouse.

I can't blame people for having second thoughts for looking online because I did as well. 

When I was trying to communicate and search, there were no "private" sites so anyone with Internet access could see my profile and that was a bit embarrassing.

See {how to sign up to HOD step by step}.

One of the things that sets Half Our Deen apart from the other sites is that we're completely private. That means only other registered members can see your profile and even then, only members of the opposite gender can see who is looking to get married. That means two sisters can be on the site and neither would ever know that the other was on Half Our Deen."

While everyone can comment on the public HOD blog posts and share questions, safety and security are the main reason that the majority of our members stay exclusively with us.

MUSLIMNESS: What do you feel is the biggest challenge in finding someone online?

Baba Ali: The biggest hurdle is trying to make sure that this person is "the one". I really dislike how some of these other Muslim matrimonials or marriage sites in general limit the questions asked to "eye color" and "hair color", because although that stuff may be important, the deep questions are never asked.

The reality is that you can't marry someone because you guys share the same "favorite color". It's more important that you ask deeper questions to see how compatible you are with each other.

This is how we made Half Our Deen unique, by making it question based. Not only does each person have the ability to take compatibility tests categorised by Deen, Family, Personality, etc, but we're the only site that allows you to post your own questions on your profile. This allows members to quickly filter out the people that don't match with you so neither side wastes any time getting connected with people they don't share interests or values with."

MUSLIMNESS: How do you think families have reacted to young single Muslims turning to marriage sites?

Baba Ali: I think each family is different. Most parents do take time in adjusting to new things and being that the Internet is still the unknown for many of our elders, parents and relatives are often worried about things they don't understand or don't have any knowledge of.

MUSLIMNESS: Many newly wedded Muslims relocate to live with the other partner and their family. Should people have to be open to moving after marriage?

Baba Ali: That's a great question. I've found that Muslim women seem to be more accepting of relocating than Muslim men. These type of questions are key during the communication precess and great to add to our poll section of Half Our Deen!

Another feature that makes Half Our Deen unique is our anonymous polls. Basically, we ask each members' group (the men and women) specific questions which they answer anonymously. The opposite gender is then able to see the answers in percentile to learn what that gender really thinks. Most of the time, the results are surprising and contrary to popular perception. We try to ask important and thought-provoking questions that people may be too shy to ask.

For those who join the site today, they can even go back to the previous polls to see how each gender answered.

I think education is key when it comes to learning about the opposite gender and the more we know, the better it is to help understand each other Insha'Allah, God willing.

MUSLIMNESS: And finally, what do you feel has made Half Our Deen popular amongst Muslims? 

Baba Ali: The only reason that Half Our Deen is successful is because of Allah (Arabic, God). Our site is packed with features but yet it's purpose is very simple.

We hit an outstanding 6 million page views on HOD this year but yet we don't advertise or spam any of our members. No text ads, banner ads, nothing. On top of that we do not charge  even half of what the other sites charge. We pay our staff who help us because we want to try to stay away from expecting Muslim to work for free (no "FREEsabeel'illah" discount at HOD).

We are trying to do things differently by keeping the site private, affordable, and by putting more money into site developments to make the experiences better for members than just collecting ads. The results? Since we launched last year, over 170 people have told us they found their other half through HOD and are happily married.

I have been invited to their wedding, met many of them in person, and have heard one success story after another. I wish I could post them to share the good news but the main reason people join HOD is because of privacy so I respect their wish to keep it that way. Alhamdulillah, (all praise belongs to Allah), Allah has made Half Our Deen successful and the entire staff, including myself, are really fortunate to be part of such an amazing project.

MUSLIMNESS: Shukran, thanks to Ali and everyone at for sharing your work and thoughts. Best of success God willing.

So for those young Muslim women and men out there looking for love -disapproving parental-like face-, I mean, halal love, don’t rule out searching online because it can be another opportunity to find what you’re looking for, regardless of your means.

Muslims have the power of dua (supplication). If your intention is pure, just remember to be open and honest and ask Allah to guide you in your search for your better half - and although for some it can feel like a long process to find the right person, Allahu `alim (Allah knows best) it will all happen in its own time.

Check it out {Half Our Deen}

Did you or anyone you know meet their spouse online? Would you recommend it for others? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

More on Muslim marriage:
Movie: Change Of Heart, Exposing Muslim Marriage
Muslim Marriage Tips: The Holy Criteria
Manufacturing A Match Made In Heaven
Can I Marry Your Daughter? {comic}


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