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Don’t keep it bottled up

Another two weeks will mark the 5th anniversary of Ahmad and Asmaa’s wedding. They have two kids, a nice house, and what everyone assumes is a happy marriage. They go to community events, have gatherings with their couple friends every other week, and play dates for the kids once a week. Ahmad works full time to make sure his family has everything they need and Asmaa makes sure the house is in decent shape, the kids are taken care of, and a delicious dinner is on the table each night.

Ahmad comes home late, exhausted, all he wants is to sit down and eat something while he zones out on his phone checking the basketball scores. Asmaa finally got the kids to bed and is hoping for an adult conversation. When she sees Ahmad isn’t up for it she decides to head to the kitchen and see what needs to be done. Less than a minute later she remarks “Ahmad, the garbage is starting to stink. You promised to take it out yesterday. You think you will have time in your oh so busy schedule to get it done tonight?”. He responds in a snarky tone, “Can you just shut up about the garbage and let me eat in peace for once?”

These comments set a chain reaction in motion with each one beginning to list every action and habit the other does that they can not stand. Each accusation becomes more hurtful and loud than the previous. They part ways an hour later. Broken, resentful, unsure of what to do next.

Underneath it all Asmaa is feeling unappreciated. While she knows her husband works hard for the family she wishes he would acknowledge the effort she brings to the table. She longs for the times when he would spend hours talking to her and making her feel like she was his whole world. On the other hand Ahmad thinks his love and appreciation  for her is made obvious by all the hard work he is putting in. He longs for the days where she wasn’t as needy and didn’t nag about taking the trash out but instead did it herself if he forgot. He wishes she was more appreciative of what he brings to the table. They both wish things could go back to how it was when the weight of the world wasn’t on their shoulders and they still gave each other butterflies with every look.

Although this particular set of events is pure fiction it is an all too common reality in our communities these days. Spouses are so focused on the day to day of their lives that they don’t take the time to truly communicate how the changes in their relationship make them feel and how to deal with it. Instead, they bottle up all their annoyances with their spouse and sweep it under the rug until it all explodes and the mess, is sometimes, too big to clean up.

In order for a relationship to grow and flourish the lines of communication have to be open. Both spouses need to commit time and effort to really listen to how the other feels and accept it. Just because you feel that you give your spouse enough attention does not mean they agree—and that’s ok! After all no two people are created exactly the same and everyone has their own emotions and feelings.

Marriage is the cornerstone of our communities. They will produce the next generation. And they are worth working on and fighting for. While there are many steps that can be taken to support couples and help them make it work the simplest, and first, thing that needs to happen is for both of them to be open and honest with each other.

Being Ready for Marriage

During your journey to find your other half everyone will have an opinion on how ready you truly are for marriage. Your parents may tell you that if you want a spouse you need to find a better job first. A friend might make an off handed comment about how you should be more organized if you are serious about getting married. Maybe they think you should take better care of your appearance or start taking the deen more seriously.

While everyone will have an opinion of what you should or shouldn’t do in order to be ready for this life altering occasion the truth is no matter how prepared  you think you are for marriage it will take you by surprised. Every relationship will come with it’s own unique set of of extreme joys and trials. Just because they are speaking from experience does not mean your experience will mirror theirs. There is no check list that you can go through to ensure you will know how to respond.  That is why getting ready for this momentous occasion will be different for everyone.

The best thing you can do as you await your other half is to begin doing everything you put off doing till you found (or dreamed of doing with) your spouse. Take an inventory of the important aspects of your life such as your education, your deen, your happiness. Identify the goals you hope to achieve in each and begin to aspire to them.

If you had always desired to continue further in your education go ahead and apply to universities or grad schools. If you hope to wake up for fajr every morning, set your alarm across the room from now instead of waiting for someone else to be by your side to wake you up. If you have always wished to take a trip to a new country each year start now—the stories you will have to tell your future spouse will be priceless.

As much as you love to share your life with your spouse and as much as they  make you a better person you have to start on your goals yourself. By doing so you will be more content, happy, and have healthier relationships. As you search for your other half, begin to create the life you want to share with them instead of waiting for them to appear in your life to give you a push in the right direction.

What’s new at Half Our Deen?


It’s time for another update with all the amazing things happening at Halfourdeen.com! Over the past few weeks we have been blessed with having not one but rather three separate news stories released that showcase the uniqueness of Halfourdeen.com. We also have some updates on the latest Halfourdeen Offline events.

Illume Magazine produced an article that offers not only insight into how Baba Ali came to the decision to start Halfourdeen.com but also shares the story of our very own Afra and Sammy. It highlights the main philosophy behind Halfourdeen.com and what sets us apart from other Muslim matrimonial services.

They also released an infographic with our statistics from 2012. This graphic is a great way to get the gist of what Halfourdeen.com is. It would also be a great link to send to friends or family who have not heard of Halfourdeen.com before.

The third piece was both a radio interview and article by KALW 91.7FM in San Francisco. A local reporter came out and covered the HOD offline event that happened there recently. She shares both her thoughts on the event as well as those of some of the attendees.

Our latest offline event was our first event ever (!) on the East Coast. It was held in New York and brought in over 72 attendees and 22 mutual matches MashAllah! It was an overall success with glowing reviews. R.K, said “the event was well organized and an appropriate environment where Muslims can seek out their other half’” and N.M said she “felt the most comfortable she could be in a situation like this”. To cap off the evening we had our NY success story couple attend the event to share their inspiring story!

Lastly, inshaAllah we are continuing to bring HalfOurDeen offline to as many cities as we can this year. Below is an updated list with cities and dates. As more cities are planned we will be sure to let you know!

Orange County – April 6th –Sign Up
Tampa FL – April 6th – 
Sign Up
Santa Clara – April 14th – 
Sign Up
Dallas, Texas – April 14th – 
Sign Up
Phoenix, Arizona – April 20th – 
Sign Up
Boston, MA – May TBD
Sign Up
Chicago, IL – June TBD – 
Sign Up

 

Why Men Feel the Need to be Right About Everything!

In continuing with our weekly articles that offer a bit of insight into the strange minds of the opposite gender today we will be delving into why a man always needs to be right. A common joke that women make is, “I married Mr. Right I just didn’t know his first name was Always!”And while humorous it does have truth to it.

To understand why most men develop this habit it is important to take a look at what they are brought up to believe a man should be. From a young age boys are told to “man up”. If they show weakness or cry they are seen as weak and unable to fend for themselves. They look up to superheros such as batman or to emergency workers like police men and firemen who don’t need to be rescued because they are capable of rescuing not only themselves but everyone else.

Now fast forward a dozen years when this boy has grown up and married the girl of his dreams who he now feels is his responsibility to protect and take care of. She is his damsel in distress that he will focus all his manly powers on in order to keep from harm. And then the unthinkable happens, she dares question his tactics!

While a simple suggestion such as, “Are you sure we are going the right way? Whey don’t we stop and ask someone for directions?” may seem as a helpful gesture on a woman’s part it is taken as a lack of trust in a mans ability from the male perspective. The larger the issue the more threatened they may feel. Instead of voicing this they get defensive and lash out which escalates or creates problems.

There is no true solution to this issue as it is not possible to change how something makes someone feel. It is also unrealistic to expect the other spouse to never give a suggestion or have input that may trump yours. There are two things that can be done to lessen the consequences.

1) The wife can word her suggestions in a way that is less of an attack on his skills and more about how she feels in the moment. So for example, in the situation above she could say “These streets are really confusing. I would feel much better if we stopped and asked a local”.

2) The husband can learn that his wife’s suggestions come from a place of love. She sees someone struggling and is trying to help. It’s the mother in her. So instead of getting defensive he can respond coolly and explain his view in the matter. A good response to the above example could be, “Honey, I know you are trying to be helpful but I would really appreciate it if you gave me a bit more time to figure it out on my own”.

How Half Our Deen online and offline work together

One of the common questions we get asked about the Half Our Deen offline events is why is it necessary to have an online account with Half Our Deen to attend? If the point of attending is to find your match why then would you require an online account and profile. While it is a reasonable question to ask the connection between HOD online and HOD offline is one of the reasons these offline events have a much higher success rate than other Muslim matchmaking events.

The main reason that we require this is to continue Half Our Deen‘s commitment to the privacy of our members. By having everyone registered online it eliminates the need to give out private email addresses or phone numbers. It also eliminates the awkwardness associated with asking someone for their contact details and risking the chance of being rejected or giving out your private email address and number to someone that you aren’t really interested in just to be polite.

At the end of every offline event each attendee is asked to write down up to 5 people they would be interested in getting to know more about. Once these cards are handed in mutual matches are identified and emailed to the participants. Once they have the user names of the matches with whom interest was reciprocated they can go to their profile, answer the questions on it, or even send them questions to answer. If they feel that there is more there to pursue they can continue communication but if they don’t feel it is the right person for them they can simply click on “I’d rather fast“ and never have to hear from them again!

Another added bonus of registering online is that you will have access to the more than 2000 active profiles that are registered. This way, even if you don’t find your ideal match at the offline event you still have a great chance of finding your other half through Half Our Deen.

The importance of asking personal questions when looking to get married.

A typical Muslim matrimonial website barely scratches the surface when it comes to details that are vital to showing who you are and what you are looking for in a spouse. The questions generally revolve around superficial topics such as how much you weigh and how tall you are. While this information could be intriguing to a potential suitor the reality is they do not express enough about your goals for life, wants for the future, ideals for raising children, or what a compatible spouse for you would be.

The focus at Half Our Deen is to dig deeper and allow the couples to match up not only based on who they could be attracted to but also who they could lead a fulfilling life with. The personality quizzes help set a baseline for who would seem the most compatible for you but at the end of the day the only way to truly know is to view their profile, read through their information, and respond to any questions they may have posted. Not only do your answers help them learn about you by responding to their questions you are able to infer what is important to them and have the opportunity to counter with your own inquiry.

Answering the personal questions on Half Our Deen, whether the general ones on every profile such as “About Me” and “Who I’m looking for”, or the more detailed questions that others post to their profiles is the best way to increase your chances of finding a match on Half Our Deen. These answers are the first impression that a potential match will have of you. So take the time to think through your answer and insure that it is an honest representation of yourself.

Sharing a candid imagine of who you are online may not be the easiest task. However, the same way you are trusting that others are representing themselves honestly they are trusting that you are doing the same. You want to find a spouse that compliments who you are, not who you think they want you to be. So spend an extra few minutes going over your answers or even have a friend take a look at it and give you feedback in order to insure that you are putting forward a true reflection of who you are.

More Half Our Deen Offline Coming Up!

Along with running Halfourdeen.com we also strive to bring Half Our Deen Offline events to as many cities as we can. These events take all the things you love about HOD and deliver them in person. They are unlike any other Muslim matchmaking event you have ever been to.

One of the ways we differentiate ourselves from other events is by screening those who wish to attend, in order to insure that there is a balance in the attendees. An HOD member who attended our last offline event noticed how helpful this was and had this to say on the matter, “The fact that there were an equal number of men and women was helpful in terms of making it more convenient to socialize”.

The greatest difference, however, is how the events are structured. A lot of care is put into facilitating an environment that allows everyone to feel comfortable and to get to know as much as they can about their potential matches. This comfortable setting is one of the aspects we get the most feedback on. After our last event one attendee wrote us to say, “I like the openness of the event. Everyone had a lot of freedom” and another said “I thought it was a great idea to have a somewhat casual dress code because it lets everyone be themselves and see others as they would if they bumped into each other, say, on a sidewalk or at a park.”

These events have been a great success, Alhamdulillah, with over 70 mutual matches. The HOD Offline team works hard to ensure they provide the best event possible but it is also important for those wishing to attend to take initiative in order for it to be a success for them. Some of the ways you can do that is by:

1) Come to the event with an open mind. Even though you may have an idea in your mind of who your ideal match is be open to the possibility that the perfect person for you may be slightly outside of that box.
2) Write down the questions that matter most to you. In the moment it is easy to get flustered and forget what you had wanted to ask. This insures that you gather the necessary information to make an informed choice.
3) Present yourself honestly. Don’t dress to impress if that’s not who you are! There is no right or wrong way to act or dress what matters is that the person that shows up on the day of the event is a true representation of who you are.
4) Put your trust in Allah and make duaa. No matter what you do or what the Half Our Deen team does, the only way you will find your match at an event is if Allah (swt) wills for it to be.

In the next few months we plan on bringing Half Our Deen Offline to the East Coast, Arizona and California. For more information on a certain event be sure to click on the link.

New York City – February 22nd 2013. Sign up here
Boston – February 23rd 2013. Sign up here
Chicago – February 24th 2013. Sign up here
Phoenix – March 2013 – Sign up here
Santa Clara – March/April 2013 – Sign up here
Orange County April 2013 – Sign up here
Texas – TBD

Thank you for letting Half Our Deen services be a part of your search for a partner. Please keep us your dua’as as we will continue to keep you in ours. May Allah guide you to that which pleases Him.

Having an Open Mind

Getting married is a huge, life changing, event. We can spend years searching for the perfect person to be our other half. And for some of us, we’ve spent even longer dreaming about who this person will be. We’ve imagined every single detail about him/her and we plan on settling for nothing less than the ideal version of a spouse that we have conjured up. Considering how much this person will impact our lives, why should we?

Allah (swt) controls the matters of the heart and it truly is beautiful to see it in progress. The whole reason we got into Muslim Matchmaking was to do our part in helping the Ummah pair up! Hearing the success stories of those who found their other halves through HOD is beyond rewarding. You would be surprised to hear how many of these stories begin with; “I would have never thought of considering this person due to age/race/relocation issues but I can not be happier that I did”. By keeping an open mind and taking a chance on someone who did not seem to be the ideal match at first they were able to see deeper into who the person really is; ultimately finding their ideal spouse.

This is not to say that preferences do not matter when looking for a spouse. However, getting to know someone offers you insight into them that simple statistics on paper can not provide. So for example, on paper you might dismiss someone because they do not fall into the ideal age bracket for you. Instead, had you given them a chance and gotten to know them you might find that they are compatible with you and the fact that they are slightly older/younger than what you had in mind does not bother you as much as you thought it would. The same thing can be said for any number of characteristics that are used to determine who a valid match may be.

The truth is, when it comes to matters of the heart there is no way to predetermine where it will lead us. A lot of times chemistry and compatibility can be found with the most unlikely of suitors. And while, no one should ever marry someone they are not attracted to or do not feel is right for them they should likewise never turn a person down simply because they do not seem to line up with the image they have set. Instead, one should give them a chance. Get to know them. And who knows you may be surprised to find out that you have more in common than you could have imagined.

Another Successful Half Our Deen Offline Event!

The latest Half Our Deen Offline event was  held a couple weeks ago in Santa Clara, California, on September 29th.  By the grace of Allah (swt) it was a smashing success! We could not be more proud of the team who worked tirelessly to ensure that things went smoothly. But most of all we are so very excited for all those who attended and who may have found their other halves.

Alhamdulilah, we had a packed house with 74 attendees. Everyone had a great time and at the end of the afternoon 84% of those who attended expressed interest in at least 1 person and 20 matches were made! All the effort that is put into Half Our Deen is in hopes of great outcomes like these. But you don’t have to take our word for it, here are what some of the attendees had to say:

Wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the organizers for putting together such a unique and tailored event mA.” – Brother, 32

I appreciate how organized this has been- pleasantly unusual for a Muslim-run event.”- Sister, 27

First and foremost I would like to thank you for putting on an amazing HOD event. I felt as if it really worked for me. May Allah (SWT) reward the team for their hard work” -Sister, 28

Hello HOD team – hope all is well on your end =)
First I wanted to just write and commend HOD for the event held in Santa Clara on 9/29. I have never attended a “matchmaking” event and probably will not want to attend another one – unless it’s being hosted by HOD. AH you guys have set the bar so high…by being exclusive, productive, and also respecting the privacy of the people attending. Its so funny you would never think that this process of “finding someone” would be so difficult but your team made it fun, comfortable, and humorous as well – which relaxed everyone. I was very nervous going in – but AH had a very good time and enjoyed interacting with everyone =)” -Sister, 35

Jazak Allah Khair for hosting the event and working so hard to help us meet our other halves.” -Sister, 27

It was a really well-arranged event. This is the very first time I attended an event like this and was pleasantly surprised at the setup” -Brother, 30

The great news is we are working to bring our Offline events to many cities across the globe as  possible. InshaAllah our next Half Our Deen Offline event will be in Tampa Bay, Florida on November 17th. The following weekend we will be back in California with an event on the 25th in Long Beach before jetting to Toronto, Canada in December. For more information, the full schedule and to sign up visit www.hodoffline.com .

How to message someone you are interested in

One of the common concerns that we have received is “I send out a bunch of messages but no one responds. What am I doing wrong?!” One user told us that they have tried shortening the messages, or making them longer and including more details, but hasn’t been able to find a formula that yields consistent results. When it comes to initiating contact and messaging users on a Muslim matrimonial website such as Half Our Deen there are two points of view that need to be considered; the senders and the receivers.

For a sender the decision to contact another user is often a hard one to make. The nervous about being rejected or worse ignored! They aren’t sure if they are sharing enough about themselves or if they are making a fool out of themselves. Since writing the initial message is a hard task here are a few points to consider.

1) There is no right or wrong way to formulate a message. What matters most is that you stick to your tone of voice and try to express yourself as you normally would instead of making the tone more serious or quirky than you really are in hopes of it appealing to the receiver. If you aren’t sure about how your message reads ask a family member or friend to read it for you and get their feedback.

2) Less is often more in these situations. Just as you wouldn’t tell your full life story to someone the first time you meet them you shouldn’t do it in the first message. Getting to know someone is a gradual process and overloading them with information at one time can be off putting.

3) Be straight forward and make sure to include a question for them to respond to. If your message says “Salaam! My name is Fatima/Ahmed. I’m 27 and live in Toronto. Take care!” the receiver might not know what do with that message and disregard it. Whereas, if your message clearly says “I viewed your profile, responded to your questions, and I feel we could be a good match. Would you like to get to know each other better? “ the receiver has a clear question to respond to and knows what your stance is.

4) Be patient and don’t be disheartened if you don’t received a response right away. There are many reasons that someone may not respond and it more than likely has nothing to do with what you wrote in your message. It could be as simple as they haven’t logged onto Half Our Deen in a while.

That being said if you are on the receiving end of a message there are etiquette you should follow as well. The greatest of them being to respond! It took guts for the other person to initiate and now it is your turn to be respectful and answer them. If you aren’t interested simply say that. Contrary to what some might think ignoring a message is not letting the other person down easy. Infact it will probably hurt their feelings more than a kindly worded rejection. If the reason you haven’t responded is you find the person appealing but its not the right time for you to pursue them tell them that. Whatever your response is they want to hear it so don’t leave them hanging.

Regardless if you are the sender or the responder it important to remember that as Muslims we should treat others with kindness, respect, and as we would like to be treated.