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Young American Muslim Matchmakers Replacing “Rishta Aunties” To Help Single Millennial Muslims Find Their Spouse

Millennial Matchmakers trying to help American Muslim singles navigate the tricky and rocky terrain of trying to finding the "one"

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*Mahnoor, 26 a successful mechanical engineer from Seattle cringes when she thinks of her upcoming birthday. "Every year since I have graduated, after the ceremonial cake cutting and chai rounds my family brings up the dreaded marriage talk." Mahnoor added "It's so awkward when my parents or other family members ask me about when I'm getting married."Mahnoor wants to get married but she said that there are no prospects in her community and isn't really sure how to find her future husband. This is a common problem facing the single Muslim population. It can become tricky because of the geographic dispersement and the extremely diverse backgrounds of Muslims in America.In Muslim cultures, basically there are three avenues of getting married, the first is that your family enlists the help of matchmaking aunties - (think loud, jolly, and animated aunties with stacks of biodatas), second is that you meet your spouse in college (think Muslim Student Association, family weddings, the campus Chipotle) and third is you marry your cousin, who is of course a doctor.In recent years a fourth option has also been emerged - let me introduce the (drumroll) Muslim Matrimonial site - These magical sites claim to have your soul mate. For a small fee you can unlock your soul mate via a fancy algorithm that will connect you instantly to your perfect match.Simple? Not really. While these profile matchmaking sites have certainly worked for people, people like Mahnoor think that the results were less than impressive. "I have posted on several of the new Muslim matrimonial sites and the results are almost as awkward as my post birthday conversations with the family. Mostly the matches have been anything but compatible. The generated matches were of men who had moved to the U.S. and were often not sure what to make of my career choice and for the most part were confused by my enthusiasm of continuing to work after marriage" said Mahnoor.*Khalid, 29 an attorney in New York said that like Mahnoor he has no time to search for his future wife and has very little success with the matrimonial profile sites. He said that he wants to share his passion for scuba diving, traveling and attending Islamic lectures with his future wife but is not sure how he will ever be able to find the right person."I don't think anyone gets it, it's not just about settling down, instead I want to find my life partner and with my busy work schedule I don't see how that will ever happen" said Khalid.Rumana Rashid, matchmaker extraordinaire and one of the founders of the Muslim personal concierge matchmaking site, Beyond Chai gets what Mahnoor and Khalid are saying and said that is exactly the reason Beyond Chai has come into existence. "There are so many professional single Muslims in America who are looking for their spouse, Marriage is not one size fits all, so why should the process be any different," pointed out Rashid. "Beyond Chai is a specialized concierge service for busy Muslim professionals who want to find their perfect life partner. There are no public profiles - instead our matchmakers will get in touch with you."So how exactly does Beyond Chai help people like Mahnoor and Khalid? Rashid said that it's all about the matchmakers, The Beyond Chai Matchmakers are young professionals who are active in their Muslim Community and understand the unique challenges of trying to find a spouse in this day and age."Our matchmakers are in constant communication with their clients, not only are they trying to find the most relevant matches but the matchmakers go the extra step to talk with potential matches and make sure that they are interested in their client before further coordinating the introductions," said Rashid. Asad Ansari, a technology strategist and the co-founder of Beyond Chai (he is also founder of the Muslim Craigslist (Muslim District) said that Beyond Chai distinguishes itself by not only the matchmakers but also with its Islamic community based approach. "To both of us it was incredibly important to have the input of our community leaders - so that we can understand and address the needs of single Muslims. Imam Mohamed Hag Majid, former ISNA President and the executive director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) gave us valuable advice by asking Beyond Chai to consider having professionals who can offer premarital counseling, his and other community leaders advice has helped to develop the different parts of our services," said Ansari.Beyond Chai certainly has an impressive team of Muslim counselors in an effort to ensure the long term compatibility of the couple. One of the counselors Salma Albudegeri, a licensed therapist, a founding member of the Peaceful Families Project and author of the book "Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples" said that it was a great idea and a huge need in the Muslim community. To date Rashid and her team of matchmakers have successfully matched a number of couples. One of the couples the team recently hooked up, Sabrina and Asad from Chicago said that the matchmakers were professional, genuine and caring. "The matchmaker's intuition was right on target. It's safe to say, we found our spouse. They nailed it. What more can be said?" Sabrina and Asad went on to say "We never felt like 'Beyond Chai' was a business arrangement. Instead it consistently felt like concerned-Muslims across the country helping out the Muslim community."* Names and locations changed for privacy

*Mahnoor, 26 a successful mechanical engineer from Seattle cringes when she thinks of her upcoming birthday.

"Every year since I have graduated, after the ceremonial cake cutting and chai rounds my family brings up the dreaded marriage talk." Mahnoor added "It's so awkward when my parents or other family members ask me about when I'm getting married."

Mahnoor wants to get married but she said that there are no prospects in her community and isn't really sure how to find her future husband. This is a common problem facing the single Muslim population. It can become tricky because of the geographic dispersement and the extremely diverse backgrounds of Muslims in America.

In Muslim cultures, basically there are three avenues of getting married, the first is that your family enlists the help of matchmaking aunties - (think loud, jolly, and animated aunties with stacks of biodatas), second is that you meet your spouse in college (think Muslim Student Association, family weddings, the campus Chipotle) and third is you marry your cousin, who is of course a doctor.

In recent years a fourth option has also been emerged - let me introduce the (drumroll) Muslim Matrimonial site - These magical sites claim to have your soul mate. For a small fee you can unlock your soul mate via a fancy algorithm that will connect you instantly to your perfect match.

Simple? Not really.

While these profile matchmaking sites have certainly worked for people, people like Mahnoor think that the results were less than impressive.

"I have posted on several of the new Muslim matrimonial sites and the results are almost as awkward as my post birthday conversations with the family. Mostly the matches have been anything but compatible. The generated matches were of men who had moved to the U.S. and were often not sure what to make of my career choice and for the most part were confused by my enthusiasm of continuing to work after marriage" said Mahnoor.

*Khalid, 29 an attorney in New York said that like Mahnoor he has no time to search for his future wife and has very little success with the matrimonial profile sites. He said that he wants to share his passion for scuba diving, traveling and attending Islamic lectures with his future wife but is not sure how he will ever be able to find the right person.

"I don't think anyone gets it, it's not just about settling down, instead I want to find my life partner and with my busy work schedule I don't see how that will ever happen" said Khalid.

Rumana Rashid, matchmaker extraordinaire and one of the founders of the Muslim personal concierge matchmaking site, Beyond Chai gets what Mahnoor and Khalid are saying and said that is exactly the reason Beyond Chai has come into existence.

"There are so many professional single Muslims in America who are looking for their spouse, Marriage is not one size fits all, so why should the process be any different," pointed out Rashid. "Beyond Chai is a specialized concierge service for busy Muslim professionals who want to find their perfect life partner. There are no public profiles - instead our matchmakers will get in touch with you."

So how exactly does Beyond Chai help people like Mahnoor and Khalid? Rashid said that it's all about the matchmakers, The Beyond Chai Matchmakers are young professionals who are active in their Muslim Community and understand the unique challenges of trying to find a spouse in this day and age.

"Our matchmakers are in constant communication with their clients, not only are they trying to find the most relevant matches but the matchmakers go the extra step to talk with potential matches and make sure that they are interested in their client before further coordinating the introductions," said Rashid.

Asad Ansari, a technology strategist and the co-founder of Beyond Chai (he is also founder of the Muslim Craigslist (Muslim District) said that Beyond Chai distinguishes itself by not only the matchmakers but also with its Islamic community based approach.

"To both of us it was incredibly important to have the input of our community leaders - so that we can understand and address the needs of single Muslims. Imam Mohamed Hag Majid, former ISNA President and the executive director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) gave us valuable advice by asking Beyond Chai to consider having professionals who can offer premarital counseling, his and other community leaders advice has helped to develop the different parts of our services," said Ansari.

Beyond Chai certainly has an impressive team of Muslim counselors in an effort to ensure the long term compatibility of the couple. One of the counselors Salma Albudegeri, a licensed therapist, a founding member of the Peaceful Families Project and author of the book "Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples" said that it was a great idea and a huge need in the Muslim community.

To date Rashid and her team of matchmakers have successfully matched a number of couples. One of the couples the team recently hooked up, Sabrina and Asad from Chicago said that the matchmakers were professional, genuine and caring.

"The matchmaker's intuition was right on target. It's safe to say, we found our spouse. They nailed it. What more can be said?" Sabrina and Asad went on to say "We never felt like 'Beyond Chai' was a business arrangement. Instead it consistently felt like concerned-Muslims across the country helping out the Muslim community."

* Names and locations changed for privacy

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