Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – Anyone would be dazzled by the large number of marriage websites that are available online and that are causing some concern amongst families.
The world of online marriage websites raises many questions and these can only be answered if one personally enters that world in order to understand it.
In the past, matchmakers in Arab countries would take on the role of these websites and provide a would-be bride with information on a suitor and would explain the desired qualities of a future wife. However marriage websites have taken over the traditional role of matchmakers in one way or another in recent years and they have been forced to keep pace with the internet.
Today, the task of finding a spouse via the net is very easy especially that some matchmakers have created their own websites in pursuit of developing their work and replacing the traditional method of matchmaking.
Asharq Al-Awsat visited some of these websites and spoke to Umm Faisal, one of the many Saudi matchmakers who have ventured into the world of internet matchmaking and believe that it is a better way to earn a living.
Umm Faisal set a number of conditions in place due to various problems with men who pretended that they wanted to find suitable women for marriage but would walk away from the entire process after Umm Faisal’s painstaking search for a suitable wife on their behalves.
The Saudi matchmaker created a website where one can find personal ads of men looking for suitable partners to marry or in search of a Misyar marriage, which has gained considerable popularity in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States over recent years following the issuance of numerous religious rulings that permitted this kind of marriage especially amongst elders.
Umm Faisal has resorted to demanding payments as “insurance” so that she does not fall into the trap of those whom she describes as “runaways”. She asks for 2500 Saudi Riyals (SR) and keeps 1500 SR (approximately US $666) for herself if she is successful at finding a suitable spouse for her clients. This, she believes, is what she deserves. The rest of the amount goes back to the “groom”. Umm Faisal has opened a bank account for the money that she receives through the matchmaking service.
Marriage websites in general have become popular amongst those seeking marriage in Saudi Arabia, especially amongst aging members of society. It is a phenomenon that is becoming widespread with more and more marriage websites available online and an increasing number of those who use them.