SingleMuslim.com was founded to provide a simple solution to a complex problem. I needed to get married.
As I approached my 20s and my first company began to take off I started to face pressure at home to get married, the only problem was I didn’t quite fancy the candidates that were lined up for me! I quickly came to realise it wasn’t just me. The traditional routes of getting married no longer made sense to the millions of Muslims who call Britain home and who were seeking a life partner who shared their religious worldview. In other words, I didn’t want to marry a woman I didn’t know, from a country I barely knew. I wasn’t alone and thus SingleMuslim.com was born.
Fast forward almost 20 years and our website, which began in a small room on top of the pizza shop I worked in, is now responsible for over 100,000 people finding their life partners, including me!
Earlier this year we passed the momentous 1 million-mark in UK registrations (not forgetting a million more across the world,) a little maths from our tech gurus, and we’ve worked out that that equates to over half of all Muslims in Britain aged between 16 and 60! The market penetration has been beyond my wildest imaginations, with SingleMuslim being the largest Muslim-run website in the country. It’s been this success that was able to drive the phenomenal growth and impact of our global award-winning humanitarian work.
It’ll probably surprise you to know, however, that to date, perhaps one of my greatest achievements so far was standing at the back of a small meeting room in central London at the tail end of last year, listening to a presentation at the annual iDate conference. The speaker was presenting the latest statistics and trends in the dating/matrimonial industry as leaders from across the sector nibbled on biscuits and networked with one another. My interest was suddenly piqued when I saw our SingleMuslim logo on the screen.
At no point were we contacted or informed about the presentation, the speaker had done his research and was simply presenting his findings. Under the heading, ‘Top 10 UK Websites with greatest online traffic,’ there listed as number 8 was SingleMuslim.com! It was a remarkable moment of affirmation. None of the other companies listed on those slides were ‘niche’ services, rather they catered for wide segments of the entire ‘single’ market. Two decades of hard work and our company was making ripples at the highest level of the industry.
Our name came up a few more times and was competing alongside industry-giants such as Tinder, eHarmony and Match.com, despite their millions of funding and hundreds of staff, our small ‘SingleMuslim family’ has been able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best in our technical know-how, user-experience and marketing power.
What stood out to many at that conference was our independence from external agencies. Taking inspiration from Steve Jobs, we ensure that all of our work, design, application development, security etc. is fully managed in-house. It made me very proud to know that our staff were competing and excelling at the highest of levels and knowing how much more we have in the pipes fills me with excitement about the future. It was deeply flattering to later see the big dating-giants praise our successes and talk about their failed attempts to try and penetrate the British Muslim market.
A couple months later with we were further honoured to take home the Global iDate ‘Best Niche Site’ Award 2018 in Miami. On reflection, I’m reminded that ultimately, it is our authenticity, dedication to excellence and perhaps our nimbleness too that has afforded us our industry-leading status.
The success of SingleMuslim.com is rooted in our providing an effective digital solution to a social crisis that still plagues Muslim communities to this day. Through embracing cultural innovation and technology we’ve provided a home for British Muslims who are comfortable with their hybrid identities and furthermore, we’ve proved that anyone can be the change they want to see, even if all you have is a store room above a tiny pizza shop in a tiny Yorkshire town.