M uslim dating has come of age with its own Carrie Bradshaw-style chick lit. She is one of four big-city friends seeking Mr Right but with no sex before marriage and no alcohol.
As in Britain, Esma finds herself part of a growing demographic: British Asians have long been early adopters of the technology to find marriage partners. Even the old aunty network of helpful family matriarchs has gone high tech, I'm told, with handwritten notes replaced, with Excel spreadsheets of available "boys" and "girls" aged 20 to Though originally Hindu-focused, the biggest marriage websites, such Shaadi.
Do you conduct salah the five-times-a-day prayer ritual? One thirtysomething City professional, Asma, has spent a decade looking, with mixed results.
Because there's this weird scale of 'how religious are you? There was the Muslim dating event at Excel where, seated in a circle, they went round introducing themselves: It seems there are reformations and counter-reformations under way in modern Muslim dating: Some websites encourage modern women to embrace the concept of the "submissive" first or second wife.
Other couples though are quietly using the nikah Islamic wedding contract to try out cohabitation before the finality of a civil marriage. Some forward-looking imams want doctrine updated to allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslims, just as Muslim men can. Asma is struck by "the huge numbers of confident college girls wearing wild and elaborate hijabs, loads of makeup and kissing their boyfriends in public".