The Muslim virtual marketplace in 2014: an interview with

There is a new site out there that calls itself “the Craigslist for the Muslim community.” As a host site for different services, also provides matchmaking services for the ever-growing Muslim community of North America- a resource that, if depleted, would leave us in an epic dilemma! AltMuslimah’s Shazia K. Farook sat with the founders of to find out more.
  Can you tell us about your company’s founder and mission? Who are your intended consumers?:

Muslim District: Muslim District was founded by Asad Ansari. Moving around the country as a management consultant, he often relied on the local mosque bulletin board to find a compatible roommate or a honest mechanic to repair his car. This is when he saw the need for establishing an online platform where Muslims can easily find safe and reliable service providers and, along the way, support the Muslim community.

He envisioned Muslim District as a vehicle through which Muslims could exchange goods and services in a virtual environment that encourages economic collaboration with shared values. For example, people can buy and sell merchandise, find a plumber, nanny, or lawyer, rent a room, identify work opportunities and even find a potential match for marriage.

We launched it in the Washington D.C. region, but our company is expanding into other parts of the country now. Just as people visit Craigslist or Amazon, we want our site to be at the forefront of the minds of Muslim consumers and vendors! In the future we plan to include Muslims in all Western countries.

 Is your website open to non-Muslim service providers?:

Muslim District: Absolutely. This service is open to all Muslims and Muslim-friendly businesses and individuals. Any seller who feels he or she can fill a need within the Muslim community is welcome to register.

 What is the “Muslimness” that drives this website?:

Muslim District: We place a strong emphasis on ethical and honest transactions because at the end of the day Muslim District is about helping one another, an idea central to Islam.

We try to keep in mind the following narration of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as a touchstone for our company: “the example of the unity of the Muslims is like the example of a single structure, its parts strengthening and supporting one another.” (Bukhaari & Muslim)

 Aside from serving as a host to various services catered towards Muslim Americans, your website has an emerging matrimonial section. Tell us about that.:

Muslim District: Those who are interested can submit their profile on our website free of cost. If you’d like to have one of our matchmakers find a compatible potential partner for you, we do charge a nominal fee for their one-on-one guidance. We have a host of requirements. This matchmaking service is not directly reflected on our site at this point but those that are interested and serious in their intention to marry can contact us at

  Why did you decide to include this service on

Muslim District: Of the eight to ten million Muslims living in North America, between, 30 to 35 percent of the population is within the ages of 20 to 35. These statistics indicate a need for matrimonial services. There isn’t one correct formula for meeting your partner, so while some people might have success through family and friends introducing them to their mates, others will have better luck through an online matchmaking service.

We also felt inspired to build a matrimonial service into our website because of the Qur’anic verse that says, “And among His signs is this, that He created for you wives {spouses} from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy…” (30:21)

  You also offer a pre-marital counseling service. What prompted you to offer this?:

Muslim District: Well, we are aware that the divorce rate among American Muslims continues to climb. The last study on divorce was done in the 1990’s by the late New York sociologist Ilya Ba-Yunus, who found that roughly 31 percent of Muslim marriages in America ended in divorce. This is significantly higher than the two Muslim countries who had the two highest divorce rates–Turkey and Egypt with 10 percent each. To address this problem, we offer pre-marital counseling through trained marriage and family therapists, as well as Imams.

 What challenges have you encountered with the marriage portion of

Muslim District: One of the primary challenges is building trust and credibility. We are trying to earn consumers’ trust by being honest and forthright, and of course by facilitating successful introductions that lead to marriages! Of course, people who register to use this service must also keep in mind that our efforts at matchmaking are tremendously improved if people are honest with us about their needs and expectations.

For more information contact Rumana Rashid or Asad Ansari of by emailing


Photo Credit: Ding Zhou

Shazia Kamal Farook is a writer and Web Editor at


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