IntroductionHussein Ebied, one of the creators of Yelli, wrote me last month asking me to write about their app. I rarely write about products, but I decided to make an exception in the case of Yelli, since it provides an important and necessary service to the Muslim community -that of facilitating marriage- in a way that hasn't been done before (as far as I know).
The topic of online marriage remains sensitive and controversial, since the assumption in traditional Muslim society is that people will grow up in families with many familial and social ties, making marriage a matter that is enabled mostly by families, not individuals. This system has many virtues, enabling marriages that have the support of both the man and the woman's families, making married life more peaceful and increasing its chance of survival. However, not everyone enjoys the privilege of having extensive social networks.
For the above reasons, it makes sense to think of marriage services and apps in the context in which they are used. It may not make sense to use such services in Saudi Arabia, since there are already various established channels for enabling marriage. But in the West, especially in areas scarcely populated by Muslims, such services may be the only option available for people seeking to lead a righteous married life.
Therefore such services may not be for everyone, but when used correctly by the right people, they can offer an essential service that's not provided anywhere else.
YelliYelli is a free Tinder-like app for Android and iOS smartphones, created by three New York-based Muslim developers who are funding the app's development themselves. Yelli will allow users to swipe through several potential matches in their area while preserving their dignity by only matching people when two users express mutual interest in each other. The app uses a person's Facebook details for log in, meaning that their name will appear to other users the way it appears on their Facebook profile.
Yelli will support messaging and text chat between users (after they have expressed mutual interest). At the moment the app is only available in English-speaking countries (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, and Australia).
Technical DetailsYelli's back end will be built on a LAMP stack and hosted on Amazon Web Services. The developers at the moment do not have a monetization plan.
[Disclaimer: I do not receive any compensation for writing this, doing so only because I believe this app is a great service to the Muslim community.]