Gulf News shared a story which explains how the traditional matchmaking business is still thriving in Saudi Arabia, despite the blossoming marriage services offered by online social networks.
Umm Ebrahim is usually found at the mosque during Taraweeh prayers, the post Isha prayers performed in Ramadan.
However, her presence at the mosque in Saudi Arabia was not purely spiritual.
She was also on a professional mission to find a prospective bride for the man who had contacted her seeking her assistance for a marriage. The potential bride could be among the young women at the mosque.
"I have realized that mosques were the best place in Ramadan to meet potential brides who are religiously committed," she said.
"Many of the men who seek my services to help them find the right bride insist on the religious character and see it as much more significant than the beauty factor. The best place for such requirements is of course the mosque where young women look natural without make up and show their commitment to their religion," she said, quoted by Saudi daily Al Sharq.
Limited sociability among local women has limited their circles of friends and, facing difficulties in searching for a good bride for their son or a commendable husband for their daughter, they resort to matchmakers who use the details and pictures provided by the families to match candidates.
"Last Ramadan, I succeeded in getting 6 Saudi couples married. They are happily married and their lives are really stable," she said.
"I took up the match-making profession around eight years ago when my husband died and I was left with my son Ebrahim and a daughter to look after and without real financial support," she said.
"At the time, I had helped several young women in my family to get married. Once I was at a social gathering and I struck a conversation with a 19-year-old woman who told me that she had recently divorced. She was beautiful and simple and I sensed that she wanted to get married again. I asked for her mobile number. One day I was informed about a young man who wanted to get married and when his requirements for a bride nearly matched the character of the young woman, I called her and she welcomed the idea. They eventually got married and they are now happy together,"she said.
"I once received a call from a man who blamed me for selecting the wrong woman and for cheating him. He explained that his wife was totally different and definitely less attractive without her make-up, contact lenses and false eyelashes. Unfortunately, I had no control over such matters," she said.
"In the past, most men insisted on tall and white or light-skinned women who would get along well with their families. Now, they go more for natural beauty and are worried about being cheated by cosmetic surgeries or artificial extensions. They also require higher spiritual commitment," she said.