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"The only evidence that they had that the other person existed before their marriage night was simply a small black-and-white picture and the good wishes of a couple of relatives," he says."That's all they knew." Shaikh's parents are Muslim and they lived in India at the time of their wedding back in the 1970s.He was born there too, but when he was 3, they all moved to the US.

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At home, "there was no such thing as the words dating or relationships.

It was just something that was non-existent," he recalls. "You see your friends, they go out on movie dates and they go to the mall and they hold hands," he says. And this creates a dilemma for young Muslims in search of love.

In a nutshell, Shaikh says, he felt like they were having fun and he wasn't. Ghazala Irshad, who also grew up in a Muslim family in Illinois, says she knows young Muslims who growing up, were told to "lower [their] gaze" when they came across the opposite sex. We don’t know how to talk to the opposite sex, how do we go about this?

"[But] by the time it comes to the age of trying to get married, then our parents are like, well, why aren’t you getting married, we want grandchildren ... We’re not allowed to date, we’ve been separated, we haven’t developed friendships," she says.

Although Irshad's family isn't aganist her dating, they have taken things into their own hands.

"My parents and my grandparents are constantly asking other people, anyone they meet 'do you know anyone good for my daughter? Irshad says her parents aren’t pushing her into a marriage, rather "helping" in the process.

“Lots of grandmothers and aunties, they have these folders full of bio-data and they’re passing them around and saying, look at this girl, look at this guy, it’s like trading cards,” she says.

Bio-data are what Irshad calls "dating resumes." Many young Muslims feel like they're in limbo: An arranged marriage is out of the question, but they don't want to disrespect their family and religion. " — was the topic of conversation at a recent gathering of Muslim college students in Boston.

There were about 30 students and a couple of women wore colorful headscarves.

Muslim chaplain Celene Ibrahim Lizzio spoke about the "spiritual aspects of finding a spouse" — of asking God for guidance in finding love.

"The best advice I can give them is to think first about their relationship with God, with Allah, and then if they develop that relationship strongly, I tell them, make prayer, make supplication, that God put something in their path to make it easy to understand what type of spouse would be right for them," she told me. Tuba Muhlise Okyay, who is from Turkey, said in her conservative family, marriages are arranged.

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