The Malaysian concept, staged in a Kuala Lumpur restaurant, is a new twist on Islam's practice of heavily-chaperoned match-making, but aimed at modern singles for whom time is of the essence.
Siti, a 29-year-old graphic designer, has not been in a relationship since her university days.
For Assafiri, owner of Moroccan Deli-Cacy, it is important to set the agenda for the rest of the country on how to create a cohesive community and have respectful conversations.
The weekend round followed an initial installment in May that Zuhri said resulted in 14 matches that he hopes will soon end in martrimony.
Though 2,000 people applied for the latest session, capacity constraints meant only around 50 could take part, but Zuhri hopes to stage a bigger event soon, with up to 500 couples.
We’re creative and we’re brave and we’re trying,” she said.
“And people can always learn more, can always be more sincere and more authentic.” Many took to Twitter, optimistic about the new speed-dating technique.
But he wanted to create something more in line with Islamic principles.
Promising an Islamic courtship in a "dignified manner," Halal Speed Dating requires that women be chaperoned and that all participants ultimately plan to wed.As an added incentive, Malaysian Muslims face possible fines and jail terms for committing "khalwat", the Islamic crime of being alone with a member of the opposite sex other than a spouse or close relative."A true gentleman would seek permission from the woman's father first," said Zuhri Yuhyi, co-founder of Halal Speed Dating.Finding a 'true gentleman' Muslim-majority Malaysia has long practiced a moderate form of Islam.But conservative attitudes are rising, and the speed dating sessions have been embraced as an alternative to online match-making sites or apps that many Malaysian Muslims view as geared more for Western-style casual flings."I'm here to find someone for marriage because I'm too busy to meet anyone and I spend all my free time with my family," she said during a break, as her parents eagerly compared notes on the male prospects.