Last week we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. Ours was an arranged marriage, and I had not even seen his picture before saying yes to him. Sounds so backwards, eh?!
I didn’t see his picture because I didn’t care to see, as I was already besotted by him when I began to talk to him on the phone and chatting with him over email.
It was the beginning of 2009. I was on holiday with my friend in Manipur without informing my parents.
I called my sister at the hour of departure and told her I was leaving for a four-day holiday in Manipur with my friend.
Before she could say anything, I switched off my phone and sat on the ATR that took off from Kolkata.
Within this short trip, I intended to leave behind the emotional bruises of a failed relationship and also to get some relief from the mounting pressure of arranged marriage that had been dangling over my head.
For the past five years, my papa brought proposals to me for marriage, and I somehow couldn’t seem to settle down with any of them.
I would talk to them, once or multiple times, depending on my interest, but none of them fit well in my vision of a “life partner.”
It was difficult to explain this concept of “my kind of life partner” to my increasingly restless parents, but I was determined to not give in to their irrational demands.
I knew I would rather stay single and stay abroad than marry someone against my wishes. Coming to Manipur was an impulsive decision to gain some sanity.
I didn’t know the devil of arranged marriage would follow me up there, where the phone caught signal once every 10 minutes. But you see, parents find a way to get to you.
I was trying to call my bestie from Manipur, and was haggling with the intermittent network, when I saw my phone beeping: “Papa calling.”
It sent chills down my spine, but as a matter of family rules, I answered the call. What I heard from the other end was more than enough to spoil my vacation.
Papa had given my number to a prospective match who might call me anytime. I was now on an alert, and since I couldn’t hate Papa, I hated this prospect who could call me. Couldn’t he give a set date and time?
Thankfully the phone call never came, but a month later an email arrived on Valentine’s Day.
The sender had politely asked me to be his friend, and while he told me about himself in a flat 10 sentences, he asked me if I wanted to change him.
As a thoughtful reply, I wrote to him in detail that I was a spontaneous and happy-go-lucky girl who was seeking love, chemistry, mutual understanding and a spark. This probably didn’t answer his questions, so he called me the next day.
“I sent you an email but you didn’t reply,” he questioned.
“I did. I sent a long reply,” I retorted.
“You sent an email but it was not the reply to my questions. They remained unanswered,” he argued.
I didn’t know what to say, except that I thought he was an extremely arrogant man full of attitude with a superiority complex of his job.
I didn’t want to carry on with the conversation, but I did because I knew I would have to answer Papa after the call.
We talked, and he spoke about his life, his personality and he confessed this was the first call he ever made to a girl. At the end of that hour-long conversation, he admitted that he had never spoken to any woman for that long.
“What? Not even to your mum?” I asked.
“Sadly, no. I lost her when I was 14, which was five years after my father’s death.”
I was quiet, speechless and spellbound. This explains his maturity. He didn’t carry a phone, which is why he couldn’t give a set date and time to call.
This explained why he asked me if I wanted to bring about any change in him. He wanted to be accepted the way he is, and he brutally presents himself in his purest form to people.
“I do not have any bank balance or property but I have immense love to give.
I have always held onto this love and I now want to love someone to the best of my capacity,” he said in one of the following conversations.
Is he a part of me? How else could he know that I was seeking somebody who could love me to the best of his abilities? How could he learn that I didn’t need money or wealth or property, but a sound character and true, pure love?
One phone call led to another and one email gave way to a chain of emails. We shared views, opinions and feelings.
He talked about his struggling childhood, while I talked about my insecurities and inferiorities.
We discussed the hypocrisies of society and we planned for a happier future.
But I had not seen his picture while he had seen plenty of mine. My social networks were rife with images of my vacations, friends and family, and he was completely absent from Google.
One day Papa asked me, “How is it going with him? Did he say he is ready to marry you?”
“No. He hinted at it but he hasn’t said it explicitly,” I replied.
That night he specifically mentioned marrying me, and I asked him to talk to Papa. He called Papa and only said, “Thank you, uncle.”
Papa was a little confused and asked, “Thank you for what?”
“Thank you for sending Surabhi in my life. I want to marry her.”
Next day we were off to his training center in Mussoorie to carry out a small, formal family tradition of “roka.”
My heart thumped heavily on those curvy, snaky uphill roads. What if I don’t like him physically? What if he had chubby cheeks?
What if he was too fair? My mind was bombarding my heart with questions, and my heart replied to each question with a quick heartbeat.
I knew he had worked in Indian Air Force for 10 years, so I was assured he possessed a well rugged body, but body wasn’t enough.
I had to like his face. I wanted to see kindness in his eyes and an innocent, compassionate face.
Finally the moment arrived. He was waiting outside his training center to receive us. From the rear window of the car, I glanced at him. Standing around 5’8” tall, he looked decent and handsome.
A sharp nose, petite eyes and a broad jaw primarily defined his facial features. Behind those glasses, I could see purity in his eyes.
His well combed, oily hair was a bit of a turn off, and so was his old patterned shirt, but I chose to dive deeper into his disposition that was charming on the phone and now charismatic in person.
We met, shook hands and he gifted me a rose bud. “My eternal love is yours now,” he said.
Now that we are happily and crazily married (we fight 10 times in a week), I can see how an arranged marriage system came to my rescue when I was failing at taking charge of my life.
After brief stints of attempting to find love, I gave up. I realized that maybe I was not destined to get married and that my kind of love does not exist in the world.
My kind of love is slightly possessive, but overtly giving. It comprises more of shared laughs and dreams and less of gifts and services.
My love is about me and my happiness, and my lover should be okay with it. But this is where I faltered. How can a person love you without demanding a bit of happiness for himself?
In my kind of love, I don’t give happiness to him. He must derive it from mine, and how and where would I find such a person?
Who would love me the way I want to be loved? Who would take the risk and eventually have a core belief that once he loves me, I will ultimately give all of myself to him?
Had I met him on any random occasion, I am sure I wouldn’t have continued talking to him after five minutes.
It was the pressure (and the liberty) of an arranged marriage system to talk to him that helped me in knowing him further beyond those superficial, materialistic aspects.
I am thankful for the fact that Papa insisted I talk to him. It is an added advantage that Papa had done all the background checks by himself, and that there were no chances of being cheated.
The best part is that Papa admired him instantly when he met him for the first time. Papa was so sure of his choice that he knew this guy would sweep me off my feet; he was so right.
He courted me for three months before we got married, in a dowry-free marriage.
I did not think twice about not utilizing my Bradford MBA, and I quit my business analyst job with a MNC to settle down with him in the pristine and remote islands of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
My name is Halima and I'm from Gauteng, South Africa and my husband (Arshad) is from Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa; we are both South African Indians.
He liked my profile on muzmatch on the 8th of April 2018 and on the 9th we started chatting and Alhamdulillah, today we are husband and wife.
About a month before I joined muzmatch I remember speaking to my mother in the kitchen as we cooked supper and she had full confidence that I'd be getting married soon.
I told her that I felt that maybe I'm just not meant to get married and be happy, taking into consideration that I personally felt like one could never find a decent man whose intention is to make Nikah in this day and age.
My Moulana had recommended that I join Nikah/Muslim match-making groups and muzmatch populated amongst my searches, so I downloaded the app and registered. After a while I had lost hope so I deleted the app from my phone but did not deactivate my profile.
It was a Monday morning, I had woken up to get ready for work,
I checked my phone and I had an email notification from muzmatch which read "Arshad likes you".
I was quite surprised; I looked at his profile and his biography was quite captivating but it seemed so surreal - this was too good to be true.
I used the link in his bio to view his Facebook profile, we had a mutual friend which was my cousin that also resides in Kwa-Zulu Natal, so I felt a bit more assured that this is definitely real considering that I had started to think that this could potentially be a catfish.
We started chatting that very morning and there was an instant click. It felt like we were long lost friends because of how well we understood each other and could complete each others sentences. We had the same interests and the same intention; we could speak for hours on end without running out of things to say.
We had realized that we are most definitely soulmates.
Within 2 weeks he called my parents to ask for my hand in marriage. In July 2018 (21st), I booked a flight to visit him and his mum for the day and after spending time together we knew that this was the right decision and that Allah SWT had created us for each other.
We then saw each other once again in August 2018 (25th - A surprise for my 21st birthday planned by him and my mum); and again in November 2018 when he flew up to attend my younger sister's wedding with his mum, younger sister and brother-in-law.
Slowly the long distance had become difficult, our younger sisters were both already married and settled and we started wondering when would we actually get married. In February this year he decided to relocate to Gauteng and found a temporary job.
His dad visited my parents and they decided to set a Nikah date, Alhamdulillah once the date was set everything fell into place by the will of Allah. He found a job as a PC Engineering lecturer and we were able to find our own place with our parents help and support.
Today I am happily married, living my dream with my husband and I have wonderful in-laws that love me as much as they love Arshad.
The most important quality I wanted in a husband was someone that could take my family as his own and Alhamdulillah I found that in Arshad.
We are now a huge happy family Alhamdulillah.
Jazak'Allah muzmatch! Arshad has found me due to the creation of this wonderful app (He always says that he found me, not the other way around).
I would advise everyone to put their trust and faith in Allah SWT, never give up hope that Allah SWT will send the one who is meant for you when the time is right - for Allah is the greatest of planners. May all the other individuals find their spouses through this app as well Insha'Allah.
Halima & Arshad
My name is Yasmeen and I found my husband, Taymoor, on muzmatch on the last day of last ramadan. We were both divorced.
The first time we talked on muzmatch was in June and we got married one month later in August 2018. I always wanted to send our story to inspire others who are searching for a good husband and wife.
We are both Egyptians, from Cairo, we even work & live very near to each others in New Cairo city. I am a digital marketing manager and Taymoor is an IT manager. I am 37 years old and he is 40.
I have a daughter who is 12 years old, and I was searching for a real Muslim man who would be a good husband and father. Finally I found Taymoor, who is a good man and a good Muslim, he is very kind.
I am telling my friends that I found someone who really looks like me from the inside. He was divorced and also has a kid, who is 5 years old. When we first chatted on muzmatch we spoke for over 6 hours, he was surprised much we got on, he even thought that this was a prank!
I couldn't believe that I finally found the man I was looking for. The first time we met, was after Eid al futr, in the House of Cocoa, as Taymoor knew that I loved chocolate. We talked about ourselves for over six hours, I did not want to leave and neither did he.
After we met I told my family and friends, and he did too. He and his family visited us and we got married in only two months, I never imagined that I would find my soulmate and marry him that fast.
I always wanted to find a man to trust and love, after being a single mom for years, I found out that my dream man was hard to find, but alhamdullah I found him on your app.
Alhamdullah, we are very happy together, my daughter lives with us and his son visits us on the weekends. You cannot imagine how much I am now recommending muzmatch to all my friends.
It didn't even take me long to find my husband. I used the app for almost one month or less.
I am so happy alhamdullah now that I married a real muslim I always wanted.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
My name is Sara and I just wanted to thank muzmatch and let you know that I finally got engaged on 24th December 2018 and found my Fiance - Ghazunfar on the App.
We are really happy Alhamdulilah and just wanted to thank you for creating a platform for Muslims to find a suitable match for marriage!
I believe it's a real blessing because initially we matched but we didn't talk as he hadn't read my messages and was not appearing online. After around 4 weeks, I unmatched however after some weeks I logged in and I came across his profile again. After some giving it some thought I decided to rematch and give it a try again.
The next day he replied to me and the is history. Its been a almost a year since we matched on Muzmatch and we have set the Nikkah date which will be 1st March 2019 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Our families are very happy and we are looking forward to entering into the blessed union of marriage Insha'Allah. We just wanted to say keep up the good work, may Allah bless you and request that you keep us in prayers.
One last thing to everyone using the muzmatch App - please do not give up, there is someone out there for us all!
Get married, free, on muzmatch.