Samir & Sidra - Married October 2009
Few couples can honestly say that their wedding day plans went without a hitch, but for newlyweds Samir Ahmed (28) and Sidra Quereshi (23) the path to marriage was smooth and simple. SingleMuslim.com met the happy couple at the famous Kebab Land restaurant in Harrow, North London on Sunday 11th November 2009, only three weeks after their wedding.
Samir and Sidra, please could you tell us about your backgrounds?
Samir: I was born in London. My parents are from Kenya but moved to London for work. I have two brothers – one older, one younger. My older brother is married. I work as a marketing controller.
Sidra: I was born in Bradford and had lived there all my life. My parents are both from Pakistan. I have a brother, who is married. I studied Health and Social Care at college for two years but I’m not working at the moment.
How did you hear about SingleMuslim.com?
Sidra: It was recommended by a friend. I wasn’t sure about it but when I looked, it seemed really good.
Samir: I’d been looking to get married for a while but didn’t find any success. Then I came across SingleMuslim.com when I was browsing the internet and I thought I’d give it a try. Eventually, I found Sidra.
Did anybody know that you were on the website?
Samir: My mum knew. She didn’t approve at first because she wanted me to marry within the family. But, as I was looking, we gave SingleMuslim.com a try first to see what happened. Nobody else knew.
Sidra: I’m really close to my mum, so I told her.
Did you try or register with any other matrimonial websites?
Sidra: I did look at others but didn’t register as I wasn’t sure about them.
So why choose SingleMuslim.com?
Sidra: I read some of the success stories and it looked really safe – more Islamic than the others.
Samir: It looked appealing and was well laid out. And it was easy to sign on to and browse through.
Before joining SingleMuslim.com, had you tried any other avenues to find a marriage partner?
Samir: Mum tried a few other avenues. I was introduced to someone through family, but it’s hard to get to know a person and communicate with them just by being introduced to them. Life’s always busy and you don’t get a chance to look. I’m always on the computer at work and at home, so this website is the convenient way. With SingleMuslim.com, you can speak to each other on the internet and find out about each other over a period time rather than at one meeting.
Sidra: It is easier at home. I wasn’t working, so I thought the computer would make it easier for me to get to know someone.
What did you think of SingleMuslim.com and which of its features did you find useful?
Samir: The site is really easy to use and the search facility is good. It’s good that you can send a free email at the beginning. That way, you can see if the person is interested in you before you sign up. Some of the photos were restricted but I’d prefer to see who I was talking to.
Sidra: I think it’s good. It’s secure as well and you don’t have to show your picture if you don’t want to. I used the Private Gallery and Photo Gallery – it’s better to see who you’re talking to. We didn’t use the Live Chat – we just messaged via our profile.
So, tell us about your journey, how you came to be together.
Samir: After a few tries, I came across Sidra’s profile picture. Her profile sounded really interesting. It was just what I was looking for: someone who is into deen and wants to live with in-laws of Islam. She ticked all the right boxes. I sent her the free message to begin with, just to see if she was interested. I had paid for the service before but didn’t find success, but when I got a response from her, I signed up again and we started talking on SingleMuslim.com message.
Sidra: Then he sent me his email address and we started talking on MSN. We just clicked straightaway.
What did you think of Samir’s profile?
Sidra: I just had the feeling that this was right. I hadn’t felt like that before. His profile mentioned what I was looking for in a person. He was genuine, simple – just what I wanted. Some profiles I read were over the top and his was simple, just like me. The distance between us didn’t matter to me, as long as I found the right person.
Samir: I told my mum about Sidra and that I found her interesting. We’d been talking on MSN for about three months then. There were telephone conversations as well.
Sidra: We saw each other on webcam – you know then you’re talking to the person whose picture you’ve seen!
Samir: One of the reasons I was interested in Sidra was because she would live with her in-laws.
Sidra: He asked me that on the phone and I said I’d be happy to live in a big family, Masha’Allah.
Samir: We told my dad about Sidra. He didn’t ask how we’d met; he’s very laidback. My mum likes details! Then we arranged a date to go to Bradford to meet Sidra. We wanted to see each other with the families to discuss marriage plans. I went with my mum and my aunt.
It sounds like plain sailing so far. Were there any problems?
Samir: No. My parents wanted to have a chat with Sidra’s family to see how things went. They weren’t worried about Sidra’s background. We just wanted to see each other face to face and to find out about each other’s families. When we did, we got on well.
Sidra: My parents didn’t have a problem with differences in background, just as long as he was Muslim. I was nervous when we met. I gave Salaam to everyone then I went into the kitchen and came out with the food and everything about an hour later.
What were your first thoughts?
Samir: We liked each other.
Did you find what you expected?
Sidra: Yes. Everything was so smooth, Alhamdulillah. Samir did come into the kitchen to see me and he asked if I was happy with the marriage arrangement and everything. I said I was happy.
Samir: And that day we got engaged and set a date for the Nikkah! We brought sweets for Sidra’s family in case anything happened that day and then there was a ring exchange afterwards. The Nikkah was six months ahead.
Sidra: Six months felt quite long but we wanted to wait until after Ramadan.
Samir: Yes, it felt quite a long time. My brother had had his wedding in Africa, which was simple, and this was the first wedding for my family in the UK. We wanted to invite quite a lot of people so we said six months to give us time to do everything.
So how did your wedding preparations go?
Sidra: I did my wedding shopping from Pakistan. My uncle was coming and so he brought my wedding and my mendhi clothes from Pakistan.
Samir: My mum did all the shopping. She went to Dubai.
Sidra: The Nikkah was on the same day as the Ruksiti (departing with the groom from the brides house) in Bradford. That was October 17th. Then the Walima was in London the following day. It was really busy. We did mendhi with my cousins the week before the Nikkah.
Samir: The Nikkah was done in a wedding hall with close family. About fifty people from my side travelled to Bradford. It was a simple ceremony, just signing the contract and then food. The Ruksiti was straight after the Nikkah. Then we came back to London and we had quite a big Walima the next day. There were many more people there.
Sidra: It was new for me – I was new to the family. I had to meet everyone and I was very nervous. Alhamdulillah, everyone got on really well. I was really happy, Insha’Allah.
Samir: I was nervous too. There were so many mixed feelings – happy, nervous, scared. Everything went really well. Sidra was very simple. She made no demands.
Sidra: Samir wasn’t demanding. It was really good.
So family involvement was very important to you?
Sidra: Yes, that was a must.
Did you meet any challenges? Were there any problems?
Samir: No, nothing like that at all.
What would you say makes your relationship special?
Samir: We understand each other. We click in so many ways. She does things that I like, I do things that she likes. We like the same things.
Sidra: We’ve got a lot of things in common.
Back to SingleMuslim.com, how would you improve the website?
Samir: It’s well set up, I would say most members are genuine, but some don't seem serious about marriage.
Sidra: I found the same. Some were flirting but I didn’t want that. I think the website is fine as it is. I was happy with it.
Would you recommend SingleMuslim.com to others?
Samir: I’ve recommended it to two people.
From your own experience, what advice would you give to others who are still searching for a marriage partner?
Samir: Don’t give up hope. There is always someone written for you in your life but you just have to make the effort. Allah will give but you have to search.
Sidra: Don’t give up. I didn’t expect to find someone like Samir, so you never know. Be genuine. Be yourself.
Samir: But be careful at the same time.
Sidra: Avoid timewasters and remember your deen.
How has marriage changed life?
Samir: You complete half of your deen. You’re happy that you’re doing a good deed and pleasing Allah. Also, you’re keeping on the straight path, which makes the family happy. It’s a change – I’ve got a responsibility to someone now and someone looking after me.
Sidra: We’ve been married three weeks now, Masha’Allah, but it feels like longer. It’s absolutely beautiful – one of the best times in my life. I’m really happy, Alhamdulillah.
What are your plans for the future?
Samir: We’d like to go on Hajj – Umrah is a bonus. We plan to live with parents and live Islamically.
Sidra: I wouldn’t move from my in-laws. I want to be there with them and look after them at the same time.
On that note, it was with great pleasure that Adeem Younis, founder of SingleMuslim.com, presented this deserving couple with their free tickets for Umrah as a thank you for sharing their story.