Omar & Shaymaa - Married Thursday 14 June 2007
Omar & Shaymaa
Omar and Shaymaa met on SingleMuslim.com and married on 14th June 2007. We met up with them at their home in Wembley on Saturday 1st March 2008, when the happy couple showed that they are proof that perseverance pays off!
Omar, aged 20, works as a station assistant at the London Underground. He is half English and half Egyptian and was brought up in West London. Shaymaa, 21, was born in London to Moroccan parents and currently works on a female Muslim youth project in Westminster.
“I was studying business and complementary health medicines at university,” begins Shaymaa, “and subhan’Allah (all glory be to Allah) I joined SingleMuslim.com because I know an older sister who is divorced and looking for a marriage partner and my older sister is registered. They both suggested that if I’m looking, I should also join and I said, “No, that’s not my cup of tea.” However, Shaymaa decided to join anyway and, subhan’Allah, met Omar.
Omar continues the story, “My brother wanted to get married. I had seen the site and thought about joining but when I realised that I had to subscribe, I changed my mind. But when I saw that my brother paid the subscription, I thought I want to get married as much as him and thought I’d pay too.
So what features did the newlyweds like best about SingleMuslim.com?
“I think the photo gallery feature is good as it has boundaries,” says Omar, referring to the fact that members are able to place a hidden photo on their profile. The photo is not open for all users to see; rather members can choose who they allow to view it. “I think that this is a very good feature. However, if you want everyone to view your picture, you will definitely receive responses.”
Both preferred to email rather than use the live chat feature. Shaymaa explains, “With email you can take your time and think about responses. The chat is instant and you can sometimes lead to unnecessary conversation. I really like the questions of Salaah (five daily prayers) and this would be my main focus when I’m browsing profiles. You generally get a good picture if the user prays Salaah sometimes or always, if they eat halaal meat or if they have a beard. Sometimes I wouldn’t read the profile until I had read that section first.”
Omar is pleased with the way that the service is always being updated. “When I first went on it there, there wasn’t the private gallery and you have added so many other great features.”
Once they had found SingleMuslim.com, both agree that family involvement was important to them. “My family knew I was on SingleMuslim.com. My mum was supportive. If I found someone on there, she would want to meet them,” says Omar.
“With me,” continues Shaymaa, “if I saw someone I was interested in, I would say, ‘dad what do you think?’ I would talk to him about it and would prefer to have his advice. For example, there was one that I thought was a good profile but he pointed out something that I didn’t realise. And my mum was supportive when I came across Omar’s profile.”
Omar admits that he set “quite strict criteria” in his search for a marriage partner. A potential partner had to be wearing hijab (headscarf) or abaya (Islamic dress) and to be striving towards bettering herself in Islam. “For me, where you’re from was not an issue. Islam removes flags, removes borders and if you’re Muslim, you’re Muslim. If you’re someone who submits and worships Allah and you’re trying to please Him, and to better yourself for the hereafter and you’re someone who fears Allah, that’s basically someone who is constantly conscious of Islam. I was looking for that. I was looking for someone who has removed the culture stuff out of the way, who is looking to follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Just Islam.”
Shaymaa had criteria too. “My number one was that he feared Allah. Obviously he had to be practising and praying. Just like the way Omar wanted a woman who wore hijab and abaya, I wanted him to have a beard. I have no objections to differences of race but I did want a guy to have been born here because I believe that mentality plays a big role in getting along. It’s about the communication. I mean, if he’s from the other side of the world then you’re going to have completely different interests and mentality. So I needed to make sure that we were on the same wavelength.”
“I think I saw her profile first,” says Omar. “Yeah, I liked the profile and I went on it a few times. She didn’t have a picture so what she had written on there was what I was looking for. Someone practising and she fit the criteria that I just mentioned. In a sense it was the perfect profile. I sent her a message. I think my first message was something like, ‘Asalamulaikum, I want us to marry next week!’” Omar laughs. “No, I really can’t remember what I said.”
Shaymaa liked the way Omar came across – no messing about. “I wasn’t sure whether his personality was actually like that or whether he was just being straightforward and getting to the point. His profile was good and we started talking. He was on my level. I could see instantly from his profile that he wasn’t there for a laugh and that he was genuine. That stuck out to me. So I emailed him back. I just thought, hmm this one seems interesting.”
“At that time I had just left university and I wanted to get married but I was not in the best situation” explains Omar.
Shaymaa continues, I told my dad about him and my dad said, ‘Mash’Allah (all praise be to Allah) he sounds perfect - but!’ So we both decided insh’Allah (Allah willing) you will find someone who is suitable to your situation and so we went our separate ways.
“Then couple of months later, I removed my profile. I later decided to sign back on. I had a different user name and re-wrote my profile. Because there was a similarity in personalities and interests, Omar stayed at the back of my mind and he emailed, not knowing it was me. Can you believe this?
“SingleMuslim.com was a bit addictive but I never would have believed I would have met somebody on the internet and actually get married and get along. I can’t explain it. You never think it’s going to happen to you, and subhanallah (all glory be to Allah! There is something about SingleMuslim.com, the way it makes you want to get back on there, because you just never know...”
“It was a different user name, a different profile,” says Omar. “I didn’t know it was her but it attracted me so I emailed her. It was destiny. She said who she was and we carried on.”
“I didn’t like university because there was too much free mixing between the genders and so I was decided on going to Islamic all-girls boarding school in Nottingham,” says Shaymaa. “I thought boarding school sounds kind of fun, especially when you’re older and you’re going out of choice. I had my heart and my mind set on going and that was one of my conditions now with Omar. So we started talking again regarding what exactly we’re looking for, and what exactly we’re about. Everything was perfect. We still hadn’t met each other but all was very good. Then I said ‘I’m going to go to boarding school’ and he said, ‘If I got married my wife can’t be gone the whole year and come home for a couple of weeks.’ So for the second time we had to let it go.
“We were both from the local area and all this time he hasn’t seen me but I know what he looks like because I’ve seen his pic on his profile. There was a bus and it was just about leaving but mahshallah, subhanallah he was a Muslim bus driver and he saw me running so he stopped and let me on. I said ‘shukran’ (thank you) and I went and sat down. I was getting my breath back and there was Omar sitting in front of me and he has no idea who I am!” Shaymaa told her mother when she got home, who encouraged her to email Omar. “So I just wrote, ‘Guess what? I saw you on the bus.’ We started e-mailing and began talking for the third time.”
“By then I got a studio flat, I was working in my current job and I was able to provide,” says Omar.
“Everything was ok now for him,” continues Shaymaa, “but it was me and my idea of going to boarding school. I remember he asked to talk to me on the phone and I told him I don’t feel comfortable with it, but we can talk for only five minutes or maximum ten minutes.”
Omar laughs, “It went on longer than five minutes!”
Omar continues, “Then we said we would meet. So we met in Starbucks to be in a public place”
“And he said I was a female version of him, as in personality, so much in common,” smiles Shaymaa.
“So that’s when I decided I was happy to go ahead with marriage,” says Omar, “and then she said that she would let me know and she did!”
“I really wanted to go to boarding school,” continues Shaymaa, “but it was too good to be true with Omar. I mean, he was from just up the road; we got along, especially Islamically. There are so many different ideologies and it is very rare to find somebody who agrees with everything that I believed in. The way in which he understood Islam is the way I understood Islam, and that to me was a very special thing. This was the whole package to me, so I put aside the boarding school idea and tried to see if I could do the course from home.”
The couple’s families then met and, had Shaymaa and her family not been about to go to Morocco on holiday, they could have married straightaway.
“We went about it the Islamic way,” says Omar. “We all agreed, and then a couple of weeks afterwards, the imam and everyone came to my house and made nikkah (Islamic marriage contract).”
Shaymaa describes the wedding day as “a puddle of emotions - scary, so excited, can’t wait, so happy. One thing I realised is when you put your trust in Allah, Allah will give you what you want and even better.”
“Allah is the best provider,” enthuses Omar, “if you have pure intentions to please Allah. Everything that people give you, they don’t give you anything; Allah gives them to give you. Allah rules over everything. If you have correct intentions and want to get married, you do your part, which is what I did, and Allah provided for us.
“As Muslims, we are very family orientated but, especially when it comes to getting married, there’s a lot of respect for the family. You want their opinion, you want their advice. At the end of the day, they are your elders. They’ve been through it and they are wiser. You’re still young and they can support you. Islamically, one of the best deeds is goodness towards parents and it is also one of the most important principles. They’re our parents; they are the ones that raised us and deserve respect from us.”
Shaymaa agrees, “Alhamdulillah (all praise be to Allah) my dad liked him and my mum liked him from the picture and the profile. They were very happy.”
Back to the service provided by SingleMuslim, both are happy with our policy of free membership to females.
“It’s only fair that the male pays and the female doesn’t, in the sense that the woman is provided for, whereas the man is a provider,” says Omar.
“But not just that,” adds Shaymaa, “the women are the attraction at the end of the day. If there’s a bunch of women on there, a man is going to pay £28 to get one of those women and that’s just the way of life. In this society we don’t have an ummah (Muslim brotherhood) or community leader where we can go to the sheikh and ask him to help find a suitable person so this is actually the only way that you can do it in a halaal (Islamically correct) way.”
Would they recommend SingleMuslim.com?
“Yeah, says Omar, nodding his head, “I would definitely recommend the website as it’s worked for me. The advice I would give to other brothers and sisters on it is to be patient, persevere and put your trust in Allah.”
Shaymaa also gives her advice, “Try to keep it halaal as possible because the more you do for the sake of Allah then the more Allah will bless you whatever you do.”
“And keep your intentions clear and correct,” adds Omar.
Omar and Shaymaa now plan to go on Umrah with the help of Singlemuslim.com. “I am going to continue working, and try and get a promotion to make enough money and resources so that we can go live in a Muslim land insh’Allah (Allah willing),” concludes Omar.
If you have had success on Single Muslim and would like to share you story with us, please send us your details and you could get a free Umrah trip for two.