Zaf and Nas were married in August and SingleMuslim.com recently met up with the happy couple at Chaudhry's TKC - Restaurant in Southall, London.
Zaf came to England at 9 years of age and got married at 16 to someone from Pakistan from within the family. He has 6 children – 4 girls and 2 boys. All are married apart from the youngest, who still lives with him. Sadly, Zaf’s wife died three-and-a half years ago after 33 years of marriage. Zaf was living in Stoke-on-Trent at the time and was lost without her. He decided to move to London to make a new start.
Nas came to England in 1968. She was born in Pakistan and came over with her parents and elder sister. The rest of her siblings – 3 sisters and 2 brothers – were born here. Just like many young girls, Nas couldn’t wait to get married. She had an arranged marriage in 1984 when she was just 16 to a cousin from Pakistan and had 3 sons. She was emotionally forced into the arrangement and the marriage was not a happy one; they later divorced. She lived in Lancashire before marrying Zaf.
So, how did our happy couple find SingleMuslim.com and, ultimately, each other?
Zaf: After two-and-a-half years I was still on my own but I used to go back to Stoke every weekend or every second weekend to see the kids who were running the post office. (Zaf used to be the postmaster.) One day, I was sitting in a friend’s office at the computer and he said, “Are you looking for a Rishta (marriage proposal)?” simply because I was single and browsing the computer. I wasn’t aware that you could find marriages on the internet but after speaking with my friend I registered on a few sites but didn’t take things seriously. Then my friend recommended SingleMuslim.com as the best site. SingleMulim.com was easy to operate and it was very easy to look at things – even for those who haven’t used a computer. So I started to upload a profile and look at profiles. This was in early June.
Nas: I signed up at the same time. It was mad, both at the same time!
Zaf: I said I’d look into it first before doing anything. Then I was looking through before I subscribed and saw Nas’s profile. I was searching by age and other things but mostly I was looking for someone mature.
Nas: Someone with a bit of life experience really.
Zaf: Exactly. I never thought that I would find anyone. To me I was just navigating. Then I got three messages!
Nas: What he wrote was very good, particularly what he wrote about what he wanted in a wife-to-be. He was looking for someone who genuinely needed a partner. Maybe someone who had also suffered a hardship – to be a Sahara (support) to.
Zaf: I came across her profile and, when I saw it and went through everything, I thought this seemed alright. There was an attraction. The main attraction was her headline: Naseebo (after a famous female Punjabi singer from Pakistan. I sent her a free message and didn’t get an answer. So I thought she was stuck up!
Nas: He sent me a free template message and because it was free he got a good answer back from me!
Zaf: First of all there was no answer and I thought never mind.
Nas: I went to look at his profile. First of all I wasn’t really bothered but then I saw he’d been looking at my profile because you can tell who’s been viewing you.
Zaf: 1000 times.
Nas: (laughing) Yeah, 1000 times! About 5 times in a day! I had no photograph. Bear in mind I was on there secretly. Nobody knew I was on the website. So I sent a message back. I said I’m sorry but I think you’re too old! Then he went back to Stoke to see his family and for two weeks there were no more messages from him, he didn’t even look at my profile so I thought he’d gone. His photo was like a passport photo. And it said his real age on there and everything. I thought, I’m 39. There’s a huge gap so I said it wouldn’t work.
Zaf: I went back to Stoke and kept thinking that she hadn’t replied. When I came back to London I sat down with the computer and couldn’t read the message. I had pay for the service so I thought I’d subscribe for 1 month. I sent her another message. I said, “It cost me £28 for you to tell me I’m old!” How cheeky can you get?
Nas: He said he was gutted but it didn’t stop him persevering!
Zaf: I looked at it again and at the end of her message it said,” I hope you can find your gem”. That’s why I kept going back to her profile. I thought there’s definitely something there. About a week later I sent her another message.
Nas: 4 o’ clock in the morning!
Zaf: I sent her a message and my heart was pounding.
Nas: He wrote, “I hope I’m not disturbing you. My heart is pounding. Please would you ring me?” I logged on 2 days later. I was really excited I had a message. I rang him. At the time I just couldn’t go to sleep so I thought, he needs a mouthful - I’ll ring him! He wouldn’t take no for an answer. When I rang there was an answer phone. Three times I rang. I didn’t leave a message. But on his phone you can see when someone has rung. I didn’t know that so he rang me back! He said, “Hello. How are you? This is Zaf.” Oh his voice, that deep husky voice – I thought, how attractive!
We just chatted and chatted. Day and night. And he was really interesting. He said he liked my voice on the phone as well. He doesn’t like it any more though – I shout too much! (Laughs.)
How did you hear about SingleMuslim.com, Nas?
Nas: Well, I had an arranged marriage. It didn’t work at all – we were worlds apart. I’m very open-minded and got on with anybody and everybody. He was quiet and shy. With him it was all about possession and position. We stuck it for a while but it just got too much. He decided one day to go to Pakistan and remarry. The children were little. I brought them up on my own and I never thought of remarrying. I went to college, got a teaching diploma and got a job at a local school. I teach children with learning disabilities. Really, that was an achievement because I’d left school with no qualifications.
A friend of mine, was on the website. She said, “Why don’t you register? You’re still young. You could find a partner.” We were having a laugh about it. I said, “No way. I have my sons. I couldn’t.” But she told me about the messages she received from people and every day she’d rush home from work and check who’d viewed her profile. Then she asked me to make a profile so I made one without a picture. That’s a good thing about your website as you can show your picture only to people who ask. I had a picture in the private gallery.
Zaf was the first person I ever met on there.
Who knew you were on the website?
Nas: Just my friend. My family’s not that broad-minded, you see. With them, you’re divorced and that’s it. It really used to get to me. Loads of people I know would probably think, “She’s alright, she’s on her own. She’s independent.” But when I went somewhere, I always felt on my own. Everybody had their husbands with them. Many of my friends are happily married. We’d speak on the phone and meet up during the day but in the evening everybody was at home with their families. My children, as they were growing up, were going to college and work. They were out of the house. They’re boys. In the evenings I used to sit there and feel that I needed an adult in my life - someone who’s there for me. When I was on the website these things would come into my head. Maybe I will find a partner.
I was looking for somebody older – not much older - but mature. Somebody who’s got children, who understands children and will understand what step-children are going to be like, and someone who’s going to be there not just for me but for them as well. When we chatted on the phone I felt that he was a tower of strength. Now, between us, we’ve got 10 children and 13 grandchildren!
For how long were you talking on the phone?
Nas: Five days. We started chatting on the Thursday and then on the Tuesday night we arranged to meet up.
Zaf: I hadn’t seen her by then.
Nas: I asked him, “Do you want to see a picture of me?”And he said, “No, it’s the personality that counts. Looks don’t matter to me.” I sent him a picture anyway. He had to go to the private gallery to see it. The following day, I was out with friends, waiting for him to ring. I waited all afternoon. I kept looking at my phone thinking, what’s happening here? Now he’s seen a picture of me, he doesn’t like me! I rang him but his phone was switched off! He’d gone to someone’s house. Later he sent a text. What did it say?
Zaf: Hi, beautiful.
What were your thoughts when you saw her picture?
Zaf: I don’t know. Maybe I knew from her profile that everything was going to be fine.
Nas: The following day we met up in Birmingham because I was in Manchester and he was in London. It was somewhere neutral. He got there late – stuck in traffic. We decided to meet at New Street Station but he couldn’t find parking so he just parked outside somewhere and I had to go and find him. That was the longest walk of my life! I was looking for this older man from his picture. Then he was standing there dressed in black.
Zaf: I was so nervous, I was shaking.
In the western perspective, would you say that it was love at first sight?
Nas: I would. I nearly dropped down. I looked at his face. I was gobsmacked. He looked so much older in his photo.
What did you think Zaf when you saw Nas for the first time?
Zaf: It was what I expected, masha’allah.
Nas: He couldn’t talk. He held my hand to cross the road to his car. I got in the car and he went on his knee in the middle of the street and said, “Will you marry me?” I started laughing. Then we went to a restaurant and we chatted about everything and he told his daughter then.
Zaf: I phoned her. I just said I’ve met somebody. I’m in Birmingham.
Nas: Later, in the car, he said, “With Allah as my witness I take you as my wife.” And I said, “With Allah as my witness I take you as my husband.” We cried together that day.
When I was on my way home on the train I thought am I doing the right thing? The next day I told him that I didn’t think it would work out. He said, “I don’t care what people say. What we’re doing is halal.” Then he told me that in the Hadith (oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) it says that even if a woman is 70 years old, if she feels that she needs a partner then she should get married.
After that, I met his girls and then I came to London for the day to see him. I had exchanged phone numbers with the daughter I spoke to on the phone. She was going to get married in Dubai and he was going to go with her. So she invited me. I said to Zaf, “No, it’s not right. Her new family will say, ‘Who is she? She’s not married to him.’” So he said, “We’ll get married then. Do the nikkah (Muslim marriage contract) then you can come with me. Then it was all systems go. His daughters came to the house with a ring for me. I wanted to tell my boys, but what do you tell them? I just couldn’t.
We did the nikkah on a Friday after Jummah (Friday prayer). I thought, if the kids don’t like it then at least we have done the Nikah, and fulfilled our religious obligations. We’re married to each other. We’ll conquer everything then. We did the nikkah at the local mosque. They were so nice there, masha’allah. After that we ate together at my friend’s home. I was his wife but hardly anyone knew! In Dubai, he introduced me to everybody as his wife. It was lovely.
When we came back I went back to the UK we decided to move to London.
How did the rest of your family take the news?
Nas: In the beginning the family wasn’t happy as I was re-marrying outside the family and that fact that I had children made this even harder for them to except. Alhamdulillah they have now got used to the idea and are happy for us.
Nas moved to London in November.
Zaf: She came just at the right time. I had an angiogram in December and my operation in April.
Nas: It’s like God’s will in a way. Before, if he was going to fall ill, there was nobody there for him. He had massive heart surgery. He needed care 24 hours a day. It’s Allah’s will that we’re together and thanks to SingleMuslim.com, Insha’Allah.
So, how did you find the website?
Nas: Very simple to use. Very bright!
Zaf: Yes, you’ve made it very simple. Anyone can use it.
What was your favourite feature?
Nas: The advanced search was good. Live chat was good too – it tells you that somebody’s on-line now. The private gallery is a good idea. Another thing I like is that you can block people. That’s brilliant.
Zaf: It’s good that if I haven’t subscribed I can still send a message and I like the fact that the site is UK-based. I was looking for someone specifically in the North West.
Is there anything that we can improve?
Nas: Nothing. It’s fantastic!
How do you feel about men having to pay and females get the service free?
Zaf: Somebody has to pay!
Nas: I think if a man is paying, it proves how genuine he is.
What do you feel is most special about your relationship?
Zaf: Understanding. We agree mostly on everything we do.
Nas: Yes, we’re the same intellectually. We have a lot of knowledge of life as well. Alhamdulillah (all praise be to Allah), we’re happy. I never thought that clicking a button would make such a drastic change to my life!
What advice would you give to those still seeking a partner on SingleMuslim.com?
Zaf: Carry on. It’s the best thing you can do.
Nas: I hope our interview will motivate older people that there are genuine people out there. Be determined and don’t be put off. We found happiness and I’m sure that other people will if they keep trying.
Zaf: There will be somebody there. If it is in your Kismat (destiny), you will find them. I never thought in a million years that I would find someone.
Nas: He paid £28 quid for me!
So, what are your plans for the future?
Nas: Go on Umrah, Insha’Allah. For the next 2 or 3 years we’ll be marrying our kids, settling down.
Zaf: And then the grandkids.
Nas: I started work here in September but we’d like to move back up North, maybe to Manchester so that we are between both our families. We’re thinking about doing charity work together. Being with Zaf is a doddle. I find life so much easier now. Allah has put us on this Earth for a reason so I want to give something back.
I would also like to take this opportunity to tell all the divorced / widowed people out there that you should use this site, as it gives you unparallel access to other Muslims that will accept you for the purpose of marriage. Some people have the idea that everyone on the internet is not genuine, but don’t be put off by this. The people on this site are ‘real’. People who are finding a way to complete their faith by seeking someone compatible who they will have to “walk with them” through their life, just like me and Zaf!
I found a real lovely and loving husband, who is a devoted father to my and his children. They have a father figure in their life which they have never had before. My whole life has changed for the better.
Allah has pre-destined our marriage partners, but Single Muslim is his means of us finding each other. We have found happiness, have faith and you can to. A very big thank you to Single Muslim!
SingleMuslim.com was delighted to present Umrah tickets to such a devoted and deserving couple.