Tag archive for ‘new zawaj.com’

End of an Era, and a New Beginning

Wael eating a popsicle in 1998

Wael eating a popsicle in 1998

I registered the Zawaj.com domain name twelve years ago, in 1998, right around the time that you see me sitting there eating a Popsicle in the photo, ha ha. The name “Zawaj.com” was unregistered up to that point, and since then has never belonged to anyone but me.

There were only one or two other Muslim matrimonial and Arab matrimonial services in existence at that time. One was Zafaf.com, which shut down some years later, and the other was Muslim Matrimonial Link, which still exists but looks and functions exactly as it did back in the 90′s, down to the dated backgrounds and hyperlinked list of ads.

At the time, I never expected that Zawaj.com would grow the way it has. It was a hobby. I remember that in the beginning, the matchmaking database consisted of simple HTML pages, and I used to hand-code a new HTML page for each new profile. The service was free back then.  I changed it to a paid service in 2002 or so, and then a few years later I changed it back to a free service again. Not “free trial” free, or partially free, but completely, 100% free, with revenue generated by advertisements rather than membership fees.

I liked the idea of offering something for free that everyone else charges money for. I liked the fact that Zawaj.com attracted thousands of people who could not afford a membership fee, including people from North Africa, Egypt, Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia and other nations all over the world.

But the world runs on certain realities, and one of them is that money makes the wheels turn, or at least makes them turn more smoothly. Over time the Zawaj.com programming grew obsolete and buggy, and I did not have the funds to rebuild it. In the meantime the internet witnessed the rise of the huge corporate-run matrimonial websites like Shaadi.com and Qiran.com. These sites work by virtue of sheer size, but in my opinion they lack a personal touch. You get lost without a rudder in a sea of profiles.

You may notice that I have not shied away from mentioning the names of my competitors in this post. That’s because I’m confident that Zawaj.com is now as good as – or better than – anyone of them.

Today marks the end of an era for Zawaj.com and the beginning of a new one. We say goodbye to our years-old program and simple HTML home page, and we introduce a new look, a new content management system, and a new matrimonial database. The new database is easy and fun to use, and you will find it brimming with intelligent, attractive, successful men and women ma-sha-Allah.

Meanwhile we continue the tradition of offering the internet’s best articles and features about Muslim and Arab weddings, marriage advice, family relationships, and much more. Please note that you can find links to our old Zawaj.com website and content on the right side of the page. With literally thousands of pages of unique content, we are much more than a Muslim matrimonial service. And now you can comment on the articles, share them, and even write your own if you wish.

As a way of illustrating the uniqueness of Zawaj.com, in the early years I came across many small websites where people had documented the Muslim wedding customs of certain cultures, complete with detailed descriptions and photos. I sometimes used to reprint those on Zawaj.com with the writer’s permission. Since then many of those websites have shut down, and now Zawaj.com is the only place you will find those unique articles about things like the wedding customs of Muslim Bulgarians, or a photo essay of a Somali wedding, or an insightful article about the role of women in Islam, written by someone who has since disappeared from the scene.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of Zawaj.com’s loyal readers, members and partners over the years. I am confident that this change will benefit everyone – especially you – and I thank Allah for opening the door to this new and exciting road.

Wael Abdelgawad
Zawaj.com Founder and President

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Welcome to the new and improved Zawaj.com

A Muslim couple in the Philippines wait for the start of a mass wedding for both Muslim and Catholic couples. Photo by Luis Liwanag of pitikbulagdokyu.blogspot.com/

A Muslim couple in the Philippines wait for the start of a mass wedding for both Muslim and Catholic couples. Photo by Luis Liwanag of pitikbulagdokyu.blogspot.com/

As-salamu alaykum dear readers and members, and Ramadan Mubarak :-)

As you can see, Zawaj.com has been completely redesigned. We have added some exciting new features, and we are in the process of rebuilding the matchmaking section as well.  And how do you like this spiffy new logo at the top, eh? :-)

The articles and features from the old Zawaj.com website have not yet been imported into the new format, but they are still available for viewing, not to worry, and we will include links to all the old content.

As you may have known, the old matchmaking program was out of date and had a lot of bugs. I had been wanting for years to rebuild the program but I lacked the funds. Alhamdulillah, I now have a partner who has helped me to make the necessary upgrades. The new matchmaking section is a HUGE improvement in my opinion. It’s much easier to use. Of course you are the ultimate judge of that, but I’m confident you’ll find that in design and function it is as good as any other personals or matchmaking site on the web.

All of the old membership information will be deleted, so if you were previously a free member you will have to re-register. The basic service will still be free, so it will still be free to create a profile, view profiles, receive messages, and send short messages to other members, but to send a longer response you will have to upgrade to platinum membership, which is a paid membership.

It was truly my heart’s desire to continue offering a totally free matrimonial service. But what is the use of offering a free service if it is substandard? The reality is that in order to bring you a better and upgraded website, I must charge a membership fee.

I always had the philosophy with Zawaj.com that if I strive to provide people with a quality service – one that improves their lives in some way, helps them and touches their spirits – then the money would take care of itself. With this big step for Zawaj.com, I feel that my faith has been vindictated and that that you – the readers and users of the service – have been rewarded for your patience.

Jazakum Allah khayr for your sabr and your loyalty to Zawaj.com. Your commitment to this website and your support over the years means a lot to me. Ramadan Mubarak to you, and may Allah make the coming year one of renewed faith, ease from hardship, Muslim unity, success and health, for all of us.

- Wael Hesham Abdelgawad, Zawaj.com founder

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