Wael Abdelgawad, Founder of Zawaj.com

Wael Abdelgawad is the founder, owner, designer, editor, and administrator of Zawaj.com Muslim matrimonial service.

Wael was born and raised in California, USA. He has also lived in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Panama, and has visited many other nations around the world.

Wael’s parents, who are of Egyptian origin, are highly respected scientists who taught him the importance of scholarship. All through his childhood he read voraciously. When not reading, he played table tennis and chess, boxed and did martial arts, and consumed Mars bars and Pepsis. He began studying Islam at the age of fifteen. He was a counselor at the Muslim Youth Camp at the age of seventeen, served on the Shura Council of Masjid Fresno at nineteen, and was later active in Muslim communities in Arizona, Texas and California. He attended California State University at Fresno, and he has taught Islamic Studies in several Muslim communities.

Wael later studied web design and webmastering with the Software Training Group in San Francisco. He is now a web developer and “domainer” by trade and is the editor of this website and the founder of many other specialized websites and blogs. He is also a writer, poet, and a student of the martial arts of Hapkido, Jujitsu and Kenpo.

Wael is divorced and lives in Fresno, California. He has a beautiful young daughter, ma-sha’Allah. Her name is Salma and she was born in July 2006.

Wael likes marble fudge ice cream, science fiction novels, good Islamic books, windup toys and playing chess; he never goes out without his iPod; he can bench press 300 lbs, and once held his breath for two minutes underwater.

Wael’s most valued personal projects are:

1. AbolishTorture.com, a blog against torture, and the home page of Muslims Against Torture and Political Imprisonment Everywhere. This cause is very important and Wael hopes to establish it as a non-profit organization and to help mobilize Muslims in the worldwide campaign against torture, both in the Muslim and non-Muslim world.

2. IslamicSunrays.com, a blog in which Wael expresses his personal philosophy of Islam as a religion of hope and inspiration.

In Wael’s Own Words:

I am a young 45 and simultaneously old as a mountain, or so it feels at times. Trying to change the world & better myself every day. My joys are my daughter Salma, poetry, martial arts, & my faith of Islam. Oh, and banana splits!

I’ve lived in five different nations and visited many more. I speak three languages, two of them poorly I admit. I guess I’ve had about 30 jobs in my lifetime, but I seem to have found my calling with web design and writing. I care about human rights, disaster relief, environmental issues, hunger and poverty, Palestine / Chechnya / East Turkestan and others. I believe in taking personal responsibility for our lives and problems. I’ve seen some of the worst that people have to offer, but I still believe in the goodness of the human heart. I am strong in many ways, unstoppable even… but I’m afraid of heights. I climbed La India Dormida twice and berated myself for it each time, especially the second time!

I love El Valle de Anton, Panama, San Francisco, and Madinat al-Munawwarah. I once powerlifted 500 pounds in a squat. I teach two martial arts and study two others. I have a love/hate relationship with chess. The best birthday gift I ever got was an iPod. People seem to either love me, or actively dislike me. I’ve been told I look like Jamal from House Party 2, a dance instructor, or the guy who owns the mini-mart on Olive Avenue.

My daughter Salma is my joy and pride ma-sha-Allah. I never understood pure, unconditional love until I had a child.

- Wael

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About the Founder

15 Comments

  1. i like the Islamic community.
    the people of islam have very kind and pure hearted

  2. Hello Wael,

    I did not know how to contact you but I thought you would be the kind of person who wishes to know of any offensive and misleading material on your website.

    Your articles are quite good in general but I think that this is offensive and incorrect:

    http://www.zawaj.com/articles/names_prohibited.html

    particularly this part:

    “FORBIDDEN NAMES….

    …3. From the names forbidden for our sons and daughters particular to our enemies, the Jews and the Christians, like: George, David, Michael, Joseph, Diana, Jaclyn etc., since use of these names causes – sooner or later – love of them and feeling of closeness to them and imitating them in their manners and their customs and we – the Muslims – have been forbidden to imitate our enemies and to have love for them and ties of friendship.

    Perhaps this is the book of some hateful extremist but I am sure, as you are from USA that you disagree with this kind of sentiment.

    I did not realise that we have such “enemies” – I thought more like cousins. Surely intermarriage between “enemies” would not be allowed.
    I am sure you did not notice such hateful words. I don’t like to think that my Jewish cousins/second cousins are my enemies because I love them. This is not forbidden – to love our relatives.

    Regards,
    Maki

  3. Bismihi ta’Ala – as salaam alaykum warahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu

    Respected & Esteemed Brother Wael Abdelgawad:
    it is surely and solely within Allah ta’Ala’s knowledge why it is only today, six years after I moved to, and 2 years after I left a town 40 miles away from Fresno and when my life is now in utterly ruined and no longer able to save myself. my life and my aakhirah that I became aware of your existence and your desire and efforts help Muslims. I used to travel to Fresno on personal errands at least once every month throughout the period 2006 and 2010 but I never learned of your existence … la howla wa la quwwata illa billah … If only had know of your existence 6 years ago, or five years ago or four years ago, or even 3 years ago … I might have been able to save myself and my life …. la howla wa la quwwata illa billah …. you are a good man and I humbly ask you to kindly make du’a that Allah Ta’ala forgive me, restore me to His Favor, restore my spiritual health, cure of my myopia and stupidity, and guide me back to a life of value and worth to myself and His Creation. Aameen

    • Brother abd’Allah,

      You are very kind. I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties in your life. I will send you an email, Insha’Allah.

      Wael
      IslamicAnswers.com Editor

    • i hope all goes well for you my friend/brother, and that your health is restored

  4. Hi mate, your daughter is beautifull, congratulations to you, and its great you’re trying to change the world for the better

    I would just like you ask you a few questions on contemporary issues if you don’t mind.

    First of all, what is your view on evolution of human being [homosapiens] from a common Hominoidea, do you think this can be reconciled with religion [islam particularly]?.

    Second question i would like to ask is that do you think punishments priscribed in the koran and hadith such as stonning to death of adulterers, chopping hands of theives, crusifying highway robbers, killing apostates who choose another religion, laws of slavery do you think these laws are really applicable to the modern era we live in, if there was an islamic state that is?

    Also, what is your personal concept of god, where he is, his personalities, how you understand him etc, and also what is your position towards non-muslims, how do you feel about them, do you hate them, or love them based on their beliefs differing from yours.

    Please don’t think i have come here to disrespect the muslim faith, i am a student who just wants to increase his undertanding of the concepts and people around him.

    peace.

    • Hello,

      I coincidentally ran into this site and this comment and couldn’t resist replying. Although my opinions may or may not agree with the site owner’s.

      For 1st q: I never believed that science and religion (that applies to Christianity as well) ever collided. The problem is in the literal interpretations of religion by people with rigid minds who don’t accept other explanations except their own. I believe that pure-science and pure-religion prove each other (not to be confused with the trend of pseudo-science funded by religious groups only to fabricate proof for what they think is the only truth). So, due to limited space here i’ll say it in short: evolution is evident by science, but also, not a single religious manuscript ever said that humans started off standing straight. And the proof of God has always been in the order of the universe. …

      another theory I have is that I’ve always found it funny how all religions accept and totally deals with the separation of body vs soul and how the body is only a vessel but when it comes to the subject of Adam&Eve they have to be physical people in physical bodies while in heaven and that they suddenly appeared on earth. Why not accept that these souls when brought to earth have been manifested into an evolving species at the right time of evolution (as for example a moment of conciseness).. we accept a exact thing (both Muslims and Christians alike) for the birth of Jesus for example. …

      ok, I’m getting too far off point :) I’ll write a 2nd comment for the 2nd part .

      • now for Question #2:

        some of what you mention is not really in Islam but some are. However, there are books written about the explanation of your question but to be brief:

        Today’s legal system uses the term “Deterrent Law” or deterrence(legal) as defined in Wikipedia: Deterrence is the use of punishment as a threat to deter people from offending.

        However, with hateful, angry people taking charge and claiming to speak the “word of God”, they interpret and twist these rules to their liking. I will mention a couple of examples later. The point is that what we see and hear today is not the fault of religion but the fault of those who use it in the way best serve their purposes and hateful views. But again, the Church went through similar times until Martin Luther and the Renaissance (i’ll leave it for you to do some history reading)

        Harsh punishment in Islam, like stoning for example are coupled by almost-impossible-to-meet conditions and prophit’s own actions to make it even harder. Stoning for example requires that (a)both parties are married and cheating (neither is single) and (b) 4 witnesses saw the physical act (and it is extremely specific about that that hummm, let’s say it this way: the 4 people must have physically and without doubt saw the pen fully dipped into the ink (note the word fully and physically). There are 2 known incidents in that matter: (1) a couple were accused of adultery and there were 4 people as witnesses, the prophet asked them “did you actually see “the pen” dipped all the way in” ofcourse they said “no, but it was quite obvious” the prohit refused their testimony .. the (2nd) which is the only stoning we know of was due tot eh person who did the adultery coming to the prophet telling him he committed adultery and must be stoned. History tells us the the prophet (a well documented conversation) tried everything to talk this person out of it asking him things like “maybe you haven’t fully done it” etc. and only on the person’s insistence of his guilt that this punishment was carried.

        Today however, people who use religion as a tool for vengeance and power ignore all this and just use incomplete parts of ayas and ignore the rest to reach what they want.

        • Finally couple more points about the rest of your post:

          Things like slavery were ensued to be abolished quickly and gradually. however, the later corruption in the Islamic empire few hundred years after the prophet caused such rules (like what we talked about before) to be ignored and twisted to suit the likes of those in power.

          Sine the early years of Islam, we read freeing of slaves as the greatest spiritual ideal to be cherished for those who seek nearness of God. It is a fact that the Prophet freed all of the slaves that came into his possession. Islam provided many rules to abolish slavery and ensure its decline from (as mentioned before) encouraging people not to have any , to, rules like having freeing of slaves as a way to be forgiven for some actions like not fasting for a day for example. It also allowed slaved to get into agreements with their masters to free themselves and made it obligatory to free a given slave if his/her master even mentioned it whether he meant it or not. Unlike to what is claimed, Islam never allowed harsh treatment or forced relations with slaves.

          The internet is littered with many inaccurate articles about the topic, however, Wikipedia article on the subject (the section titled “Slavery in Quran”) is sound enough
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_views_on_slavery#Slavery_in_the_Qur.27an

          also, references there talk more about the subject (but again, not to be confused with later corruption that has occurred few hundred years after prophet)

          Some things were gradually introduced during the early days of Islam due to the nature of the society. For example the ban on alcohol. It started by being “unacceptable”, soon after, a Qur’an revelation stated “not to get near prayers if you’re drunk”… then soon after revelations stressed more on this. note the gradual tone in these:

          “They ask thee concerning alcohol and gambling. Say: “In them is great sin, and some profit, for people; but the sin is greater than the profit.” They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: “What is beyond your needs.” Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider- ”

          “O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: avoid such (abomination), that ye may prosper. ”

          “Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain? “

  5. Your poems are also very alive and facinating.

  6. Hi Wael,

    I’m interning for a company called BYkids this summer (www.bykids.org). Bykids pairs filmmakers with kids all over the world. The kids make documentaries about their lives with the help of film mentors. These films not only provide insight into a child’s life, but also informs the world about globally relevant issues that need to be addressed. For example, our most recent film made by a 16-year old girl in Colombia brights light to the fact that Colombia has the largest number of displaced families in the entire world thanks to the drug trade. I’m contacting you because for our next film we are looking for a Muslim girl in NYC, preferably from Harlem because that’s where Albert Maysels (the film mentor) is from, to talk about her life and if she’s encountered prejudice post-9/11.

    If you could connect me with anyone who’s interested it would be greatly appreciated!!!
    -Molly

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