About Zawaj.com Muslim Matrimonials

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 turns 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

The Founder

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.

3. IslamicAnswers.com, a common-sense question and answer service that provides sound advice to people with marriage, relationship and family issues.

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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