Single Muslim Ltd, Wakefield, United Kingdom
Believe in Second Chances
(SingleMuslim.com Success Story: Zameer and Hameema)
Zameer Ghumra and Hameema Hasan met on SingleMuslim.com. A few months after their Nikah, the happy couple kindly invited us to their home in Leicester to tell us about their journey to marriage and their thoughts on marrying again, juggling children and the importance of second chances.
Zameer: Asalaamu Alaykum! My name is Zameer. I’m a pharmacist, I met Hameema on SingleMuslim.com and we got married! I have two sisters. My parents originally came from India. Then they migrated to Malawi in Africa and I lived there for four years. After that we moved to Leicester and we’ve been here ever since.
Hameema: Asalaamu Alaykum! I’m Hameema. I’m the eldest of four siblings and I’m originally from London. I worked as a primary school teacher until I got married and became a housewife. I’m Bengali. I was actually born in Leicester then we moved to London. But my heart and my husband brought me back here.
So, first of all, who knew that you were registered on SingleMuslim.com?
Zameer: All of my family knew from day one. Even if I just sent a message to somebody I would mention it to my mum – we have a really good relationship. I tell her everything and every time something progressed or regressed I’d talk about it with her.
Hameema: Very close family and friends knew but it was something a bit taboo and I was very sceptical in the beginning. I didn’t think I’d end up getting married through the website so I didn’t make a big deal out of it.
Had you registered on other matrimonial websites?
Zameer: Yes, I did try a few different websites. To be honest, they didn’t seem real. I’d get messages from all over the world but they weren’t appropriate matches. You can’t just ring someone internationally so I didn’t take it any further. SingleMuslim.com is well known and when I used the site, it seemed real: people from Leicester, people from Birmingham and the places I was interested in. I could actually speak to these people and that’s when I found Hameema.
Hameema: I registered with a site at the end of my time with SingleMuslim.com but by then I had met Zameer, so the other website was short-lived.
Did you use any other avenues to find a marriage partner?
Zameer: Basically, every avenue that was open to me, I used it! I preferred route one (family and friends). Unfortunately, it was a difficult one to take being married before and having kids. People already have certain ideas then of what you might be like. Whereas with SingleMuslim.com, I could find people like me who would understand where I’m coming from and hopefully be a suitable partner for me.
Hameema: There was the option of family and friends for me too. I come from a very traditional Bengali family. We marry mainly within the Bangladeshi community and, after my previous experience, it wasn’t an avenue that I was going to go down again. SingleMuslim.com was good because not only does it open up the door to many different people but I could also read profiles and see what their requirements were too. It was really tailor-made!
Can you tell us about your journey to Nikah, from meeting finding each other on SingleMuslim.com to your big day?
Hameema: This is an interesting one because we have two different versions!
Zameer: My version of the story is... I’d kind of given up on matrimonial sites really. I’d talked to quite a few ladies but I could not find a match. As I was about to come off, I had a message from Hameema. This is where it differs; she thinks I messaged her first! I think I did as most males do; they message two or three girls at the same time.
Hameema: This part I didn’t know about!
Zameer: At that time I didn’t think much of it because you just don’t know, do you? Is it going to be worth it this time, to start a conversation all over again? The first time I spoke to her I felt that this was something different. She spoke well, she came across as intelligent and very honest and that was something I found lacking in a lot of other people. As we started speaking I arranged for us to meet up as soon as possible. You can tell a lot more from a person from one meeting than you can with a hundred texts.
Hameema: The first conversation we had was on a Friday. We met on the Monday. Before then, I was actually losing hope in SingleMuslim.com and I wasn’t logging into the site very often to check messages. I had logged in to the site that day to close my account and then I saw Zameer’s message. It was really vague. I can understand how he would send that to two or three people! I looked at his profile and it seemed good. He’s not too photogenic, as I’m not, so the picture didn’t completely blow me away but I did think it was a good picture. So I replied.
We met for the first time on a Friday morning and the first conversation was a good one. It was funny, quite light-hearted. We texted a bit that weekend too and on Monday when I met him, I came away smiling for the rest of the day! There was something about him. He was so funny.
Tell us a bit more about your first meeting.
Hameema: I took time off to meet him in London and he was almost two hours late! Me and my cousin and sister walked around for a bit, trying to take my mind off being nervous about meeting him. Then when he got to London he said on the phone, “Why weren’t you at this place?” and I thought about going home! But when he pulled up in his car and I saw his smiling face and that he wasn’t really angry I thought, yeah I’ll stick around for a bit and see how this meeting goes! He was so light-hearted – that really got to me. I thought that a lot of the things he had gone through in his life were painful experiences. I went through divorce and I found it difficult to bounce back from that. His smile and his laughter were infectious. That’s amazing; I want to be around him and I want to be his wife.
Zameer: With what I saw and what I heard, I remember going home quite confident about the whole day.
Would you say it was love at first sight?
Zameer: For me, yes although I wouldn’t say love. When I first saw her there was something about her. There was chemistry, there was a connection and it felt right. I hadn’t felt that feeling when I met any other person from SingleMuslim.com.
Hameema: Of course, we didn’t know we would get married but the option was there and I’d met someone through SingleMuslim.com! It was amazing - new hope all over again. I had lost hope and I really didn’t think it would happen.
Zameer: I felt very similar. It is very difficult for a man that’s working full time and has the children half the time at his house, when the kids don’t want to be around anyone but him. When they’re there they need my full attention and I don’t think it would have been possible to find someone to share that with without SingleMuslim.com; without being able to go through people’s profiles and see what they’ve been through. Have they got similar experiences, similar views and similar goals for the future as me?
Hameema: We didn’t meet much at all before we got married. It was three times and on one occasion we had the kids.
Zameer: For our second meeting we went for a coffee and talked. It was very short-lived because she had to get back. It was really nice because it kept us both longing for a longer meeting and it was really nice to have that feeling again in your heart. The third meeting was probably the best. We went to a place called Kidspace in London and we took all the kids. Marriage isn’t just about us, it’s about our kids too, and they’re going to be living together so we needed to know how they got on? Are they going to find it difficult if we give attention to another child? I spent most of my time with Ahmed, her son, and she spent most of her time with my two. It worked out really well and they got on really well with Hameema.
Hameema: Yes, that was our first taste of what family life could possibly be like for us and in a sense it was a make or break day. Obviously, if the kids didn’t get on so well together and if we didn’t fall in love with each other’s kids the way we did, then it would have been very difficult. For me, just seeing how Zameer interacted with my son was amazing. My son is a toddler. Zameer carried him the whole day, he spoon-fed him his food – my son doesn’t let me spoon-feed him and to watch another man come and do that for him made me think, I do want him to be my husband; I do want him to do this for me. That night, as he was driving off with his kids, his second son said to me, “I can’t wait for you and daddy to get married. I just can’t wait!” That got my heart and I couldn’t wait to be his wife and be part of this family.
Zameer: Yes, that was nice and then you found out what it’s like to be part of this family! (Laughs.)
Hameema: I think with kids no day is the same. We’ve got amazing days, we’ve got good days, we’ve got bad days and we’ve got days when you’re just waiting for them to end! (Laughs.) Alhamdulillah, I’m happy with my life. This is it. Islam is about adapting. This is a new experience for both of us and we’re adapting with the kids.
Zameer: If we didn’t have kids then yes, we’ve got the two-year honeymoon period but because we both have kids we knew we’d have to devote a lot of time to our own kids and each other’s kids and it is difficult to treat both sets of kids equally. You have to go through the downs to appreciate the ups. It’s really been amazing, hasn’t it?
Why just the three meetings?
Hameema: We’d decided that we were not going to meet on a want-to basis but on a need-to basis. So we met enough to feel comfortable with the decision that we were going to get married. But I’d not anticipated being swept off my feet! We were initially looking to get married at the end of that academic year but after we realised that we did want to get married and our kids got along it seemed silly to wait. Initially it was just going to be a Nikah and me living in London until the academic year finished but we got married and realised that living apart wasn’t working for either of us and so my employers made it possible for me to leave work and move to Leicester.
Tell us about your wedding day.
Hameema: The Nikah was small with just very immediate family and close friends. That’s how we wanted it as it also meant that we had time together at the end of it. It wasn’t just a show and a party for everyone else. We’d been married before and we’d been through making everyone else happy. This day it was about us. The next day Zameer’s family came over for lunch so I could meet the in-laws. That’s what we thought would work best with our children.
Zameer: It was very simple.
Hameema: The venue was the mosque. Because we had the kids and we were both working it wasn’t possible to get away and finances didn’t allow for anything. But I’d mentioned once that I really like Tower Bridge so he booked a hotel there and it was amazing because I wasn’t expecting it at all. It was a lovely atmosphere and we got time to ourselves.
Did you face any difficulties or challenges along the way?
Zameer: There was one really difficult period before we got married. We wanted the permission of Hameema’s parents but they weren’t very happy because I wasn’t Bengali. It was a big burden on her, especially as she’d left her family and friends to come to Leicester. But a really remarkable thing happened. Certain events took place that meant her parents had to ask for my help and when I was willing to help them, that built up the bridges between our families. After that, we’ve had a great relationship and the burden has been taken off Hameema. Everything has been put back into place in her life.
Hameema: (Laughs.) I think the children are an ongoing challenge!
Zameer: You can’t underestimate how difficult it is to accept other people’s children into your life on a 24 hour basis and both parents of our children want to play a part in their lives. Everything is tailored around the children. It might just be one day a week when they are all here together.
Hameema: As a parent you don’t live until your child is back home again. Nothing is normal in our lives! Alhamdulillah, through SingleMuslim.com we’ve found a way that works for us. If it wasn’t for the service you have provided then it would have been difficult to have a second chance.
What would you say makes your relationship special?
Zameer: By this time in my life I knew exactly what I wanted from somebody that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. So I had boxes that needed ticking and I was very structured in my approach. During meetings I asked questions and I looked for the responses and I made my mind up from there. I found what I wanted and then I took the plunge. There are still going to be ups and downs but the foundations were there and it hasn’t let me down so far.
Hameema: I think in some things we are polar opposites – him with his science and I hate science! But because of our previous experiences it has made us appreciate each other so much more. He’s ten years older than me and I love that and I wanted that. He’s my guide and my mentor. I can look up to him and give him respect. This time round I think I have found my soul mate. He’s my husband and he’s the best friend I could ever have. And at the same time he’s a dad too which is pretty cool! I didn’t think that those things could happen but thanks to SingleMuslim.com, it has!
Zameer: Hameema ticked all of the boxes for me. She is absolutely stunning; I really feel I couldn’t have done any better in terms of her looks. She’s Bengali, which means she cooks Bengali food – I absolutely love fish and chillies and to have somebody who can show me how to cook these things and to cook for me is really nice. Also, to have somebody who is much younger than you, it means they are playful and youthful.
Some questions about the website now. How did you find out about SingleMuslim.com?
Zameer: It seemed to be the number one site on Google. It was easy to use, simple to register and it says “free membership”! Free is a key word! But I also know two friends who’ve used it and married through it.
Hameema: I heard about it through friends and someone in my family used it to get married.
For how long were you registered on the website?
Zameer: I registered in 2009 maybe and I’ve been on and off.
Hameema: I joined three or four weeks before Zameer messaged me. I had a lot of people who weren’t suitable contact me but I just needed one good response and, Alhamdulillah, I didn’t have to stick about on the site for a long time.
What did you think of the website?
Zameer: SingleMuslim.com is very user-friendly.
Hameema: I found it very easy to use. Nice and colourful too. Whereas on the other sites, it’s just like you’re looking at a table of people, which is kind of rubbish and puts you off. Also, SingleMuslim.com has things that are useful to know; like whether someone has opened your message or binned it without looking at it. I was very happy with the private gallery. It was instant and I could show a photo straightaway rather than emailing someone a picture later. I liked reading the success stories because they gave me hope. Maybe it’s a girlie thing to do but it gave me hope that I may meet someone through this website.
Zameer: Being able to filter the search results was the main reason I liked SingleMuslim.com – I could choose. Even something as small as the height of a person.
How many people did you meet through the website?
Zameer: Altogether in the three years I was on the site I might have met four or five people and had conversations with 40 or 50 but they would be dropped immediately once I found something that was a deal-breaker. You’ve got to know what you want. On the whole I think people were genuine.
Hameema: I think people are genuine but a lot of the guys aren’t serious and seem to be confused. What was different when I met my husband was that I felt straightaway that he was honest, genuine and just a good person.
How has SingleMuslim.com changed your life?
Zameer: I think I speak for Hameema too when I say it gave us hope. I wouldn’t have met someone like Hameema without SingleMuslim.com. We don’t move in the same circles. SingleMuslim.com has changed my life in a positive way and we’re glad it was there.
Hameema: Alhamdulillah, it gave me hope and a second chance. Because of the tools available I could ask the questions that I wanted answers to.
Would you recommend the service?
Zameer: Yes, definitely.
Hameema: Yes, we’re going to use it for our kids as soon as they are old enough! (Laughs.)
What advice would you give other members of the website who are still looking for a match?
Zameer: Keep at it. Keep looking. Don’t give up. There are so many people out there and someone who is just perfect for you. If you don’t find what you want in a person, stop there and move on. You need to know yourself enough to realise exactly what you want.
Hameema: Keep asking Allah for help and he will guide you to what is good for you.
What are your plans for the future?
Zameer: We did have a five-year plan. We’re supposed to have horses by then in our stables in, probably, a house in a village! I’m hoping for many more kids!
Hameema: I think we have quite enough between us for now! (Laughs.) We will have more kids insha’ Allah but maybe not that many in the next five years!
Are you looking forward to Umrah?
Zamir: Yes, I told Hameema our first trip together would be Umrah but I couldn’t actually afford it. I have been doing a lot of soul searching and have been through events that made me question religion. I’m hoping that this Umrah trip will help me to realign myself.
Hameema: I’m looking forward to being able to thank Allah in his house for this wonderful husband that he has given me, gaining closeness to Zameer and our relationship becoming spiritual because of going to Allah’s house together.
SingleMuslim.com founder Adeem Younis wishes Zameer and Hameema a wonderful Umrah trip and presents them with their free tickets for sharing their unique story.
Notes to Editors:
Single Muslim Ltd, PO BOX 386, WF2 9WA, United Kingdom