Soul mates Yousaf Nisar and Nashina Ashiq found each other – and love – on SingleMuslim.com. They married during a four-day celebration. SingleMuslim.com were kindly invited to the happy couple's Bradford home to hear their amazing story. Let's meet the newlyweds...
Yousaf: My name's Yousaf. I'm 31 years old. I'm a lecturer, teaching in Leeds at present. I'm from Bradford originally.
Nashina: I'm Nashina and I'm 30 years old. I'm a menswear designer and I've recently moved to Bradford after marrying Yousaf.
So, who knew that you were using SingleMuslim.com to find a marriage partner?
Yousaf: My mum, dad and brother knew and they supported me through it. They thought I might have some luck on the site. Well, what's written is written and SingleMuslim.com helped me with that.
Nashina: Most of my family knew and close friends knew as well. I was always open from the start because it was a search for a lifetime partner.
Were you registered on any other matrimonial websites?
Yousaf: No I wasn't. I chose SingleMuslim.com because I thought there were a lot of like-minded people on there. I was searching for somebody of Muslim faith so what better place was there than a website full of single Muslims? I'm glad I chose it. It was professional, had a good interface, and was really easy to use. Alhamdulillah, there are a lot of other people on there and Masha'Allah, we were on there at the same time, so it was brilliant.
Nashina: I'd not registered on any other sites. I did try a Muslim marriage event. That wasn't for me but I persevered on SingleMuslim.com.
Did you try any other avenues to find a marriage partner?
Nashina: Friends introduced me to friends. Over the years my parents introduced me to a few people, who I never thought I was compatible with. There wasn't that chemistry there. You just know when someone is right for you and that's what happened to us. We just knew that we were right for each other.
Yousaf: I never tried any other avenues. My mum, bless her, tried to introduce me to the odd girl here and there, but I thought, I can find a woman myself.
Could you please tell us about your journey, from first contact on the website to your wedding day?
Yousaf: I started the journey. I came across Nashina's profile and the first thing that got to me was her username: dangerous minds. I liked it. I looked at her profile and her picture and I thought she was cute. Her profile was short but sweet; to the point. She was in the West Yorkshire area. I thought, I've got nothing to lose, and I sent her a message. She emailed me back, I emailed her back. I think there were about two or three emails and then she disappeared! That's what I remember.
Nashina: At that point I was speaking to some work colleagues and they said, "I can't believe you're on a site!" so I got myself off it. Then, about six months later, after hearing a success story from one of my friends who'd met a marriage partner on SingleMuslim.com, I thought I'd give it another go. I recalled exchanging quite a few emails with Yousaf and he was still on there, so I sent him an email. "Hi! I'm Nashina. I don't know if you recall but we exchanged a few emails a few months ago. If you do remember and you're still single and looking, it'd be nice to hear from you." He sent me a lovely email back: "Of course I remember you." And he just remembered everything in the conversations! I thought I must have made some mark on him! We exchanged a few emails from there. Then he left his number. I called him and we chatted for about two hours!
Yousaf: Then we met the day after.
Yousaf: I'd been thinking, naturally, "Why did you disappear?" I thought she may have met somebody. I was getting to know somebody too, but fortunately (laughs) it didn't work out and then Nashina emailed me!
Nashina: I had a meeting that day in Manchester and we met up afterwards at Bella Pasta in Birstall. I was running late and Yousaf was waiting. I phoned and told him I was stuck in traffic. He said, "Can I get you a drink?" I thought, bless him! When I walked in there were people everywhere. Then I noticed him right in the corner and I just saw this big smiley face. He'd ordered my tea!
Yousaf: I saw her come in and there was a big smile from ear to ear! She gave me a hug and sat down and we couldn't stop chatting. I felt like I'd known her for ages.
Nashina: It felt like we'd known each other forever really!
Yousaf: It was crazy. And it just flowed. Big smiles, good time.
Nashina: We were there a couple of hours. I think we met up the next day.
Yousaf: Same place.
Nashina: Yeah, same place (laughs). We used to call it "our usual"! It was ten minutes from where I lived and ten minutes from where Yousaf worked. In that time, we called each other every single day and we were emailing.
In one of the first conversations we had, Yousaf said, "How long would it take for you to know if you want to get married?" In my head I thought, run for the door, I've only met him for the first time! But at the same time, if the man of my dreams walked into my life tomorrow, I wouldn't want to wait and that's exactly what happened! Marriage is a huge commitment and, Insha'Allah, we're only going to do it once, so we weren't going to tell our families until we got to know each other quite well. But the week after, he told me his mum wanted to meet me. I wasn't sure, but in my heart I thought that if a guy wants to take me to see his mum then it's a beautiful thing. At the weekend, he picked me up at our usual and I told him I'd love to meet his mum. He said, "Shall we go now?"
Yousaf: I don't think my mum was ready – she had curlers in her hair!
Nashina: His mum was painting and decorating! She gave me a big hug and a kiss and sat me down. That was in the second week. I have five brothers and five sisters so I thought I'd introduce him to just my brothers and sisters first as an introduction to my family.
Yousaf: I didn't know how many brothers and sisters I was meeting! But it was really nice. I met two younger brothers and an older sister.
Nashina: In the third week Yousaf came over with his mum and dad to meet my mum and dad.
Yousaf: I'll never forget that!
Nashina: It was bizarre! My dad is 84 and he's always been stuck in his ways. As soon as they all walked in, he didn't say a word.
Yousef: He really scared me! (Laughs.) Her mum was really sweet but her dad just sat there with his sunglasses on inside the house! It was like something out of a Bond movie! After about fifteen minutes, the glasses came off and then he started talking.
Nashina: As it happened, my dad and Yousaf's granddad were really good friends and my dad taught Yousaf's dad in Pakistan! Sometimes when you meet somebody the parents are a bit reluctant about the family but our families just knew everybody! We look back and think, what were the chances of that happening? We were both on the site, living only twenty minutes from each other and our paths never crossed! It's all thanks to SingleMuslim.com!
Yousaf: We proposed to Nashina's family and they agreed. We read a dua (prayer) to bless our union. We set a provisional date for about three months from that date as we wanted family to come from overseas. My mum wanted to do everything and she'd waited for this her whole life. She did an excellent job.
Nashina: Yousaf's mum went to Pakistan and did all the shopping.
Yousaf: It was short notice but everything just fell into place. All the fine details were there, perfectly done, last minute.
Nashina: At first we were trying to get the numbers. I had 1,000 people, Yousaf had 300. Then we were trying to find a venue. Luckily, we booked in the Galpharm Stadium [Huddersfield].
Yousaf: The celebrations took place over four consecutive days and they were just perfect.
Nashina: I don't know how we did it!
Yousaf: The family. It couldn't have happened if it wasn't for the family. They just rallied together.
Nashina: With Yousaf being the first son getting married from his family, his mum wanted it to be a big deal. And on my side, with me being the first girl to have a family wedding, they wanted a special day as well. It was amazing, every bit of it!
Yousaf: On Nikkah day I wore the Asian outfit. It was a beautiful wedding. We had the Rajasthani theme for the first day; Nashina wore a beautiful dress.
Nashina: Emerald green. All the brothers and sisters wore Rajasthani colours and themes. On the second day, it was a bit more westernized.
Yousaf: I went for a nice suit; Nashina wore a turquoise dress. At the end of the evening we let off Chinese lanterns.
Nashina: And fireworks as well. It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful day.
Yousef: We went to Mexico for our honeymoon – ten days. It was excellent! And because Nashina had Mendhi people knew we'd just got married.
Nashina: People were stopping me everywhere, congratulating us and we were getting discounts too!
Yousaf: The day we got back, our families had been here and done the place up and put big pictures of our wedding up.
It sounds like it was all plain sailing for you both, Alhamdulillah. Were there any problems at all?
Yousaf: Just minor things. Otherwise it was plain sailing.
Describe the moment you first met. Was it love at first sight?
Yousaf: I wouldn't say that. Love is thrown around too easily these days. But when Nashina walked in, she lit up the place with her smile. I'm quite a smiley person anyway but after our first meeting my cheeks were hurting from smiling so much! It was nice: no apprehension, everything just flowed.
What would you say makes your relationship special?
Nashina: It's a mixture of things.
Yousaf: It is. For me, communication is the biggest thing. We say what needs to be said. It's all honesty. What you see is what you get. No pretences.
Nashina: Absolutely. I was never looking for a clone of myself. How boring would that be? I want him to have his opinions. I have mine and if I don't agree with him I'll say. We don't have to agree on everything as long as we respect each other's opinion, that's all that matters. And from Day 1 we were on the same wavelength. We're so similar in many ways.
Yousaf: Because she comes from such a large family she's got all this life about her – this bounce – which I love. It's brilliant!
Nashina: Because of Yousaf's teaching and I'm always with little kids, we're young at heart too.
Yousaf: There are so many contributing factors but the one thing that brought us together was Islam. Without that foundation we'd be nothing.
Now a few questions about the website. How did you first hear of SIngleMuslim.com?
Nashina: Through friends and search engines. I never thought I would get myself on a website but we're living proof that it does work!
Yousaf: I browsed the Internet quickly and SingleMuslim.com came up first. I checked out the website; read the reviews and success stories. I thought, it's dedicated to one thing and it's professional.
What did you think of the website?
Yousaf: It had a lot of good features – it was brilliant actually. Straightaway when you log in, you see the little scroll of pictures – I liked that. I liked the fact that you can search to your locality. You can search anywhere! I also like that you can see who had looked at your profile. I never used the Live Chat; I don't have the time. One thing that brought up a few issues was people would ask, "What type of Muslim are you?" I'm just a Muslim. Or people would say, "What's your caste?" I don't have a caste.
Nashina: I never had a problem with caste. To me everyone is equal no matter what background they were. But some people do have an issue with it, which is unfortunate.
Yousaf: Overall, I'd say the site is easy to navigate, easy to use and the search was simple.
Nashina: I totally agree. You could put in all the requirements that you wanted: height, age, profession, location, whatever you want, and it gave you a list of who was there and how long they'd been on the site. The photo privacy was good. You've done it the right way as not everyone wants to be seen.
Yousaf: I found that a little bit frustrating at times but I can appreciate it. Each to their own.
Nashina: The first time I was on the site I had pictures in the public gallery, but afterwards I thought no. When you see a picture of anyone you build a perception of what they could be like. It's only when you converse with a person or actually meet them that you get to know what that person is about.
Did you have any other experiences – good or bad – on the website, which you'd like to share?
Yousaf: Masha'Allah, there are a lot of decent ladies out there, who are honest, trustworthy, hardworking – good wife material. A lot of brothers out there will be very happy.
Nashina: I met a few people on the site; there are some very good people on there. At the same time, women have to be more cautious than the guys. We can be a little naive sometimes, opening our hearts up too quickly and letting people know too much about ourselves before really knowing the other person. People do lie. Never give out your personal details until you know that they are genuine. There were some timewasters too, but that's just like life; you get the good and the bad. But do keep searching because there are plenty of good people out there.
How do you feel about men paying for the service while females receive it free of charge?
Yousef: I don't mind women not paying but I understand that if you pay for something, you have to invest a bit more time in it and to be a bit more serious. Islamically, I think it's a good idea for the gentleman to pay.
Nashina: I found out later that it was only the guys paying and, in a way, I think it is a good idea.
Finally, what are your plans for the future?
Yousaf: Well, the world is our oyster! We can go where we want.
Nashina: There is so much that we want to do and see.
Yousaf: There's plenty more of the world that needs exploring. I would say, I'll take my wife on Umrah, do Hajj together Insha'Allah, have kids together when the time is right and when Allah creeds it. We want to start learning more about Islam together, maybe move to another country – we've thought of so many things. There's nothing holding us back. Career-wise, I'm flexible – I can teach anywhere. Nashina can design anywhere, so it's alright.
Would you recommend SingleMuslim.com?
Nashina: Yes, yes, yes, yes! Definitely. It brought us together. We can't ask for anything better.
We felt the need to thank SingleMuslim.com. For the past six months, Masha'Allah, it seems that everything we'd dreamt of has just fallen into our laps. We thank Allah every day for giving us such a beautiful life and for bringing us together. Sometimes in life you get a little bit lost and look at what you haven't got rather than what you do have. But, Masha'Allah, we realise how blessed we are to have such beautiful people around us. The whole experience has been amazing; it still feels surreal!
Yousaf: It's just meant to be. But without SingleMuslim.com we would never have met. I tell people it's the best £100 I ever spent!
At SingleMuslim.com, we're always pleased to meet another happy couple, and founder Adeem Younis was delighted to present Yousaf and Nashina with their free Umrah tickets in return for sharing their story.