After 8 months of hard work, we launched the first and only Somali Matrimonial website. We have only been live for one month and now have over 1000 members who signed up on our site. Online matrimonial services are new to our community and are seen as taboo by many. In an attempt to debunk common beliefs and misconceptions about meeting online, we sat down with brother Ahmed who met his Somali wife online ten years ago. We hope you find the interview beneficial.
Hello Ahmed thank you for allowing us to interview you about your amazing story of how you met your wife. Many people would not want to share their story because it can be seen as embarrassing or awkward, so our first question is why did you choose to share your story?
Honestly, I thought about it carefully and consulted my wife and we said why not share our story, its been almost ten years and we have three lovely kids mashallah and the least we can do is share our journey of how we found our Calaf on the world wide web.
What made you want to search online for a wife as oppose to using more traditional methods? When did you begin searching and how long did the search take? How many sisters did you approach online before you sent a message to your future wife?
It was in 2007 were I was an international student in Malaysia and studying a Law Degree, I was very busy and there wasn’t much time to socialize as there was a lack of Social gatherings within the Somali community and your options were very limited in terms of sourcing a potential spouse and so most of us would resort to professional networking platforms online in the hope of finding a spouse
Are there certain things you were looking out for during your search online? What were you cautious about in your search, and what things were you hopeful for? What made your wife stand out amongst the other members?
I always loved a challenge growing up and I always enjoyed someone with a very strong character both in and out and when I first started to connect with my wife online it was evident she had a strong character and very opinionated which I really enjoyed loved the most about her and most of my friends at the time thought I was crazy, but I was right in the end and she’s become even stronger since then Alhamdulillah.
How long did you communicate on the website before moving to another mode of communication?
We started of on the Social networking platform called Somalilife.com in 2007 and we quickly shifted onto MSN messenger and were on the for a week and then exchanged contact numbers and begun to speak over the phone. Facebook was launched about the same time and we then jumped onto Facebook till we got married in April 2008.
I understand both of you were in two different continents thousands of miles away from each other. What challenges did you face facilitating the marriage once you knew she was the one?
My biggest challenge was convincing her parents that I was the right guy for their daughter while being thousands of miles away. The other issue was that we had both had never met each other in person and everything was online and so the risks were very high. But Alhmadulilah after praying Istikharah the key was that I was and still am a very persistent person and if I lock my mind on something its almost impossible for me to give up till I reach my goal.
Did you tell your family and friends that you met her online? What was their reaction?
I initially lied to my parents that I had met Fahima in Malaysia and she came down from Australia on a holiday and I was introduced to her through a mutual friend. Fahima also had done the same thing and advised her parents that I had come to Australia on a holiday and she met me at an Islamic event which never happened let alone me ever coming to Australia ????. I felt at the time our parents wouldn’t support us had we told them that we met one another online and that we had never met in person.
According to societal beliefs couples that meet online and marry are more likely to divorce after few years. What is your take on that?
In my humble opinion couples divorce for many reasons and we don’t have the research or the data to say that those that meet online have a higher divorce rate. I met my wife online and we got married and its been almost ten years and we have three children and that’s all I have to say Alhamdulilah. We can discuss potential challenges of marriage for those that meet online on a separate occasion.
What advice would you give to Somalis who are currently thinking about taking their search online?
It becomes easy to put all the effort into investing in a potential partner if you know yourself firstly and you have all your priorities in order and know exactly what you are looking for in a spouse whether online or offline. But I believe it becomes very challenging when a person doesn’t know where they are in life and are still figuring out their priorities for the future and to be able to take on additional commitment and the responsibility of marriage may become a bit too much for some to handle or manage.
Somalis are spread all over the world, why do you think we are skeptical about breaking old norms and accepting online matrimonial as a method to solve the marriage crisis?
The simple feeling of going into unknown territory of the internet is a bit scary for some older/younger generation to accept that their children or potential spouse could come from across the globe or even locally. Most of the time we always hear or attribute bad news coming from the internet and, so it becomes difficult to comprehend a good spouse to come from it. I have no doubt that online matrimony will play a large role in marriage in the future within the Somali Community if it already isn’t doing id be surprised.
We are launching a Somali matrimonial website called guurso.net what advice do you have for our future members?
Thanks for your time Ahmed.