Cupid's Little Helper
“Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match,find me a find, catch me a catch”
Maha Taher, 25, is a philanthropist extraordinaire and self-made matchmaker. Starting from her own personal experience of finding “the one” and marrying her now husband, Maha set out to create her Facebook group to help lonely hearts find companions in a manner consistent with the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. She later created a website, na9eeb.com, that allows you to fill in a questionnaire, post ideas and thoughts, and help people get a better understanding of marriage.
Do you think of yourself as a matchmaker, cupid, or the middleman?
I think of myself as the intermediary between both parties, I direct compatible people to each other and facilitate the getting to know process. Matchmakers usually have a negative connotation because they do it for money; I on the other hand, do it for free because I find true happiness in giving, helping others and spreading joyful marriages in our commentary. Cupid is a naked boy with wings and a bow and arrow, I think it is cute but I eventually realized it’s not embedded in our culture and the majority don’t relate to it.
What will na9eeb bring that’s different than other online marriage services available these days?
Other online marriage services are automated, the computer matches up people based on analytical compatibility. I on the other hand, do things myself. I read each profile, meet the person I’m helping during the interview process and look for a compatible match. Having the same background is important in our culture, that is something no computer can figure out. Other marriage services in Saudi like “katabat” are traditional, but I am modern. In the sense where I accommodate to the person’s need, whether it’s seeing the other person’s picture, meeting them with family for the first time or getting to know each other as friends first.
What’s the biggest misconception about na9eeb.com?
People who don’t know the mission misperceive na9eeb.com as a dating website; therefore, I clearly keep repeating it’s a marriage website and is not related to dating.
How would you best describe na9eeb.com?
na9eeb.com is your online best friend where you can vent, share your stories, experiences and emotions in addition to asking this friend to help you find a compatible match if possible.
How does na9eeb.com work?
The way it works is as follows; a family member would approach me telling me that their relative (brother, son) is looking for a bride with certain characteristics. I either suggest someone I know who is compatible or ask my social network and friends for a suitable candidate. Once we identify a possible match we tell the relative, and if
they are interested we approach the girl (the potential bride) and tell her the details. If she accepts we facilitate the process, whether she prefers his parents calling hers, meeting them for the first time, or exchanging information between them through emails or Facebook till they are comfortable enough to contact each other to discuss marriage. In a case of a girl wishing for marriage, the process is adjusted accordingly. I don’t help complete strangers; it’s always people from our same circle of friends, social group and background. This is not a dating
service! It’s a group to help decent single people get married! I would like to reiterate that I only help people I know or people I have mutual friends with.
What is love?
I am a realist not idealist, so to me, love is a strong feeling of affection, affection does not come unless you get to know the other person well, including their flaws. Love is accepting the other for who they are, embracing them and wanting to live with them as long as possible. Love fades away that’s why it is important to remind yourself to keep accepting, embracing and wanting it.
What’s the best advice you could give single ladies and men out there?
Everything happens for a reason. Be patient, appreciate the moment and it’ll come when the time is right. Praying and having hope is crucial but accepting the present and being content is the key to happiness.
In her Shoes
Describe a perfect 24 hours in your city
8 hrs of sleep, 8 hrs of work, 8 hrs to myself:
8 hrs of sleep: my coma time.
8hrs of work: since I am currently not working in a company, I am working for the people, I’m involved in a few charity projects such as teaching kids English in an orphanage, distributing food and water to needy families, distributing ACs, and cleaning the streets of Jeddah. 8 hrs to myself: I spend time with my husband, my friends, family, reading, watching series such as “the good wife”, “lie to me”, etc.
What’s your favorite cultural spot?
My favorite spot in the Kingdom is Makkah, I lose myself there, nothing in the world matters anymore but asking for forgiveness, guidance, and happiness in this life and the after. In the world, Rome is another enormous place that you should never neglect; it has astonishing fountains, inconceivable food and an atmosphere that is not found anywhere else. The coliseum is one of the most extraordinary places to visit there. The temples of prehistoric Rome are also among the most significant places to visit. You will be surprised when you visit Trajan’s market that is very primitive, covered with shopping plazas.
Best city landmarks:
In Jeddah I would say el Balad. The old city, the old houses with wooden windows and tiny shops at the bottom.
Favorite place in the world and why?
Lugano, Switzerland. Not only is it aesthetically beautiful but I also spent 4 of the most beautiful years of my life there. I found myself there during college.
Where would you take someone visiting Jeddah for the first time?
I would take them to Karentiana, Gulail, hai el jamaah, guwaiza, mahjar and al nujla. These are districts in south Jeddah where people barely, if ever, visit. Jeddah is divided in two sections, the rich area, which is the north, and the poor area, which is the south. I would take visitors to the south so they can see that although Saudi is a rich country, poverty prevails. Maybe with their insights, experience and point of views, we can improve the situation in the south.
What’s your favorite weekend getaway from the city?
The beach house… There is nothing like the warm sun, soft breeze and the relaxing sounds of the waves embracing your body, mind and soul.