Marriage in Morocco: Moral Values, Materialism and the Hypocrisy of Society
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, July 13, 2012
“Even marriage itself as a noble institution has not escaped social hypocrisy,” I said to myself the other day. Wherever I go in Morocco, I notice couples being either victims or beneficiaries of social hypocrisy in marriage. Fortunately, Islam already condemns this, and this is exactly what makes me more self-confident about what I am thinking.
When one’s position in life speaks on proposal day, be sure that this is a sign of social hypocrisy. When one’s physical appearances speak on the same day, be certain that social hypocrisy is there. When one’s money talks on the same day, make sure that the same social problem is taking its roots. It all revolves around social hypocrisy. Needless to say, there are exceptions.
In Morocco, there are many rich families who have pretty girls inside their homes. But, why is it extremely rare that poor suitors do not knock on their doors to ask for one of the pretty girl’s hand? Simply, because they know the answer is no and that there is no need to be put in an embarrassing situation. They also feel hesitant about taking the initiative to go and propose at a time when the fittest suitors are usually the ones to succeed in procuring the pretty of the prettiest.
If some of these poor suitors happen to insist on having one of the pretty girls as a wife, the rich families of the girls usually prevaricate by saying that the girls are still too young to marry or that they still have to study. Is there any social hypocrisy here? Surely, there is. While such families hold that a real husband in a girl’s life is the one that is well behaved, morally good, responsible and caring in all respects, they can not bear seeing their daughters married to poor husbands.
If you ask any girl of today about the man of her dreams, she, just as her peers, will tell you that he is the one that cares, that loves truly, that assumes responsibility and that shows maturity. Yet, once a proposal day comes, and an extremely unattractive suitor who owns all these traits asks for the pretty girl’s hand, she can not help considering the man’s beauty and hesitates to say either yes or no. So, looks matter even if many think it is in the eye of the beholder.
Without beauty, all these traits no longer mean anything to the pretty girl. Anyway, it is human nature to lean towards beauty as a blessing. Beauty isn’t usually raised on the day of marriage so as not to embarrass any partner, but everyone feels it. And when a partner refuses the other on the basis of beauty, they by implication show social hypocrisy, especially that beauty, many believe, is not the key to a successful married life. Since it is not the key, I wonder why many partners still cling to it?
Many rich Muslim families stress that one’s position in life doesn’t matter, and what matters for them, instead, is one’s comportment, one’s religiosity, and one’s morals. Notwithstanding, when a very poor suitor with an unstable income knocks on the door of these families to ask for their daughter’s hand, they usually are hesitant, expressing their fear about the future of the girl. But, doesn’t the prophet teach them that the trait of being Muslim and morally good suffices for them to accept the proposal?
In fact, they find the prophet’s advice hard to apply, and this is what has led many to prefer rich suitors for their daughters before even thinking about the criterion comportment. In Moroccan society, where prices rise unexpectedly, rich families, whether conservative or not, most of the time, decline the poor person’s proposal.
In a society where wealthy suitors can offer what the poor suitors can not, rich Muslim families feel compelled to be realistic and go on to prefer rich suitors over poor ones for their Muslim daughters. To some extent, they are hypocritical in that the values they have fought for in their lives run contrary to the materialism they have fallen prey to.
Another sign of social hypocrisy in marriage is that if offered the opportunity to get married, poor girls, unlike rich ones, hasten to accept the proposal for fear that luck might strike once. It must sadden us that only a few girls get married on the basis of the principle of true love.
In a society where spinsterhood is becoming more rampant, girls, especially poor and unattractive ones, hasten to say ‘yes’ to any suitor, be he poor or rich, morally good or morally bad. Setting conditions on the part of these marginalized girls in society is very rare. In my opinion, they no longer choose marriage; it is marriage that chooses them instead, and imposes itself at the spur of the moment in spite of themselves.
In our society, sometimes, we spot couples who married because they once felt obliged to and feared to face spinsterhood, a nightmare for the majority of girls. At other times, we spot couples who married because they truly love each other truly, not necessarily because one of them is rich and the other is poor, but because they are all born to rich families and they are all attractive to each other.
When we abide by the conventions of society, which is social hypocrisy, then the rich continue to marry the rich, the poor continue to marry the poor and the attractive continue to marry the attractive. When we, however, break the conventions in question, we either live a true love story or die in misery. Frankly, nowadays, breaking these conventions is daring. Only those who dare to live a real love story or die in misery can do it.