Marriage in Morocco: Moral Values, Materialism and the Hypocrisy of Society

Omar Bihmidine
Omar Bihmidine is a junior high school teacher of English in Sidi Ifni city. He obtained his Associate Degree at Choaib Eddoukali University in 2008. He earned his B.A. from Ibn Zohr university, Agadir. His writings take the form of short stories, poems and ...
Marriage in Morocco: Moral Values, Materialism and the Hypocrisy of Society

Sidi Ifni, Morocco - “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.

Comment!

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  • fairplay

    To some extent yes for all what you have expressed above in detail.
    In my book, marriage is above all a sacred tie that pieces a man and a woman together for the sake of a better life, for the sake of happiness, for the sake of begetting children, for the sake of avoiding adultery.
    Also, before this tie is done the two parts should accept one another, should be prepared to help one another; they should melt away together and make a pair of two different partners. This takes time and presupposes certain conditions before the lock is done.
    In my book, men got married to women regardless of their social belonging, regardless of whether they were cute or not, regardless of whether they were poor or live in utter riches, regardless of even whether their parents and close family members consented or not.
    In my book, there are some marriages which ended up either in misery or in jail or in the asylum…. But their failures were attributed to the way of conduct of both partners, to whether they were ready and well-prepared to get married, to whether they understood the naturally-different ways of thinking of each one of them.
    There are cases of course of poor girls who got married to rich men and lived happily since the day they were conjugated and the same thing can be said the other way around.
    And there were cases of failures. But this is a matter of course. This is the way things go on earth.
    Still, we should keep faith and we should strongly believe that there are both girls and boys who are ready to get married to anybody on condition that they are serious and ready to fight for their survival, that they are ready to take care of them and afford their basic needs but look forward to changing their status quo if possible.
    Otherwise, where is the problem?
    It’s our pretended belief in the teachings of Islam which led us to such a disaster. Because if it had not been so, we could have behaved differently and marriage problems of this type could have been mere pieces of fiction.
    This affected the way we were up brought.
    This led to a blind imitation of the other.
    This brought about such anomalies not only in marriage but also in other aspects of life.
    That’s it. When people try to think out a system that’s far away from the one the Maker of the cosmos revealed to His Prophet, expect such calamities and people continue to search for mere rectifications of the rulings and laws they have devised themselves to solve their social, economical etc problems, await the end of the film.
    When I say calamity or disaster, this doesn’t contradict my viewpoint I stated at the beginning of my reply.
    Rather, I mean that if sixty or fifty or even ten per cent of marriages continue to fail the way we are witnessing nowadays and nothing “efficient and effective” is done to find a way out of this plight, it is enough to bring not merely a family down but also a whole society and community and therefore generations. God forbid.
    By the way, while here in some Arab countries we seem to neglect the teachings of Islam just for the “beautiful eyes” of some amicable countries and international institutions, the people of some or say most European and American countries are converting into Islam and benefiting from the beautiful rulings and laws that make of it a perfect system for happiness and peace to reign over this existence.
    Don’t worry, be happy and get married.

  • fairplay

    To some extent yes for all what you have expressed above in detail.
    In my book, marriage is above all a sacred tie that pieces a man and a woman together for the sake of a better life, for the sake of happiness, for the sake of begetting children, for the sake of avoiding adultery.
    Also, before this tie is done the two parts should accept one another, should be prepared to help one another; they should melt together and make a pair of two different partners. This takes time and presupposes certain conditions before the lock is done.
    My viewpoint is this.
    In my book, men got married to women regardless of their social belonging, regardless of whether they were cute or not, regardless of whether they were poor or live in utter riches, regardless of even whether their parents and close family members consented or not.
    In my book, there are some marriages which ended up either in misery or in jail or in the asylum…. But their failures were attributed to the way of conduct of both partners, to whether they were ready and well-prepared to get married, to whether they understood the naturally-different ways of thinking of each one of them, to whether they know what marriage stands for in effect.
    In fact, there are cases of course of poor girls who got married to rich men and lived happily since the day they were conjugated and the same thing can be said the other way around.
    And there were cases of failures. But this is a matter of course. This is the way things normally go.
    Still, we shouldn’t lower our weapons and say “stop”. No, we should keep faith and we should strongly believe that there exist both some girls and boys who are ready to get married to anybody on condition that they are serious and ready to fight for their survival and on condition that the boy has a job or is ready to make a living; they are ready to marry on condition that they feel they are taken care of and afforded their basic needs but with a look forward to changing their status quo if possible.
    Otherwise, where is the problem?
    It’s our pretended belief in the teachings of Islam which led us to such a disaster. Because if it had not been so, we could have behaved differently and marriage problems of this type could have been mere pieces of fiction.
    This affected the way we were up brought.
    This led to a blind imitation of the other.
    This brought about such anomalies not only in marriage but also in other aspects of life.
    That’s it. When people try to think out a system that’s far away from the one the Maker of the cosmos revealed to His Prophet, expect such calamities and people continue to search for mere rectifications of the rulings and laws they have devised themselves to solve their social, economical etc problems, await the end of the film.
    When I say calamity or disaster, this doesn’t contradict my viewpoint I stated at the beginning of my reply.
    Rather, I mean that if sixty or fifty or even ten per cent of marriages continue to fail the way we are witnessing nowadays and nothing “efficient and effective” is done to find a way out of this plight, it is enough to bring not merely a family down but also a whole society and community and therefore generations. God forbid.
    By the way, while here in some Arab countries we seem to neglect the teachings of Islam just for the “beautiful eyes” of some amicable countries and international institutions, the people of some or say most European and American countries are converting into Islam and benefiting from the beautiful rulings and laws that make of it a perfect system for happiness and peace to reign over this existence.
    Don’t worry, be happy and get married.

  • RKWeiner

    Thank you for your viewpoint! I think it’s natural that a rich girl’s family would want her to marry a rich man. They want someone who can provide for her as she has been in her childhood. I can’t imagine a parent wanting any less for their daughter. I would rather see opportunities for poor boys to study, raise their earning potential, and become good providers for a potential wife. Each person, male and female, should work to make him or herself the best possible person (not only for themselves, but for their future spouse).

    I would like to ask you some questions. Any comments on these queries would be very much appreciated!

    1. Why did you not talk about poor men who want to marry unattractive rich girls? Do you think this exists? If so, is it a problem?

    2. It seems that you think love is best for a marriage. How can Moroccan couples marry for love, when they often participate in arranged marriages?

    I’d appreciate any insight you can give me.
    Thank you!

  • Kasmi Hicham

    well, first of all thanks for the initiative. I just want to say that in your article you been trying to portray what is abnormal normal and vice versa. I can also assume that you are a romatic person believing in romance movies (no hard feelings). I truly believe that love exists but it is never blind, I mean I find it very normal that a girl or a boy never “releases” his feelings and his emotions toward his/her partner till that one meets certain criteria, hence no wonder that a rich girl dreams of a rich husband and vice-versa. and I think that this is quite normal not because they are materialistic, but because each one got used to a certain life style and violating this life style can geopardize and weaken every relationship.also, in your article, you mentioned respecting certain criteria like morals, seriousness…. so you may add social class.
    one last idea, If a rich boy or girl accepts to a marry a poor partner, this good and lovely, but if s/he refuses because of poverty, no one should blame him/her or accuse them to be hypocrate or materialistic.

    thank you

  • Younes El Bardi

    Hi, thnx for the initiative of writing this up. I just can’t agree with u my deer because when you say that not agreeing to marry a person because he or she is not attractive is hypocrisy is false, because first of all everybody has different taste, value, desires and criteria that they look for. We say it’s not all about money but in todays life we for sure need some minimum and for most if you were form a rich family in morocco, because for moroccan statues means a lot. And you must know that in morocco we have the problem of mothers going to chose a bride for their sons who are sometimes uneducated, unemployed, mentally ill or sometimes they are just looking for a maid, not even to talk about those who are lloking for a wife just for benefit and yes those are in fact the real hypocrites because they are just looking for the income that, that future bride would bring to their monthly income.

  • Hicham Ouaarabi

    Thanks Omar, I believe, all whole portrait is true. The question is how could we exceed, surpass and solve the problem to become an unmaterialist society, a society full of moral values. We’ll still have right to love fortune and wealth but not to the extent to become with no moral values just like a cury dog!

  • ZionistSlayer

    This article is really poorly written. It is like it was translated from Arabic. In any event, the best marriages are those that are made based upon Islamic principles.

    A Man should marry for Beauty, religion or Wealth. There is nothing wrong with it. A Woman should marry for Religion – but also has a right to decide no if she does not feel it is a good fit for her.

    Being in “Love” is probably one of the worst reasons to marry someone. Having respect for your potential partner, being attracted to them, admiring their value system – these will lead to longer and stronger unions than “love”

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