In conservative societies, it is always expected of men to take the initiative as far as marriage proposals are concerned and girls who decide to reverse the situation are likely to be criticized for breaking a long-standing tradition. The remarkable rise in the number of women proposing to men in Morocco has shed more light on the phenomenon and drove many to analyze the reasons for its prevalence.
“I proposed to my husband,” Naeema al-Mansouri told Al Arabiya.
Mansouri recounted the time she met the woman that later became her mother-in-law and offered to marry her son.
“We were in a wedding and I met her there. Another woman asked her how her son was and she said he found a job and was looking for a wife. I told her that I can make a good wife for her son and that I am good at cooking and household chores.”
The woman, Mansouri added, told her that she likes her and that she has no problem with her marrying her son, but said he has to decide when he gets to see her.
“I met him and he liked me. He said he would marry me provided that we live with his mother who would feel lonely if we lived away from her. I agreed and now she is like a mother to me.”
Hend, a woman in her thirties, first proposed to her future husband jokingly.
“I told him I am willing to bring a bunch of flowers and ask him to marry me,” she told Al Arabiya.
Hend added that he asked her whether she was serious and she told him that “the man who refuses to divorce his wife when she asks for it is not a man and so is the man who refuses to marry a woman when she asks for it.”
“Of course I am a man,” he replied then went to visit her parents with their family.
Hassan al-Haithami, editor-in-chief of the Justice and Development Party’s website, does not mind marrying a woman who proposes to him as long as she has all the traits he needs in a wife.
“There is nothing wrong with a woman asking a man to marry her. These are feelings and you cannot control them and decide who says what. There is nothing insulting for a woman to do that. In fact, I find it very brave,” he told Al Arabiya.
Rukaia Zayed, a housewife and a mother of four, disagreed to this breach of traditions.
“If a woman proposes to my and he agreed, I will disown him forever,” she told Al Arabiya.
Zayed explained that in this case she will discover what a weak personality her son has and how indifferent he is to the social and family norms in which he was brought up.
For sociologist and university professor Abdul Samad al-Dialmi, the rise in the number of women proposing to men is part of a female campaign to promote the principles of gender equality.
“Moroccan women are proving that they will not surrender to spinsterhood and that she has the right to tell a man if she likes him and wants to marry him because they are equal,” he told Al Arabiya.
Dialmi objected to regarding this action on the part of women as too daring and argued that society has to admit that this is one of women’s rights.
Abdul Razek al-Jay, professor of Sunna at Rabat University and member of the Scientific Circle for Islamic Studies, said that men are usually the ones who propose to women because this is what tradition has always dictated, yet there is nothing wrong with it from the religious point of view.
“Prophet Mohamed’s first wife Khadija was the one who proposed to him, yet this has not been part of the Sunnah because it is not socially common,” he told Al Arabiya.
Jay explained that Islam is the religion of equality and that is why it is the woman’s right to propose to a man if she finds in him the traits she seeks.
“The only problem would be if the woman proposes to the man because of how rich or handsome he is and without paying attention to his morals. She will in this case have fallen into the trap of imitating Mexican and Turkish soap operas that have lately invaded the Arab world,” he concluded.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)