Marriage Customs in Rabat

Salam my friends.

I am starting this topic because there is a good chance I am going to propose to my Moroccan girlfriend during my stay in Morocco over the next few months. I read ummaryam99’s post about marriage customs in another thread and I am intrigued. I have been trying to soak up every aspect of Moroccan culture that I can, because it is just beautiful and amazing to me (my being in love with a Moroccan may have something to do with my strong desire to learn ;)).

I have learned that customs, traditions, and language can vary greatly between regions and even within a city, so I am just writing to find out if anyone has any insight into Ribati customs.

While I know she is familiar with my marriage customs (I am American), I want to be sure to honor Moroccan traditions and possibly mix them with my own. I have not converted to Islam YET (I am reading Qur’an now and trying to learn more), so please keep that in mind with your responses. Inshallah I will probably convert before our wedding if that is what is written for me (I just want to make sure I am doing it for the right reasons and my heart is pure).

My girlfriend is like most young people from Rabat, meaning that she has a wide mix of influences ranging from western music and culture, to traditional Muslim values.

As per the traditions I grew up with in the U.S., I would go and speak to her father, ask for permission, buy a ring, plan some elaborate and romantic situation in which to ask, get down on one knee, and ask her to marry me.

I just don’t know what I am supposed to do in Morocco. I have other Moroccan friends to ask, and surely I will, but I want to get a wide variety of opinions.

I understand it is traditional to ask the father, but her mother is divorced and she doesn’t speak to her Dad. So, should I ask her mother for permission? And at that, I still do not speak Darija or French fluently (she speaks English) so I would need to have one of my friends translate.

What do Moroccan girls expect as far as an engagement gift? Many girls in other cultures love their big diamond rings, but in my reading about Islam I have found that being flashy with jewelry or clothes is not good. Is that correct in Morocco as well? Based on that, I was thinking of getting a simple and tasteful ring but I don’t want her to be disappointed or think that she is not worth more to me.

If anyone knows of any resources that I can read to learn more on this topic, please let me know. I intend to ask all of my friends when I arrive in Morocco, but this is constantly on my mind so I can’t wait for answers — I am too excited!!

Aside from the marriage customs, I was wondering what is the average age women are usually engaged/married in Morocco?

I just realized that is a lot of questions… :unsure:

Salam Clayton,

Although I am not from Rabat, but I’ll try to help.

To comment on your conversion, you actually should be Muslim first before being able to marry a Muslim girl. Now that’s the rule, but sometimes you’d see people who do it just on paper, in order to marry Muslim girls… when these ones don’t really care about the men to really practice religion. That’s just a note to mention the right chronological order.

For marriage, it’s not really the same process in Morocco. In Morocco, if a man wants to ask for a girl’s hand, he takes his parents and goes to officially meet the girl’s parents, and asks for her hand. That’s when the two families agree on engagement and wedding details. So it’s not really an event for two.
Notice that it’s extremely important to take one’s parents for such an important event. That’s how the girl’s parents get to meet the other family, and actually know that the guy’s parents support him. Now if you’re having special circumstances, like living in a foreign country, and your parents being in a different country, then things can be arranged with the girl’s family.

I don’t know about the girl, but you should probably ask her about proposing the American way. It could be kind of embarrassing for her if you do it in public without preparing her, because it’s a new thing in the society. Just an assumption, she might be interested in going for something new. But you know, customs are almost rules, so you’ll still need to do it the Moroccan way.

If you’re going to do it the Moroccan way, here is my scenario: You tell the girl that you want to meet her parents, and you agree on a date. Her family gets ready, and both the mother and father will be there, so it’s not really up to you to talk to each one separately. I think that even if her mom and dad do not speak to each other, they might both be there for her. Otherwise, it should be with the father that you speak when you go.

For gifts, it’s all in the budget :D. We have a thread about engagement gifts here, please share the opinions you get from your friends with stealth, he is still curious to learn more, like you.

Here is another topic we had about how Moroccan weddings go.

There is no real average age. I saw the other day on TV, in a Moroccan village, girls get married once they are 17. :neu:

I hope that I helped a little bit, and hope that other members will share their opinions as well.
Let us know about all you learn from your friends :).

Baraka alahu fik, SM!! This has answered a lot of questions for me. I will still be asking my friends in Rabat, but only because they know her family and will be able to tell me the intricacies of dealing with them. I will let you know what they say.

My intention was to surprise her by knowing the traditions and being able to go about this as any Moroccan man would, but I figured it’s best to ask her directly about her own family traditions and customs. I wanted to know how she has pictured this. It is basically as you described. Instead of her father being present, her maternal uncle is the man of the family so I will deal with him and her mother.

Now another important part is my conversion. I am very interested in converting, not only to join her in faith, but because I feel called. There is some reason I am being brought to Morocco and it is not just because of the amazing food :wink:

What should I expect with that? My faith grows by the day and I continue to read and learn about Islam, but I can continue my learning after I convert inshallah. I don’t have to be completely educated right?

I am glad I was of some help :).

The surprise in the engagement process in Morocco is when you tell the girl that you need a rendez-vous with her family. So that’s where you can start. If you have close friends there, then it will be a good idea to take someone and his mom for example, a lady you consider like an aunt, assuming that your parents are not there. Then if you want, you can ask her about her family’s habits, but I don’t think there will be anything specific.

You, indeed, don’t have to know everything about Islam before converting. It starts with the shahada, then you become Muslim, and can learn after at your own pace.

Good luck, and mbârk w ms3ôd in advance.
[Congratulations, but it’s literally: Blessed and with happiness]

Can you tell me why I need to have a friend with me? I like the idea of someone there with me because it will help to calm my nerves, but why else?

I am pretty sure I will be making the conversion to Islam. I read something in the Qur’an that spoke directly to my heart today and it has my pretty convinced. I would be a fool to ignore such a sign of revelation.

Thank you for the kind words in my time of transition with this. I appreciate it. Such genuine kindness and compassion of many of the muslims I have encountered has played a large role in sparking my interest in converting.


Basically in Morocco, a man never goes alone to ask for a girl’s hand. As I said earlier, taking your family with you creates ties, and shows that your family supports you and has nothing against your marriage. I just thought it would be nice to take whom you consider family in Morocco with you. First, because you’ll need some help with translation, and second, some help with the talking.

Please feel free to write to me directly if you need anything, I’ll be happy to help.

Shokran jasilan! I am a swirl of emotions about everything changing in my life, but I feel everything is happening as it should lhemdolah.

I thought that was the reasoning behind my bringing my friend with me. I just wanted to be sure. I sure hope my family can be there, but I know that my friend will be just as good inshallah.

Thanks again for your help.

Good luck Clayton.

First of all, I would wait until you convert to Islam, so that the family knows you are a Muslim, and not a person, who may or not be Muslim.

As for gifts, clothes, make-up, sweets, etc. Is good to take if you are planning an engagement party. Also don’t forget you have to give the girl XX amount of money, that will be written up in the marriage certificate. It is your choice how much. The money is considered the girls dowries.

I wish you all the best inshAllah on your conversion to Islam and your future marriage.

Hey, stealth.

Good to hear from you, as I think you might have seen that in practice in Morocco :hap:.
I forgot mentioning dowries, indeed! SSdâq, that it’s called in Darija. Lmahr in fuS7â.

Clayton must be in Morocco by now, by the way.

Hey SM,

Good to hear from you also.

Yes, I think I may know a thing or two about engagements in Morocco. :stuck_out_tongue: