Taqwa (fear of God) and modesty: The key to unravel the contention of Leefey (“marriage list/gifts)

Some days ago, social media was filled with interesting arguments of a practice called leefey (which is basically a list of items requested/ given to a woman as part of the marriage rites). Arguments in favour for the continuation of the practice indicated that some men will never buy anything for their wives after marriage, so it was incumbent to induce them to buy some things for the woman. They further emphasised that the women sometimes have the only option of depending on the “leefey” in the unfortunate case of a divorce. Others who opposed it were mainly on the argument that, some of the list are extremely exorbitant, which makes it a tall hurdle for young men who wish to enter into the noble institution of marriage.

In the details of both arguments, people have made great and interesting points but upon a careful look at the situation, Taqwa (fear of God) and Modesty settles this contention.

We live in a time where people will accept marriage proposals based on, “he is handsome and he can take care of me”, “can he afford the list of items?“ etc, taking  important decisions such as a partner in marriage devoid of Taqwa is the major cause of most of the problems we are seeing in marriage.

Let it be clear that leefey is not an insurance policy for a good marriage or a happy home. Leefey doesn’t also awaken a dead character of generosity in a man. Being kind and compassionate are virtues which are implanted in the hearts of men with Taqwa.

To also assert that making a man spend so much on marriage will keep him on his toes to keep his wife (and prevent him from paying “small monies” and be moving from woman to woman) is also a big mistake. An unrighteous rich man can afford a leefey which contains a mansion and a car and will still keep roaming about exploiting women who take decisions devoid of Taqwa. Testimonies from such marriages indicate that they are treated as a “bought commodity”, they seem to have been batter-traded with a leefey, they become enslaved and miserable.

A man who doesn’t buy gifts for the wife to make her happy and build a happy home certainly has missed the concept of marriage. A man with Taqwa knows that marriage is the other half which completes his faith, so if the person who helps to complete your faith will be treated in miserable conditions (let her wear chalewote to occasions or some ragged clothes), then it’s your own cup of porridge. Treatment of your wife and children (family) is one of the primary things you will answer on the day of judgement, a man with Taqwa is conscious about this.

On this note, let me relate a story from my dad, he said his friend once came to him that he should help him prepare a list for a man who had approached his family with the intention to marry his daughter. Apparently he had already written a few and wanted to find out whether he has left out something or the list needed a total update. So my dad looked at the list and told him to fold the list into his pocket for the mean time and invite the man over the following day for a brief chat. The man was then invited and the chat was basically to reveal some of his practical connections with the basic tenets and teachings of Islam. After they were convinced that the young man gave precedence to faith over all worldly matters, they told him they have no list for him, since he fully understands the essence of a blessed institution like marriage in Islam, then he can as well do something honourable and pleasing to his future wife when they formally come to seek her hand in marriage. My dad’s friend later came to my dad so amazed, because the things the young man presented to his daughter were more than three times the list he had initially prepared to be given to him. A man with Taqwa, also knows that generosity is a great virtue, he doesn’t have to be coerced before he shows it.

Marriages of today are so fixated on extravagance and opulence, a challenge of the most expensive and glamorous weddings ever, all to the detriment of modesty. People who don’t give precedence to faith (or the virtues in their prospective partners) mostly end up in miserable marriages, marriages of physical abuse, mental slavery, utmost disrespect etc. Some will try to fake happiness to deceive the public, but for how long. We end up with unfortunate replicating effects, divorce, broken homes, deviant children, children with “Islamic names” but un-islamic behaviours which tarnishes the beauty of this noble religion, later develop disdain for beautiful teachings of Islam such as marriage, polygamy and related issues, all because his or her parents or relatives couldn’t reflect the beauty in these blessed institutions.

Someone might argue, virtues are not written on people’s foreheads, you can do your investigations but some people are very good pretenders. It is for this reason that our beloved master, Rasoolullah Kareem, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) gave us Istikhara prayers, to always sought the help of Allah especially in very important decisions and issues such as marriage, because only Allah is the Knower of the unseen. As a matter of fact, anybody who gives precedence to faith in marriage, will always be praying about getting a righteous man than an extraordinary leefey.

As I always say, if only Muslims could exude the true teachings of Islam in it’s pristine form, if the world could take a second look at the true teachings of Islam without prejudice, we would have found the solution to all the problems of mankind. May God bless us all and give us the peace of mind and comfort that the institution of marriage comes with; Amen!!!

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