The Dawaween of The Marafie Family

When Marafie family decided to settle down permanently in Kuwait (Algrain) during 1708 A.D (1120 Hijri) his grandfather Mohammad Rafie* determined to reside right on the sea facing area. After setting up his business empire that had been well established by then he decided building family houses. This led to the expansion of his circle of friends too necessitating with the idea of building a family diwan to suit the stature & status of Marafie family with that of their friends also. He fulfilled the dream by putting up his diwan in the Alwasat neighbourhood near Alseef Palace.

During the middle of the eighteenth century Mohammad Rafie built his diwan to the proximity of Alkhalifah mosques present location. This was considered as a guest house, where Ramadan feasts were held either to break the fast or to enjoy sohour. This tradition had continued to generations; by his son Haider Marafie, and his grandson Mohammad Ali Marafie. Later, Mohammad Ali Marafie built a new diwan on the sea front. It was in front of Nig'at Marafie. Ismael Ben Mohammad Ali too followed the same line in building his diwan.


Pictures of old diwan

Doors of this diwan were left open all day long. One of the remarkable achievements of this dewan is the honourable decision taken in the year 1285 H. (1868 A.D.) when the normal living standard in Kuwait and its surrounding area turned dismal due to paucity of funds and soaring food prices that eventually led to severe famine. The streets and the mosques were filled with the needy. Marafie diwan took the initiative to open its stores full of dates, date syrup (dibbs) and other food stuffs, and requested the needy to satisfy their basic need of hunger with food. The grace and kindness of Marafie family; Yousif Ya'goub Al-Bader, Yousif Ben Sabeeh, the Al- Ibrahim family, Abdullateif Al-Ateeqi, and Salem Ben Sultan thus brought a respite to this existing famine which lasted for three years until 1288 H. (1871 A.D.) This calamity is known as The Years of Alhaillack.

*Mohammad Rafie is the great grandfather of the family, who arrived in Kuwait and known by his compound name "Marafie".

Family heritage building was connected to the diwan by a bridge. Of the only four bridges, then, the first one connected Sheikh Mubaraks diwan to his house, the second connected Ahmad Al-Ghanims with that of his, the third did connect Hussain Marafies abode with the family residence on the sea front (it was pulled down in 1949) while the last one linked diwan Marafie with the family house, that were left open in the morning to close only by sunset.

This diwan has its location next to the present Ministry of Foreign Affairs building  on the sea front. It would be left open to receive all members of the Kuwaiti society from all walks of life. Hence it was always thronged with the leaders and rulers of Kuwait. Sheikh Mubarak visited this diwan daily. This, later has become a tradition and was diligently followed by his sons and grandsons.


Mohammad Ali Marafie Diwan

This diwan is considered one of the first and well known dawaween in Kuwait. It is the official diwan of the family. In this diwan the family would receive Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah and the other sheikhs and elite crowd of Kuwait. Also, the visiting tribes from Iran, Iraq, Gulf countries, Yemen, and the Arab Peninsula would come for social gathering with hosts either as courtesy visits or with request of assistance. Mohammad Ali Marafie's diwan comprises a spacious hall that accommodates large number of guests and visitors. It is consisted of number of guest rooms with modern facilities in addition to a big yard surrounded by a kitchen, room for ration and a large storage area for dates.

The diwan of Mohammad Ali Marafie did open every morning. Mohammad Ali Marafie would enjoy his breakfast in the diwan along with his friends, and lunch was also served to them daily. The main gathering would take place during the afternoon prayers that extended until after evening prayers. In the blessed month of Ramadan, this diwan would be left open daily prior to evening. Meals were served to the elderly and guests to break their fast


Ismael Mohammad Ali Marafie's diwan 1357 H 1938 AD

This diwan is regarded as one of the most important and well known diwans in Kuwait, as Ismael, as a young boy, learned from his father the ways, methods and principles used in hosting guests. He would manage the role of a host to his guests at times when his father would be abroad on business trips. A guest house with reception, office and  kitchen were annexed to this diwan.

This diwan opened daily from morning until evening prayers. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber, the ruler of Kuwait had the practice of visiting this diwan, and used to visit Ismael Marafie weekly. Among the visitors were the sheiks, the elite section of Kuwait, sea faring captains (nokhatha), tribal leaders from Iraq, Arabian Peninsula, and from Almohamarah, in addition to religious scholars.

This diwan is well remembered as the first among others to have the supply of electric power due to its close proximity to the power station.

Ismael Mohammad Ali Marafie:  1870 1930

This traditional diwan was inherited by Jassim Ben Ismael Marafie. It was relocated to Benaid Alqar, where he set up his new residence, on the present Mohammad Abdulmohssen Al-Khorafie Street


Jassim Ismael Marafie 1909 1981


Mohammad Rafie Hussain Marafie's Diwan

During 1973 the family diwan (Jassim Ismael Marafie) was shifted to another location in Benaid Alqar as desired by Jassim Ismael Marafie. This was located at Mohammad Rafie Hussain Marafies avenue on Istiqlal Highway close to Mohammad Rafie Hussain Marafie's house, that was built in  the year 1961. This would be opened after Maghrib prayers until 10:00 P.M. throughout the year. It played a great role in the parliamentary election, where candidates would meet to decide the selection for electoral campaign. Later, this diwan was taken over by his son Abdulhussain Mohammad Rafie Marafie until they moved to the new quarters in Dasmah area on the April 1st, 2008.


Mohammad Rafie Hussain Marafie 1909 1976


Hussain Marafie's Diwan

This diwan was opened when he was 20. It was attached to his house in Marafie neighbourhood on a small hill. The timing for receiving men in this diwan was from evening prayers (Almaghrib) until Esha prayers.


Ahmad Mohammad Hussain Marafie's Diwan

Located in Almaydan in Sharq area, Ahmad had inherited this diwan, from his father Mohammad Hussain Nassrullah Marafie, which was near Mubarak Yard, colloquially called as (Barahat Mubarak). He used to open this diwan from noon prayers until after Esha prayers. Among the visitors of this diwan were the tradesmen of Souk Aldakhily (Alamir Souk). Upon the demise of Ahmad Marafie, his sons Mahmoud and Mustafa took over the service of this diwan, which was moved from Almaydan to Alqadessiya area and finally to Salwa area.

Ahmad Mohammad Hussain Marafie 1900 1956



Mustafa Ahmad Marafie's Diwan

Mustafa Marafies diwan was moved from Almaydan to Alqadessiya area during 1961. This diwan was opened throughout the year and was managed by his brothers Mahmoud and Ridha. Mustafa Marafie had divided his visits in the month of Ramadan into tens; the first ten days of Ramadan he used to visit more than a hundred Kuwaiti diwaniya in various areas of Kuwait from Fahaheel in the south to Aljahra area in the north in addition to Faylaka Island. The next ten days of Ramadan he received people's greetings in his diwan; while he dedicated the last ten days of Ramadan in visiting the elderly men and ladies of the family.

In the year 1974 he moved his diwan to Salwa area. He shared the privilege of hosting people with his brother Ridha. While Mustafa would receive guests in his dewan only during the month of Ramadan; his brother Ridha would receive guests and visitors daily at his diwan, as agreed upon with his brother Mustafa. Upon his demise in 1989, the diwan was shifter to his brother Ridha's residence which was opened all seven days of the week.

Mustafa Ahmad Marafie 1925 1989



Abdullsamad Abudullah Marafie

Abdullsamad Abdullah Marafie established his diwan in his house located in Dahiyat Abdullah Alsalem area in the year 1978. He would receive guests once a week. After the demise of Abdullsamad Abudullah Marafie, his son Abdullah Abdulsamad Marafie looked after the affairs of hosting and management of this diwan. Every Sunday he receives guests. This schedule is continued till date.

Abdullsamad Abdullah Marafie 1917 - 1990


Ibrahim Hussain Marafie

Ibrahim Hussain Marafie established his diwan in Benaid Alqar area during the year 1965, which had been left open daily. His elder son took after him the hosting and the management of the diwan.

Ibrahim Hussain Marafie 1907 1997


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