The Marafie Family,

Origin and Ancestry

Tales, testimonies and sources confirm the origin of Marafie family as it dates back to the kinsfolk of Malek Ibn Al Hareth Al Ashtar Al Nakhaee Al Methhaji from "Methhij" tribe. This particular tribe had dwelt in Yemen in the past, and branched out into numerous tribal groups thereafter. In search of a better living that led to frequent migration; to and from Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and other neighbouring countries such as Persia and “Alsham” (Old Syria) and due to the unstable political scenario in Yemen, Malek Ibn Al Hareth Al Ashtar Al Nakhaee Al Methhaji and his kinsfolk had settled at ‘Alkofa” in Iraq. Years later, grandsons of Malek Ibn Al Hareth Al Ashtar Al Nakhaee Al Methhaji moved to the neighbouring countries of “Alkofa.” While some went back to "Almadeenah Almonawarah", others either settled in "Alsham" or relocated to other countries and lands.

The grandsons of Malek Ibn Al Hareth Al Ashtar Al Nakhaee Al Methhaji, who were related to the kinsfolk of Ahmad Alra'ies, resided in the area of Bander Ma'shoor on the coastal area of the Arabian Gulf close to Ahwaz. They were cattle breeders first, later engaged in seafaring businesses. Being successful in a business of this kind, their influence and fame extended to Muscat in Oman, Mumbai in India and Persia.

Ahmad Alra'ies is the great-grandfather of Marafie family. He and his kinsfolk were welcomed and honoured by the people of this area - Bander Ma'shoor and Behbehan. They had owned fleet of sailing ships. Besides, they were owners of Farms of dates, wheat and barley. A dam in Bander Ma’shoor area, which was utilized for irrigation of farms, is named after them.

When the prevailing insecurity in the region led to looting & destruction of the tribes living in and around Bander Ma’shoor, Ahmad Alr’ies decided to migrate to ‘Algrain,” - the present Kuwait, in order to stay close to his Farms. It is believed that the merchandise comprising gold, armaments and ammunitions had been transported in 16 different sizes of ships in the year 1708.

This harnessed them as a stronghold for themselves and in defence of the country since the wall of the city was not built then. The People of Kuwait being optimistic welcomed Ahmad Alra’ies to reside in Kuwait. Ahmad Alra’ies along with his tribe were regarded the pioneers in establishing marine trade over the ports of Bander Ma’shoor, Kuwait, Muscat and India.

Thus, Marafie family had firmly stood to their decision of making Kuwait (Algrain) as their permanent place of residence in the year 1120 Hijri; 1708 A.D.




The Impact on Businesses after Migration to Kuwait

In the Beginning of the Seventeenth Century

Marafie family were known for their diverse & distinct commercial activities. Businessmen of the family would export the agricultural produce of the Farms to the neighbouring countries by ships. Ships sailed from Bander Ma’shoor and Basra with dates and wheat were shipped to the Gulf ports and India, where commodities were exchanged. Muscat was the transit stop on their way to Africa.

Having settled in Kuwait from Bander Ma’shoor, they subsequently shifted the family business too. Kuwait offered more security and safety. Above all, the ships were safeguarded with the commendable safety and control measures in the ports of Kuwait albeit the country being small in size. Kuwait ports turned to be the best dockyards for ship maintenance during winter seasons. Moreover, commercial navigation line for the transfer of commodities was routed as Kuwait-Basra-India or Africa-Kuwait or Kuwait-Bander Ma’shoor-India. 

The family gradually started building their medium size ships in Kuwait instead at Bander Ma’shoor since large number of Bahrainis who migrated to Kuwait took to the art of shipbuilding.

The family’s large size ships were commissioned in India by master shipbuilders. 25% of the total tax collected by the Kuwait sea port was accounted for the business generated by Marafie family.


The Marafie Family Business

The Marafie Family was mainly occupied in agriculture on the Gulf coastal areas before stepping onto other type of business ventures. They solely concentrated in palms as the main source of income. Indeed the rich yield compensated for their sweat and blood.

Marafie’s great-grandfather, before migrating to Kuwait, was a rich landlord with vast agricultural lands in areas alongside “Shatt Alarab” and “Karoon River” with abundant produce; also owned numerous medium size sailing ships for the transportation of agricultural yields to the Arabian Gulf countries. Family business boomed until the beginning of 17C when the area sustained attacks that led to looting of family properties. For want of defensive power, the family fell helpless and decided migrating to neighbouring area with the hope that their land could be restored one day.                                       

In the beginning of 18C the family could afford to purchase lands in “Alqasabah”, and “Aldowraq.” By the last quarter of 18C the family owned vast lands which had over 180 thousand of yielding palm trees. Dates were shipped to the ports of India and Africa via the port of Muscat. To enhance better management and to re-export the dates to Africa using Indian and Omani ships, the family established an office in Muscat. Other ships were hired since Kuwait ships were small in size and were in constant demand due to flourishing trading activities between Kuwait, Iraq and other countries of the Arabian Gulf. Apart from this, since the Kuwaiti captains had little navigational experience to Africa they deterred from taking the risk of sailing to Africa.

The family trading was mainly focused on exporting dates to the Gulf States and India. In return the family imported various commodities such as building materials and food stuffs, in addition to trading in arms, which involves historical events….(events to be narrated).





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