The Marafie Family,
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
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
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.
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).