Ismael Mohammad Ali Marafie
1870 - 1943
Ismael Marafie and
the Debt Bonds:
In an interview he held with Ibrahim Jassim Marafie, the
main topic of discussion was centred around his grandfather
Ishmael’s bonds against the loans he offered to people of
various professions; as tradesmen or pearl divers. According
to him, three days prior to his grandfather’s death he
summoned number of religious leaders to stand witness to his
Before the religious leaders he made it evident about the
huge amount of cash he had offered as loans with the sole
intention of helping people during their financial crisis.
Nevertheless, he expressed his desire to overlook all such
debts. This was further concretized by destroying all debt
bonds in front of the large gathering in order to check any
possible claim that would arise from his inheritors in the
long run. This very deed of benevolence by a person of high
respect & value in a business realm had created great impact
on the debtors, their families and all the people of Kuwait.
This is only one small example among his many remarkable and
unforgettable generous deeds, which will be greatly honoured
by the grace of God.
Ismael Marafie as
Guarantor to Pearling Captains (Nokhathas):
Among those who frequented Ismael Marafie’s diwan, there
were professional pearl divers but with poor income. Often
when they failed to pay the Nokhatha their diving fee it was
Ismael Marafie who would make the direct payment to the
Nokhatha as it was the case with Jassim Mohammad Al-Omani
too. Besides, Ismael himself would play the role of a
guarantor to Nokhatha Ali Al-Ameeri thereby safeguarding the
divers & by giving due respect to their identity from being
exposed. Furthermore, he rescued many from selling their
dwellings during lean season.
The Deputy Ruler’s
Both the Ruling Family and the Marafie family maintained a
close knit relationship with close to heart sentiments for
each other. Within them they sought counselling when
required and cooperated on all issues of life.
On the occasion of the funeral service of Ismael Marafie,
Deputy ruler of Kuwait; Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem, on behalf
of the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,
rendered a heartfelt eulogy in which he made a sincere
mention of the strong bond the two families maintained for
over two centuries.
He even lauded the vital role of Marafie in the lucrative
business prospects ever since the formation of Kuwait along
with their mandate in the provision of funds & arms in
the country since the reign of Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, the
7th ruler of Kuwait. Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah
remembered the great role played by this family as having
etched on the minds of the ruling family.
Tax Exemption on
In the beginning of December, each year, sailing ships with
the shipment of Dates would be anchored at Nig’at Marafie
and dates were stored in the Marafie dates store which had a
storage area of 18X7 metres with cemented flooring. Date
syrup, which was offered to the needy during this particular
period, was collected by means of a hole made in the store.
These dates, for Zakat and as Charity, were brought with the
aim of helping the needy & and those in the deserts of
Kuwait. Sheikh Mubarak and Sheikh Salem during their reign
exempted such imported dates from tax. Shipments of four to
five sailing ships arrived each year.
It is of worth-mention that the dates were the harvest of
their family farm in Arabistan along with wheat and barely,
all under the careful management of Mohammad Ali Marafie and
Dr. Green Way & Diwan Marafie turned Guest House:
In 1935 Dr. Green Way was appointed as a preventive medical
specialist to Kuwait. Married an Indian lady, they had two
daughters. Dr. Green Way was the chief Quarantine Medical
Officer of the anchored ships. This was in view of
safeguarding Kuwait Nation from being susceptible to any
possible contagious or epidemic outbreak. Dr. Green, apart
from his working hours, would attend to sick patients in his
In need of a suitable place of residence for the doctor,
Ismael Marafie was requested by the Ruler of Kuwait to spare
his vast sea facing Marafie Diwan with multiple rooms for
the doctor which he readily agreed to. Ismael Marafie’s
spirit of generosity by the free allocation of this Diwan
with its key location - near to Khalifa mosque- as a
government guest house is definitely laudable.