Mohammad Rafie Hussain Marafie

1909 – 1976


Mohammad Rafie Marafie was born in Marafie neighbourhood in 1909. His father owned seven dhows which were seafaring in between Kuwait, Basra and India with the trading and transportation of goods & passengers. Despite his father being a known ‘money lender’ of huge amounts, Mohammad Rafie and his brothers, by abiding the principles, did not dare to claim any of the outstanding dues owed to their father by the people at large. Being an innate businessman, Mohammad Rafie at the age of fourteen sailed to India, a country known for its trade and culture. He initiated the business with just Rs.200/- He traded on Bicycles which were boxed in parts and shipped to Kuwait. A group of trained Kuwaiti youths would assemble the bicycles. Half a rupee was charged for each bicycle given on rent for the whole day. With the expansion of business, he started exporting bicycles from India to Basra.

In due course, he switched his business interest over to the trading of kerosene burners, then widely used in Kuwait. He imported these burners in parts from Abadan in order to reduce the shipping cost. This business introduction created more jobs for the Kuwaitis too. He associated with Indian Watch Agents who in turn redirected him to Swiss companies. Further, he was advised to import medicines from USA, especially the medicinal eye drops which was known for its effectiveness and instant cure in the treatment of eye diseases, very common those days.

Mohammad Rafie had his education from the domestic schools known then as “Alktateeb.” Part of his studies was done at Almubarakia School too. The prevailing political scenario coupled with his frequent visits & travels in between Basra, Baghdad, India and Oman, created in him strong interest in politics and public relations. Al-Naqeeb diwan in Basra then known as the Centre of politics played a vital role in imparting education to men of fine standards and staunch faith. This shaped him as a man of calibre and personality which invariably helped him to establish high level contacts & relationships. Shaikh Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah was a close friend of Mohammad Rafie. While  in India he maintained very good relationship with Al-Ibrahim family, Al-Bahar family, Al-Marsouq family, Al-Ghanim family, Salem, and Fahad Al-Sdairawy.

Mohammad Rafie is remembered as a man of high eloquence, strong calibre and mighty courage. In 1938 while the assembly session “Almajless” was going on he braved to meet the British Consul who requested for his interference in solving the politically sensitive issue since Kuwait, a Protectorate country was constantly under the attack of the greedy regional powers. The Council applauded and well received the electrifying speech rendered by the young man of 29. The British Consul could find none other more affluent, powerful and capable to address such an issue.

Mohammad Rafie was one of the founder members of Kuwait sports associations. While in India he played football with his colleagues; Hamad Saleh Al-Homaidhy, Ahmed Zaid Al-Sarhan, Mohammad Abdulmohsen Al-Kharafie, Ahmed Al-Rizougie and Salem Fahad Al-Sdairawy and others, who too had prospective trade businesses with India. Mohammad Rafie established the first Kuwaiti football team in the year 1931, and the first public match was played in the year 1932 before a massive Kuwaiti crowd.


Constituent Assembly:

The late Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah issued an Amiri Decree dated 30/12/1961 declaring The Call for Election of a Constitutional Assembly with the intention of establishing the constitution of the State of Kuwait. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem’s main objective was to establish strong regime thereby providing protection to Kuwait, establishing social justice and preserving the unity and stability of the country. 

This Assembly was the first of its kind after the independence of Kuwait that had enabled the Kuwaiti people to carry out parliamentary order by direct ballot, deciding their representatives.

He was nominated for the Constitutional Assembly. His objective was to establish democracy in the State of Kuwait; promoting it as a first class country, among other states, with status, recognition and fame.

He was elected from the constituency of Alsharq area together with  Mansour Moussa Al-Mazeedi. There were 10 Constituencies: Alsharq, Aljeblah, Alshuwaikh, Alshamiyah, Kaifan, Alqadissiyah, Aldassmah, Alsalmiyah, Alahmadi and Aljahra. Two representatives from each constituency were nominated in addition to the ministers designated.

On January 20th, 1962, Amiri Decree No. 1/1962 was issued declaring The Call for the Constitutional Assembly to hold its First Session.

Among the attendees of the first session were: Ahmad Khalid Al-Fouzan, Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Al-Khatib, Abdullatif Thunaiyan Al-Ghanim, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad, Mohammad Rafie Hussain Marafie, and Abdullaziz Hamad Al-Sager.


Contributions made towards the Constitutional Assembly:

Mohammad Rafie Hussain Marafie’s concerns were primarily related to the welfare of the country and the people of Kuwait that were well reflected in his contributions and proposals made in the assembly. Being friendly, honest he maintained a very close allegiance with all. He strove for the unity of the country and emphasised that every Kuwaiti’s mission is: to endeavour towards the strength, status, dignity, equality, fraternity and liberty of the country.


Constitution, ‘the Fourth Wall (Alsoor) of Kuwait.

When the constitutional assembly voted for the constitution of the State of Kuwait in November, 1962, one of his sons had been quoted as having said, “Our father came home with the smile all over his face. He surprised us by saying, ‘Today we finalized with the building of Kuwait’s Forth Wall.’ “We being kids did not know Kuwait had four walls,” ‘the first wall was built in the year 1762 during the reign of Sheikh Abdullah the first, and the second was built in the year 1814 during the reign of Sheikh Jaber Ben Abdullah, and the third one was built after the battle of Hamdh in the year 1921 during the reign of Sheikh Salem Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah.’ He paused then said, "but what we have achieved today was the constitution, which will hold Kuwait’s legitimacy and defend the people of Kuwait just like a fourth wall that will deter the enemies of Kuwait.”

The above description reflects on Mohammad Rafie Marafie’s spirit of patriotism. He would readily sacrifice anything for the nation’s stability and progress under the rich legacy of His Highness the Amir and the Crown Prince who represented the legitimate ruling family. A ruling family of Kuwait stands synonymous to mind’s insurmountable passion & fervour held towards the stability, security and progress of one’s country.   


Illustrious Personality and Act of Charity

Mohammad Rafie Marafie was a distinguished personality full of compassion, generosity and humanitarian considerations towards all. He would extend valuable help to the poor and the needy without letting it known to others. He believed in ‘what the right hand does should not be known by the left.’ However, due to the enormity of the fund, the amount donated or given as charity to neighbouring countries without any publicity,was revealed to general public through media or by word of mouth.

In his effort to promote the general health of the Iraqi people in Basra, he built a Paediatric Speciality Hospital during 1952 which was known as “Marafie Hospital.” Today it is known by the name “Aljimhouri Hospital.”

In the year 1968, when the coup d’etat was held against Abdulkareem Qassim, the president of Iraq; Mohammad Rafie who was supervising the hospital expansion project in Basra fell sick and had to return to Kuwait.  Owing to the coupe since Safwan border station between Iraq & Kuwait was ordered to be closed he got stranded at the border. Later, though the order was temporarily reversed by the Governor of Basra with a view of granting him permission to cross, having found more than 300 stranded Kuwaitis at the border, Mohammad Rafie refused to proceed any further saying “these people are my fellow countrymen hence I will not leave without them.” Immediately, the border captain in charge sought the Governor’s permission for the entire group. This proves his chivalry.

Mohammad Rafie considered every human being as one and therefore his sense of equality too grew with him. This was well defined by an incident that took place. Once, the dispute he had had with a Kuwaiti merchant led him to resort to the court’s interference in settling the matter. Those days the Court and the Judges were highly feared out of one’s deep reverence towards it. At the commencement of the court session, to Mohammad Rafie’s dismay, his opponent was found sitting while he had to stand for want of seats. Without thinking the aftermath, his immediate instinct urged him to question this issue before the court. His query was well endorsed by the court and ruled in his favour. This vividly states how strongly he despised oppression and injustice.

On another occurrence, when a slight skirmish surfaced between Kuwaitis and the Ja’fariyah National School, Mohammad Rafie brought the matter before Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem. Since incidents of this kind were stray, strange and seldom heard of during the reign of Sabah the First, Sheikh Abudulla Al-Salem discreetly handled the matter with stringent warning to all, signifying his firmness and discerning prudence along with that of Mohammad Rafie’s vivacity.


Upright and Respectable Personality…

Once, during 1940s, a Jewish businessman from Basra wanted to send his two daughters to India for their education. Having heard much of Mohammad Rafie’s promising personalities and his planned recent trip to India, through his friends as tradesmen, he met & implored Mohammad Rafie if he could take the responsibility of reaching his daughters safely to their family in India. With no hesitation Mohammad Rafie agreed to a father’s genuine concern and saw to it through.


Advice and Guidance

Mohammad Rafie was always benevolent to his friends. He was known for his good advice and right guidance. Once Mohammad Rafie’s good friend was negotiating a property deal in which the same piece of land was simultaneously desired by the proprietor’s close friend too. In order to settle the deal by selling to the best quote with an immediate 50% advance by cheque, both were asked to meet at the proprietor’s office.

Mohammad Rafie, on hearing this episode through his friend who approached him for counsel immediately hit upon the tricky plot meted out by the owner. By involving his ‘poor friend’, the Proprietor’s intention was to put up a false impression of high demand for the property. Nevertheless, friend’s justifiable land price assessment, as per Mohammad Rafie’s advice, instigated the ‘poor friend’ of the proprietor to continue escalating the price as  was pre-planned until he got trapped down by the immediate withdrawal of Mohammad Rafie’s friend from the entire deal. Further to this, ‘poor friend’s’ apparent failure in producing a cash cheque, as was agreed, instantly revealed

proprietor’s wicked plot as admitted by this ‘poor friend.’ This news spread like a wild fire and became the ‘talk of the town.’


The Call for Liquor Ban in Kuwait:

Liquor business, then managed by Grey Mackenzie, was permitted only to non Muslim sects. Realizing the implications & repercussion of such a fast pacing business while standing within the boundaries of religious principles, a team of Kuwaiti personnel:  Mohammad Rafie Marafie, Abdullah Ali Al Abdulwahab and Ahmad Bazee Al-Yasseen, Abdulaziz Abdulmohssen Al-Rashid and others produced a  petition before the Government appealing  the ban of liquor business in Kuwait.


Proposal for the formation of a Senate in the Year 1963 

The first proposal for the formation of a Senate was placed by Mohammad Rafie Marafie. Abdulaziz Al-Ali Al-Wazan, Mohamed Yousif Al-Nisif, Abdulaziz Su'oud Al-Rashid, Abdulaziz Yousif Al-Muzaini and various others participated in the drafting of the proposal. It was Mohammad Rafie who presented the proposal before the Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah.




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