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Genealogy Articles

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The Jerusalemite family of Quttainah
submitted by Dr. Mohammed Quttainah

The Jerusalemite family of Quttainah
Written by:
Majdi Anwar Quttainah, PhD
Mona Anwar Quttainah, MD
Edited by:
Anwar Mohammed Quttainah, CFPA
Naela Awni Quttainah, BA
Mohammed Anwar Quttainah, MD
Compiled by:
Husam Abdul Hafith Quttainah, BSc

The Jerusalemite family of Quttainah (also written as Kuttainah, Kuttaineh, Quttaineh, Qatinah, Qatina, Qutteineh, Quttina, and Quttenah) used to be known as Al-Hanbali family more than 300 years ago. AL- Quttainah is the direct descendant of the famous author Mujir el-din Al-Hanbali.

Mujir el-din Al-Hanbali was born in Jerusalem in 860H/1455AD. He was the Hanbali Judge in Jerusalem, Hebron, Ramalla, and Nablus. His father was also the Hanbali Mufti of a number of Palestinian cites. He memorized the whole of the Quran before age ten. He studied the Hadith and was granted the Ijaza (licence) in the Hadith when he was eleven. He was taught by the Sheikhs of his time in Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Salahiyya and also in Cairo. One of his most renowned works is his famous book « Al-Uns Al-Jalil fi Tarikh Al-Quds wal Khalil » (The history of Jerusalem and Hebron). Some historians state that his grave is in Ma'manullah cemetery while others believe that it is in the eastern part of Al-Asbat cemetery next to the Gethsemane and St. Mary's Church. When the road was broadened in 1942, the grave was removed to a nearby location and a dome covered it. The northern wall of the dome was inscribed with the date of Mujir el-din Hanbali's death and his name.

The nickname Quttainah (which means dried fig in Arabic) was given to Al-Hanbali family after their frequent use of dried figs to cover their gold trade during their inter-Palestine business travels, protecting their vend from road robbers.

Famously known as Quttainah where big names of scholars and traders came from this family (detailed documentations are found on records in the Court of Personal Affairs of Jerusalem), they flourished in trading in Palestine and evolved as one of Jerusalem’s biggest exporters and importers of merchandise. One of their famous traders Hajj Mohammed Quttainah was the First to acquire more than third of the old city’s land in ownership to eventually register it as Waqf (mortmain) in 1225 Hijri (1810 AD). Most of their Waqf had members of the family, poor people, Muslims, Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque as the main beneficiaries.

The Quttainah family until this day owns vast numbers of private and business properties in Jerusalem. Some of their famous Waqf is the Al-Wad, Al-Sa’diyyah, Al-Sharaf, and Al-Nasara neighbourhoods, and Khan Al-Zeit market. In addition, is the well-known land in Al-Jawawdah neighbourhood (The New Gate) which was leased to the Franciscan’s monastery for 100 years where they built the famously known college de Frère. Some of their famous properties outside the old city Bab Al-Wad land are estimated to cover an area of 420 Acres, equivalent to 170 Hectares (1.7 Square Kilometre Km2). It is the area alongside the main road Jaffa-(or:Tel Aviv)Jerusalem.

Besides its well-known financial wealth, a good number of scientists, clerics, and scholars have emerged from this family.

Spreading all over the world since the 1948 Palestinian Diaspora, some of the Quttainahs have settled in Jordan; they are also well established in the rest of the Middle Eastern countries and the Arabian Gulf region.

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