Maalouf

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Maalouf
بنو المعلوف
Maloofcoatofarms.JPG
Coat of arms of the Maalouf family.
Pronunciation[maʕaːˈluːf]
Language(s)Arabic
Origin
MeaningDerived from the Arabic Maayuf (معيوف) meaning "exempted" under Islamic rule.
Region of originLebanon
Other names
Related namesMalouf, Maloof, Maluf, Malluf, Maaluf
 
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Maalouf
بنو المعلوف
Maloofcoatofarms.JPG
Coat of arms of the Maalouf family.
Pronunciation[maʕaːˈluːf]
Language(s)Arabic
Origin
MeaningDerived from the Arabic Maayuf (معيوف) meaning "exempted" under Islamic rule.
Region of originLebanon
Other names
Related namesMalouf, Maloof, Maluf, Malluf, Maaluf

Maalouf (alternate spellings: Maloof, Malouf, Maluf; Malluf Arabic: معلوف or المعلوف) is the surname of one family that encompasses over 15,000,000[dubious ] sons and daughters who share one single ancestor and a detailed family tree for nearly five centuries.

Origins[edit]

The Maalouf family belongs to the group of tribes known as Ghassanids that emigrated from Yemen to Houran in modern Syria prior to the collapse of the Marib dam (Arabic: سد مأرب) around 102 A.D. The clan governed Houran and large surrounding regions for nearly 500 years until the Islamic conquest in 637 AD.

After the arrival of the Arabs, some members converted to Islam while others remained Christian mainly Antiochian Orthodox. Several prominent leaders received the special appellation of Maayuf (Arabic: معيوف) meaning “exempted” or “protected.” When the ruling government subsequently rescinded this appellation, many clan members retained it in the form of a surname Maalouf, or Al-Maalouf.

Ibrahim Maalouf nicknamed "Abi Rajih" (Arabic: ابي راجح) reflecting his wisdom[citation needed] was a prominent and rich landowner in the town or village of Upper Damia in Houran.[citation needed] He had seven sons: Issa (Arabic: عيسى), Medlej (Arabic: مدلج), Farah (Arabic: فرح), Hanna (Arabic: حنا), Nasser (Arabic: ناصر), Nehme (Arabic: نعمة), and Semaan (Arabic: سمعان). For political, social and religious reasons, and as a result of a conflict that his family engaged in with neighboring clans in 1519 AD, Ibrahim decided to sell his land and leave Houran for the mountains of Lebanon, an area that became known for its rule of law under the Ottoman Empire.

The family crossed ash-Shām and the plains of Damascus, over the Anti-Lebanon mountain range, and at first settled for a few years in the village of Seriin (Arabic: (سرعين) to the northwest of the town of Zahlé in the Bekaa Valley. However, this stay was short lived due to conflicts with existing residents. In 1526 AD, Ibrahim decided to move from the Bekaa Valley to Bsharri (Arabic: (بشري) in the high mountains of northern Lebanon. The route to Bsharri was difficult, and when the family stumbled onto an abandoned mountain village, they decided to resettle it. After rebuilt the structures, the village was named Douma (Arabic: (دوما) in commemoration of the original Maalouf village in Houran. A church named for Saint Sarkis, venerated by the Christians of Houran, was also built in the village.

The stay in Douma was pleasant as the clan developed friendly relations with their neighbors and the ruling emir.[who?] However the murder of a ruler of Tripoli over his desire to marry one of the Maalouf daughters forced them to depart to the safety of Keserwan District that was ruled by an emir[who?] friendly to the family.

Upon arrival at Antelias, the clan decided that the families of Issa, Medlej, Farah and Hanna would settle in the high mountains of the Keserwan District, while the families of Nasser and Nehme would head to Vayelet Damasc, while the family of Semaan would stay on the coast near Antelias. The families of Issa, Medlej and Farah retained the surname of Maalouf, whereas the other branches adopted other surnames, notably Klink for the Hanna branch, Kreidy for the Semaan branch, Laham for the Nasser branch, and Najjar for the Nehme branch.

A panoramic photograph of the village of Kfarakab established by the Maalouf family c. 1560 A.D. To the far right is the edge of Mhaydse which has become part of the modern town of Bikfaya.

The first four branches settled in the village of Mhaydse (Arabic: المحيدثة) in 1550 AD and lived peacefully for several years. From their homes, they observed across a deep ravine an attractive, protected and forested ridge which they often used as a hunting ground. After receiving permission from the ruling emir, the families of Issa, Medlej and Farah relocated their homes and built the village of Kfarakab (Arabic: كفر عقاب) in 1560 AD and the main church in 1570 AD The family of Hanna remained in Mhaidsse.

Kfarakab become the core settlement of the Maalouf clan and gave the family the opportunity to play an integral role in the social, economical, political and military developments in Lebanon. From Kfarakab, thousands of descendants migrated across Lebanon, and later, internationally, especially since the late 1800s, settling in the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Australia. The Maalouf family is now prominent in several Lebanese towns and villages, most notably Zahlé where an entire neighborhood is named after the family, Niha, and Chlifa, in the Beqaa Valley.

The Maalouf family’s rich history is marked by a dedication to culture and education. Its descendants had to continue and excel in the arts and sciences. Family members include lawyers, doctors, engineers, musicians, poets, historians, journalists, military officers and public servants, and ecclesiastics.[who?] Fourteen generations separate today’s generation from their ancestor Ibrahim Abi Rajih.

Notable persons[edit]

See also[edit]

Disambiguation pages
Others

Elie Maalouf NLP, New Lebanese President

External links[edit]

References[edit]