Nusaybah clan

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The Nusaybah Clan (Arabic: عائلة نسيبة‎‎; alternatively spelt Nusseibeh and Nuseibeh) is the oldest Arab family in Jerusalem. The Nusseibeh family has a long history and tight bonds with the Holy Land, Jerusalem, since the days their first forefathers arrived into Jerusalem in the 7th century.

According to tradition, the Nusaybah family took its name from a female companion or Sahabah of the Islamic prophet Muhammad named Nusaybah. She was a member of the Ansar who transferred their political power over Medina to the prophet. Nusayba fought along with Mohammed in battle and was an early example of women taking leadership roles in Islam. Since the arrival of Islam in Jerusalem in the seventh century, the Sunni Muslim family has held the keys of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre alongside the Joudeh Al-Goudia family.[1] This arrangement emerged during the days of the second Muslim caliph, Umar Ibn al-Khattab, who hoped to avoid clashes among rival Christian sects for control over the church.[citation needed] Although symbolic, the arrangement has provided the stability the Christians of the city needed, and is a symbol of tolerance and inter-religious harmony,[citation needed] and gave the Nusseibeh family a visible role in Christian activities in Jerusalem, which include pilgrimages and visits by Western Christians.

Family roots[edit]

Ancestors of the family arrived in Jerusalem with the arrival of Islam in AD 637. They included two companions of the prophet Mohammed—Abdullah bin Nusaybah and Mu'adh bin Jabal, and many others of the Prophet's companions and maternal uncles, descendents of Salma from Bani an-Najjar, a clan of the Khazraj, the wife of Hashim, forefather of the Hashemite Family and mother of its renowned leader Abdul Muttalib, grandfather of Mohammed. The Nusaybah family is a clan of the Khazraj tribe of Medina, known in Islam as al-Ansar, for their support and protection of Prophet Mohammed during his exile from Mecca.[2]

Nusseibeh and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre[edit]

When the prayer time came, the Archbishop of Jerusalem, Sophronius, invited Caliph Omar, a leading companion of Muhammad, to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Christianity's holiest site. Omar refused fearing that future Muslim generations would claim the church as their own and turn it into a mosque. Omar instead prayed a few yards away from the church where a mosque is built now. The Mosque of Omar still stands next to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a reminder of the strong Muslim-Christian bond in the Holy Land. Upon entering Jerusalem, Omar signed with the Christians of Jerusalem what became known as the "Covenant of Omar". It guaranteed protection for the Christians to live and worship freely and also protection for the Christian places of worship.

One of the great ancestors of the Nusseibeh family was Ubada Ibn Al-Samet who settled in Jerusalem in the 7th century in the wake of the Arab-Islamic capture of Jerusalem, and who was appointed as a governor by Caliph Omar. It is said that the keys of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre were placed in the custody of the family during this period.

The ancient records and manuscripts kept by the various Christian denominations in their monasteries all record the Nusseibeh family’s relationship and that of their ancestral forefathers from the Bani Ghanim al-Khazraj to the Holy Sepulchre, at least since the time of Sultan Salaahudeen (Saladin) more than 800 years ago, specifically since 1192, when Sultan Saladin and King Richard the Lionheart concluded an agreement allowing western Christian pilgrims to visit the Holy Sepulchre under certain stipulations. Saladin entrusted the custody of the doors of the Holy Sepulchre to the leading and most renowned Shaikh Ghanim ben Ali ben Hussein al-Ansari al-Khazrajy, the Jerusalemite, and all matters pertaining to it. Ghanim had been born in Burin village near Nablus in AD 562, where his family had taken refuge after the crusader conquest of Jerusalem in (1087) [3]

Notable members[edit]

Notable members of the family have included:

  • Ala Amine Nuseibeh the Chief Executive Officer and President of KAN International Petroleum. Also served as an Executive Vice President, Middle East Operations of Son or an Energy Inc. Mr. Nuseibeh has over 20 years of direct oil and gas experience in the Middle East, North Africa and the Caspian Region to Sonoran Energy's Board. Since 2002, he has been Middle East Director or Baron Oil, served as Director of Range Energy Resources Inc. as well as serving as Director of Range Oil & Gas Inc. He served as Director of Range Energy Resources Inc. He served as Director Sonoran Energy Inc. Mr. Ala Amine Nuseibeh graduated from Buckinghamshire College with degrees in Economics and Business Law.
  • Anwar Nusseibeh a former Jordanian minister and diplomat to the UK
  • Hazem Nuseibeh Jordanian foreign minister
  • Ahmad Zaki Nuseibeh, a prominent doctor (1928–2006) studied Medicine at Sheffield University, later specialising in Pediatrics in London and Edinburgh. He served in the Jordanian army, retiring as a Brigadier General in 1975 after holding a number senior medical management positions. In 1977 he moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE, where he was responsible for the medical services of ADNOC, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, in its remote sites. During this tenure as Chief Medical Officer (1975–1985), he built world class medical centres in Ruwais, Asab, Bou Hasa, and Bab. Dr. Nuseibeh is survived by his wife, Norma, and his four children Rania, Bashar, Bana, and Rawan.
  • Mohammed Zaki Nusseibeh, is the founding Chancellor of Al Quds University. He was appointed in 1986 to the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem. In that year he was appointed to the Higher Waqf Council of the West Bank. In 1993, he announced the formation of the Al Quds University and became the founding Chancellor and Chairman of Board of Trustees of Al Quds University until 1997. In 1993, he was elected Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Muslim Council and in 1997 became Acting Chairman of the Council. In February 2008, Nuseibeh was elected to chair the newly created Jerusalem Fund. Nuseibeh is also a successful Contractor and Engineer since the 1970s. The Nuseibeh Neighborhood, home for a few thousand Palestinians in East Jerusalem was his first major project. Nuseibeh is also the owner of Addar Hotel in Jerusalem. In June 2009, Nuseibeh announced that has started developing the first multi purpose commercial building in east Jerusalem, which is expected to house a shopping mall, offices, as well as a boutique hotel with panoramic views of Jerusalem. Nuseibeh holds an honorary doctorate from Alquds University and a number of decorations including Jordan's medal of Independence. Nuseibeh is married to Mrs. Faida Qutob Nuseibeh and has three sons, Ghanem, Samer, and Zaki, and one daughter, Dana. On December 6, 2014, Mr Nuseibeh was awarded 'Knight of Jerusalem' at a ceremony in Jerusalem attended by the city's leaders.
  • Zaki Nusseibeh, Director of Information in Abu Dhabi
  • Sari Nusseibeh, professor of philosophy and president of the Al-Quds University in Jerusalem[4]
  • Bashar Ahmad Nuseibeh (1967–), Professor of Computing at The Open University, UK[5]
  • Ghanem Nuseibeh civil engineer and founder of strategy and management consultancy, Cornerstone Global Associates
  • Azmi Izzat Nusseibeh (1924–1997) is a civil engineer graduated from "American University of Beirut" in 1946. He went to "Rashidiya school" in Jerusalem. He left his country in 1948 and joined the Syrian Army for five years as a civil engineer. He was given the Syrian nationality by the Minister of defense "Sharabati". He then worked as a civil engineer in the municipality of "Ladeeya". He moved to Qatar with his family in 1958 to work with the "Al Mana" company. He constructed the Television Station and Radio station in Doha.In the meantime he established a Contracting company in Beirut. Azmi Nusseibeh was a father for five children, married to a Syrian woman "Bouthaina Jabri". He was a humble person who did great charity work trying to help Palestinian families to stand on their feet. He contributed in the education of several Palestinian students.He was a nationalist who loved and supported his occupied country.


Further reading[edit]

  • Fischbach, Michael R. "Nuseibeh Family." In Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, edited by Philip Mattar. New York: Facts on File, 2000.
  • Heller, Mark, and Nusseibeh, Sari. No Trumpets, No Drums: A Two-State Settlement of the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict. New York: Hill and Wang, 1991.
  • Muslih, Muhammad Y. The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.