Abou Rjeily Family History in English

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The English book is the exact translation of the old arabic book that was probably written between 1934 and 1940. The author is unknown.

The Origin

The origin of the Abou Rjeilys goes back to their first ancestor Atallah who moved from the village of Barbara[1], situated on the Batroun coast, to Ktéléh[2] in Metn[3] at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Atallah is the son of Nasr and Nasr is the son of Merjan. Nasr has a brother called Nader from whom descend the two families: Nader and Berberi.

Merjan belongs to one of the Christian families who came from Hawran[4] to Kesrouan[5], then to Jbeil after the Islamic conquest in the seventh century. His family settled down in Barbara for a long period of time in order to preserve its beliefs.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, when the Muslim Shiite members of the Hamada family dominated Jbeil and Kesrouan districts in mount Lebanon, Atallah moved to the Ktéléh village in Metn, which was one of the feudalities of the Lamaï princes, and precisely prince Murad el-Lamaï.

Atallah settled down in Ktéléh, got married and had four children: Elias, Farès, Yaghi and Dib.

When his sons grew up, they showed great enthusiasm in serving prince Murad. Atallah visited the prince to congratulate him for an achievement he made. The prince addressed him in front of his followers: “this is Abou al-Rijal” (Father of the men), to thank him for the services he and his family render to the prince. Then Abou al-Rijal became the official name of his descendants, who were proud of this nickname; it became common and later it was converted into the name “Abou Rjeily”.

The descendants of Atallah multiplied until they had a fight with the Lamaï princes, sons of Murad. The family decided to leave the province and to move to another area, in compliance with the traditions at that time. Part of them went to Bhamdoun[6], Hab Ramoun, Ramliéh and the villages that were controlled by Abed el-Malak family and settled down there. Another group headed to Bekaa Valley. When that group arrived at Chbaniéh, which was one of the feudalities of Kaed Bey el-Lamaï, one of prince Murad cousins, the prince prevented them from going to the Bekaa and forced them to go back to the village of Deir Khouna[7] close to Ktéléh (located in the valley between Bhamdoun and Broumana), which was then a part of his feudality. Kaed Bey tried to reconcile them with his cousins, the Lamaï descendants of Murad. Many of them returned to Ktéléh and the others stayed in Deir Khouna. The Abou Rjeily family in Beirut, Chiyah, Taltita[8], Chbanié, Hammana, Kab Elias, Zahlé, Baalbeck and Kfarzabad[9] descended from these two groups. The branches who live in Mazraat el-Nahr, Rishmaya, Kfarmatta, Ser Jbeil[10], Benwayté, Deir El Kamar, Wadi el-Deir, Amik, Tehzaniyé and Ain el-Sindiyani (All these villages are located in the Chouf county in mount Lebanon to the south of Aley County) descended from the group who went to Bhamdoun, Hab Rammoun and Ramlié.

The family’s lines

There are four lines of the Abou Rjeily family who had a special nickname, in addition to the family name.

First line (Harmoush in Beirut)

The Harmouch. Their ancestor is Salloum, son of Nicolas, son of Jabbour, son of Saad, son of Yazbeck, son of Nemr, son of Farès, son of Atallah. Salloum came from Ktéléh to Beirut at the end of the eighteenth century, where he resided in Mazraat el-Arab and got married to Elizabeth, daughter of Harmouch. Then he went back to Ktéléh where he begot three sons: Nicolas, Bechara, and Mitri. When his sons grew up, their mother took them back to Beirut to teach them reading and industry. Their father stayed in Ktéléh. The three children stayed for a period of time at the house of their uncles, the Harmouch. People called them Harmouch and they were known with this name, as well as their father.

Nicolas, the oldest son, was clever and brave. He volunteered in the attack launched by prince Bashir el-Chéhabi the Great, on the Sanour fortress, to help Abdallah Bacha, the governor of Akka. He showed great courage in the conquest of the fortress. The prince made him Sheikh of Mazraat el-Arab, where he received the seal of the Sheikhdom from Sheikh Younés Badran who married him to his daughter, Hawen, who gave birth to two sons: Asaad and Lutfallah. Once, Prince Bashir asked him to send builders to help his men in a construction site. Instead he sent young boys who were rejected by the prince because of their youth. Some of his enemies denounced him to the prince who sent for him but he did not comply and ran away.

The prince’s men followed him but he killed two of them. As he was walking in a quarry located in the South of Beirut, he passed by some of his acquaintances while they were cutting rocks. They asked him to help them to lift the rock. As they were lifting, they let the rock fall and kill him. After his burial, the man who came up with this idea went to prince Bashir to tell him the story. The prince turned sad and ordered the man to be hanged.

Assaad and Lutfallah, Nicolas’ sons, grew up. Assaad went into politics. The people and the government who appointed him Sheikh of Msaytbé and Mazraat al-Arab for a long period of time loved him. Lutfallah set up in business, made a fortune and had many sons, among them the well-known Halim Abou Rjeily (Harmouch)..as if Heaven wanted to keep a memory of the Harmouch family through these descendants after the first line of Harmouch disappeared.

Second line (Abou Rjeily in Serjbal)

The Naoums. Their ancestor is Naoum, son of Nemr, son of Farès, son of Atallah. Those who came to Serjbal and its surroundings are from different lines. Those of the Naoum line took the nickname of their grandfather in order to be differentiated from their cousins. Agapios, archbishop of Tyre and its See, in the Roman Catholic church and his brother, Father Boutros, belong to the Nahoum line.

Third line (Slaybi in Chiyah)

The Slaibi who live in Chiyah. Their ancestor is Slaibi, son of Saber, son of Atallah, son of Elias, son of Atallah. Many persons were known with the same name, that is why they had to be differentiated. Their names were written with the father’s name, the grandfather’s name and the family name. Throughout the years, the name Slaibi became a nickname.

Fourth line (Hajjar from Kab elias)

The Hajjar in Kab Elias. Their ancestor is Youssef, son of Chédid, son of Daher, son of Michael, son of Yaghi, son of Atallah. He came first to the Bekaa, settled down in Maksi (near Kab Elias) where he married a woman called Hajariya, who was the widow of a man from Furzul. They had four children: Murad, Saad, Makhoul and Abdallah. Youssef died when they were young. Their mother took them to Kab Elias. As their father was unknown there, people called them with their mother’s name: Hajjaria. Then the name Hajjaria became Hajjar. They were known as Hajjar, as well as their brothers from their mother’s side.

Abou Rjeily in Kfarzabad

Their ancestor is Elias, son of Yaghi, son of Michael, son of Farès. He was one of the men of prince Farès el-Lamaï in Ras el-Metn. One day, while he was taking care of the prince’s mule, it kicked him. He pulled out a piece of iron with which he hit the mule and injured it. He feared the prince’s anger, so he ran away to Zahlé where he resided in the Musallem’s house. After some time, he got married to the daughter of Hatem Msallem and became a trustee on their properties in Douris (near Baalbeck).

Meanwhile, the famous battle took place between prince Bashir el-Shahabi and Sheikh Bashir el-Junblati in 1824. The country split in two factions and the consequences of this war were not to be foreseen. The two brothers Mitri Nabhan and Merhi Nabhan agreed to join the two factions: the first one joined prince Bashir el-Chéhabi’s faction and the second one joined Sheikh Bashir el-Junblati’s faction. Prince Bashir el-Chéhabi won the war and the Lamaï prince who controls Ras el-Metn, ordered the properties of the Junblati faction to be seized. The village of Kfarzabad in the Bekaa belonged to some supporters of the Junblati party. When the Lamaï prince seized their properties, they asked Mitri Nabhan to intercede for them with the prince in order to cool his anger. They promised to give him half of the Kfarzabad crop in compensation and the prince relented.

When the harvest was completed, Mitri Nabhan went to Kfrazabad to take his part of the crop and resided in the house of one of the Abou Rjeilys, called Jabbour, son of Saad, son of Jabbour, son of Saad, son of Yazbek, son of Nemr, son of Farès, son of Atallah. Jabbour had four children: Saad, Daher, Saab and Michael. They helped Mitri Nabhan to put up the crops. There were few Christians in Kfarzabad. The Druze peasants threatened Jabbour’s sons and Mitri Nabhan understood that he would not obtain the crop after all. So he wrote a letter to prince el-Lamaï in Ras el-Metn asking for help. The prince provided him with a group of his men and another group that came from Zahlé. The two forces met in Tal Arjamouch, near Maalaka (in Zahléh), went into Kfarzabad where they were met by the Druze. A battle took place, in which Jabbour showed great courage when he attacked the Druze with swords. A man from Zahlé, called Makhoul Tabbah, supported him. The Druze were defeated since that time, the number of the Christians increased in Kfarzabad. Elias, who lived in Douris, heard of the battle and was looking forward to meet his cousin. So he came to Kfarzabad. After spending many days with his relatives, they refused that he goes back to Douris, so they accompanied him and brought his family back. He settled down in Kfarzabad with his three children: Youssef, Ibrahim and Farès. One of his descendants is the well-known Salim Nassif who lives in Zahlé. Elias’s coming to Kfarzabad was the reason for which this line of the Abou Rjeily family settled down there because the line of Jabbour Saad disappeared.

Many members of this family became prominent. Among them, Theodosios, patriarch of Tyre and Sidon and their See in the Orthodox church and Agabios, archbishop of Tyre and its See in the Roman Catholic church, and many priests who left the country.


[1] Barbara is a coastal village in Jbeil county, 55 Km to the north of Beirut. It is located between two major touristic cities: Jbeil (Byblos) and Batroun.

[2] Ktéléh is a small village in the Valley between Bhamdoun in Aley county and Ras El Metn in Metn county. Few Abou Rjeilys live there nowadays.

[3] Metn is a touristic county in Mount Lebanon borderd by Kesrouan in the north, Alay in the south, Beirut and the Mediterranean sea to the West and the Bekaa valley to the east.

[4] Hawran or Hauran [Heb.,=hollow or cavernous land], district, is situated to the southeast of Syria on the border of Jordan behind the Golan heights. It is a largely treeless region marked by conical volcanic peaks, barren lava fields, and rich lava soil. In the northeast are the Druze Mountains, many of the numerous caverns there were once inhabited. Major towns are Dara, Busra ash-Sham, and Izra, which date back to Hellenistic times. Grains and fruits (including grapes) are grown in Hawran. Most of the inhabitants are Druze, who migrated from Lebanon in the 18th and 19th cent. The Hawran district belonged, at least in part, to the biblical kingdom of Bashan, which the Israelites conquered. Designated the northeast boundary of the Promised Land, Hawran later became the Roman province of Auranitis. The region was converted to Christianity by the late 2d cent. and prospered until the Arab invasion of the 7th cent. During the Crusades, Muslims who were driven out of Palestine moved to Hawran to make a stand against the Christians. The district has many ancient towns whose buildings and furniture are made entirely of lava; about 300 of these “giant cities of Bashan” have been located. Inscriptions in Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Sabean (southern Arabic) abound.

[5] Kesrouan and Jbeil are two counties (casas) in mount Lebanon that used to house the Christians who escaped the Islamic conquest in the 7th century in the eastern Mediterranean.

[6] Bhamdoun, Ramlieh and Hab Ramoun are villages close to Ktéléh located in Aley county in mount Lebanon

[7] Deir Khouna is a deserted village close to Ktéléh, in the valley of Ras El Metn

[8] Taltita is a small village located between Ktéléh and Bhamdoun

[9] Kfar Zabad is a village to the east of the Bekaa Valley at the Lebanese Syrian borders

[10] Ser Jbeil, Benwayté, Deir El Kamar, Wadi el-Deir, are all villages in the Chouf County to the south of Aley county