The Administrative, Economic and social life in Jenien district between 1799-1831AD /1214-1247

Discussion Committee: 
Prof. Nezam Al- Abbasi - Supervisor
Dr. Hammad Husseen - External Examiner
Dr. Ameen Abu Baker - Internal Examiner
Prof. Nezam Al- Abbasi
Hala Idrees Mostafa Ibraheem
During the starting years of the 19th century Jenien district got great importance as a result of the effective role that the residents of the district had played in fighting the French forces that were moving towards Acre to occupy great Syria after the occupation of Egypt headed by Napoleon Bonaparte. People were very consolidate in the face of this eminent danger, and their consolidation was based on the idea that their enemy is atheist and foreigner who must be stopped. This spirit was enriched by a series of “Fatwa’s” and Sultani decrees that called for jihad. Sheikh Al- Islam and the “Wali” of Acre (Ahmed Basha Al Jazar) passed these rules to the heads of Jerusalem Nablus and Jenien districts. The period of this study Jenien district included lands that starts from the east between Biesan’s hollow- in the south of Tabarya lake- and Al- Fara’a valley, and in the north it includes lands that are below a line that is drawn between Tabarya lake passing through Ibn- Amer plain in the south of Nazareth city till the western north near Haifa that is located in the coastal plain then moving from Haifa with the coast to the influx of Iskenderun river will form the western borders of the district it’s southern borders are formed by the line that moves from al Fara’a valley in the east passing from a number of villages such as Aseera Al Shamalya, Yaseed, Talooza, Tamoon, Tubaas, Dair Al- Gusoon, and Silat Al- Daher. Then moving again with Al- Iskenderun. The district was named after it’s administrative center; namely Jenien city which was established on the ruins of the Canaanite Arabian city “Ain Ganeem” which means orchards’ springs. This city was mentioned in the Assyrian and Babylonian resources under the name of “Ain Ganiem”. Byzantines mentioned it by the name of “ Gina”. in the AD 17Th century the city was ruled by Muslims and then it was called “jeeneen” then the name was altered to be finally “ Jenien”. Administrationaly the district was dependant to Damascus “ wilaya” during most of the period of the study while in certain times the district was moving from the power of Damascus “ wilaya” to be part of acre “ wilaya”; especially in the reigns of strong “walis”, such as (Ahmed Bash Al- Gazar), (Sulaiman Basha Al- Adel) and (Abdullah Basha Al- Khazendar); because they used their power to take the district from the rule of Damascus “walis”. Juridically the district followed the “sharie” judge of Nablus city who chooses a vice judge in Jenien city who has the authority of the “sharie” judge to solve the problems and settle the quarrels between people. But people used to refer in the first place to their “ sheikhs” to settle their quarrels, because they feel most of the time that it is difficult to go to the court. Socially the district contained a great number of families, and tribalism had a great influence on the social life during the period of this research as a result of the absence of official authority. This research will focus on the families that had a special and important role in the political arena. It will focus also on the families that kept administrative and military positions exclusive on its members. In addition to controlling massive possessions; in contrary to other families. These families are: Jarar family, Abdel Hadi family, Irsheid family. These families also played a great role in defending the country in the face of the French campaign that was heading towards Acre. As a result these families got great position in the eyes of the ottoman authority which granted them great titles. These strong families were competing over the leadership of the district; specially Jarar family, and Abdel Hadi family. The power of these families extended to the extent that they were also competing strong families especially Tooqan family over the rule of Nablus mountain. These families got the position of “ motasalimya” –head– of Nablus during the rule of sheikh Yousef Al- Jarar and his sons Ahmed and Abdullah. This caused very fierce wars between the two families which concluded in the weakening of Jarar family and strengthening Abdel Hadi family specially after Jarar family was defeated when Abullah Basha Al- khazendar attacked Sanoor the capital of Jarar family and destroyed it’s castle in 1831 AD /1247AH. This high position of Jarar family got strengthened by the situation of this family towards the Egyptian military campaign especially when it supported it’s competitor Abdel Hadi family and its leader Husain Abdel Hadi, who was a supporter of the new rule. All this lead to strengthening the family at the expense of other families. Agriculture was the main economic resource in the district, because it possesses wide plains such as marg (plain) of Ibn Amer which is the most important intrinsic plain in Palestine, in addition to Arraba plain and Sanoor plain. The farmers in the district planted many crops such as olive trees(the main product in the area) , serials and various kinds of vegetables. Jarrar family, Abdel hadi family and Irshied family controlled wide spaces of the agricultural lands in the district. They distributed the lands among the peasants to farm the lands in exchange of one third or one fourth of the crops, or in the shape of warranty. Those peasants were supposed to look after the land and pay taxes to the government. Farmers used to raise many kinds of animals specially camels to use it as a means transportation; in addition to ovine and bovine animals and they used to take their herds to surrounding pastures in the near mountains. Agriculture in that period suffered of many problems such as: poverty, draught, and the radical changes of raining rates from one year to another, diseases, locust attacks, bedouin attacks, fierce wars that the district witnessed which lead to the destruction of agriculture and resulted in spreading defamation among the residents. During the period of the research Jenien district didn’t know a developed kind of industry. People only had simple crafts and careers such as black smith, carpentry, pottery, and other simple crafts. In terms of commerce, the district had a very special location, because the main road connecting great Syria with Egypt- that crosses Nablus, Jerusalem and Gaza- passes through the lands of the district; as a result residents of the district invested this road to market their products in the surrounding cities especially Nablus. Socially the district constituted of two main classes landlords class, which included a limited number of people who controlled a wide space of lands in the shape of Fiefs. They invested these lands by distributing it among peasants who will farm it in return of a part that is agreed upon and to pay it’s taxes to the government. The second class is peasants class, they are the great majority of population. Residents had very strong relations that are based on family, tribe and village. they often had quarrels with competitor families over district’s lands and water resources and important administrative positions. But these families always got united to face extrinsic danger; for example they cooperated in spite of all their quarrels to face the attacks of Napoleon Bonaparte. The residents of the area of the research had many of good traditions and conventions, such as hostage, help those in need, cooperation in catastrophes, and helping each other to finish their works especially farming chores. Any one of them would help his relatives and neighbors without waiting for any return. Women in that period were very mannered and polite in their clothes; because they followed the society traditions and the Islamic conventions. The clothes of those women were very simple with little decorations, because they did not have enough time to embroider or decorate their clothes, as they spent all their times working in fields. They used simple make up such as kohl (eye liner), henna and they wore some golden and silvery accessories. Men wore different kinds of clothes according to their political or social status or their administrational and scientific positions. In general their clothes are not different from people’s clothes in the surrounding places. Peasants wore simple and dark clothes that enable them to move easily. The area of the study had very poor health and education system. Because the ottoman government neglected such issues considering itself a military country in the first place, and considering these things as out of its duties. The education in the district was a religious one, as students went to “ kattateeb” which were established In mosques or in separate places near them. The curriculum focused in the principles of reading and writing and calculating. The shieks focused on making their students recite holly Quran and memorize it. Finally students graduate from these “ kattateeb” after completing their study of the whole holy Quran. They used to make a graduation party differs according to the social and economic situation of the family. Hygienically, people were exposed to many diseases from time to time such as Malaria. Patients often consulted local doctors, and their prescriptions were based on medical herbs such as Chamomile, thyme and Siege, in addition to Cupping. Also they used to cure some diseases by Mascots and beads, especially the blue ones to prevent envy.
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