Abdel Hamid’s Family
Abdel Hamid married three wives – the exact dates of marriages are unaccounted for at this point. His first wife – known at the time as Mariam Yasin, but is officially registered as Mariam Samara – sister of Abdel Rahim Samara (Adnan Samara’s grandfather) – died in a fire, and doesn’t have a burial. His second wife was Amneh, which he didn’t have kids with, and hence re-married his last wife. His last wife was Halimeh Barakat. Halimeh was known to be beautiful, and the rumour was that Abdel Hamid chased her for seven years, before she accepted him as a suitor and husband.
When Abdel Hamid married Halimeh, he put her in his chamber, upstairs for the first few months, but then quickly demoted her to the main chamber on the first floor – but no one knows the story behind the demotion. The same treatment was shared with Halimeh’s daughter, which was wed to a poor man while the remainder of the daughters from Mariam were wed to the rich and wealthy of Wadi Al-Sha’ir. The reasons remain a mystery till today. However, it is a story that several ancestors repeat.
Halimeh, his wife, used to do all the house chores. She also used to build the ‘khawabeh’. Mariam, on the other hand, was known to be the mistress of the palace throughout his life. Her wishes were a command. She always ensured Abdel Hamid is consuming the best products from his region. He used to get the best cheese supply of Nisf Jubeil and Wadi Al-Sha’ir; and he only ate ‘zaghaleel’ and chicken. He would ask his son, Mohammad, to get the best zaghaleel of Wadi Al-Sha’ir which were believed to be from Beit Imrin.
One of the famous stories that the villagers narrate, dates back to the early 1940s. It was the day he came back from Hajj (pilgrimage). As part of the customs, people celebrated ‘Hujjaj’ (pilgrims) as it is one of the special moments in a Muslim’s life. In the case of Abdel Hamid, the whole town came out to welcome him at the Lodd train station and then again at the village. Abdel Hamid was greeted with songs and music – a local festival. Aref, his son, and his wife Khadija often spoke about the day they greeted Abdel Hamid at the Lodd train station. At the time, they were living in Haifa, but ensured their presence at the train station to greet Abdel Hamid during this special occasion.
Abdel Hamid, had three daughters and six sons from two wives. It is known among the villagers that their sons and daughters had a major disagreement during his lifetime. Today, only one son is still alive, while his daughter Karimeh died in 2019. Karimeh Abdel Hamid – believed to be the youngest daughter, was known to be special. Accounts of villagers confirm that her dad loved her and treated her well. She was envied, and people would refer to her with fortune and good manners. She actually took care of her youngest brother Mohammad. Mohammad is the youngest son, he still speaks highly of his dad – expressing gratitude everyday for raising him as a tough man. He narrates that his dad, Abdel Hamid, used to send him to stay at one of the fields to protect the crops, plants and trees. His son Mohammad would stay all night in the grape field alone (known as Dawali), even when he was super young. This was during the British mandate times which came with a lot of uncertainties, clashes and crime. It was also a time when electricity didn’t exist and villagers had all kinds of superstitious stories. He would play the drums all night to keep ‘monsters’ and ‘ghosts’ away. However, according to his son Mohammad, he was more scared of disobeying his dad or arguing with his dad than sitting in the field alone all night. Nevertheless he would come home in the morning and bring his dad the best grapes from the vineyard.
Abdel Hamid’s Death
These were his last days. When he got ill – he sold a lot of land to pay for his medical expenses and recovery. On his death bed, Abdel Hamid called to see all his sons, daughters and grandchildren. So they all came to see him including Mohammad, who was living in Zarqa (Jordan) at the time. He loved his daughters and sons, and felt that he didn’t treat his children lovingly and equally. One of his grandchildren narrates that he was weak and helpless for the first time. Abdel Hamid was able to see all his children that were still alive at the time, except his son Aref – as he was a wanted man and a fugitive. Rumours say that Aref came one night down the mountain, and checked on his dad from the window. Abdel Hamid died in 1959, leaving the village of Nisf Jubeil and its reign. He was the last Sheikh of Wadi Al-Sha’ir and was not replaced.
Today, he is buried in Dar Mahmoud’s cemetery, which is located across the street from Nisf Jubeil’s cemetery.
His house was abandoned, years after, and specifically with the Palestinian defeat during the six-day war in 1967, which ended with the occupation of Israelis to the West Bank – the remainder of historical Palestine. His grandchildren were split between An-Naqoura and Nisf Jubeil – land which Abdel Hamid owned, and divided among his children. His brothers and their ancestors mostly stayed in Burqa, and were believed to have ruled Burqa. While his son Mohammad lived and continue to live in An-Naqoura today.