Arslan Family History

Aley District's Political Dynasty

People & Places of the Past
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Emir Majid

The Arslan family is one of the longest established political dynasties in the District of Aley. Since the 1800s, the family’s name has become synonymous with revolution, patriotism and independence.

Emir Majid Toufic Arslan (Arabic: الأمير مجيد توفيق أرسلان‎) (February 1908 — 18 September, 1983) was a Lebanese Druze leader and head of the Arslan feudal Druze ruling family. He was the leader of the Yazbaki faction.

Emir Majid Arslan was a national political figure with a role in Lebanon’s independence, a long-running Member of the Lebanese Parliament and a government minister for many times with a number of important ministerial portfolios, most notably Defense, Health, Telecommunications, Agriculture and Justice.

Emir Majid Arslan was the son of Emir Toufic Arslan who helped found Greater Lebanon in 1920. He had three brothers (Nouhad, Riad, Melhem) and a sister (Zahia). Emir Majid studied at the famous French school, Mission Laïque Française.

In 1932, he married his cousin, Emira Lamiss Shehab. She bore him two sons: Emir Toufic (1935–2003) and Emir Faysal (1941–2009).

In 1956, after his first wife’s death, Emir Majid remarried Khawla Jumblatt. She bore him three daughters (Zeina, Rima, and Najwa) and a son, Talal, current Head of the House of Arslan and a Druze leader.

Emir Majid was known for his exceptional skills in horsemanship and would often exercise his hobby in a southern village El Mageedieh, named after him.

Emir Majid Arslan ran for parliamentary elections in 1931 and won the Druze seat of Aley District. His allies also won the elections. From 1931 until his death in 1983, he and his allies would win all the parliamentary elections of 1934, 1937, 1943, 1947, 1951, 1953, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1968 and 1972.

Over a period of 35 years, Emir Majid Arslan held various ministerial posts.
• October 1937: Minister of Agriculture
• September 1943: Minister of Health & Defense
• July 1944: Minister of Health & Defense
• May 1946: Minister of Health & Defense
• December 1946: Minister of Telecommunications & Defense
• June 1947: Minister of Telecommunications & Defense
• July 1948: Minister of Agriculture & Defense
• October 1949: Minister of Defense
• February 1954: Minister of Health & Defense
• July 1955: Minister of Defense
• March 1956: Minister of Defense
• November 1956: Minister of Health & Minister of Agriculture
• August 1957: Minister of Telecommunications & Defense
• March 1958: Minister of Agriculture
• August 1960: Minister of Defense
• October 1961: Minister of Defense
• October 1968: Minister of Defense & Justice
• January 1969: Minister of Defense
• November 1969: Minister of Defense
• May 1969: Minister of Defense
• July 1973: Minister of State
• October 1974: Minister of Health
• July 1975: Minister of Health & Agriculture & Housing

Emir Majid Arslan was the leader of the independence of Lebanon in 1943 when the president Bechara El Khoury with fellow ministers were taken to prison to Rachaya by the French.

On 10 November 1943, the French retaliated by arresting the Lebanese President Bechara El Khoury, Prime Minister Riad Solh and ministers Camille Chamoun, Adel Osseiran and Abdul Hamid Karami. The French used Senegalese mercenaries to transport these political prisoners to Rashaya Fort in the Beqaa Valley. Ministers Majid Arslan, Sabri Hamadeh and Habib Abi Shahla escaped the arrest because they were not in their homes that night. One of Emir Majid’s brothers also escaped to Majdel Baana to seek refuge there among members of the Abdel Khalek family.

On 11 November 1943, Emir Majid Arslan, Hamadeh and Abi Shahla created the “Government of Free Lebanon” with Habib Abi Shahla as Prime Minister and Majid Arslan as Head of National Guard. Their headquarters were in Bchamoun, a village 30km from Beirut, at the residences of Hussein and Youssef El Halabi. 

In Ain Anoub, a fight ensued and liberators prevailed over the French. At that time Majid Arslan declared a Free Lebanon from the home of the Halabi family in Bchamoun where he sought refuge from the arrests. Meanwhile, disturbances and riots raged all over Lebanon. The Deputies held a secret session during which they drew and signed on a new flag that they handed over to the cabinet of Bchamoun.
On 21 November 1943, due to riots and open strikes, the armed rebellion of Ain Anoub and the interference of Arab and Western states (mainly Britain), the political prisoners were released.  The freed prisoners passed by Bchamoun on their way back home, to thank the rebels. There, they sang the Lebanese National Anthem and Majid Arslan knelt and kissed the  flag – this photograph has become a symbol of Lebanese Independence. On 22 November 1943, Lebanon was proclaimed an independent state.

"He was an entire university, an institution in itself, and an encyclopedia of knowledge, science and ideas"

Words of acknowledgement for Dr. Sami Makarem

In addition to his academic contributions in the fields of Islamic studies, Sufism, Islamic history, and his artistic contribution, he published three works of poetry:
• Mir’at ‘ala Jabal Qaf (A mirror on Mount Qaf) (1996),
• Daw’ fi Madinat ad-Dabab (A Light over the city of Mist) (1999)
• Qasa’ed Hubb ‘ala shati’ Mir’at (Love poems on the shores of a Mirror) (2004).

 

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EMIR ADEL ARSLAN

Emir Adel

Emir Hamoud bin Hassan Arslan, was one of the ealiest leaders of the Arslan clan.

He had four sons – Adel, Nassib,  Shakib and Hassan.

Emir Adel Arslan was born in Beirut during Ottoman rule in 1887 .
He joined the American school in Choueifat and was apprenticed at the hands of the famous writer and historian, Boutros Bustani.

Adel Arslan later moved to Beirut, where he studied for a period of time, and then traveled to Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, where he joined the Faculty of Law and Public Administration.

His positions in the Ottoman Empire:
• From 1908 to 1912 , he was a member of the Ottoman Council of Envoys, representing Mount Lebanon and the surrounding areas.
• He was appointed First Class Secretary in the Ministry of Interior in Syria , as well as Director of Immigrants in the same State.
• In 1915 he was appointed to Mount Lebanon , where he became mayor of the Chouf region .
• He had a relationship with the leaders of the Great Arab Revolt and joined the “Association of the Arab Girl”.
• He engaged in clandestine movements demanding the independence of the Arab countries and the establishment of the State of Arab Unity.

more to come soon about Emir Adel Arslan

Emir Shakib

Emir Shakib Arslan (December 25, 1869 – December 9, 1946), was a famous Lebanese Arab writer, poet, politician and intellectual known for the title of Amir al-Bayan. He was fluent in Arabic, Turkish, French and German. He met with many intellectuals and writers during his travels, including Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Ahmad Shawqi. Upon his return to Lebanon , he made his famous trips from Lausanne, Switzerland to Naples, Italy, to Port Said, Egypt, passing the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to Jeddah, then to Mecca and recording all that he saw and met.

more to come soon about Emir Shakib Arslan

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EMIR MAJID ARSLAN

Emir Nassib

Emir Nassib Arslan was born in Choueifat in 1868.

His writings appeared in the major newspapers of the time. He was president of the Union and Progression Association in Beirut, and then became an opponent of the Ottomans and a proponent of Arab separation from Turkey. He was summoned to the Customary Court in Aley, during the days of Jamal Pasha in 1915.

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EMIR NASSIB ARSLAN

Emir Faisal

Emir Faysal Arslan (Arabic فيصل أرسلان) (October 1941 – 20 December 2009).

Faysal Arslan was born to the late Lebanese Druze leader Emir Majid Arslan and to his first wife Emira Lamiss Shehab. He was the second of their two sons, the elder being Toufic Arslan.

After the death of his father, Emir Majid Arslan in 1983, Emir Faisal was appointed the leader of the Arslan family. He continued with the leadership in association with Emir Majid’s second wife, Khawlah Joumblatt.

Emir Faysal Arslan married Hayat Chafik Wahhab who bore him four children, one son, Adel Arslan, and three daughters Diala, Gina and Mada.

Emir Faisal had strong friendships with all the communities in Lebanon and was instrumental in releasing many Christians during the Lebanese Civil War particularly in 1983. His life was put in danger several times and his house in Aley was destroyed.

He also escaped an assassination attempt by explosion on 3 February 1983 targeting him and his wife. Emir Faysal Arslan was a friend of Bachir Gemayel and supported the latter’s election to the Presidency of Lebanon on August 23, 1982. After Bachir Gemayel’s assassination on 14 September 1982, Emir Faysal Arslan tried to forge new political ties with other Lebanese factions including Tony Frangieh and Majed Hamadeh.

With the return of the Syrian influence to Lebanon, in 1989, it was agreed by consensus that Emir Faysal Arslan would withdraw from active political leadership in the Druze community and consecrate solely to his personal life and affairs, and that such political leadership would be transferred to Emir Talal Arslan, his half brother from his father’s second marriage to Khawla Jumblatt.

Since his passing, Emir Faisal’s wife, Hayat Arslan has taken an active role in continuing her husband’s legacy. She works tirelessly for the rights of citizens, independence and equal rights. In 2015, she opened the Faisal Arslan Museum to honor the contributions of the Arslan family in Lebanon.

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EMIR FAISAL ARSLAN
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EMIR ADEL ARSLAN

Emir Adel

Adel Arslan is the son of Emir Faisal Arslan and Hayat Wahab Arslan.

He is active in social and community affairs.

more about Emir Adel Arslan coming soon

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