Birth and Childhood

Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman Bin Saleh Bin Saif Bin Hamad Bin Muhammad Al-Ateeqi (Al-Atiqi) was born in the State of Kuwait around the middle of the thirteenth century after the Hijrah (before 1250 AH / 1834 AD). She was born into a noble family in which she enjoyed the blessings of the great social prestige and longstanding religious influence they possessed as people with a profound, deep-rooted attachment to Islamic knowledge who remained dedicated to the teachings and objectives of the faith as they sacrificed and strove, simultaneously learning and educating others as well. Included among her family members were respected jurists and scholars whose virtues were widely mentioned in books and other publications.[1]

Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman Al-Ateeqi grew up surrounded by her noble family’s rich history in the field of scholarship and education, further enjoying kind and generous care from her uncles on both sides of the family. Her paternal uncles hailed from the family of Sheikh Saleh, while her maternal uncles were from the family of Al-Hajj Saif.

From the time she was young, Munira was nourished with a steady diet of knowledge, education, and refined manners, raised by her family to be a modest young lady with impeccable morals and virtues until she finally reached maturity.

Through His grace, Allah SWT favored Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman with a blessed upbringing, evident in “the bounty of Allah, which He gives to whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.” [Al-Jumu’ah: 4]

The Family of Sheikh Saleh: 

Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman was a benevolent, pious woman who belonged to a branch of a family renowned for its great generosity—the descendants of Sheikh Saleh Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi, who raised his children with such a high degree of piety that their business and commercial activities—no matter how profitable they may have been—never distracted them from knowledge or worship as they strove to preserve the deep sense of religious commitment they inherited from their father, which he described as “a legacy of his passed down from forefathers.”[2] This was the path taken by his noble sons, who followed in the footsteps of their ancestors, who placed great value on education and scholarship.[3] They did not, however, forsake the opportunities of this life and excelled at all types of trade and business without ever hoarding their money away, as they were committed to their passion for charitable giving and spending. In fact, nearly every branch of Sheikh Saleh’s family had a permanent waqf (endowment) created for the sake of Allah in search of His pleasure.

Munira’s cousin (Abdul-Latif Bin Abdullah Bin Sheikh Saleh, the son of her paternal uncle, Abdullah), for example, established a waqf in Souk Al-Kuwait. Another of her cousins (Hussah Bint Abdul-Aziz Bin Sheikh Saleh, the daughter of her paternal uncle, Abdul-Aziz) endowed a home for the sake of Allah. Munira’s father (Abdel-Rahman Bin Sheikh Saleh) also established a waqf close to Masjid Souk Al-Kuwait, a mosque established by the Rizq family.[4]

The Family of Al-Hajj Saif Bin Hamad: 

Through her maternal uncles, the honorable Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman was related to a second noble household—that of Saif Al-Ateeqi—a family long known in the State of Kuwait for the profession of trade, their good management of wealth and investments, and their spending on philanthropy, charitable donations, and other charitable causes.

Munira’s maternal grandfather (the father of her mother, Lulua), Al-Hajj Saif Bin Hamad Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi, was of the old merchants of Kuwait, and had engaged in trade since the reign of Kuwait’s second ruler, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Al-Sabah. Al-Hajj Saif established a waqf out of the shop he owned, which is still known today for its many philanthropic and charitable activities.

Al-Hajj Saif Al-Ateeqi’s noble children followed their father’s lead. Munira’s maternal uncle, Muhammad Bin Al-Hajj Saif Al-Ateeqi, partnered with her father (Abdel-Rahman Bin Saleh Al-Ateeqi) to endow a shop in Souk Al-Kuwait.[5] Her maternal uncle, Saif Bin Al-Hajj Saif Al-Ateeqi, was also a businessman and a person of affluence. As for her maternal uncle, Abdullah Bin Al-Hajj Saif Al-Ateeqi, he married into the family of Abdel-Rahman Bin Sheikh Saleh Al-Ateeqi via a marriage that had great influence on the future of Munira, who was still an impressionable young lady when he wed Aisha Bint Abdel-Rahman Al-Ateeqi, her father’s eldest daughter and Munira’s half-sister. Interestingly, this new alliance made Munira a maternal aunt to the children of her maternal uncle, Abdullah Al-Saif Al-Ateeqi.[6]

In a nutshell, this is the environment in which Munira grew up amongst her family in Kuwait, enjoying their undivided attention and taking refuge in their strong support. Meanwhile, they had become known for their guest-filled dewaniyas and busy commercial stores in their famous district in Kuwait City.

At the time, Kuwait was witnessing a state of prosperity and seemingly unlimited growth in trade and construction due to the stable political situation the region enjoyed during the reign of Kuwait’s third ruler (Sheikh Jaber Bin Al-Sabah) and his successors, which enabled many businesspeople and affluent, well-to-do individuals to invest their money in different types of maritime and land trade. The elite of the Al-Ateeqi family was blessed with a generous share of this wealth.

Journey to the Holy City of Makkah

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“A mount is not saddled (for a journey) except to three mosques: The Mosque of Al-Haram, this mosque of mine, and the Mosque of Al-Aqsa.” 

(Narrated by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah)

With a love of Makkah firmly established in the hearts of Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman Al-Ateeqi’s family, as they were well-acquainted with the religious virtues of living near the Holy Sanctuary (a highly desirable act with tremendous rewards), they frequently visited the holy sites and sanctuaries of Makkah and Madinah, eventually leaving Kuwait and setting out towards the Holy City of Makkah for good.

In doing so, the family sought from this great atmosphere of faith and spirituality closeness and obedience to Allah SWT. Not only does a single prayer in the Mosque of Al-Haram equal a hundred prayers in any other mosque, but it is also the best place on Earth for someone to devote himself to worship and prayer. There is no location more ideal than Makkah Al-Mukarramah in which to raise a child surrounded by those who praise Allah SWT as one is provided with the opportunity to recite, memorize, and contemplate the Holy Qur’an while learning whatever possible of the Prophetic hadiths and fiqh and benefitting from gatherings of dhikr (remembrance). It was Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman’s destiny to reap the innumerable rewards of living in this pristine environment.

Because of its special status, this blessed region attained great economic importance, with Makkah becoming a major commercial center in the heart of the Islamic world as a place long open to profit and trade with the assistance of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims who carried their goods and merchandise with them in order to benefit financially, as Allah SWT said: 

“Have we not established for them a safe sanctuary to which are brought the fruits of all things as provision from Us?” 

[Al-Qasas: 57]

As the centuries passed, with the continuous arrival of Hajj pilgrims to Makkah, combined with the improved safety of the roads, the residents of Makkah (a city with undeniable geographic importance and significance) became increasingly skilled at the art of trade—and their capital has only grown as it continues to be purified with sadaqah, charity, and the performance of good deeds.

Not surprisingly for a family of pious, honest businesspeople, the family of Abdel-Rahman Al-Ateeqi partook in its share of halal earnings and honorable methods of attaining rizq (sustenance), delving into the risks associated with business as Allah SWT granted them tremendous profits for their efforts. In this manner, Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman Al-Ateeqi came to build up her own wealth and personal ownership of land, gaining financial independence separate from that of her family. With time, her residence in Makkah Al-Mukarramah (may Allah SWT honor it) became a source of rizq for her in both this life and in the Hereafter—allowing her to experience the best of both worlds.

An example of the architecture of Makkah’s old homes.

Residence in Shi`b `Amir

After emigrating from Kuwait, Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman’s family chose to live in Shi`b `Amir, alongside the many other honorable households in the province of Makkah, as they liked both the area as well as the neighbors. Munira’s pious mother, Lulua Bint Al-Hajj Saif Al-Ateeqi, purchased a spacious home in the neighborhood, creating a stable place of residence for her and her family that could be used as a home close to the Holy Sanctuary. She also made it into a welcoming place for her relatives from Kuwait to stay in whenever they visited Makkah Al-Mukarramah in order to perform the rituals of Hajj and Umrah.

Records show that a good number of immigrant families settled in Shi`b `Amir alongside their local brothers and neighbors from the Hejaz. Included among the families who settled in that neighborhood were: The Al-Hakami family, the Al-Naqiti family, the Al-Nuwaiser family, the Al-Dhubiyan family, the Al-Sanee’ family, the Simsim family, the Abu Sulaiman family, the Al-Nashar family, and others.[7]

Years after Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman’s family had settled in Shi`b `Amir, she acquired a great love of her own for the Holy Sanctuary of Makkah and—following the example of her family—wished to establish a permanent residence for herself next to it. Seeking closeness to the land that Allah SWT has explicitly blessed, she chose a plot of land next to her family’s home in Makkah Al-Mukarramah—specifically in Shi`b `Amir, near Bi’r Al-Hamam—and purchased it with her own money. In the year 1277 AH (1860 AD), Munira built a home on this land as well as a dewaniya (a reception area for large gatherings) and furnished them both. This home eventually became a permanent residence for her after the death of her second husband.

Her Marriages

As someone who had lived, since childhood, next to the Holy Sanctuary of Makkah, having been raised as a modest, pious young lady blessed with knowledge, manners, and good lineage on both sides of her family, it was only natural that one of Makkah’s nobles—a man from the family of Al-Hakam—would win Munira’s hand in marriage. This marriage was not destined to last, however, and Munira subsequently married a tribal leader, another person of prominence in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, remaining married until he left her a widow, may Allah have mercy on him.[8]

After this, Munira (may Allah have mercy on her) married Al-Sayyid Muhammad Bin Ali Bin Abdel-Rahman Al-Madhaifi Al-Adwani, who belonged to a family with close ties to the ashraf (nobles) of Makkah Al-Mukarramah, as his family was related to the family of Sharif Ghalib Ibn Mas’ud through both blood and marriage. Munira’s new husband, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Ali Al-Madhaifi, was a prominent figure who performed work for the embassy. Ottoman documents show that he went to the region of ‘Asir in order to deliver a letter to its tribal leaders in 1272 AH (1856 AD). His father and paternal uncle, Uthman Al-Madhaifi, were also prominent figures in Makkah Al-Mukarramah as well as leaders with well-known historical stances.[9]

The Al-Ateeqi Begum Dewaniya and Hajj Pilgrims’ Association

The late Munira Al-Ateeqi was generous and hospitable, always maintaining the ties of kinship with her family and relatives and gaining people’s admiration because of the many types of charity and good deeds she performed. She often hosted pilgrims and visiting relatives who would come from Kuwait and Najd with their guests and stay in private areas set aside for them, where they would be showered with generosity and enjoy complete devotion to their service.

This great warmth and generosity extended to the people of Makkah as well. The benches surrounding the outer wall of Munira’s home would always be prepared for guests on the mornings of the Eid holidays or other important occasions. Her home also served as a meeting place for Makkah’s elite, who were served coffee, tea, and local Hejazi foods by slaves and servants as the guests chatted about matters of importance to them.

When they were finished with these gatherings, the guests would leave to take care of their affairs, but Munira would have only spoken to them from behind a barrier, following the old traditions of the people of Makkah, whose women enjoyed privacy and seclusion in their homes—which was naturally the case for someone of Munira’s stature as well.

Munira’s home was given a title to match her status as a person of great respect and honor, and was thus known as the Home of the Honorable Al-Ateeqi Begum due to her high level of prestige and the great admiration people felt in their hearts for her. The ashraf still ruled over the Hejaz, and it was common at the time for Ottoman titles to be used amongst the aristocratic classes. Documents show that the title Begum was used for both Munira and her mother, Lulua Bint Saif Al-Ateeqi.[10] Begum was originally an honorific title of respect used by the Ottomans for women of noble lineage on both sides, and is still used today in some Asian countries.[11]

Part of an official list of homes in Shi`b `Amir, including the homes of Munira (Begum) Al-Ateeqi.

Family documents also show family visits to Munira’s Makkah dewaniya that were made by her maternal uncle, Abdullah Bin Al-Hajj Saif Al-Ateeqi, whenever he stayed in Makkah. During some of the gatherings and visits that took place, he received acquaintances from Najd (located in the Hejaz), including Muhammad Bin Abdullah Bin Hamad Ibn Esa, who left a trust with him in Makkah Al-Mukarramah to take to Kuwait.[12]

Her Charitable Endowment in Makkah Al-Mukarramah

For a righteous woman who’d grown up in a pious environment—regularly exposed to the gems contained within Allah’s Noble Book and having the opportunity to delve into their exalted meanings—it was only natural that Munira would also absorb the Qur’anic emphasis on charitable giving and become familiar with the great rewards Allah SWT has prepared in Paradise for those who give charity and spend freely for His sake. Munira (may Allah have mercy on her) was thus well-acquainted with the blessings of endowments and the reward for those who endow.

As stated above, in 1277 AH, Munira selected a plot of land in Shi`b `Amir in the province of Makkah on which she had “buildings, a courtyard, a dewaniya, a hall, (other) amenities, and two private areas” constructed. She then endowed this entire complex for the sake of Allah SWT—both as a venue for charity and as a place to offer scarified meat to the poor and needy. Because she was a secluded woman who did not mix with men, when Munira wanted to bequeath her estate in Makkah Al-Mukarramah as a charitable endowment, the Shari’ah judge at that time had to send her a legal representative on his behalf to hear the desired bequest and document what Munira said in preparation for it to be executed as a legal document that would remain permanently effective for as long as Allah SWT wills.

An official traveling in this manner to Munira’s home in order to hear the endowment declaration indicates the high level of prestige Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman Al-Ateeqi enjoyed, as the registrar went to her while she was not required to appear at the legal registry office for the reason stated at the top of document, which is that she was a secluded woman of honor who followed the example of the Prophet’s wives (may Allah be pleased with them) and did not mix with men.

The legal document, which was issued in Makkah Al-Mukarramah on 19 Rabi’ Al-Thani 1306 AH and certified by the courts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, indicates that the legal official mentioned above, Sheikh Suleiman Effendi Bin Sheikh Asa’d Qannas (a legal registrar known by the title of “Pash Court Scribe”), went to the home of the Honorable Munira to hear her declaration of the above-mentioned endowment, the text of which stated (in part):

“Upon the above-mentioned official’s arrival to the home of the above-mentioned Honorable Lady Munira, daughter of the late Sheikh Abdel-Rahman Bin Saleh Al-Ateeqi of Kuwait, she was, in his presence, legally identified as herself—in person, by name, and by lineage—by two acquaintances of hers: The Honorable Sheikh Saleh and the Honorable Sheikh Ahmed, both sons of: Sheikh Muhammad Bin Ahmed Alamoudi. In their presence, upon their identification of her to the above-mentioned official, the above-mentioned Honorable Lady, daughter of the late Sheikh Abdel-Rahman Bin Saleh Al-Ateeqi of Kuwait, declared in the presence of the above-mentioned Sheikh Suleiman Al-Effendi…”

It was thus registered that the Honorable Sheikh Saleh and Sheikh Ahmed, both sons of Sheikh Muhammad Alamoudi, were present to identify the bequeather, and that they both identified her in person—by name, and by lineage—which was the proper legal method of identifying someone according to the principles of due diligence.

These two men, who lived in the same neighborhood as Munira (where the tribe of Quraysh also lived as well), were, of course, trustworthy enough to be summoned for the matter of Munira’s identification. Their keenness to mention Munira’s Kuwaiti lineage in order to avoid any confusion, and to distinguish her from those in the Hejazi region holding first or last names similar to hers, is noticeable. The context here indicates that use of the title “Sheikh” for Abdel-Rahman (Munira’s father) as well as for the men from the Alamoudi family who identified Munira, was to establish their social status as sheikhs,[13] and this title appeared repeatedly in the other legal documents approved by the registrar, Sheikh Suleiman Effendi Bin Asa’d Qannas. The registrar delivered these documents to the deputy Shari’ah judge, who approved all of them. The entire report was then brought before the Shari’ah judge, who stamped it with his approval on 19 Rabi’ Al-Thani 1306 AH (1888 AD).

This legal ruling (which can be viewed in the text partially reproduced below) was copied from the registry and approved by the head of the courts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Makkah Al-Mukarramah.

Two things are apparent in the original endowment document, which has been partially reproduced above. One is the extent of religious knowledge possessed by the late Munira Al-Ateeqi, while the other is the great preciseness with which she expressed herself, evident in her detailed description of everything related to the endowment and the different ways it could be used and benefitted from. In particular, she focused on her devotion to her parents and husband via the charity and sacrifices she performed on their behalf, also mentioning her benevolence towards the poor and her support and encouragement for students of the Qur’an.

The late Munira managed the above-mentioned endowment until she passed away. Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Abdullah Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi subsequently assumed charge over the endowment until he, too, returned to Allah SWT, whereupon his son, the late Abdul-Latif Al-Ateeqi, took over. These days, it is Dr. Salah Bin Abdul-Latif Al-Ateeqi who oversees the interests of the endowment.

It is worth mentioning that the original area of Munira’s estate was 214 square meters (m2). A portion of that was appropriated for city-planning purposes, leaving a triangular-shaped piece of land with an area of 146 m2.

In the literature of Makkah Al-Mukarramah, there is a ribat (hostel or retreat) known as Ribat Al-Kuwait in the neighborhood of Bani ‘Amir. The way it is described indicates that it is actually the endowment, as it became a ribat for students of religious knowledge and Kuwaiti Hajj pilgrims arriving for worship and study (Hussein Abdul-Aziz Shafi’i: Al-Arbita bi Makkah Al-Mukarramah fi Al-‘Ahd Al-‘Uthmani).

A legal official appointed by the Kuwaiti government, the late Abdullah Bin Ahmed Al-Zawawi, built a fence around the remaining part in order to protect the endowment.

Waqf for Munira’s Servants and the Descendants of Her Freed Slaves

Allah SWT unequivocally wants slaves to be freed and has created great rewards towards that end. Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman had a number of slaves, maidservants, and other servants whom she freed, seeking the pleasure of Almighty Allah. Later on, she continued to show kindness to her former servants by providing them with gifts, inheritances, and other things. Also, after Munira endowed her above-mentioned estate, she commenced another charitable project, which was to endow the two private areas located north of the first estate, designating them for her freed slaves and their descendants. She attached a condition to this, which was that when the former slaves passed away and had no descendants left to inherit the endowment, it would be transferred to her Kuwaiti relatives and their descendants, so that the endowment would not be lost.

A legal document issued by the courts of Makkah Al-Mukarramah and dated 10 Jumada Al-Awwal 1306 AH states that Munira Al-Ateeqi endowed the two above-mentioned private areas, along with any buildings and facilities associated with them, to her freed slaves and their male and female descendants. The document further specified that if they died without leaving any descendants, the estate should be endowed to her sister’s son, Muhammad Bin Abdullah Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi, and then to his heirs. She put one of her freed slaves in charge of managing the endowment, which was subsequently overseen by the aforementioned nephew and his descendants. This endowment attests to the great sense of benevolence and desire to do good possessed by the late endower, may Allah have mercy on her.

Her Jewelry and Adornment: Gems and Jewels

The Honorable Munira Al-Ateeqi bequeathed money and valuables that the poor, along with her many guests, had benefitted from throughout her life—before she even thought about using them for her own enjoyment. But did her generous spending on others mean that Munira was oblivious to the luxuries of this life?

The truth is that Munira’s practice of faith and worship were not monastic in nature, nor was she a recluse from this life and its adornments. Zuhd (asceticism) does not mean to wear worn-out garments and give the false appearance of poverty. At the same time, it also does not mean that one’s sole concern should be with enjoying the pleasures of this worldly life. Both approaches are wrong.

The daughter of a noble people, Munira Al-Ateeqi herself could only be described as a noblewoman—and, like all well-to-do women, she did not abstain from the opportunity to adorn herself with various types of jewelry and gems. Adornment is a God-given instinct that Allah SWT has created women with—and this instinct cannot easily be changed.

Allah SWT tells us: 

“Say, ‘Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?’ Say, ‘They are for those who believe during the worldly life [but] exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection.’” 

[Al-A’raf: 32]

Old documents have preserved for us a unique and beautiful inventory of the names of the jewelry and gems worn by the women of the Al-Ateeqi family long ago. This list appeared within a legal document listing what she had bequeathed and included the following:

  • Diamond brooch pins, Number: 4, Value: 40 British pounds;
  • Persian Amber, Number: 2, Value: 30 British pounds;
  • Two pearl necklaces, Value: 40 British pounds;
  • Diamond earrings, Value: 150 British pounds;
  • Gold cuff-bracelet, Value: 60 British pounds;
  • Diamond-encrusted gold bracelet, Value: 25 British pounds;
  • Emerald- and ruby-encrusted gold rings, Value: 32 British pounds;
  • Indian waist-belt with silver chains, Value: 5 British pounds;
  • Diamond ring, Value: 20 British pounds;
  • Gold chains, Value: 8 British pounds;
  • Pearl pendant with pearl-studded gold chains, Value: 15 British pounds;
  • Gold necklace, Value: 20 British pounds.

The total value of the jewelry listed above was 445 British pounds.[14]


The Honorable Munira Al-Ateeqi, may Allah have mercy on her, lived nearly 75 years, during which she performed many different types of good deeds, including charitable endowments, hosting Hajj pilgrims, freeing slaves, sponsoring students of the Qur’an, maintaining the ties of kinship, and being generous with guests.

After this, she responded to the call of her Almighty Lord. 

[To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul, Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], and enter among My [righteous] servants—and enter My Paradise.” 

[Al-Fajr: 27-30]

Munira Al-Ateeqi died around 1326 AH (1908 AD). May Allah SWT shower her with mercy and accept her among His righteous, pious servants.

Authored by:

Dr. Imad Bin Muhammad Al-Ateeqi

17 Jumada Al-Awwal 1431 (May 1, 2010)

Published in Rajab 1437 (April 2016)

Translated in Feb. 2018


[1] To learn the details of their biographies, see the following book: Al-Suhub Al-Wabila ‘ala Dhara’ih Al-Hanabila, by Muhammad Bin Abdullah Ibn Hamid.

[2] Part of a verse from a stanza of poetry authored by Sheikh Saleh Al-Ateeqi in which he praises a book authored by Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saloum Al-Tamimi.

[3] In a biography of Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi that appeared in his book, ‘Ulama’ Najd Khilal Thamaniat Quroun (5/563), Sheikh Abdullah Al-Bassam said: “He was from an honorable house of knowledge, as his father was a scholar, his brother (Sheikh Saleh Bin Saif) was a scholar, and his nephews were scholars—and each one of them has a biography in this book.” –End of Citation

[4] For more details regarding these endowments, see the biography of Sheikh Saleh Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi under the “Biographies” section of this website.

[5] See Manuscript No. 13 under the “Manuscripts” section of the website.

[6] A fun riddle often mentioned among the descendants of the family of Al-Hajj Saif goes: “If she is our maternal aunt, and her mother is our paternal aunt, who are they?” The answer, of course, is that the maternal aunt is Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman Al-Ateeqi, while the paternal aunt is Lulua Al-Saif Al-Ateeqi.

[7] See the book: Sada Al-Ayam Matha? Fi Harat Makkah (pg. 44), by Abdullah Muhammad Abkar.

[8] Continuous chains of narration within the family have preserved for us many of the details of Munira’s multiple marriages.

[9] His paternal uncle, Uthman Al-Madhaifi, was a minister for Sharif Ghalib and an in-law of his, and then later one of the leaders of the first Saudi state as well as a governor of the Hejaz. As for his father, Ali Al-Madhaifi, he was a commander for Imam Muhammad Bin Saud during the Battles of ‘Asir, as was his other paternal uncle, Saud Al-Madhaifi Al-Adwani. The leadership of the Adwan tribe led this family in the Hejaz for a long time. (See: Najd wa Al-Hejaz fi Al-Watha’iq Al-Uthmaniya. Sinan MarufoÄŸlu, Dar Al-Saqi, 2002 AD, London.)

[10] As reported on a chronological list of homes in Shi`b `Amir in Makkah, from City Hall documents / City of Makkah.

[11] “Begüm” (pronounced “Bekum” in Arabic) is an honorific title of respect for women meaning “my lady.” It usually follows a person’s name, coming at the end. The masculine equivalent is the title “Bey” (often pronounced “Bek”). Both titles were widely used among the noble classes during the reign of the Ottoman Empire.

[12] From an ‘Adasani family document (Barwa Bin Esa) dated 2 Jumada Al-Awwal 1290 AH (June 28, 1873 AD) and authenticated by Muhammad Bin Abdullah Al-‘Adasani. From the document archives of the family of Saif Al-Ateeqi.

[13] The Alaamoudi family, or the “Alamoudi” family (as it is currently written), is originally from Hadhramaut, but their presence in Makkah Al-Mukarramah dates back centuries. This is evident in an Ottoman document from 1219 (1804 AD) in which it was reported that Sheikh Ahmed Bin Umar Alamoudi was a prominent figure in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, and that the Ottoman sultan acknowledged that he was of the descendants of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him (Suhail Saban: Madakhil B’ad A’lam Al-Jazirah Al-Arabiya fi Al-Arshif Al-Uthmani).

The labeling and social classification of individuals as nobles, tribal leaders, tribal members, city-people, and so on, was extremely common in Hadhramaut, and in Yemen in general, in the past. In addition to being used for scholars and tribal leaders, the title “Sheikh” was also used in the Hejaz for nobles who had descended from families with good lineage on both sides—and in particular for the families of Quraysh, including Al-Shaibi, Al-Tayyar, Alamoudi, Al-Ateeqi, and others. What we have mentioned here is for the purpose of clarifying the meanings of old texts without any intention of encouraging social classification divisions, because just like the teeth of a comb, people are equal, and piety and righteous deeds are what determine who is better than the other.

[14] The currency in common use for trade at the time was the British pound, which was the equivalent of seven Austrian riyals (French riyals), or about fifteen Indian rupees. To give you a better idea regarding the value of what Munira owned in terms of jewelry alone (which was valued at 445 pounds), this amount would have been the equivalent of 6,675 rupees, or 3,115 French riyals. In contrast, homes built during Munira’s lifetime sold for amounts that did not exceed 1,000 rupees in Kuwait, and 100 riyals in the villages of Najd!