Why is the El Chemor/Gharios Family endowed with the Ghassanid Royal Titles?

rasafa
Ghassanid ruins in Rasafa (Sergiopolis) current Syria

Due to the massive fall of monarchies in the 19th and 20th centuries, the study of Dynastic and Nobility Law has decayed considerably becoming a very rare subject amongst the scholars today. This fact gave birth to several myths and misconceptions about the subject even amongst reasonably educated people.

Because of the European colonial dominance in the world until the last century and the current existence of several acting monarchies in the region, as well as several non-ruling royal families being extremely active socially and even politically, createdthe false ideathat all the royal and noble titles in the world and their succession should follow the European model, regardless of any local – and sometimes millennial – traditions that particular family may have. Truth to be told, many royal houses decided to “Europeanize” their customs and traditions, especially during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, those “adaptations” to the European model were dully and legally documented, not leaving any room for guessing and hearsay.

Also, there’s an enormous misconception regarding legality versus notoriety and prestige. There are thousands of former ruling and noble families in the world. Some more and some less known and prestigious. Not all of them have a plethora of information available in other languages than their native ones. It’s humanly impossible, even for a scholar, to know the peculiarities and rules of every single one of them. Therefore, it’s not because many people “never heard” of this or that family means that the family is legitimate or not.

Through this blog and many other documents and articles containing several scholarly references from bonafide academic organizations all over the world, we’ve proven to exhaustion the legal rights of the El Chemor/Gharios family according to the Middle Eastern custom and the international law to the Royal Ghassanid titles.

Before we proceed, we’d like to suggest some complimentary reading to fully understand this article:

·        The El Chemor/Gharios family Vis-à-vis with the International Law

·        The Middle Eastern Laws of Succession 

·        Primogeniture in the Royal Arab Succession

·        The Laws of Succession of the Ghassanids

·        Understanding the Royal Ghassanid family tree

·        The Sheikhs El Chemor: a legal study of titles

Currently, there’re today two different schools of thought (or legal theories) about the rights of ruling families that are dispossessed of their thrones.

One defends that the “de jure” (by law) sovereign rights are perpetual and attached to the person of the dethroned sovereign and his/her heirs – observed the respective laws of successionregardless of time elapsed, of territorial and political control and indifferently to the fact that that sovereign or his/her heirs are exercising or not their dynastic prerogatives in exile like for example, using publicly their titles, arms, etc. or even manifesting any kind of diplomatic protests.

 They defend that, due to domestic law in the dispossessed country or in exile, the public use of titles may be forbidden as in countries like Austria and Brazil, where after the fall of the monarchical regimes, their constitutions expressly forbade any mention to any title on the person’s name.  Also, any so-called “diplomatic protests” would represent an immense risk for the life of the protesters in absolute and/or theocratic regimes like some Islamic regimes in past and present.

Many European jurists and even recent court decisions defend the aforementioned theory.

The Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius, one of the forefathers of international law, wrote:

. . . in order that silence may establish the presumption of abandonment of ownership, two conditions are requisite, that the silence be that of one who acts with knowledge and of his own free will. For the failure to act on the part of one who does not know is without legal effect.” On the Law of War and Peace, Book I, chapter IV, number 5

In other words:

Presumption of neglect cannot justly exist, where the original owner has, by ignorance of his rights, or by deception, or personal fear, been prevented from claiming what he is entitled to. If he knew not that he had a right, he could not be supposed to relinquish it. And if fear or fraud induced his neglect, his mind could not have voluntarily consented.” John Penford Thomas, A Treatise of Universal Jurisprudence, chapter II, no. 13, 1829, p. 34

Grotius also wrote:

“Contracts, or promises obtained by fraud, violence or undue fear entitle the injured party to full restitution.”www.constitution.org/gro/djbp_217.htm

Another forefather of international law, the Swiss jurist Emmer de Vattel in the treatise “THE LAW OF NATIONS“:

“CHAP. XI. OF USUCAPTION AND PRESCRIPTION AMONG NATIONS”

§ 144. Claimant alleging reasons for his silence.

In cases of ordinary prescription, THE SAME ARGUMENT CANNOT BE USED AGAINST A CLAIMANT WHO ALLEGES JUST REASONS FOR HIS SILENCE, as, the impossibility of speaking, or a well-founded fear, etc., BECAUSE IS THERE IS NO LONGER ANY ROOM FOR A PRESUMPTION THAT HE HAS ABANDONED HIS RIGHT. IT IS NOT HIS FAULT IF PEOPLE HAVE THOUGHT THEMSELVES AUTHORIZED TO FORM SUCH A PRESUMPTION; NOR OUGHT HE TO SUFFER IN CONSEQUENCE: HE CANNOT THEREFORE BE DEBARRED THE LIBERTY OF CLEARLY PROVING HIS PROPERTY. THIS METHOD OF DEFENCE IN BAR OF PRESCRIPTION HAS BEEN OFTEN EMPLOYED AGAINST PRINCES WHOSE FORMIDABLE POWER HAD LONG SILENCED THE FEEBLE VICTIMS OF THEIR USURPATIONS.” http://www.constitution.org/vattel/vattel_02.htm

According to Salvioli (History of Italian Law, Utet, 1930, p.272) sovereignty as an element of state power sprang from the struggle of the kings against the great feudatories and owes its character of necessity to the resulting concentration of the powers of the state in the hands of the monarch.

“Born of feudal origins, this power continued to bear the imprint of the personal property of the Prince, whence derives its transmissibility by hereditary right IN PERPETUITY.” 

By this doctrine the Prince logically retains his sovereignty always (suprema potestas, whence supremitas, sovereignty) even when he is no longer reigning.

Archbishop Hyginus E. Cardinale in his book stated:

A Sovereign in exile and his legitimate successor and Head of the Family continue to enjoy the ius collationis [the right to confer and enjoy honours] and therefore may bestow [such] honours in full legitimacy. . . . No authority [no matter what that authority is] can deprive them of the right to confer honours, since this prerogative belongs to them as lawful personal property iure sanguinis [by right of blood], and both its possession and exercise are inviolable.” (Orders of Knighthood Awards and the Holy See — A historical, juridical and practical Compendium, Van Duren Publishers, Gerrands Cross, 1983, p. 119)”

The following legal conclusion reflects knowledge of perpetual sovereignty. The learned Italian judge officially recognized that:

Among those rights [of a former ruling house inherited by the successors is] the faculty to ennoble, to grant and confirm coats of arms, to bestow titles drawn from places over which their ancestors had exercised their sovereign powers, and also the right to found, re-establish, reform and exercise the Grand Magistracy of the Orders of Chivalry conferred by their family, which may be handed down from father to son as an irrepressible birthright.” (The United Court of Bari, The Republic of Italy, Sig. Dr. Giovanni de Gioca, March 13, 1952)

A Court sentence of the Republican Italy (Pretoria de Vico Del Gargano, Repubblica Italiana sentence number 217/1949) corroborates the above-mentioned:

 “(…) it’s IRRELEVANT if that Imperial family is no longer ruling FOR CENTURIES, because the deposition doesn’t harm the sovereign prerogatives even if the sovereign renounces, spontaneously, to the throne. In substance, in this case, the Sovereign does not cease to be King, even living in exile or IN PRIVATE LIFE (WITHOUT CLAIMING HIS SOVEREIGNTY), because his prerogatives are, itself, by birth and CANNOT BE EXTINGUISHED, but remains and may be transmitted in time, from generation to generation.”

From Professor Doctor W. Baroni Santos, Doctor D’Etat in Nobility Law at The University of Reims in France, in his book “Treaty of Heraldry / Nobility Law Vol. I, Book II, chapter I “Jurisprudence of Nobility” page 197:

 “A “Chief of Name and Arms”, a title attributed to a Claimant, being by juris sanguinis (law of blood) “heir apparent” of a defunct throne, as long as has not formalized a voluntary act of resignation and acquiescence [formalized, not assumed or presumed] to the new political order of the state, according to the classic expression “subito la debellatio”, retains, in all its fullness, the sovereign prerogatives of Fons Honorum (Fountain of Honours) and Jus Majestatis (right to majestic dignity). It is, a fortiori, the source of nobility and honor, and may, without restrictions, create nobles and arm knights.”

According to the former president of the Italian (Supreme) Court of Cassation, Professor Doctor Renato de Francesco in 1959:

“… It’s simply ridiculous, from a legal point of view, the distinction intended to be done about Dynasties that have reigned until recently of those who ruled in the distant past. It’s not understandable how you can launch at the foot numerous pages of history, only to give luster to this or that family, who, aided by good luck, has managed to remain on the throne, after the year 1815. A Dynasty either reigned or not reigned. If reigned, even in very remote time, deserves the historical and legal treatment as a Dynasty and all its effects.”

Here is an extract from the book “Chivalry Orders and Nobility titles in Italy ” (Ordine Cavallereschi e titoli nobiliari in Italia), Basilio Petrucci, pg.87:

 “So does the former King Umberto II of Savoy , once there was no ‘subito la debellatio, he conserves the royal prerogative in granting honorific titles of nobility and chivalry, along with other sovereigns of the former Italian and foreign states…”

 Here is another extract from the book “Studies on Nobility Law” (Estudos sobre Direito Nobiliário), Dr. Mario Silvestre de Meroe, pg. 63:

 “There outbreaks of political crises in front of which the monarch himself voluntarily accepted – sometimes even want to – that institutional rupture, expressly agreeing with the new order of things. In such cases, AND ONLY THOSE, he loses the dynastic rights, retaining only the princely qualities inherited and transmitted to their descendants, without, however, the attributes of ‘pretender’.”

Professor Emilio Furno, an eminent Italian jurist and scholar, former advocate in the Supreme Court of Appeal, writes as follows in “The Legitimacy of Non-National Orders“, Rivista Penale, No.1, January 1961, pp. 46-70:

There are not a few judgments, civil and criminal, albeit some very recent, all of which tend as a rule to the acceptance of traditional principles re-enunciated not long since. The issue is that of innate nobility – “Jure Sanguinis” (right of blood) – which looks into the prerogatives known as “Jus Majestatis” and “Jus Honorum” and which argues that the holder of such prerogatives is a subject of international law with all the logical consequences of that situation. That is to say, a deposed sovereign may legitimately confer titles of nobility, with or without predicates, and the honorifics which pertain to his heraldic patrimony as head of his dynasty. The qualities which render a deposed Sovereign a subject of international law are undeniable and in fact constitute an absolute personal right of which the subject may never divest himself and which needs no ratification or recognition on the part of any other authority whatsoever. A reigning Sovereign or Head of State may use the term recognition in order to demonstrate the existence of such a right, but the term would be a mere declaration and not a constitutive act. (Furno, op.cit.).

A notable example of this principle is that of the People’s Republic of Chinawhich for a considerable time was not recognized and therefore not admitted to the United Nations, but which nonetheless continued to exercise its functions as a sovereign state through both its internal and external organs.” (Furno, op.cit.).

The eminent author concludes:

To sum up, therefore, the Italian judiciary, in those cases submitted to its jurisdiction, has confirmed the prerogatives “jure sanguinis” of a dethroned sovereign without any vitiation of its effects, whereby in consequence it has explicitly recognized the right to confer titles of nobility and other honorifics relative to his dynastic heraldic patrimony. “(Furno, op.cit.).

According to the above, the El Chemor/Gharios Familyfully retains the Royal Ghassanid titles satisfying the legal criteria since it’s proven their descent from the last Ghassanid King in male line in perfect accordance with the respective Arab Laws of Succession.

The second school of thought defends that royal heir only retain their sovereign rights if, and only if, they use their titles publicly and/or make diplomatic protests.

One of the great defenders of this theory is Dr. Stephen Kerr y Baca a former professor of public international law and human rights at Antioch School of Lawand legal advisor to the Habsburg family. In his book “The Entitlement to Rule: Legal, Non-Territorial Sovereignty in International Law” (Heritage International University, 2015 – ISBN: 978-0-692-02896-4) he explores all the legal nuances of the rights of dethroned families and formulates how the public use of the titles, that according to him consist in a form of diplomatic protest, would prevent the irreparable forfeiture of the sovereign rights.

Here we will quote excerpts to his book that are particularly interesting since they clearly show a legal parallel with the El Chemor/Gharios Family.

The Prescriptive Preservation of the Ancient Royal House of David

Maintaining royal rights and keeping them alive, according to the rules of prescription, can be easily discerned in the following case, which represents prescriptive preservation of deposed rights for almost a thousand years.  It has been gleaned from what history is available to show that titles were used by a well-known deposed royal house, such that, their claim was never discarded, neglected or abandoned.  From 970 B.C. to the coming of Christ in 1 A.D., the Davidic line was a dispossessed and did not rule or reign in the Holy Land.  This loss of kingship was prophesied or foretold by the Prophet Hosea, who lamented for the sins of Israel and explained the result thereof, “For the children Israel shall abide many days [thousands of years] without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice. . . ,” etc. (Hosea 3:4)  In other words, he considered that part of the curse of sin is to lose the great blessing and national benefit of having a royal house reigning in the midst of the people.  Nevertheless, the House of David followed what perpetuates or keeps the non-territorial right alive according to natural law.  The example is that:

Jesus [who was called the Christ] was in the most full and perfect sense a descendant of David, not only by law in the royal line of kings through his reputed father, but also in fact by direct personal descent through his mother.[72]

The angel announced to his mother, Mary:

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1: 32-33)

Jesus the Christ was of the lineage of the ancient kingly line and the rightful heir of the family.  However, to be the royal scion of a royal house is not enough.  Titles of sovereign rank had to consistently used to legally and lawfully maintain a claim of sovereign royalty by a deposed house, which requirement was full achieved by the ruling line of the descendants of David.  This was exemplified by the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was called “the son of David” seventeen times in the New Testament account. “Son of David” was a title.  It did not merely mean a descendant of David, but is found elsewhere in Jewish tradition.  It refers to the heir to the throne.[73] 

. . . Son of David was one of the most common Jewish titles . . . . It was a royal title denoting his lineage from the family of the Great King David and his right to re-establish and rule over the coming kingdom of God.[74]

This title is similar to the French title “dauphin,” which was the title of the heir apparent to the throne in France.  The title “son of David” was the de jure and rightful head and chief of the royal house of David.  With the addition of “the” to the title, making it “the son of David,” it was the title of Jesus the Christ.  It meant that he was the actual, legal and lawful king of all Israel.

Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, was also called “son of David,” in other words, heir to the throne holding dynastic or de jure succession rights. (Matthew 1:20)  That is, “The scepter of Juda [the right to the throne] . . . came to Joseph by hereditary succession. . . .”[75]  According to Hammurabi’s Code, section 188, if a man teaches his adopted son a trade, the son is thereby confirmed in all the complete rights of heirship.  As the adopted step-son of the Davidic heir to the crown of Judah and Israel, Jesus became the rightful heir after his father’s death.

Dr. James E. Talmage wrote:

Had Judah been a free and independent nation, ruled by her rightful sovereign, Joseph the carpenter would have been her crowned king; and his lawful successor to the throne would have been Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.[76] 

Canon Girdlestone adds:

If the crown of David had been assigned to his successor in the days of Herod it would have been placed on the head of Joseph.  And who would have been the legal successor to Joseph?  Jesus of Nazareth. . . .[77]

Not only was the regal and exalted title of the “son of David” used, but:

. . . The words “mother of my Lord” [spoken by Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist] point to Mary as a queen-mother figure [or personage of high royal status].  It has been noted in the royal court language of the Ancient Near East, the title “mother of my Lord” would have been used to address the queen mother of the reigning king (who himself is addressed as “my Lord;” 2 Samuel 24:21).[78]

The royal line kept their de jure royal rights alive the same way international law requires today.  Specifically it was through the continued use of royal titles, such as, using the royal title “son of David,” which was the equivalent of “prince of the royal Davidic line.”

(…)

“[This ruling office] was hereditary, passing directly from father to son in most but not all cases.”[81] 

(…)

Note the title of rightful kingship “the Son of David,” meant the heir to the throne.  

(…)

Rightful sovereignty has been preserved intact for both of these sovereign entities for thousands of years.   

www.the-entitlement-to-rule.com/id38.htm

Summarizing, Dr. Kerr y Baca defends that the use of the surname “Ben David” or “son of Davidwas enough to represent legally the use of the royal Davidic titles and claims therefore constituting a diplomatic protest necessary to preserve intact the sovereign claim for thousands of years according to international law.

The El Chemor/Gharios family did exactly the same thing. The Sheikhs El Chemor ascended to power in 1211 CE in Koura (today’s Lebanon) due to their genealogical direct descent to the Ghassanid Kings. They were known asthe descendants of King Chemor Jablah”, the last king of Ghassan. That’s the origin of the surname “Chemor” (other transliterations: Shamir, Shammar, Chemr, etc. ) since after the deposition of the last Ghassanid King in 636 CE his Royal descendants were known as “Bani Chemor” and the regular Ghassanid citizens as “Bani Ghassan”.

According to Dr. Kerr y Baca, that alone would be enough to keep the sovereign claim legally alive. However, the El Chemor family kept using the Royal title of “sui iuris” “Sheikh” until the present date. This title was recognized by the Ottoman empire until its demise in 1924 and also by the Lebanese republic since its inception until the present date being printed in Identification cards, driver’s licenses and passports. Therefore, there was never a time in history since the loss of the Ghassanid kingdom in 636 CE until the present day that the descendants of the last king didn’t use their titles and/or surnames in public. (IMPORTANT: there’s a difference between the Royal and the Noble Sheikhs in Lebanon, please see this article for a better understanding)

The grave of His Highness Sheikh Selim El Chemor (the great grandfather of HRH Prince Sheikh Selim El Chemor, honorary head of the Royal House of Ghassan) passed away in 1909 CE), note that the royal title of Sheikh (in Arabic, upper right side) is on his tombstone, a capital proof that the family has been publicly using the ‘sui iuris’ titles for centuries until the present date. (Grave at the cemetery at the Mar Mama Ancient Church in Kferhata, Lebanon)

Photo: The grave of His Highness Sheikh Selim El Chemor (passed away 1909 CE, the great grandfather of HRH Prince Sheikh Selim El Chemor, honorary head of the Royal House of Ghassan), note that the royal title of Sheikh (in Arabic, upper right side) is on his tombstone, a capital proof that the family has been publicly using the ‘sui iuris’ titles for centuries until the present date. (Grave at the cemetery at the Mar Mama Ancient Church in Kferhata, Lebanon) Understand the legality of the titles here: https://royalblog.org/2017/12/26/the-sheikhs-el-chemor-a-legal-study-of-titles/

After everything presented, it’s extremely easy to conclude that the El Chemor/Gharios Family have preserved intact its sovereign legal rights and titles.

Sworn legal statement from the world’s leading scholar in Middle Eastern Royal Succession HERE

Primogeniture in the Royal Arab Succession

UEA rulers
The seven princes that rule the emirates (or principalities) that form the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Each Royal House is independent and have its own rules of succession. However, all of them disregard the principle of primogeniture as all the middle eastern monarchies, except Bahrain

We’ve already covered here the fact that the Arab Royal laws of succession are different than the European in many ways, specially by a fundamental point: the principle of primogeniture.

Primogeniture (English: /praɪməˈdʒɛnɪtʃər/) is the right, by law or custom, of the paternally acknowledged, firstborn son to inherit his parent’s entire or main estate, in preference to daughters, elder illegitimate sons, younger sons and collateral relatives. The son of a deceased elder brother inherits before a living younger brother by right of substitution for the deceased heir. In the absence of any children, brothers succeed, individually, to the inheritance by seniority of age (subject to substitution). Among siblings, sons inherit before daughters. In the absence of male descendants in the male-line, there are variations of primogeniture which allocate the inheritance to a daughter or a brother or, in the absence of either, to another collateral relative, in a specified order (e.g. male-preference primogeniture, Salic primogeniture, semi-Salic primogeniture).  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primogeniture

That was never accepted in the Arab monarchies until very recently.

Middle Eastern monarchical systems have established various methods of choosing which among the eligible princes will rule.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 27)

According to one the foremost scholars in Middle eastern history and Professor Emeritus of Princeton University, USA, Professor Bernard Lewis:

“… the dynastic principle and the practice of hereditary succession remained powerful, deep-rooted, and virtually universal in the Islamic Middle East. Even in the nomadic tribes, the shaikh is normally chosen from among the members of one family, who have a recognized hereditary claim to the headship of the tribe and very often to the custody of some sacred place or object—the palladium or ark of the covenant, so to speak. Similar practices may be observed also among Iranian and Turkic nomads. The principle of primogeniture—of succession from father to eldest son in the direct—is a European idea. It was not accepted among the ancient Arabs, and it never took root in the great Muslim dynastic empires. Descent in the male line from the founding and the ruling families was the sole requirement. The most usual practice was for the ruler to designate his successor, choosing whichever of his uncles, brothers, nephews, or sons might be the most suitable. Sometimes the ruler might designate more than one in line, though this was neither usual nor required.” From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East, By Bernard Lewis, Oxford 2004, p. 96

Since the time of the ancient Arab tribes, we see a system called “rotation”. Usually, the heir to the throne was selected from among the King’s male descendants for his qualities, such as: physical force, nobility (if the prince was descended from another Royal line from his mother, it would make him more fit for the throne: even the King’s direct sons could come from different mothers) and also the most intelligent and popular prince among the people.

In succession based on “rotation”, all (male) members of the dynasty are entitled to the monarchy.

In Europe, where dynasties flourished, succession was once determined by a show of strength among a ruler’s sons. In time, however, it reverted to primogeniture, in which a ruler’s oldest male descendant acceded to the throne. For a variety of reasons, chiefly because of religious and tribal traditions, Primogeniture has not developed among Arabian dynasties in quite the same way, because under Shariah law, all sons of a man are equal and legitimate, even if they were born from illegitimate marriages. Moreover, in pre-Islamic tribal norms, while the throne could have passed from one generation to the next within a particular family, it was not necessarily passed from father to son. Rather the authority also fell to a ruler’s brother, uncle, or cousin, depending on which of these oldest male relatives was seen to possess ‘ the qualities of nobility; skill in arbitration; hazz or ‘good fortune’; and leadership ’ “. (Joseph A. Kechichian, “Succession in Saudi Arabia”, 2001, p.10)

No firm principle specified which member of the ruling family had the right to rule.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 22)

The same principle was not only limited to the Arab Dynasties, but also the great majority in the Middle East.

In the Ottoman Empire after 1617 the eldest living male of the dynasty succeeded, though this was not formalized legally.” (Alderson, “The Structure of the Ottoman Dynasty“, 12-13. J.C. Hurewitz reviews succession across the Middle Eastern empires in “Middle East politics: the military dimension”, 18-27)

Again, that’s a common pattern for all the Middle East.

In vain would it be to establish here the succession of the eldest son; the Prince [King] might always choose another as every Prince of the royal family has an equal capacity to be chosen, hence it follows that the Prince who ascends the throne strangles immediately his brothers [once they all compete equally for the succession], as in Turkey; or put out their eyes, as in Persia; or bereaves them of their understanding as in the Mogul’s country,” (Nathan J. Brown, Constitutions in a nonconstitutional world: Arab basic laws, p.12 citing Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1748), The Spirit of Laws, Book V)

In Arabia [Arabic monarchies], all males within the ruling sublineages of the families have a theoretic right to the rulership. In practice, the succession generally goes to those whose fathers ruled (though not necessarily to the sons of the most recent ruler). These general guidelines leave a large number of shayks [Sheikhs] and princes eligible, especially if, as in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait [as in Ghassan], the succession has moved laterally to brothers and cousins instead of directly to the ruler’s sons.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 26, 27)

Even today, the only country to adopt legally the principle of primogeniture is the Kingdom o Bahrain.

Alone among the Gulf ruling families, the Al Khalifa pass the succession according to a fixed rule. The constitution specifies that the eldest son of the ruler shall succeed him.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 132)

But even in Bahrain, the Constitution says that:

“… the Amir (ruler), during his lifetime, can appoint a different son as Crown Prince [successor]” (Section 1, Article 1).

That’s in perfect harmony with the standards of the Arab monarchies.

For a better understanding, we also recommend the following articles:

 

Ghassanids, the Great Sultans of medieval Yemen

rasulid map

The Rasulid Sultans ruled part of today’s Yemen and Saudi Arabia from 1229 until 1454 CE.  The Rasulids descended from the eponymous Rasul a.k.a. Muhammad ibn Harun Al-Ghassani (“The Ghassanid” in Arabic). As personally claimed by the Sultans themselves and recognized by the great majority of Arab historians (and by the unanimous opinion of the Yemenite historians, he descended from the last Ghassanid king Jabalah VI ibn Al-Aiham.

Rasulid sultans

According to Professor Irfan Shahîd, it would make no sense for the Rasulid Sultans (Muslims) to claim descent from the last Christian Ghassanid ruler since it was known that the King Jabalah VI had refused to convert to Islam in his famous meeting with Caliph Omar?

“… the Rasulids themselves were aware of their Ghassanid descent and were proud of it.” The Islamic World: From Classical to Modern Times (Essays in Honor of Bernard Lewis) pp.332

List of Rasulid Sultans:

al-Mansur Umar I (ar) ruled 1229–1249 CE
al-Muzaffar Yusuf I (ar) ruled 1249–1295 CE
al-Ashraf Umar II (ar) ruled 1295–1296 CE
al-Mu’ayyad Da’ud ruled 1296–1322 CE
al-Mujahid Ali ruled 1322–1363 CE
al-Afdal al-Abbas ruled 1363–1377 CE
al-Ashraf Isma’il I ruled 1377–1400 CE
an-Nasir Ahmad ruled 1400–1424 CE
al-Mansur Abdullah ruled 1424–1427 CE
al-Ashraf Isma’il II ruled 1427–1428 CE
az-Zahir Yahya ruled 1428–1439 CE
al-Ashraf Isma’il III ruled 1439–1441 CE
al-Muzaffar Yusuf II ruled 1441–1454 CE
al-Afdal Muhammad ruled 1442 CE
an-Nasir Ahmad ruled 1442 CE
al-Mu’ayyad Husayn ruled 1451–1454 CE
al-Mas’ud Abu al-Qasim ruled 1443–1454 CE

It’s important to point that although the Rasulid Sultans were direct descendants from the last Ghassanid King Jabalah VI – as the Sheikhs El Chemorthey could never claim the Ghassanid titles due to a law imposed by Ghassanid kings in the 6th century CE of the Royal Family having to be necessarily Christian.

It’s also noteworthy that so many rulers descended from Ghassanid King Jabalah VI like:

Roman (Byzantine) Emperors of the Phocid Dynasty (802-813 CE)
Ceasars and Masters of the Island of Rhodes (1203-1250 CE)
Sultans of Rasul (1229-1454 CE)
Sheikhs of Akoura (1211-1633 CE)
Sheikhs of Zgharta-Zawyie (1641-1747 CE)

More about the Ghassanid Dynasty HERE

 

Ghassanids, the sovereigns of the Island of Rhodes

rhodes
The beautiful Greek island of Rhodes

Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of land area and also the island group’s historical capital. It’s famous for its magnificent resorts, ruins and for being occupied by the Hospitaller Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem.

However, what many people don’t know is that the island was ruled by Ghassanid sovereigns for over half century. The precise date of the island control is not known but the fact that Leo Gabalas (Greek transliteration of “Jablah” referring to the last King of Ghassan) was recognized as “Ceasar” (in Byzantium a sort of Imperial Sovereign ruler) and master of Rhodes in 1203 CE is widely documented adding another imperial title to the Ghassanid Dynasty (other being ‘Basileus Araves’ or “Emperor of all Arabs” in 529 CE and Byzantine Emperor in 802 CE). This imperial dignity is also recognized by Islamic sources like the Research Centre for Islamic History.

Gabalas

The Leo’s early life and the origin of title of “Caesar” and the details of his establishment of control over Rhodes are unclear. Contemporary sources make clear that Rhodes had slipped out of imperial Byzantine control and was held by an independent ruler already at the time of the Fourth Crusade (1203–04 CE). This ruler is usually identified with Leo, but Nikephoros Blemmydes claims that Leo held his title by hereditary right, which may indicate an unknown predecessor who actually seized control of the island. This theory is defended, amongst others,  by scholar Michael F. Hendy. It has been surmised that at some point Leo acknowledged the suzerainty of the Empire of Nicaea, and that the title of Caesar may have been granted by the Nicaean rulers Theodore I Laskaris (ruled 1205–1222 CE) or John III Vatatzes (r. 1221–1254 CE). On the other hand, if he (or a relative) held power on Rhodes since before 1203, the title may have been granted by the Angeloi emperors.

Emperor Leo Gabalas ruled until 1240 CE being succeeded by his brother John. It’s also known that both rulers were part of international treaties with the neighboring States like the Venetian Republic and also had their own coinage.

 

 

It’s also known that Leo’s brother and successor John Gabalas ruled the island until the Nicaean annexation (around 1250 CE).

More about the Ghassanid Dynasty HERE 

 

A 2017’s Retrospective

retro2017

We sincerely hope that you’re having very pleasant holidays with your family and friends.

It’s time to remember what has happened in 2017 and plan for the new year.

We had many achievements in 2017, here are some highlights. More details and photos, please, follow the links:

* In February, a top Maronite scholar in Lebanon has validated the historical chronicles about the Ghassanid Royal Family https://royalblog.org/2017/02/02/top-maronite-historian-validates-chronicles-about-el-chemorgharios-family/

pres1
TIRH, Sheikh Camil. Sheikh Dr. Elie, Prof. Schirrmacher, HE General Michel Aoun the President of Lebanon, HIRH Prince Gharios, Sheikh Dr. Naji and HIRH Prince Cheikh Selim

* In May, invited by the Lebanese Government, HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor has traveled to Lebanon and was received officially by the President of the Lebanese Republic with other members of the Royal Family. President Gen. Michel Aoun also accepted the Order of Saint Michael https://royalblog.org/2017/05/11/royal-house-of-ghassan-is-received-by-lebanese-president-in-private-audience/

Prince Gharios was also interviewed by Lebanese TV https://royalblog.org/2017/05/11/prince-gharios-el-chemor-is-interviewed-by-otv-lebanese-tv/

And also featured at the AlHurra Arab TV https://royalblog.org/2017/06/27/royal-house-of-ghassan-featured-at-alhurra-arab-tv/

DSC05576

* In June, Prince Gharios and the Royal Family were received by His Excellency the President of Albania at the Presidential Palace in Tirana. He also has received the Order of Saint Michael https://royalblog.org/2017/06/15/royal-family-officially-received-by-albanian-president/

fullsizeoutput_c237* During the trip to Albania, the Royal Family was also officially received by HRH Crown Prince Leka II of the Albanians. HRH also received the Order of Saint Michael  https://royalblog.org/2017/06/15/prince-gharios-el-chemor-and-royal-delegation-received-by-crown-prince-leka-ii-of-the-albanians/

DSC05154* In Tirana, the Royal family was also officially received by the Orthodox Patriarch https://royalblog.org/2017/07/25/royal-family-visits-orthodox-patriarch-of-albania/

DSC05803* The Grand Mufti (Sunni Muslim highest authority) https://royalblog.org/2017/07/31/prince-gharios-royal-family-received-by-the-grand-mufti-of-albania/

DSC05021* The world leader of the Bektashi Order (Sufi Islam) https://royalblog.org/2017/07/29/ghassanid-royal-family-visits-sufi-world-leader/

pgstiftung* The Prince Gharios Foundation in Germany has sponsored the construction of a church for refugees https://royalblog.org/2017/07/07/prince-gharios-foundation-in-germany-supports-construction-of-a-church-for-christian-refugees/

* In August, Prince Gharios El Chemor has visited His Eminence Cardinal Koch, the President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity in Rome https://royalblog.org/2017/08/26/royal-couple-visits-cardinal-koch-in-rome/

SOSMA Karcher* And Monsignor Karcher, the Pontifical Secretary of Protocol at the Vatican Secretariat of State. He has received the Order of Saint Michael https://royalblog.org/2017/08/25/pontifical-secretary-of-protocol-receives-the-order-of-saint-michael/

Valentino* Prince Gharios also met the fashion legend Valentino in Capri, Italy https://royalblog.org/2017/08/24/prince-gharios-el-chemor-meets-fashion-legend-valentino/

* In September, Prince Gharios was invited by the Lebanese Government to an official event in Las Vegas https://royalblog.org/2017/09/26/prince-gharios-el-chemor-participates-in-official-event-invited-by-lebanese-government/

princebishopnayrouz2017* In October, Prince Gharios El Chemor was invited to the Neyrouz service of the Coptic Orthodox Church at Westminster’s in London, UK  https://royalblog.org/2017/10/21/prince-gharios-el-chemor-attends-coptic-orthodox-service-in-london/

IMG_0417* The Coptic Archbishop of London Anba Angaelous has received the Order of Saint Michael https://royalblog.org/2017/10/24/coptic-bishop-angaelos-receives-the-order-of-saint-michael-archangel-in-london/

archbishop boutros Mattar maruni* In November, Prince Gharios was invited to participate at the commemoration of the 74th Lebanese Independent Day in Beverly Hills https://royalblog.org/2017/11/21/prince-gharios-el-chemor-participates-of-the-74th-lebanese-independence-day-in-los-angeles/

DRgl7cQX4AIHM9k* In December, the Royal House of Ghassan had a Christmas Charity event in Lebanon https://royalblog.org/2017/12/21/royal-house-of-ghassan-has-christmas-charity-event-in-lebanon/

Also, during the year, Prince Gharios El Chemor has received many honors and awards, amongst them:

Medal from the Dragomanov University (Ukrainian Ministry of Education) https://royalblog.org/2017/06/15/prince-gharios-el-chemor-receives-medal-from-the-ukrainian-ministry-of-education/

Goodwill Ambassador of the State of Arkansas (USA) https://royalblog.org/2017/07/28/prince-gharios-el-chemor-honored-by-the-state-of-arkansas/

US Congressional Special Recognition https://royalblog.org/2017/08/25/prince-gharios-el-chemor-receives-u-s-special-congressional-recognition/

We also invite you to learn more about the history of the Ghassanid Royal Family and ancestors:

The El Chemor/Gharios family Vis-à-vis with the International Law https://royalblog.org/2017/06/23/the-el-chemorgharios-family-vis-a-vis-with-the-international-law/

Father Ignatios El Khoury, one of the most acclaimed Maronite historians of the 20th century https://royalblog.org/2017/08/04/father-ignatios-el-khoury-one-of-the-most-acclaimed-maronite-historians-of-the-20th-century/

The Middle Eastern Laws of Succession https://royalblog.org/2017/09/07/the-middle-eastern-laws-of-succession/

HIRH Prince Cheikh Antonios El Chemor The Honorary Founder of the modern Royal House of Ghassan https://royalblog.org/2017/10/12/hirh-prince-cheikh-antonios-el-chemor-the-honorary-founder-of-the-modern-royal-house-of-ghassan/

Understanding the Royal Ghassanid family tree https://royalblog.org/2017/11/19/understanding-the-royal-ghassanid-family-tree/

The Sheikhs El Chemor: a legal study of titles https://royalblog.org/2017/12/26/the-sheikhs-el-chemor-a-legal-study-of-titles/  

We wish you and yours a Blessed 2018, full of health, wealth and peace!    

The Sheikhs El Chemor: a legal study of titles

maronitesheikh

After the advent of Islam, it’s known that the Ghassanid Royal Family had to leave the Ghassanid territory (today’s Syria, Jordan, Northern Saudi Arabia and Northern Iraq). Part of the family went to Byzantine empire and part sought refuge in the heights of the Mount Lebanon, a safe haven for Christians.

It’s known and documented that the El Chemor Sheikhs descended directly from Ghassanid King El Chemor Jablah Ibn Aiham (ruled 632-638 CE), the last King of Ghassan:

 “It is a reputed deep-rooted allegation that the heads of Al-Chemor tribe are rooted from Bani Chemor, who are the Christian Kings of Ghassan which belong to [King] Al Jafna.” Father Ignatios Tannos El-Khoury, Historical Scientific Research: “Sheikh El Chemor Rulers of Al-Aqoura (1211-1633) and Rulers of Al-Zawiye (1641-1747)” Beirut, Lebanon, 1948, p.38

By “jus sanguinis” (or law of blood) as the undisputed descendants and heirs of Ghassanid King Chemor Jablah they were already the legitimate heirs of the Ghassanid Imperial and Royal titles. Nevertheless, for local and circumstantial reasons, they’ve ruled two small sheikhdoms or principalities (Akoura and Zgharta-Zawiye) in Mount Lebanon for approximately 500 years (until 1747 CE) using the title of “Sheikh”.

Sheikh (pronounced /ʃeɪk/ SHAYK or /ʃiːk/ SHEEK; Arabic: شيخ‎ šayḫ [ʃæjx], mostly pronounced [ʃeːx/ʃejx], plural شيوخ šuyūḫ [ʃuju:x])—also transliterated Sheik, Shaik, Shayk, Shaykh, Cheikh, Shekh, and Shaikh—is an honorific title in the Arabic language. It commonly designates the ruler of a tribe, who inherited the title from his father. Sheikh” is given to a royal male at birth, whereas the related title “Sheikha” is given to a royal female at birth.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheikh

There were several different categories of “Sheikh” in Mount Lebanon through history. To understand the role and importance of the Sheikhs El Chemor in later times one has to comprehend the nobiliary system of Mount Lebanon in the last centuries.

For that understanding, it’s necessary a division:

Mount Lebanon BEFORE the Ottoman rule

Ottoman Sultan Selim I invaded Syria and Mount Lebanon in 1516 CE and allied to the famous Druze Prince Fakhr ad Din I established a semi-autonomous country that only worked in practice for the urbanized areas, since the rural areas, specially in Northern Mount Lebanon, were ruled by the local chiefs. That would take over a century to change. But lets’ return to that later.

Before the Ottoman invasion, the natural local leaders called “Sheikhs” or “Muqqadams”, ruled sui iurissovereign and semi-sovereignsheikhdoms” or small principalities only paying taxes to neighboring dynasties. And they were left considerable alone to take care of their own affairs. In other words, they were “sovereign” (or “semi-sovereign”) being considerably independent and autonomous. That characteristic makes those ruling families technically “royal” giving the title “Sheikh” the same connotation that it had and still has in the Arabian gulf today. The Sheikhs El Chemor were ruling Akoura since 1211 CE, exact 305 years before the Ottoman invasion. They were known and acclaimed by the people as sui iuris”  Sheikhs”, they were not formally invested (or elevated) by an Emperor, Sultan or Emir.

Local leaders in fragmented Lebanon were called Zu’ama, and their followers were described by an English visitor as ‘of an independent turn of mind; all are armed from the age of boys, and are governed by their own Emirs, or Sheikhs, or PrincesThey are all warriors, loving athletic exercise.’ They included Christian Maroniteswho dominated the highlands of Mount Lebanon.”

Nicolle ill. McBride 1998 p22

Maybe the most important point to be understood about the honor system in Lebanon is the fact that the Sheikhs that had this title before the Ottoman invasion (1516 CE) were “natural autonomous tribal rulerslike their counterparts in the Arabian Gulf, they had the title sui iuris” (by their own right), having autonomy and powers similar to the princes and sovereign dukes of the Holy Roman Empire. However, different than in Europe, their Lebanese counterparts had sovereignty locally but no saying in the administration of the Caliphates. (see “A House of many mansions: the history of Lebanon reconsidered”, Berkley, 1988, Kamal Salibi and “Lebanon A History 600-2011, Oxford, 2012, William Harris)

The Sheikhs El Chemor ascended to power due to their genealogical direct descent to the Ghassanid Kings. They were known as “the descendants of Ghassanid King Chemor Jablah. That’s the origin of the surnameChemor” (other transliterations: Shamir, Shammar, Chemr, etc. ) It was very common at the time the knowledge of genealogy.

“Druze and Maronite muqataajis (feudal lords) could trace their descent back over many generations to the ancestors of their families…” All Honourable Men: The Social Origins of War in Lebanon, Oxford, 2001, Dr. Michael Johnson pgs. 98-99

The founder of the Ghassanid Dynasty was King Jafna Ibn Amr (ruled 220-265 CE). He was the son of the Azd ruler Amr Ibn Muzaikiya. The other sons of Amr gave origin of other important Arab ruling families like the Al-Said Sultans of Oman, the Al-Nahyam rulers of Abu-Dhabi, the Al-Maktoums rulers of Dubai and the Al-Nasrids rulers of Al-Andaluz (Spain). Originally as part of the Azd tribe, the Sheikhs El Chemor have blood ties with many major Arab ruling houses. The El Chemor Sheikhs were related by marriage to the El Hachem Sheikhs of Akoura in Lebanon (descendants of the Hashemites rulers of Jordan and Iraq) and, more recently, to the Shihab Emirs, the latest rulers of Lebanon before the republic.

Mount Lebanon AFTER the Ottoman rule

Although the “Iltizam” system was effective implemented in Mount Lebanon only in 1667, some “noble” (not “royal) Sheikhs were created during the previous century by the Ottoman appointed princes. They were not natural “sovereign or semi-sovereign” tribal leaders but wealthy notable commoners elevated to nobility.

Iltizām, in the Ottoman Empire, taxation system carried out by farming of public revenue. The state auctioned taxation rights to the highest bidder (mültazim, plural mültezim or mültazims), who then collected the state taxes and made payments in fixed installments, keeping a part of the tax revenue for his own use. The iltizām system included the farming of land taxes, the farming of urban taxes, the production of certain goods (such as wine, salt, or senna), and the provision of certain services. It began during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II (1444–46, 1451–81) and was officially abolished in 1856. Various forms of iltizām, however, continued until the end of the empire in the early 20th century, when the system was replaced by methods of taxation that were supervised by public officials.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/iltizam-tax-system#ref158373

About the difference between the original tribal Sheikhs and the appointed “multazimsSheikhs:

“… [the tribal Sheikh] was a hereditary feudal chief whose authority over a particular district was vested within a patrilineal kinship group. He lived in his own village and maintained ties of patronage with his atba’ [following]. In contrast, the multazim [Sheikh] was not indigenous to the tax farm he controlled. He was more akin to a government official than a feudal sheikh.”  “Lebanon’s Predicament“, Columbia, 1987, Samir Khalaf

In 1711, the Shihab Princes had codified the honor system which is the one known today. The system was divided as:

Grand Emirs (princes), Emirs, Muqqadams and Great Sheikhs (five Druze and three Maronite families) and Sheikhs.

The systemwas not based on pedigree but in political prestige and economical favors.

Even though the “Great Sheikhs” were maybe more relevant and prestigious in Lebanon’s modern history than the El Chemor Sheikhs, their titles are of “noble” assent, not “royal since they were given by a higher authority corresponding to the equivalent of the European (non-sovereign)  “Duke”.

A similar case happened with the Arslan Emirs (princes). According to several historians, they had less actual power than some Sheikhs but a higher social importance. (see “All Honourable men: the social origins of war in Lebanon, Oxford 2001, Dr. Michael Johnson, p.99)

If you ask any Lebanese, even historians, who’s “royal” for them, they’ll immediately think of the princely families that ruled the whole Mount Lebanon under the Ottoman empire (i.e. Shuf Emirate, Emirate of Jabal Druze, Emirate of Mount Lebanon, as well as Ma’an Emirate)

However, the Thesaurus’ definition of the word “Royal” is

of or relating to a king, queen, or other sovereign

But what does “sovereign” means?

1. a monarch; a king, queen, or other supreme ruler. 2. a person who has supreme power or authority.”

In the technical sense, the El Chemor family was also sovereign in Mount Lebanon as it was in Ghassansince their power was considerable autonomous and didn’t emanate from a higher authority. The family had to make deals with the Ottomans only in the last years of rule, to join the Iltizam system for some time culminating with the deposition.

According to accepted international law and its principle of “sovereign equality“, the Pope or the prince of Monaco is “as royal” as the Queen of England regardless of the size of their actual territories. That principle is one of the pillars of International Law itself.

By the aforementioned, the “sovereign” or “semi-sovereign” ruling Sheikh is the equivalent of a Prince.

The original, but now less common use of the word, originated in the application of the Latin word princeps, from late Romanlaw, and the classical system of government that eventually gave way to the European feudal society. In this sense, a prince is a ruler of a territory which is sovereign, or quasi-sovereign, i.e., exercising substantial (though not all) prerogatives associated with monarchs of independent nations, as was common, for instance, within the historical boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire.”

(…)

As a title, by the end of the medieval era, prince was borne by rulers of territories that were either substantially smaller than or exercised fewer of the rights of sovereignty than did emperors and kings [exactly as the Sheikhdoms]. A lord of even a quite small territory might come to be referred to as a prince before the 13th century, either from translations of a native title into the Latin princeps (as for the hereditary ruler of Wales), or when the lord’s territory was allodial.”

(…)

Lords who exercised lawful authority over territories and people within a feudal hierarchy were also sometimes regarded as princes in the general sense, especially if they held the rank of count or higher. This is attested in some surviving styles for e.g., British earls, marquesses, and dukes are still addressed by the Crown on ceremonial occasions as high and noble princes (cf. Royal and noble styles)

(…)

Generically, prince refers to a member of a family that ruled by hereditary right, the title referring either to sovereigns or to cadets of a sovereign’s family. The term may be broadly used of persons in various cultures, continents or eras. In Europe, it is the title legally borne by dynasticcadets in monarchies, and borne by courtesy by members of formerly reigning dynasties

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince#Prince_as_generic_for_ruler

There are so many examples in the Arabian peninsula and Gulf like Kuwait, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar, etc

“Besides the sovereigns referred to above, there are several oriental potentates who should be mentioned, the rulers of the Sultanates and Sheikdoms of East Africa and the Persian Gulf (…) The style of these Sheikhs is His Highness.” Titles: How the king became His Majesty”, L.G. Pine, New York, 1992 (Barnes & Noble) p. 137-138

“In the modern United Arab Emirates, however, none of the rulers of the constituent states are called emirs (princes); all are Sheikhs.”

  https://www.britannica.com/topic/emir

Another undeniable evidence that proves the ROYAL character of the El Chemor titles is the fact that the origins of the Gulf Royal families and the El Chemor family is the very same, they came from Yemen and settled in different areas, before Islam. It’s more than natural that the pre-Islamic tribal traditions inherent to the titles be the same.

Even though all the Lebanese feudal titles were abolished by the Ottoman empire in 1858 CE, the empire could only do so with the titles bestowed by their own honor system. The El Chemor Family had both the Imperial and Royal Ghassanid titles and the ruling Sheikh titles by the “sui iuris” (by own right) legal principle, therefore, the revocation didn’t legally affect them.

However, both the empire and the subsequent Lebanese regimes have formally recognizedall the feudal titles by printing them in the official documents like birth certificates, driver’s licenses and passports.

Above: recent Lebanese Passport of HRH Sheikh Nassif El Chemor (1945-2017) with the Royal title officially displayed

No birth legal privilege attached to those titles, only the prerogative of using them publicly. Not much, but still a formal recognition.

The grave of His Highness Sheikh Selim El Chemor (the great grandfather of HRH Prince Sheikh Selim El Chemor, honorary head of the Royal House of Ghassan) passed away in 1909 CE), note that the royal title of Sheikh (in Arabic, upper right side) is on his tombstone, a capital proof that the family has been publicly using the ‘sui iuris’ titles for centuries until the present date. (Grave at the cemetery at the Mar Mama Ancient Church in Kferhata, Lebanon)

Photo: The grave of His Highness Sheikh Selim El Chemor (the great grandfather of HRH Prince Sheikh Selim El Chemor, honorary head of the Royal House of Ghassan) passed away in 1909 CE), note that the royal title of Sheikh (in Arabic, upper right side) is on his tombstone, a capital proof that the family has been publicly using the ‘sui iuris’ titles for centuries until the present date. (Grave at the cemetery at the Mar Mama Ancient Church in Kferhata, Lebanon)

As mentioned, the El Chemor family was ruling since 1211 CE, almost 80 years before the Ottoman empire was even founded and over 300 years before the first emirate was created with prince Fakhr al-Din I (1516–1544).

We can conclude that there’s a huge difference between the prestige of titles in Mount Lebanon and their actual legal value. Important to note that we’re not debating neither the prestige nor the historical deeds of a particular family, but the actual title’s legal pedigree. There are many families with a more active and glamorous participation in Lebanon’s history than the Sheikhs El Chemor, however, only the families that actually ruled before the Ottoman invasion can claim sovereign or semi-sovereign status along with the Maanid and the Shihab Emirs.

Sworn legal statement about the El Chemor family from the world’s leading scholar in Middle eastern Royal Succession HERE

More about the Sheikhs El Chemor and the Ghassanid Kings HERE

Royal House of Ghassan has Christmas Charity event in Lebanon

Again this year, the Lebanese branch of the Royal House of Ghassan had a Christmas Charity Event in Furn El Chebbak, Lebanon. In partnership with the Amicale des Freres Association the Royal House has distributed food and gifts to the elderly people forgotten by their own families. Congratulations to Sheikh Dr. Elie Gharios, the President of the Lebanese branch of the Royal House of Ghassan for the initiative! Happy Holidays

Official article from Lebanese Government about the late Sheikh Nassif El Chemor

Nassif el chemor article

Lebanon has two state-owned news agencies. The most important of them is The National News Agency (NNA), official news body of Lebanon, launched in 1964. They’re an entity subjected to the Ministry of Information Lebanese Republic.

The Ministry of Information consists of the General Directorate of Information and several other directorates including:  Directorate of Lebanese Studies and Publications, The National News Agency and  The Lebanese Broadcasting Directorate  Auditing Department (Diwan).  The Ministry includes other departments and sections.  It was organized by legislative decree no. 6830 released on June 15, 1961.

In other words, whatever is published or stated via any of the entities subjected to the Ministry of Information is considered and recognized as “official information from the Lebanese Government“.

Please CLICK HERE  for the official 2013’s article (in English) from the The National News Agency  (Lebanese Government News’s Agency – Ministry of Information) mentioning the late HH Sheikh Nassif El Chemor (transliterated there as “Shamir”) famous author, historian and former mayor of Kferhata in Lebanon. His Highness Sheikh Nassif has left us earlier this year victim of cancer. May God rest his soul. 

 

Understanding the Royal Ghassanid family tree 

familytreephoto2

Studying dynastic and nobility law is very common to realize that each dynasty has its own rules that govern succession.

Around the world, nations and ethnic groups use many different methods to determine the rules of inheritance, whether those rules apply to thrones or titles or to tangible and intangible property. Religion, history, politics, and law all play their part in determining which rules a population selects to make such choices. In those nations of Europe which have or have had monarchies, we can see many different choices, and we see the workings of all of these influences.” FROM AGNATIC SUCCESSION TO ABSOLUTE PRIMOGENITURE: THE SHIFT TO EQUAL RIGHTS OF SUCCESSION TO THRONES AND TITLES IN THE MODERN EUROPEAN CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY, Christine Alice Corcos, 2012 MICH. ST. L. REV. 1587

Usually, in the Middle East, the Royal Houses follow what’s known as “agnatic rotation” meaning that any male descendants from the last ruler can compete for the succession. By this method, succession doesn’t go only “down” in the family tree, meaning to the sons and daughters like in Europe, but it may go “sideways” to brothers and cousins or even “up” to uncles, etc. Primogeniture is not a necessary rule like in Europe, therefore, the actual position in the family tree is utterly irrelevant as long as the successor can prove that he belongs to that particular family in male line.

To learn more about the Middle Eastern laws of succession please, click HERE 

The Royal Ghassanidsand their lawful heirs, the Sheikhs El Chemor of Mount Lebanon, also followed the “agnatic rotation” system.

To learn more about the Ghassanid laws of succession please, click HERE  

Important to notice that the El Chemor family has this name from the last king of Ghassan, Chemor (or Shummar, Shemir, Shemar, etc) Jablah VI Ibn Aiham  (ruled 632-638 CE). Therefore, they were known as the “Chemori” or “the descendants of King Chemor”. King Jablah VI, has received the name “Chemor” from a tradition started by King Jabalah IV (ruled 518-528 CE) who was also known by the “kunya” or teknonymyof “Abu Chemor” (or “the father of Chemor“) referring to the eldest brother to King Al-Harith V, the most famous Ghassanid King of all times (ruled 529-569 CE).

It is a reputed deep-rooted allegation that the heads of Al-Chemor tribe are rooted from Bani Chemor, who are the Christian Kings of Ghassan which belong to Al Jafna.” (Father Ignatios Tannos El-Khoury, Historical Scientific Research: “Sheikh El Chemor Rulers of Al-Aqoura (1211-1633) and Rulers of Al-Zawiye (1641-1747)”Beirut, Lebanon, 1948, p.38)

“The refugees of Al Ghassani and bani Chemor who seeked refuge to Al ‘Aqoura turned into Maronites because the town now only has Maronites Christians and because Al Chemor tribe are the princes and children of kings, the Maronites reigned them over the land where the document states that: “… and Al ‘Aqoura is their own village from a long time, they can do as they wish…” and Al Chemori family could have taken over the throne due to their relentless efforts, money or battles, no one knows.” (ibid p.42)

“Conclusion
This is the history of the Chemor family Sheikhs who are feudal rulers, a genuine progeny of the sons of Ghassan kings of the Levant… one of the most decent, oldest and noblest families in Lebanon.” (ibid p.125)     

To learn more about the 1948’s book about the El Chemor family, please click HERE

To learn more about the book’s recent scholarly validation, please click HERE    

There are no register of the Muslim Shamar (Chemor) family branch ever to even inhabited Mount Lebanon. Thus, by simple logic it’s easy to conclude that every family member of the El Chemor family belongs to the very same family and ancestry. The ramifications of the family only happened in the 18th and 19th centuries originating the Gharios, Habaki and Farhat families. So, there’s no need to be an expert genealogist or to hold a PhD in History to understand, again by simple logic, unless proven otherwise, that the legitimate members of these families can prove to belong to the El Chemor family by only evincing their connection to the last ancestor using the El Chemor last name, since going back to King Chemor Jablah it’s absolutely certain, since only his direct descendants that inhabited the Mount Lebanon – and none else – used this particular family name.

Of course, if we think in European terms, that might sound strange. How can we assert an unequivocal royal lineage simply by a surname? In Europe, there are dozens of families with the same surnames that are not even related. Also, by the restrictive European laws of succession (including Salic and semi-Salic laws, morganatic marriages, etc.) the observance of the particular position on the family tree is indispensable. Not in the Middle East, where the simple descent in male line from the last ruler is mandatory.

We also must compare the populations of Europe and Mount Lebanon.

Mount Lebanon late 1500’s
150,000people (including all religions)
(According to A.N. Poliak, see “Lebanon, a History 600-2011”, Oxford, 2012, William Harris, p.73)

Europe 1500’s
– French Crown 16,250,000
– Holy Roman Empire 16,000,000
– Spanish Empire 8,550,000
– English Crown 2,750,000
– Portuguese Empire 3,000,000
– Papal States 2,000,000
– Kingdom of Naples 2,000,000
– Republic of Venice 1,500,000
– Republic of Florence 750,000

Reference here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_1500

So, it’s obvious that in Mount Lebanon everyone knew the origins of this or that family, specially a prestigious and noble one.

Going even further, according to the Ottoman census:

  • Mount Lebanon 1780’s around 300,000 (all religions)
  • Mount Lebanon 1911 around 414,000 (all religions)

(see “Lebanon, a History 600-2011”, Oxford, 2012, William Harris, p. 166)

We mention here “all religions” since each and very sect in Lebanon have been keeping their history and customs separately. While in Europe you’ve only Christianity (even having Catholics and protestants), there’s a homogeneity.

So, it’s easy to conclude that it’s considerably simple to establish a royal line in the aforementioned scenario.

Usually, to claim a particular title of nobility, it’s necessary to prove the genealogical link to the last incumbent ruler or bearer of the title. Always following the particular laws of succession pertinent to that title. For example, although meticulously documented, by simple logic, in order to fundament Queen Elizabeth’s legal claim to the British throne she had to prove her connection to the last lawful ruler, her father king George VI. It would be utterly unnecessary for her to prove her genealogical link to Queen Victoria since her great grandfather king Edward VII did that to ascend the throne after Queen Victoria’s passing in 1901.

“A Good Riddance”, cartoon from Punch vol. 152, June 27th 1917, commenting on the adoption of the “Windsor” family name and the King’s orders to relinquish all German titles held by members of his family

Still using the British Royal family as an example. It’s notorious that the family’s name was Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until 1917. King George V has decided to change the family’s name due to the anti-German sentiment in the UK derived from the WWI. Their choice was the name “Windsor” given after the homonymous English castle. Let’s assume hypothetically, that 200 years from now the Windsor family members will exponentially grow. If no other “Windsor family” is created until then would be absolute and logic to state that all of the bearers of the Windsor family name will be lawful descendants of the British royal family, unless proven otherwise. Absolutely no need for them to prove their genealogical link with William the Conqueror!

If any of those Windsor family members in the future desire to claim the British throne, they have to prove their link to the last incumbent ruler in harmony with the British laws of succession, meaning, by descent, gender (for people born before October 2011), legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign’s children or by a childless sovereign’s nearest collateral line.

Applying the very same principle, to claim the Ghassanid titles, it’s necessary to prove the genealogical link to the last incumbent ruler Sheikh Yousef El Chemor of Zgharta (ruled until 1747 CE) in harmony with the particular Ghassanid laws of succession, meaning “agnatic rotation”. In theory, in the case of the El Chemor family, to prove the genealogical link to the last incumbent ruler would be even a luxury since, by pure logic, all the male family members bearing the last name have the same ancestry and therefore are somehow related to Sheikh Yousef in male line since the middle eastern women always adopt the husband’s family name giving that name to their descendants.

Also important to mention that the El Chemor Sheikhs proved to the absolute satisfaction of the historians and authorities in the past their blood link to King Chemor Jablah since there’s absolutely no historical register of contestation, doubt or even rumor regarding this fact neither during the almost 500 years of reign in Akoura and Zgharta nor in the 300 subsequent years until the present day. Not a single line was written against this fact!

It’s undisputed and documented that El Chemor Sheikhs ruled in Mount Lebanon as a princely (sovereign) family from 1211-1633 CE in Akoura and 1641-1747 CE in Zgharta-Zawye in northern Lebanon. In 1747 CE, it’s known that the Ottoman Empire deposed the El Chemor Sheikhs after a nefarious deal with the Daher Sheikhs installing them with all the El Chemor’s lands and possessions.  Hence, due to the persecution of the Ottoman Empire and the constant wars in Lebanon until 2006, some of the names and details of the first El Chemor rulers were lost or deliberately destroyed by the Druzes and by the “Young Turks’” regime under the orders of Jamal Pashain the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. However, as explained herein, there’s absolutely no possibility that every single El Chemor ruler doesn’t belong to the exact same family and ancestry!

To learn more about the Ottoman Empire/Jamal Pasha’s plan to erase Christianity from the Middle East, please click HERE   

Even in Europe, where the genealogical registers are a lot more complete and considerably easier to research, it’s known that’s extremely difficult to find genealogical evidence prior to the 1600’s.

Due to the persecution to Christians in Mount Lebanon that started in the end of the 19th century, where around 10,000 Christians were killed by the Druzes during inter-communal violence in 1860 through the horrors of WWI where over 100,000 people in Beirut and Mount Lebanon have died of starvation during World War I, many descendants of the El Chemor family left Mount Lebanon specially to Brazil, although a very different culture and language for the Lebanese, it was a known safe haven for Christians. But the very few that stayed in Lebanon kept the titles and traditions. The most senior El Chemor’s genealogical line (in primogeniture) is the descendants of Sheikh Antonios Michael El Chemor(1910-1971), the honorary founder of the modern Royal House of Ghassan. His eldest son PrinceSheikh Selim El Chemor, the heir of the El Chemor palace in Kferhata with his two brothers Prince Sheikh Khalil and Prince Sheikh Michel, is the current “honorary” head of the Royal House of Ghassanwith Prince Gharios El Chemor, the “executive” head following the Roman-Byzantine “co-emperorshipprinciple” adopted by the Ghassanid Kings centuries ago. Therefore, the Royal House has one head by the agnatic-rotation principle and the other by primogeniture with mutual recognition.

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TIRH Prince Gharios and Prince Cheikh Selim, the executive and honorary heads of the Royal House of Ghassan
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The El Chemor Palace in Lebanon

One might argue the legitimacy of using the Ghassanid titles. That’s easily explained by the fact that the El Chemor Sheikhs were respected and ascended to the throne in Akoura in 1211 CE due to the Royal blood link with the Kings of Ghassan. Also, that this fact was universally accepted until the deposition in 1747 CE or it wouldn’t survive the test of time. It can be added that it’s perfectly permissible and accepted to Princes to use old titles, even outdated in usage like the head of the French Orleanist branch of the royal house of France, Prince Henryadopting the title of Count of Paris or the head of the Bourbon family, Prince Louis XXusing the title of “Duke of Anjou”. Both titles were not of common usage for both heads of the French Royal branches.

According to one of the forefathers of international law, Emmerich de VattelThe Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law, 1758 CE:

“BOOK 2, CHAPTER 3
Of the Dignity and Equality of Nations: of Titles and Other Marks of Honor

§ 42. Whether a sovereign may assume what title and honors he pleases.
If the conductor of the state is sovereign, he has in his hands the rights and authority of the political society; and consequently he may himself determine what title he will assume, and what honors shall be paid to him, unless these have been already determined by the fundamental laws, or that the limits which have been set to his power manifestly oppose such as he wishes to assume. His subjects are equally obliged to obey him in this as in whatever he commands by virtue of a lawful authority. Thus, the Czar Peter I., grounding his pretensions on the vast extent of his dominions, took upon himself the title of emperor.”

https://lonang.com/library/reference/vattel-law-of-nations/vatt-203/

The examples in the Middle East are also extensive where many sovereign Sheikhs have decided to use Royal titles like His Majesty King Abdullah I of Jordan who was originally theEmir of Transjordan and his ancestors were Sheriffs of Meca; orHis Highness Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, was the 12th Hakim of Bahrain. His son, His Highness Sheikh Isa II bin Salman II Al Khalifa, changed the title to “Emir of Bahrain” in 1971 and his son, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has changed the title again in 2002 from Emir (prince) to Malik (king).   

The usage of the Arab title “Emir” or “Amir” (means “commander”, “general”, or “prince”) is a little different from the European use. A sovereign ruler using the title “Sheikh” or even “Hakim” is an “Emir” ‘per se‘ (intrinsically). In other words, even if the title is not openly used, it’s definitely implied. That tradition is what makes so natural for the aforementioned rulers to “update” their titles.  Actually in Lebanon, the word “Hakim” represented the “sovereign” or “semi-sovereign” status more than”Emir. That being the reason why the rulers of Lebanon used the title “El-Emir El-Hakim” and not only “El-Emir.

Also, the title “Sheikh” is a royal (sovereign) title by definition. It’s only a noble title (not  royal) when bestowed by a higher authority. In other words, when a commoner family is elevated to nobility by a sovereign or semi-sovereign ruler. In Lebanon we have the example of the El-Khazen Sheikhs. The illustrious family have received the title from the Prince Fakhr-al-Din II in 1584 CE. That doesn’t apply to the El Chemor Sheikhs who were known as such by the Royal Blood link to King Chemor Jablah and for ruling sovereignly and semi-sovereignly the Sheikhdom (principality) of Akoura and Zgharta from 1211-1747 CE.

To learn more about the Ghassanid Imperial titles, please, click HERE   

We also have to add that the El Chemor, as the Ghassanid Kings, were absolute rulers. In other words, they didn’t have any constitutional obedience but the obligation of following the Christian religion. All the rules followed by the dynasty were originating from the pre-Islamic Arab tribal customs enriched by the Roman-Byzantine influence.

For the Sworn legal statement about the El Chemor/Gharios Family from the world’s leading scholar in Middle eastern Royal Succession click HERE

To learn more about the legal rights of the El Chemor/Gharios family, please click HERE

To learn more about the Royal House of Ghassan, please click HERE 

Official article from Lebanese Government validates book about El Chemor/Gharios family

NNA 2014

According to Press freedom’s Reporters Without Borders, Lebanon is not only a regional center of media production but also the most liberal and free in the Arab world: “the media have more freedom in Lebanon than in any other Arab country“. Despite its small population and geographic size, Lebanon plays an influential role in the production of information in the Arab world and is “at the core of a regional media network with global implications“.

Lebanon has two state-owned news agencies. The most important of them is The National News Agency (NNA), official news body of Lebanon, launched in 1964. They’re an entity subjected to the Ministry of Information Lebanese Republic.

The Ministry of Information consists of the General Directorate of Information and several other directorates including:  Directorate of Lebanese Studies and Publications, The National News Agency and  The Lebanese Broadcasting Directorate  Auditing Department (Diwan).  The Ministry includes other departments and sections.  It was organized by legislative decree no. 6830 released on June 15, 1961.

In other words, whatever is published or stated via any of the entities subjected to the Ministry of Information is considered and recognized as “official information from the Lebanese Government.

Please CLICK HERE  for the official 2014’s article (in Arabic) from the The National News Agency  (Lebanese Government News’s Agency – Ministry of Information) quoting the book about the El Chemor princely family (recognizing the titles and citing some family members) and validating Father Ignatios El Khoury’s 1948’s book as an official source.  

Please, click below of the Sworn English legal translation of the article

lebanese-ministry-of-information-artice

Please click below for the Sworn English legal translation of the book

https://royalblog.org/2016/11/28/royal-house-of-ghassan-provides-english-legal-translations-of-1948s-historical-scientific-research-about-the-family/

For the sworn legal statement from the world’s leading scholar in Middle eastern Royal Succession please click HERE