Bahaa Al Din Rached Sinno


Abdel Raoof Sinno

Ahyaf Sinno

1- In his book “The Sinno Family: History and Statistics”, dated 1983, Bahaudden Rashed Sinno stated the follwing on page 19:

“What is the etymology of “Sinno”? Is “Sinno” the original name of the Family or is it only a title that replaced the original surname?

 The historical records of the Charia Courts confirm that the family name's original spelling was “Sunna” or “Sinno”. Those records, considered to be the exclusive source of information in such matters in the absence of personal research, did not mention any third spelling possibility, including the name of “Jude” used by a number of family members without strong evidence. However, the alteration in the spelling, from Sunna to Sinno triggered a deeper wish to seek for the roots and origins of the naming, and we sought for that information among researchers who were known for their study of the roots of old families in Beirut.

 Sheikh Taha Al Wali, an important researcher in that field notes that “the original name is “Sunna” and was known ever since the Sunna family migrated to Beirut along with other emigrants from the Maghreb countries, hundreds of years ago. Known for their strong faith and their sense of piety, the family resided in the vicinity of the Imam Ouzai. The reputation of commitment to the religion and to the Sunna (doctrine) of the Prophet, made other residents of the city visit them for the blessing they would get. The family name progressively changed to “Sinno”, which became the surname of the family for over a century now. The only evidence and written documents we have encountered in that regard, are the records of the Charia Court”.

Doctor Subhi Al Saleh however, was more specific in his descriptions. He specified the following:

“Historical records have proven that a number of families from Beirut came originally from Maghrebin descendence, particularity those whose surnames end with “o” instead of the formal arabic suffixe “i”, or the Turkish suffixe “gi”. The Sinno family in particular emigrated from the Moroccan city of Fes, known for the noticeable number of religion scientists and preachers who inherited and propagated the Sunna Sect in the Maghreb and in Andalusia during the era of the monotheistic movement. During those times, the drifts for independence from the Abbaside Khalife, clearly distinguished between the Chiite and Sunnite movements. The venerable Sinno family was undisputably known for its strong support of the Sunna, which is as old as its roots in the Maghreb. The word Sunna was then merged with the usual Maghrebin suffixe “o” which transformed the surname to Sinno. Therefore, we have noticed that historians usually correct the spelling from Sinno to Sunno, in line with the reasons above to avoid confusion with any other arabic words such as “tooth” or “age”.

 The Sunna in this context does not carry the sociological implication given to the sunnite sects in Lebanon and the region; it implies a strong commitment to the doctrine of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him).

 2- The handbook “The Sinno Family League in Brief- the Eightieth Anniversary”, dated 2000, and prepared by Abdul Raoof Sinno states the follwing on page 6/7:

Based on the story of Jurist Kamel Mohammad Radhi Sinno from Damascus, the origins of the Sinno Family go back to the Hidjaz, from which the family expanded north during the Islamic invasions. Ahmad Abu Saad mentions in his “Dictionary of Names and Surnames, and Overview f Families' History”, Beirut 1997, that the Sinno Family is a Moroccan tribe that established a state in Sudan between 1335 and 1439. Its name changed from Sunni to Sinno due to Kurdish of Turkish language influence that adds “o” at the end of a name...”

3- In his 2003 book entitled “Beirut and its Seven Families”, Dr. Yussef Bin Ahmad Bin Ali Al Husseini says:

“The seven families of Beirut are the families who bonded among each other and made the famous hsitorical agreement with the governor of the Syrian Coast in 1351 to protect and defend the city of Beirut and its shores, and chase the non muslims invadors and stop their progress towards it.

These families are:

a- The current Daouk Family

b- The current Mneimneh Family

c- The current Sinno Family

d- The current Kreidiyeh Family

e- The current Itani Family

f- The current Doughan Family

g- Probably the current Houry Family

 All other families of Beirut are considered to have descended from one of those seven main branches, such as Nahhas, Yanout Inkidar, Hajjal, Hamza and others who derived from the Sinno Family.. (p.14)

 Sinno is considered to be an old family in Beirut, descending from the Muslim Leader Tareq Bin Ziyad.

 4- We have also asked Professor Ahyaf Sinno, Head of the Doctoral Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences in Saint Joseph University about his opinion in the origins of the family and the sources of information in that regard. His point of view can be summarized with five possibilities as follows:

a- The etymology of the name Sinno could be originally deriving from Sunna- with reference to the doctrine of Prophet Mohammad Peace be Upon Him.

b- It could also be originally deriving from a geographic location- Al Sinn, that could be a city in Iraq, North of Takreet, or a mountain in the city of Medina, close to Mount Uhud, or others geographical spots.

c- It could possibly derive from Sinn- The Arabic word for tooth

d- It could also have derived from the Arabic verb: Sanna- that means beg

e- Or possibly deriving from an non Arabic origin that obviously needs to be identified

 No evidence however provides solid proof to support any of the above options.

In all cases, and whatever the etymology of the Sinno Family name is, the family is indeed considered one of the most famous muslim families in Beirut with roots going back to the fourteenth century. It has five branches namely: Hamza, Taleb, Mohammad Ali, Hussain, Abdel Qader (his grandson Abdul Qader Bin Abdul Rahman Bin Abdul Qader Sinno was a main founder of the Maqassed Islamic Charity Foundation in Beirut in 1878, and a school owner as well as a translator at the Geman Consulate in Beirut for his good command of German and Turkish Languages).

 The Sinno Family members reside in the capital Beirut as well as its suburbs such as Aramoun, Bchamoun, Doha, Naama and Choueifat. They reside also in Saida, in some Syrian cities such as Damascus and Aleppo, and in Arbeen village and Amman in Jordan, in Egypt, in the Gulf countries, in European states, and also in North America and Australia.


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