Leader of the influential Shiʿite family of Jabal Amil.
The Asʿad family (also spelled al-As'ad), which was descended from the Saghir family of Jabal Amil, traces its origins to Arab tribes in southern Arabia. This large landowning family has monopolized the political representation of the Shiʿites of south Lebanon for centuries. Ahmad Asʿad, the leader of the family in the first half of the twentieth century, was elected to parliament from 1937 to 1960; was briefly speaker of parliament; and served in several cabinets. His popularity in south Lebanon was so strong that his entire list of candidates was assured victory. People in south Lebanon joked that a stick would win a parliamentary seat if included on Ahmad al-Asʿad's list. He and his son Kamil were both in the 1953, 1957, and 1960 parliaments. After Ahmad's death, his wife, known as Umm Kamil, shared political responsibilities with her son.
see also asʿad family; asʿad, kamil.