Majali Family

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Prominent Jordanian political family.

The Majali family has been one of two leading Sunni Muslim families in the town of al-Karak in south-central Jordan (the other being the al-Tarawina family). Family members have long served both the Ottoman Turks and the Hashimite family that has ruled Jordan since 1921 and have occupied senior positions in the government and military.

Rufayfan (d. 1945) was decorated by the Ottomans during World War I. He later headed the self-described "Arab Government of Moab" in alKarak, with British assistance, from 1920 to 1921. After the establishment of Transjordan, he became a significant figure in the socioeconomic and political life of south-central Jordan. He founded the Moderate Liberal Party in 1930 and sat in the Trans-jordanian legislative council from 1931 until his death in 1945.

Habis (19102001) joined the Jordanian Arab Legion in 1932. In the ArabIsrael War of 1948, he commanded the legion's fourth battalion, which defeated the Israelis at Latrun. Thereafter, Majali headed the Royal Guards unit of the army and was aide-de-camp to King Abdullah I ibn Hussein from 1949 to 1951. In 1956 he was appointed assistant chief of staff of the army following the failed coup led by Ali Abu Nuwwar. Majali was chief of staff from 1957 to 1965 and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff from 1965 to 1967. He was appointed defense minister after the ArabIsrael War of 1967, but returned to his post as chief of staff during the Black September crisis of 1970. He was later appointed to the Jordanian senate, and died in April 2001.

Hazza (19161960) served as minister of agriculture (19501951), justice (1951 and 19541955), and interior (19531954 and 1955). A rising young star on the political scene, he first served as prime minister in 1955 when King Hussein tried to join the Baghdad Pact, but quickly resigned following popular protests. He served both as prime minister and foreign minister starting in May 1959, but was assassinated in August 1960 in a bomb attack generally believed to have been carried out by agents of the Egyptian-Syrian United Arab Republic. His daughter, Taghrid (1950), married Prince Muhammad ibn Talal, brother of King Hussein, in 1981.

Abd al-Salam (1925) received his medical degree from the Syrian University in 1949. He was director of medical services for the Jordanian armed forces, president of Jordan University (19711976), and minister of health (19691970 and 19701971). He served as advisor to King Hussein starting in the late 1980s. Majali was prime minister from 1993 to 1995, during which time he signed the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty. He later was prime minister from 1997 to 1998, after which he was appointed to the Jordanian senate.

Abd al-Hadi (1934) was chief of staff of the Jordanian army from 1979 to 1981, after which he served as ambassador to the United States from 1981 to 1983. Al-Majali returned to Jordan to direct the Public Security Directorate (police) from 1985 to 1989. In 1990 al-Majali formed the Jordanian Covenant Party (Hizb al-Ahd al-Urdunni) to express pro-regime, East Bank nationalist feeling in opposition to leftist and Palestinian-oriented parties. He served in parliament from 1993 to 1997 and was minister of public works from 1996 to 1997. In 1997 his party merged with eight other centrist parties to form the National Constitutional Party. AlMajali was speaker of the house of delegates in 1997.

see also karak, al-; majali, hazza al-.


Salibi, Kamal.The Modern History of Jordan. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.

Wilson, Mary. King Abdullah, Britain, and the Making of Jordan. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

michael r. fischbach