Suwaydi Family

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Iraqi family prominent in religious affairs and politics.

The Suwaydi family of al-Karth district of Baghdad traces its origins to Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, whose descendants founded the Abbasid dynasty that ruled Baghdad from 750 to 1258. A well-known member was Shaykh Abdullah alSuwaydi, a Sunni jurist who took part in the famous theological conference at al-Najaf in 1773 that sought to bring about reconciliation between the Sunni and Shiʿa sects.

The Suwaydi family also has played a leading role in the affairs of modern Iraq. For example, Yusuf Suwaydi (18541925), a sharʿia (religious) judge, played a leading role in the Arab movement against the Ottoman Empire. He was imprisoned in 1913 and 1914 for his political activities and later released. He also was involved in the revolt against the British in 1920.

Two of Yusuf's children, Naji and Tawfiq, completed their legal training in Istanbul in the early part of the twentieth century and helped to draft Iraq's constitution. Both of them were elected deputy and senator, and both served as prime minister. Naji advocated pan-Arabism and resented British interference in Iraq. He participated in the 1941 uprising against the British. When the uprising failed, he was exiled to Rhodesia, where he died in 1945. Tawfiq was a pro-British activist. After the revolution of 1958, he was sentenced to life imprisonment but was released in 1962. Tawfiq moved to Lebanon where he died in 1968.

see also suwaydi, tawfiq al-.


Khadduri, Majid. Independent Iraq, 19321958: A Study in Iraqi Politics, 2d edition. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1960.

Longrigg, Stephen Hemsley. Iraq, 1900 to 1950: A Political, Social, and Economic History. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1953.

ayad al-qazzaz