Opposition Senator Faris Al-Rawi is standing by his statement that his family is linked by descendancy to the Prophet Muhammad.
He said yesterday he has proof and therefore he is not withdrawing or apologising for the claim “made in 2010 in response to a question from a reporter”, that his 43rd grandfather is directly descended from the Prophet Muhammad.
Al-Rawi showed the Express a framed document which he said was a short version of his family tree which is framed and posted on his office wall in Port of Spain. The tree allegedly traces the Prophet Muhammad, his daughter Fatima, right down to where it reaches Al-Rawi’s. It is all in Arabic.
He said in the Middle East, having a record of one’s history tree is a very important thing and it is not uncommon. “No person is referred to by himself, I am Faris Husam Salman Al-Rawi. Faris, son of Husam, son of Salman, Al-Rawi. My father is Husam, Salman, Husein Al-Rawi, my grandfather is Salman Husein Abd Al-Kadr, his father would have been Husein Abd Al-Kadr, Muhammed... and so forth. This is how you know where you come from”.
Al-Rawi then rolled out a long scroll of what he said was his ancestry, going back to some 1450 years. “This is not invented. This is something that is certifiable. You can go back and check every single person listed in this,” he said.
He said his father, who is very conscious feels strongly that his family should know their ancestry, scanned the document and give it for him. “All of us in our generation have a scanned copy of this, my cousins in the US and in Australia also have it,” he said. In response to questions, he said the Iraqi Government and other authorities in Iraq would have the proof of this. Al-Rawi showed the part of the document which had the “certification”. Everything was in Arabic, which he said he learnt from his father.
However Al-Rawi stressed that all of this was insignificant because in Islam one is prohibited for pouring any reverence on descendants of the prophet, particularly if one is a Sunni Muslim as his family is. He said the Shiites follow a form of reverence to the descendants of the prophets, but the Sunni did not. “So being Sayed (descendant of Prophet Muhammad) is of no particular importance, nor do I attach any significance to it,” he said. “Have you ever heard me stand up in Parliament or on a political platform and talk about it? Never. It was the Attorney General who poured scorn on it...That is why I asked him if he had a problem with Arabs or Muslims,” he stated.
Al-Rawi said it was Attorney General Anand Ramlogan who in an attempt to “demean me”, brought his heritage into the debate in the Senate on Wednesday “making mocking, derogatory references to my lineage. After hearing what Inshan Ishmael had to say about it last night (Wednesday), it is clear that the Attorney General is taking in front before in front take him,” Al-Rawi speculated. “If I am wrong, I apologise; if I am right, shame on him,” he added.
“I am the son of an Iraqi Muslim man and a Trinidadian Presbyterian woman and a Hindu grandfather, who also was a very important figure in my life. His wife is Catholic,” he said. Asked what religion he was, he said he was “a child of God”. He added that he has fasted for Divali, Ramadan and Lent and has “respect for all religions”.
Asked whether he ate pork or drank alcohol, Al-Rawi said he had never eaten pork in his life. He said two years ago he tried his first sip of alcohol. “It has been a very interesting experience but it is not for me,” he said.