UNIVERSITY OF SUMER
A brief History of Rifaiy city

A brief History of Rifaiy city:

Rifaiy is the largest town of Thi-Qar province; it is located 90 kilometers north of Nasiriyah city and about 300 km south of Baghdad.  Five thousand years ago, the first human civilizations in the world evolved on this land, a civilization of Sumerian Mesopotamia in the kingdom of Lagash -15 km southeast Rifaiy and the Kingdom of Uma (Joukh) 23 km to the west and the other belonging small Sumerian towns which were spread around Rifaiy. This pleasant and wide land was a playground for the Sumerians fun and their hunting campaigns, the scene of their permanent and long wars, especially the fierce wars on water, which lasted for more than two centuries before (Ontmina)-king of Lagash, dug the immortal Gharraf River.


After that, many nations and kingdoms lived on this land from the Acadians, Babylonians, Persians and Mongols and others; then the Islamic caliphates came, whose ruins still there, such as - Wasit Rusafa - (14 km east of Rifaiy city), founded by Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf Al-Thaqafy to be the capital city for the Umayyad caliphate in Wasit for summer time, as well as the city (or Obeida), which includes the shrine of the Sufi Imam Ahmed bin Sultan Ali Al-Rifaiy and his holy tomb and its minaret towering since the late Abbasid era which lies to the east of Rifaiy town. If we go back in time to the mid of the nineteenth century when this town began to emerge in the form of houses scattered around the grain stores (Almnather) which are widely spread in this region and filled both sides of the Gharraf River with all the variety of crops that this fertile land produces, notably wheat and barley. This attracted many traders from different parts of Iraq for the purpose of trade; they buy, sell and take advantage of its abundant resources, the fertility of its soil, the beauty of its nature and the abundance of water. These traders migrated to it; they settled in the city with their families accompanied by a large number of people who came with them to work and earn a living; then a number of artisans and experienced professionals followed to this area where shops, cafes and workshops were opened, houses and streets were constructed- city life began to appear on this region.

 

Rifaiy town is also known, since the beginning of its establishment, for trade in purebred Arabian horses; it had been a center for compilation and their taming. This drew the attention of practitioners of this profession. Then these horses were exported to many countries such as India and Southeast Asia, as it has been pointed out by Hassan Ali Khalaf in his book "Al Mufassal in the History of Nasiriyah City". He referred to the careers of Rifaiy city dwellers at the beginning of its foundation; he says " they work on buying and selling of grain and livestock, especially horses to be sent to India across the Arabian Gulf. This trade was encouraged by the English at that time".

 

It is called Rifaiy at the beginning of its establishment after the name of (Alkradi) - the most prominent and famous merchant of this city (Haj Abbas Saleh Alkradi) who moved to it from Baghdad – Al-Karrada district, and then, when the late Prime Minister ( Yasin al-Hashimi ) visited the city in 1935, he proposed to change the name to ( Rifaiy) after the name of Imam Ahmed Al-Rifaiy whose holy shrine located east of the city.

 

1880 is considered to be the establishment year of the city, but some go beyond this date to1863; some others go to a few years more than this while Prof. Abdul Sattar Baaj went further than this date when writing about the history of the founding of this city in his book "Iraq's Past and Present" printed in 1959. He (p.92) says "and Alkradi large village was founded in 1311 AH --1893 AD, in the name of its founder, Abbas Alkradi's nickname of Karada Baghdad". Having evidence and witnesses, the majority of those who are interested in this matter agree that 1880 is the year of the founding of this city.
In 1928, a few years after his inauguration, Faisal Bin Al Hussein, the first king of Iraq, issued a Royal Decree numbered 77 on 20 May 1928 to upgrade Rifaiy town to a city.