The village of Al-Haram is also known as Sayyiduna 'Ali (generally spelled Sidna 'Ali), meaning 'our lord 'Ali.
The mosque and structure around the shrine is a large complex with an elaborate architecture, including arched colonnaded porticos and a minaret that rises atop one of its buildings, more likely were built in stages during that time.
The existing building contains parts of different ages of construction and repair, however Petersen claims that none of it dates from before the 15th century while Taragan identifies elements, specifically the entrance door to the minaret, which fit the style of other early Mamluk religious buildings from the 1270s-90s, noting though that no written documents remain to support such an early date for the mosque. The part of the building described as the oldest in 1950 has since disappeared.
Taragan places the construction of the vaulted arcades to sometime between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, with important additions made in the late 15th century, including the well, a marble monument on the tomb and an unidentified tower. The rooms on the second floor and the inscription now placed opposite the mihrab were added. The minaret was destroyed by naval bombardment in World War I and since rebuilt. Major repair work was done in 1926, the 1950s and 1991–1992.
In 1596, Ottoman tax registers recorded a village called Arsuf with 22 families and 4 bachelors, all Muslims. The villagers paid a total of 2,900 akçe in taxes. 1/3 the revenue went to a waqf: Hadrat 'Ali bin 'Ulaym. It appeared, just named "village" on the map that Pierre Jacotin compiled during Napoleon's invasion of 1799.
An annual festival that was attested here in the 15th century continued up to the 1940s. People from all over Palestine would visit the village. Meat and lentil soup was prepared and served during the gathering.
Since 1990, not least due to its central location, the shrine is again a popular target for pilgrimage for Palestinians from the villages of the Galilee and townspeople from places like Jaffa and Ramli, coming on Fridays to pray at the tomb and participate in different ceremonies.
Transfer of land ownership, the fall of the Ottomans, The British Mandate and the Nakba
In the first half of the 19th century, no foreigners could purchase land in Palestine. This was official Ottoman policy until 1856 and in practice until 1867. When it came to the national aspirations of the Zionist movement, the Ottoman Empire opposed the idea of Zionist Jewish self-rule in Palestine, fearing it might lose control of Palestine after recently having lost other territories to various European powers. It also took issue with the Jews, as many came from Russia, which sought the empire's demise.
The Ottoman Land Code of 1858 "brought about the appropriation by the influential and rich families of Beirut, Damascus, and to a lesser extent Jerusalem and Jaffa and other sub-district capitals, of vast tracts of land in Syria and Palestine and their registration in the name of these families in the land registers". This did not include any Waqf owned land or property. Literally waqf means to stop, contain, or to preserve. a Waqf is a voluntary, permanent, irrevocable dedication of a portion of ones wealth – in cash or kind – to Allah. Once a waqf, it never gets gifted, inherited, or sold. It belongs to Allah and the corpus of the waqf always remains intact.
Unfortunately, Many people did not understand the importance of the registers and therefore the wealthy families took advantage of this. Zionist buyers who were looking for large tracts of land found it favorable to purchase from the wealthy owners. Many small farmers also became in debt to rich families which led to the transfer of land to the new owners and then eventually to the zionist buyers.
The waqf that the Ottoman’s designated for the shrine of Sidna Ali included massive tracts of land that extended as far as Tulkarm and Jenin. In 1596, Ottoman tax registers recorded a village called Arsuf with 22 families and 4 bachelors, all Muslims. The villagers paid a total of 2,900 akçe in taxes. 1/3 the revenue went to a waqf: Hadrat 'Ali bin 'Ulaym. The land, contrary to what the Zionists claim, could not be sold and belongs to the Waqf.
In World War I, the Ottomans were defeated, and the English colonized the region.
The implementation of the Balfour Declaration of 1November 2nd 1917, which provided for Britain's support for the establishment of a national homeland for Jews in Palestine began.
In 1918, the British military administration closed the Land Register and prohibited all sale of land. The Register was reopened in 1920.
In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Al-Haram had a population of 172, all Muslims increasing in the 1931 census to 313, still all Muslims, in a total of 83 houses.
During the 1920s, the Palestine Land Development Company (PLDC) claimed that they bought part of the village land on behalf of the American Zion Commonwealth from the Omri family of Beirut, to establish the settlement of Herzliya.
claimed purchases of village land by the PLDC, Jewish National Fund, Keren Hayesod and private Jewish buyers was used to establish Kfar Shmaryahu and Rishpon.
According to some testimonies, the relationship between the villagers of Al-Haram and the Zionist Jews of Herzliya and Rishpon was friendly. Some of the villagers were employed in construction.
In the 1945 statistics the village had a population of 880, with 360 Jewish inhabitants. Al-Haram had an elementary school for boys founded in 1921, and in 1945 it had an enrollment of 68 students.
Former Arab residents of al-Haram testified that before the war, representatives of the Jewish towns assured them they were safe.
According to Benny Morris, the villagers were evacuated on 3 February 1948 out of fear after Haganah or Irgun attacks on nearby villages.
As a result of the violence carried out by the Zionist Hagana forces against the Palestinians, and the killing of the sons of the Shobaki family adjacent to the village, the villagers were forced to leave for fear of an imminent Zionist attack on the village. On 12 April 1948, the Zionist terror group the Hagana occupied the area after a spree of attacks and murders against the village residents and the English army police station nearby.
By this time, Zionist forces were in control of the whole coastal area between Haifa and Tel Aviv.
The total number of refugees from this village in 1998 was 3,704. At the time of the Nakba, agriculture was the mainstay of the village's economy, with 8,065 dunums of agricultural land. In addition to agriculture, the villagers were also interested in fishing.