The Quraysh (Arabic: قُرَيْشٌ) were a grouping of Arab clans that historically inhabited and controlled the city of Mecca and its Kaaba. The Islamic prophet Muhammad was born into the Hashim clan of the tribe. By 600 CE, the tribe were affluent merchants who dominated commerce between the Indian Ocean and East Africa on one side and the Mediterranean on the other. They organized caravans that traveled to Gaza and Damascus in the summer and to Yemen in the winter. On those routes, they were also engaged in mining and other enterprises. They were known for their hilm, or "absence of hotheadedness," because, despite their rivalries, they put commercial interests and unity first.
|Settled Adnanite Arab tribe|
|Location||Mecca, Hejaz (western Saudi Arabia)|
|Descended from||Fihr ibn Malik|
Islam (630 – present)
When Muhammad spread Islam in Mecca, they were unconcerned and offered no serious opposition until he began to attack their polytheistic beliefs. As relations with the Quraysh progressively deteriorated, Muhammad took his followers to Medina after successful negotiations with Banu Aws and Khazraj to mediate their tribal conflict. This migration event is known as the hijrah. In Medina, Muhammad had a strong interest in attacking Quraysh caravans and plundering their goods. This consequently led to armed conflicts between them, some of which included the battles of Badr, Uhud, and the Trench. Sometime after the latter battle and after Muhammad had successfully eliminated the three major Jewish tribes from Medina, he reportedly stopped attacking Quraysh caravans, at which time he focused more on the north, raiding Banu Lihyam and Banu Mustaliq, to name a few.
Over time, as Muhammad's position in Medina became more established, the attitude of the people in his hometown toward him became more approving. The Treaty of Hudaybiyya was then concluded, which provided for a ten-year truce with the Meccans, and Muhammad was able to perform Umrah the following year in the city. While in Mecca for the Umrah, Muhammad managed to reconcile with his family, the Hashim clan, which was sealed through marriage with Maymuna bint al-Harith. A number of Meccan notables, such as Khalid ibn al-Walid and Amr ibn al-As, eventually recognized him as the man of the future in Arabia and converted to Islam.
At the end of 629, a belligerent party—against the advice of Abu Sufyan, who was the Quraysh chief at the time—supported one of their client clans against the Khuza'a, who were allies of Muhammad. This could automatically be viewed by both parties as a violation of the aforementioned agreement. As Muhammad brought his army to besiege Mecca, Abu Sufyan, along with a few others, including Muhammad's friend Khuza'i Budayl ibn Warqa, went to meet him to ask for amnesty for all Quraysh who did not put up armed resistance. Muhammad thus managed to enter Mecca unopposed, and almost all of its inhabitants converted to Islam. Afterwards, leadership of the Muslim community traditionally passed to a member of the Quraysh, as was the case with the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid Caliphates, and purportedly the Fatimids.
Sources differ as to the etymology of Quraysh, with one theory holding that it was the diminutive form of qirsh (shark). The 9th-century genealogist Hisham ibn al-Kalbi asserted that there was no eponymous founder of Quraysh; rather, the name stemmed from taqarrush, an Arabic word meaning "a coming together" or "association". The Quraysh gained their name when Qusayy ibn Kilab, a sixth-generation descendant of Fihr ibn Malik, gathered together his kinsmen and took control of the Ka'aba. Prior to this, Fihr's offspring lived in scattered, nomadic groups among their Kinana relatives.[note 1] The nisba or surname of the Quraysh is Qurashī, though in the early centuries of the Islamic Ummah, most Qurayshi tribesmen were denoted by their specific clan instead of the tribe. Later, particularly after the 13th century, claimants of Qurayshi descent used the Qurashī surname.
The Quraysh's progenitor was Fihr ibn Malik, whose full genealogy, according to traditional Arab sources, was the following: Fihr ibn Mālik ibn al-Naḍr ibn Kināna ibn Khuzayma ibn Mudrika ibn Ilyās ibn Muḍar ibn Nizār ibn Maʿadd ibn ʿAdnān. Thus, Fihr belonged to the Kinana tribe and his descent is traced to Adnan the Ishmaelite, the semi-legendary father of the "northern Arabs". According to the traditional sources, Fihr led the warriors of Kinana and Khuzayma in defense of the Ka'ba, at the time a major pagan sanctuary in Mecca, against tribes from Yemen; however, the sanctuary and the privileges associated with it continued to be in the hands of the Yemeni Khuza'a tribe. The Quraysh gained their name when Qusayy ibn Kilab, a sixth-generation descendant of Fihr ibn Malik, gathered together his kinsmen and took control of the Ka'ba. Prior to this, Fihr's offspring lived in scattered, nomadic groups among their Kinana relatives.
Establishment in Mecca edit
All medieval Muslim sources agree that Qusayy unified Fihr's descendants, and established the Quraysh as the dominant power in Mecca. After conquering Mecca, Qusayy assigned quarters to different Qurayshi clans. Those settled around the Ka'ba were known Quraysh al-Biṭāḥ (Arabic: قُرَيْش ٱلْبِطَاح, lit. 'Quraysh of the Hollow'), and included all of the descendants of Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy and others. The clans settled in the outskirts of the sanctuary were known as Quraysh al-Ẓawāhīr (Arabic: قُرَيْش ٱلظَّوَاهِر, lit. 'Quraysh of the Outskirts'). According to historian Ibn Ishaq, Qusayy's younger son, Abd Manaf, had grown prominent during his father's lifetime and was chosen by Qusayy to be his successor as the guardian of the Ka'ba. He also gave other responsibilities related to the Ka'ba to his other sons Abd al-'Uzza and Abd, while ensuring that all decisions by the Quraysh had to be made in the presence of his eldest son Abd al-Dar; the latter was also designated ceremonial privileges such as keeper of the Qurayshi war banner and supervisor of water and provisions to the pilgrims visiting the Ka'ba.
According to historian F. E. Peters, Ibn Ishaq's account reveals that Mecca in the time of Qusayy and his immediate offspring was not yet a commercial center; rather, the city's economy was based on pilgrimage to the Ka'ba, and "what pass[ed] for municipal offices [designated by Qusayy] have to do only with military operations and with control of the shrine". During that time, the tribesmen of Quraysh were not traders; instead, they were entrusted with religious services, from which they significantly profited. They also profited from taxes collected from incoming pilgrims. Though Qusayy appeared to be the strongman of Quraysh, he was not officially a king of the tribe, but one of many leading sheikhs (tribal chieftains).
According to historian Gerald R. Hawting, if the traditional sources are to be believed, Qusayy's children, "must have lived in the second half of the fifth century". However, historian W. Montgomery Watt asserts that Qusayy himself likely died in the second half of the 6th century. The issue of succession between Qusayy's natural successor, Abd al-Dar, and his chosen successor, Abd Manaf, led to the division of Quraysh into two factions; those who backed the Abd al-Dar clan, including the clans of Banu Sahm, Banu Adi, Banu Makhzum and Banu Jumah, became known as al-Aḥlāf (the Confederates), while those who backed the Abd Manaf clan, including the Banu Taym, Banu Asad, Banu Zuhra and Banu al-Harith ibn Fihr, were known as al-Muṭayyabūn (Arabic: ٱلْمُطَيَّبُوْن, lit. 'the Perfumed').
Control of Meccan trade edit
Toward the end of the 6th century, the Fijar War broke out between the Quraysh and the Kinana on one side and various Qaysi tribes on the other, including the Hawazin, Banu Thaqif, Banu Amir and Banu Sulaym. The war broke out when a Kinani tribesman killed an Amiri tribesman escorting a Lakhmid caravan to the Hejaz. The attack took place during the holy season when fighting was typically forbidden. The Kinani tribesman's patron was Harb ibn Umayya, a Qurayshi chief. This patron and other chiefs were ambushed by the Hawazin at Nakhla, but were able to escape. In the battles that occurred in the following two years, the Qays were victorious, but in the fourth year, the tide turned in favor of the Quraysh and Kinana. After a few more clashes, peace was reestablished. According to Watt, the actual aim in the Fijar War was control of the trade routes of Najd. Despite particularly tough resistance by the Quraysh's main trade rivals, the Thaqif of Ta'if, and the Banu Nasr clan of Hawazin, the Quraysh ultimately held sway over western Arabian trade. The Quraysh gained control over Ta'if's trade, and many Qurayshi individuals purchased estates in Ta'if, where the climate was cooler.
The sanctuary village of Mecca developed into a major Arabian trade hub. According to Watt, by 600 CE, the leaders of Quraysh "were prosperous merchants who had obtained something like a monopoly of the trade between the Indian Ocean and East Africa on the one hand and the Mediterranean on the other". Furthermore, the Quraysh commissioned trade caravans to Yemen in the winter and caravans to Gaza, Bosra, Damascus and al-Arish in the summer. The Quraysh established networks with merchants in these Syrian cities. They also formed political or economic alliances with many of the Bedouin (nomadic Arab) tribes in the northern and central Arabian deserts to ensure the safety of their trade caravans. The Quraysh invested their revenues in building their trading ventures, and shared profits with tribal allies to translate financial fortune into significant political power in the Hejaz (western Arabia). In the words of Fred Donner:
[By the end of the 6th century,] Meccan commerce was flourishing as never before, and the leaders in this trade [the Quraysh] had developed from mere merchants into true financiers. They were no longer interested in "buying cheap and selling dear," but also with organizing money and men to realize their commercial objectives. There was emerging, in short, a class of men with well-developed managerial and organizational skills. It was a development unheralded, and almost unique, in central Arabia.
The Banu Makhzum and Banu Umayya, in particular, acquired vast wealth from trade and held the most influence among the Quraysh in Meccan politics. The Banu Umayya and the Banu Nawfal, another clan descending from Abd Manaf that had become wealthy from their commercial enterprise, split from the Muṭayyabūn faction in 605 and engaged in business with the Aḥlāf. Their financial fortunes had enabled them to become a force of their own. During a commercial incident where a Yemenite merchant was robbed of his trade by al-As ibn Wa'il al-Sahmi, the Muṭayyabūn reformed in the Hilf al-Fudul, which consisted of the Banu Hashim and Banu Muttalib, which, like the Banu Umayya, were descendants of Abd Manaf, and the Taym, Asad, Zuhra and al-Harith ibn Fihr clans. The Banu Hashim held the hereditary rights surrounding the pilgrimage to the Ka'ba, though the Banu Umayya were ultimately the strongest Qurayshi clan. According to Watt, "In all the stories of the pre-Islamic period there is admittedly a legendary element, but the main outline of events appears to be roughly correct, even if most of the dating is uncertain."
Conflict with Muhammad edit
The Quraysh, who were natives of Mecca, did not present any opposition when Muhammad first began to propagate his new faith in the city. Rather, they seemed unconcerned by his activity, as they did not appear to be particularly interested in devotional meetings. Up until a point when Muhammad started attacking their beliefs. As relations with the Quraysh worsened, Muhammad led his followers to emigrate to Medina after he had successfully negotiated with the Arabs from the city to mediate their tribal conflicts. In Medina, Muhammad received a divine revelation authorizing Muslims to attack the polytheists without being attacked first, and thus he targeted Quraysh trade caravans.
After obtaining abundant booty following his attack on a caravan at Nakhla, Muhammad heard that a large caravan of Quraish was on its way back from Gaza. He sent his troops to intercept it, but it turned out that Abu Sufyan, who led the caravan had already caught wind of his plans and rerouted the caravan. Instead of finding a vulnerable caravan, Muhammad found the troops of Amr ibn Hisham, whom Abu Sufyan had asked for help. Despite fighting against a reportedly much larger army, Muhammad managed to win and gained prestige, resulting in more supporters and participants in his raids.
The defeat at Badr was catastrophic for the Quraysh; a number of their influential and experienced men were killed, their prestige plummeted, and their old enemies set their sights on them again. Tired of having their caravans endlessly attacked by Muhammad and to restore their honor for the defeat at Badr, the Quraysh decided to take more decisive measures. Led by Abu Sufyan, some 3,000 troops set out for Medina to confront Muhammad, and the Battle of Uhud ensued. Initially, Muhammad had the upper hand, but it was reversed when the Muslim archers abandoned their positions and pursued the fleeing Meccan soldiers. The Meccan military strategist Khalid ibn Walid took advantage of this situation and gained a favorable position on the slopes of Uhud. Muhammad fled. Quraysh did not pursue him and finish him off, as they considered it enough to deter him and restore their honor.
Upon returning to Medina, some of the Jews there who had not participated in the battle made no effort to conceal their delight at Muhammad's defeat. Feeling the need to make an example, Muhammad targeted the Banu Nadir and drove them to Khaybar and other Jewish settlements, with their property becoming booty for the Muslims. Some time later, the Quraysh, with their caravans still under attack by Muhammad and after being urged by the Jews in Khaybar, learned that Muhammad's defeat at Uhud had not necessarily weakened his position; thus, they recognized the importance of occupying Medina. Aware of their small military capabilities, given the fact that they were originally only city merchants, the Quraysh negotiated vigorously with various Bedouin tribes and managed to raise 10,000 troops.
To deal with the Quraysh troops, Muhammad was advised by one of his followers to dig a trench, for which the battle was later named. With the advance of the Quraysh troops hampered by the trench, Muhammad used the time to conduct secret negotiations with the Ghatafan and cleverly induce distrust among his enemies. When the weather became unfavorable, the besiegers lost morale and slowly began to retire. Not long after, Muhammad attacked the Banu Qurayza, the last major Jewish tribe in Medina. Their men were beheaded, while the women and children were divided among the Muslims. With the elimination of the three major Jewish tribes in Medina, this became a turning point in Muhammad's life and the rise of the Islamic community. Muhammad no longer continued his constant attacks on the trade caravans of Mecca; instead, his attention turned more to the north, where he attacked the Banu Lihyan and Banu Mustaliq, among others.
Over time, tensions between Muhammad and the people of Mecca eased, and a ten-year armistice agreement called the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was signed. Muhammad and his followers were then allowed to perform Umrah next year in Mecca. A short time later, Muhammad attacked the Jewish-inhabited Khaybar, where he instituted a practice that set a precedent for Muslims later on towards Jews and Christians, namely jizya. He did not slaughter those who surrendered but let them stay and tend their fields, with half the produce going to him and his followers. The Jewish colony of Wadi al-Qura also came into his possession with this expedition, making the Muslim community rich.
In early 627, Muhammad, who had become lord in Medina, undertook the Umrah known as the 'fulfilled pilgrimage' in Mecca, during which time he reconciled with his family, the Banu Hashim, which was sealed by marrying Maymuna bint al-Harith. Some important people of Mecca, such as Khalid ibn Walid and Amr ibn al-As, recognized Muhammad as a man of the future in Arabia and converted to Islam. In December 629, after the belligerent party in Mecca, against the advice of Abu Sufyan, decided to support one of their client clans against the Khuzaa, who were allied with Muhammad, resulting in a violation of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Muhammad then set out with his army to Mecca. With those willing to fight from the Mecca side becoming fewer and fewer, Abu Sufyan set out with several others, including Muhammad's friend, Khuza’i Budayl ibn Warqa, to ask for amnesty for all the Quraysh who abandoned armed resistance. Muhammad thus managed to enter Mecca unopposed, and almost all the inhabitants adopted Islam.
Islamic leadership edit
In 630, Muhammad entered Mecca victoriously, prompting the rest of Quraysh to embrace Islam. Muhammad sought to consolidate the unity of his expanding Muslim community by "winning over this powerful group [the Quraysh]", according to Donner; to that end he guaranteed Qurayshi participation and influence in the nascent Islamic state. Thus, despite their long enmity with Muhammad, the Quraysh were brought in as political and economic partners and became a key component in the Muslim elite. Many leading Qurayshi tribesmen were installed in key government positions and in Muhammad's policy-making circle. According to Donner, the inclusion of Quraysh "in the ruling elite of the Islamic state was very probably responsible for what appears to be the more carefully organized and systematic approach to statesmanship practiced by Muhammad in the closing years of his life, as the organizational skills of the Quraysh were put to use in the service of Islam".
With Muhammad's death in 632, rivalry emerged between the Quraysh and the two other components of the Muslim elite, the Ansar and the Thaqif, over influence in state matters. The Ansar wanted one of their own to succeed the prophet as caliph, but were persuaded by Umar to agree to Abu Bakr. During the reigns of Abu Bakr (632–634) and Umar (r. 634–644), some of the Ansar were concerned about their political stake. The Quraysh apparently held real power during this period marked by the early Muslim conquests. During the First Muslim Civil War, the Ansar, who backed Caliph Ali of the Banu Hashim against two factions representing rival Qurayshi clans, were defeated. They were subsequently left out of the political elite, while the Thaqif maintained a measure of influence by dint of their long relationship with the Quraysh.
A hadith holding that the caliph must be from Quraysh became almost universally accepted by the Muslims, with the exception of the Kharijites. Indeed, control of the Islamic state essentially devolved into a struggle between various factions of the Quraysh. In the first civil war, these factions included the Banu Umayya represented by Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan, the Banu Hashim represented by Ali, and other Qurayshi leaders such as Zubayr ibn al-Awwam of the Banu Asad and Talha ibn Ubayd Allah of the Banu Taym. Later, during the Second Muslim Civil War, these same factions again fought for control of the caliphate, with the Umayyads victorious at the war's conclusion in 692/93. In 750, the issue of which Qurayshi clan would hold the reins of power was again raised but this time, the Abbasids, a branch of the Banu Hashim, were victorious and slew much of the Banu Umayya. Afterward, Islamic leadership was contested between different branches of the Banu Hashim.
|Banu Abd al-Dar||Abd al-Dar ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murra ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Ahlafs||Mus'ab ibn Umayr|
|Banu Makhzum||Makhzum ibn Yaqaza ibn Murra ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Ahlafs||Abou Jahl, Walid ibn Al-Mughira, Abu Hudhaifah ibn al-Mughirah|
Khalid ibn al-Walid,
|Banu Adi||Adi ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Ahlafs||Al-Khattâb ibn Nufayl|
Umar ibn Al-Khattab, Zayd ibn Amr, Al-Shifa' bint Abdullah
Abdullah ibn Umar
|Banu Sahm||Sahm ibn Amr ibn Husays ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Ahlafs||al-As ibn Wa'il, Amr ibn al-As|
|Banu Jumah||Jumah ibn Amr ibn Husays ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Ahlafs||Umayya ibn Khalaf, Soufwan ibn Umayya|
|Banu Abd Shams
(then Banu Umayya)
|Abd Shams ibn Abd Manaf ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murra ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Muttayabun
|Umayya ibn Abd Shams, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Uqba ibn Abi Mu'ayt |
Uthman ibn Affan, Umm Habiba
|Banu Nawfal||Nawfal ibn Abd Manaf ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murra ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Muttayabun
|Jubayr ibn Muṭʽim|
|Banu Émir||Amir ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Suhayl ibn Amr, Abdullah ibn Suhayl|
(then Banu Abd al-Muttalib)
|Hashim ibn Abd Manaf ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murra ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Muttayabun
Abd al-Muttalib,Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib, Abu Talib ibn Abdul Muttalib, Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib
|Banu Zuhrah||Zuhra ibn Kilab ibn Murra ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Muttayabun
|'Abd Manaf ibn Zuhra, Wahb ibn 'Abd Manaf, Aminah|
Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas
|Banu Taym||Taym ibn Murra ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Muttayabun
Talha ibn Ubayd Allah, Aisha bint Abi Bakr, Asma bint Abi Bakr
|Banu Asad||Asad ibn Abd al-Uzza ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murra ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Muttayabun
|Khadija, Waraqah ibn Nawfal|
Zubayr ibn al-Awwam
Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr
|Banu al-Harith ibn Fihr||Al-Harith ibn Fihr.||Muttayabun
|Abu Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah|
|Banu Mutallib||Al-Mutallib ibn Abd Manaf ibn Qusayy ibn Kilab ibn Murra ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr.||Fudul||Al-Shafiʽi (famous scholar)|
Quraysh relationship tree edit
See also edit
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