Sunday, 1 December 2013

Quraish Arabs

Assalāmu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

As to say, the tribe of Quraish was a sub-branch of Kinanas. All of them were the offspring of Mudhar and were prominent in the Hejaz of Western Arabian Peninsula and along the Tihamah region. This is the reason why I can understand the Tihamite Arabic, haha. Kinanah which is the one who bears the offspring which is now known as the Quraish through al-Nadr and also the larger Children of Kinanah.

Tribal Genealogy

Yea, we have tribal genealogy just like the Trivaśa of ancient India system of Gotra and Śakhas of Brahmins for their Vedas. All Arabs have their own tribal genealogy and for us we trace ourselves to the noble sage Ishmael a.s. the first son of Abraham a.s of the City of Ur in Sumeria. We are the cousins of the ancient Hebrews and also related to the ancient Assyrians and the Southern Arabs.

There is no such thing as "chosen nation" for us except that the Quran generally mentions about us in the Surah Quraish which says that we must worship the Lord of the Holy Sanctuary who protects us against hunger and giving us comfort against fear of danger from our surroundings (106:3-4). I usually would recite this particular part of the Quran when I am traveling to other areas and also when I am far from my house just to remind myself that I am under His supervision and if I die without any family member around then He is my only Protector and Legal Beneficiary of my soul and everything that I have with me.

Anyway, this is our tribal genealogy and it actually goes up to sage Adam a.s but I do not like to put it here because I think that it is too much...
  • Al-Nadr the son of Kinanah
  • Kinanah the son of Madrikah.
  • Madrikah the son of Elijah.
  • Elijah the son of Madher.
  • Madher the son of Nazar.
  • Nazar the son of Ma'ad.
  • Ma'ad the son of 'Adnan.
  • 'Adnan the son of Send.
  • Send the son of Kedar.
  • Kedar the son of Ishmael.
  • Ishmael the son of Abraham.
  • Abraham the son of Terah.
  • Terah the son of Nahūr.
  • Nahūr the son of Srūj.
  • Srūj the son of Ra'o.
  • Ra'o the son of Phaleg.
  • Phaleg the son of 'Eber.
  • 'Eber the son of Shaleh.
  • Shaleh the son of Arphachshad.
  • Arphachshad the son of Shem.
  • Shem the son of Noah.
  • Noah the son of Lamek.
For several generations, they were spread among other tribal groupings. About five generations before Muhammad s.a.w was born, the situation of Mecca was changed by Quai bin Kilab. By war and diplomacy he assembled an alliance of tribes and getting the key of the Cubicle shrine where all revenues of the pilgrims being kept inside the building. He gathered his fellow tribesmen to settle in Mecca again, where he enjoyed such adulation from his kinsmen. They adjudged him their de facto king, which is a position never enjoyed by anyone of his descendant. 

He established the Dār al-Nadwah which is a meeting place for the Quraish to negotiate about specific issues and for problem solving among the clans. There are rivalries among clans of the same tribe even during the period of Muhammad s.a.w lifetime but they always managed to solve them through negotiation.

Qusai has got few rights over few important things with regard to the holy Mecca and they were distributed among members of different clans of his tribe. Different responsibilities were apportioned between different clans....

Rights of the Quai bin Kilab

1. Al-Liwa' where only he has the right to raise the flag of battle.

2. Al-Hijabah which only he has the right to guard the door of the Cubicle Shrine.

3. Providing food and beverages for the pilgrims in hospitality.

Usually they would mix the water with dried dates which consists of different type of dates in skin bag. It is to make the drinks more tasty for the pilgrims. However, there is also a mention in our prophetic tradition which says that it is prohibited to mix the dates for example the Tamr and the Zabīb in the water and keeping it for some times because it will be turning to alcoholic drink. I cannot remember which number of the hadith but it is mentioned in the Muslim compilation. Maybe I should check my hadith compilations out here... Quai will also provide food and he would receive funds from other Quraish Arabs so he could provide food for pilgrims in a large scale. 

Quai has two sons who are Abd al-Dār and Abd Manaf. The youngest, Abd Manaf was an intelligent and creative guy. Many speculated that he would become a best leader of both but Quai willed that the governance of the Cubicle Shrine should equally be divided into two where both of them should cooperate with each other in serving the pilgrims and the Shrine rather than controlling everything.

Abd Manaf has four sons which are Hashim, Abd Shams, Abd al-Motalib, and Nawfal. All four of them competed against the sons of their eldest paternal uncle. They believed that they are the ones qualified for the task related to the services as their father was an intelligent man and he was prominent amongst their whole tribe. Because of this stupid rivalry, Quraish tribe was divided into two with those who support the Abd Manaf team and those who support the Abd al-Dār team. They almost waged war among each other before the chiefs of the clans realized that they nearly commit massive destruction. So, the leaders of the community proposed peace by the distribution of tasks.

Responsibility for the Children of Abd al-Dar
  • Banner of the battle.
  • Guarding the key of the Shrine.
  • Managing the Dār al-Nadwah.
Responsibility of the Children of Abd Manaf
  • Beverages services.
  • Food preparation.
Among the children of Abd Manaf, they made elections amongst themselves and the children of Hashim had got the right to lead the food preparation. It goes on until the period of Muhammad s.a.w lifetime. As everyone knows, prophet Muhammad s.a.w and Ali r.a are the Hashemites. When they have got the control over the Holy City Mecca, Ali r.a had snatched the key of the Shrine from Shaybah, who is a descendant of Abd al-Dār. However, the noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w had commanded him to return it to him since it is their right and they were legally authorized for that.

So, the Quraish will bring their disputes to the Dar al-Nadwah to be solved. The leadership was not based to a clan in the tribe but was distributed amongst them. Other than that, the Quraish was deemed with the prestige and respect among the Arab nation as the peace keeper of the holy sanctuary and the Holy Mecca as a whole so they must carefully watch their attitude and behavior.

The pilgrimage season is considered as holy and any war or battle must be stopped within three months. The traders will keep their account balanced in high holy days. They also organized an annual market known as, the Okah. Arab poets regardless of their background of different religions would also recite their best poems there. As an example, two clans of the Quraish tribe were in confrontation in order to gain influence among the people in Holy Mecca. Hashim bin Abd Manaf confronted the son of his elder brother, Umayyah bin Abd Shams. But their confrontation does not affect the holy season because they held fast to the unwritten code of conduct for the tribe in the city.  

There was once when the Quraish tribe had committed error during holy season where they were dragged to side with the larger Children of Kinanah in a battle with the Children of Qays. The result was they were condemned by the whole Arabia and the war was known as the Battle of Fijar as it took place in the sanctified months. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w was 15 years old at that time and was not directly involved in the battle. He only gathered stray arrows for his uncle, Abu Talib.

Besides, there was also a special norm known as Hilf al-Fudhul where every Quraish must return everything which is taken by force to the tyrannized person especially in the Holy Mecca.


Medina in the period of ignorance of the 7th century was known as Yarib. Around 3rd century, two Azdite Arab clans from the larger Qahtanite native Arabs arrived in the city. They were the 'Aus and the Khazraj. They build up villages around the city. There were also three influential Jewish tribes there known as the Quraizas, the Nadirs, and the Qaynuqa'. These Jewish tribes were exiled during the Roman-Jewish war up North. The Tubba' kings of ancient Yemen had tried to besiege the city but they failed due to the strong forts surrounding the city.

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!

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