Hashim ibn 'Abd Manaf
His name was 'Amr al-ʻUlā (Arabic: عمرو العلا) but he was given the nickname Hashim which translates as pulverizer in Arabic - because he initiated the practice of providing crumbled bread in broth for the pilgrims to the Ka'aba in Mecca. Another version of the story of this naming is that Hashim comes from the Arabic root Hashm, to save the starving, because he arranged for the feeding of the people of Mecca during a seasonal famine, and he thus became "the man who fed the starving" or in Arabic: هشم الجياع.
Hashim and 'Abd Shams were conjoined twins born with Hashim's leg attached to his twin brother's head. It was said that they had struggled in the womb seeking to be firstborn. Their birth was remembered for Hashim being born with one of his toes pressed into the younger twin brother’s forehead. Legend says that their father, 'Abd Manaf ibn Qusai, separated his conjoined sons with a sword and that some priests believed that the blood that had flown between them signified wars between their progeny (confrontations did occur between Banu al'Abbas and Banu Ummaya ibn 'Abd Shams in the year 750 AH).
After his grandfather Qusai ibn Kilab died his father Abd Manaf and his uncle 'Abd ad-Dar apparently quarreled, and the effects of this conflict continued among their descendants and affected the internal Makkah right up to Muhammad's time. 'Abd ad-Dar was supported by their cousins Makhzum, Sahm, Jumah, their uncle Adi and their families. Abd Manaf contested his inheritance and was supported by their nephew Asad, their uncle Zuhrah ibn Kilab, their father's uncle Taym ibn Murrah, and al-Harith ibn Fihr.
The two sides had even got so far as agreeing to go outside the sanctuary of the sacred area in order to battle it out, when a compromise was at last reached, feeling rose so high that the women of the clan of 'Abd Manaf brought a bowl of rich perfume with nutmeg powder and placed it beside the Ka'aba; and Hashim and his brothers and all their allies dipped their hands in it and swore a solemn oath of allegiance that they would never abandon one another, rubbing their scented hands over the stone of the Ka'aba in confirmation of their pact. Thus it was that this group of clans were known as the "Hilf al-Mutayyabun" or "Alliance of the Scented Ones". Their rivals the allies of Abd ad-Dar likewise swore an oath of union, and also organised themselves into a pact and became known as the "Hilf al-Ahlaf" or "Alliance of the Confederates".
Neither side wanted a full scale conflict and a compromise was achieved whereby The Confederates retained normal privileges in control of the charity tax and the food and drink for pilgrims, where as real power resided with the Scented Ones who had the keys to the Ka'aba and the running of the House of Assembly. Therefore the sons of 'Abd Manaf should have the rights of levying the tax and providing for the pilgrims with food and drink, whereas the sons of Abd ad-Dar should retain the keys of the Ka'aba and their rights, and that their house should continue to be the House of Assembly. Hashim's brothers agreed that he should have the responsibility of providing for the pilgrims. Their descendants in the clans named after them tended to keep this old alliance.
Hashim was clearly the foremost man of his day, and demanded that the rights be transferred from the clan of Abd ad-Dar to his clan. Those who supported Hashim and his brothers were the descendants of Zuhrah and Taym ibn Murrah, and all Qusai's descendants except those of the eldest line. The descendants of Makhzum and of the other remoter cousins maintained that the rights should remain in the family of Abd ad-Dar.
Hashim was accepted as the overall leader, with the responsibility of providing for the pilgrims in the Ka’aba precincts, with the support of his brothers 'Abd Shams and Muttalib, and his half-brother Nawfal. The only person who challenged Hashim’s authority was Umayyah, the son of his brother 'Abd Shams, but he had no real support and shifted to live out his life in Syria. Makkah became the acknowledged capital of Arabia, and markets were established around the city to deal with all the business.
Hashim was held in much honour, both at home and abroad. It was Amr who first realised the potential for his family of taking part in the lucrative trade between Syria and Egypt that passed through Arabia. Trading was the most important means of livelihood for the inhabitants of Mecca, a barren ‘valley without cultivation’.
He initiated and established the two great trade caravan journeys of Quraish from Mecca, the Caravan of Winter to Yemen and the Caravan of Summer to north-west Arabia, and beyond it to Palestine and Syria, which was then Byzantine rule as part of the Roman Empire. After obtaining privileges from the Ghassanid king of Syria, even went in person to Byzantium and procured an edict from the Byzantine Roman Caesar, exempting Quraish from duties or taxes when operating in the countries under his domain. Caesar also wrote to the King Negus of Abyssinia to admit the Quraish there for trade, and Hashim’s brother 'Abd Shams had a special permit with him. Muttalib had his treaty with the Himyarites of Yemen, and their half-brother Nawfal with the Persian governments of Iraq and Iran.
He commenced by going in person to Aden in Yemen to meet the ships coming from India, purchased the stock and transported it first to Mecca and then on to Syria, Gaza or Egypt. There he bought up goods of local manufacture and brought them back to Mecca, mainly selling them at the various Arab markets and fairs. Thus, the Quraish engaged in trade in Yemen, Syria and Ankara which allowed them to flourish economically. The Quraysh were so respected and popular that they felt no fears for their caravans being robbed or harmed along the way, and the various tribes did not even attempt to charge them the usual heavy transit taxes they demanded from other caravans.
He was generous to a fault, and it was his practical compassion in one year of drought that earned him his famous nickname of "Hashim", ‘the Crusher’. This was not for crushing or oppressing anyone, but because when the people were starving and emaciated he provided food at his own expense for the entire population of Mecca, personally fetching an immense stock of flour from Syria by camel-caravan, then slaughtering the camels and crushing the bread and meat to provide a soup-kitchen for his people. His descendants are still proudly called Hashemites to this day.
According to Idris Imaduddin R.A, an established historian, he died after falling ill on a journey returning from a business tour to Syria in Gaza, Palestine in 497. According to tradition, Hashim's tomb is located beneath the dome of Sayed al-Hashim Mosque in the al-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza which is named in his honor. The mosque itself was built around the 12th-century.
His father was 'Abd Manaf ibn Qusai who according to Islamic tradition is a descendant of Ibrahim (Abraham) through his son Ismail (Ishmael). His mother was ʻĀtikah bint Murrah ibn Hilāl ibn Fālij ibn Dhakwān. Hashim had two full brothers, the elder was 'Abd Shams and younger was Muttalib who would succeed him, and half-brother Nawfal whose mother was Waqida bint Amr.
He had at least five wives, four sons, and six daughters. His first three wives were his grandmother Hubba bint Hulail's niece Qaylah (or Hind) bint Amr ibn Malik of the Banu Khuza'a, Halah (Hind) bint Amr ibn Thalabah al-Khazrajiyah, and a woman from the Banu Quda'a, the people of Qusai's stepfather who had been so supportive of his cause. For his fourth wife, he married his father's widow, Waqida bint Amr (Abu Adiy) al-Maziniyyah- who was the mother of his half-brother Nawfal. His fifth wife was Salma bint Amr, a woman from Yathrib- one of the most influential women of the Banu Khazraj tribe and the daughter of 'Amr of Banu Najjar clan.
By Qaylah, he had a son Asad (Ali's maternal grandfather). By Halah, he had the son Abu Saifi, and daughter Hayyah (or Hannah). By Waqida, he had the daughters Khalidah and Da'ifa. By the woman of Banu Quda'a, he had the son Nadla (or Nadh) and daughter Ash-Shifa. By Salma bint Amr he had Shaiba/ʻAbd al-Muṭṭalib- the paternal grandfather of Muhammad- and a daughter Ruqayyah. There was another son Sayfayyah, and another daughter Jannah.
- Ibn Kathir; Fareed, Muneer; Le Gassick, Trevor. The Life of the Prophet Muhammad: Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya. p. 132.
- Armstrong, Karen (2001). Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. Phoenix. p. 66. ISBN 0946621330.
- Ibn Kathir 1.186. Hilf, or tahalluf, comes from halafa, to form a confederacy, for mutual help and protection.
- Lings, Martin (1983). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. George Allen & Unwin. p. 7. ISBN 0946621330.
- Maqsood, Ruqaiyyah Waris. "The Prophet’s Family Line No. 4 – Amr (Hashim), the Founder of the Hashimites". Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood Dawah. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- ‘Lata’if al-ma’arif, Tha’alibi, Edinburgh, 1968, p.42; Ibn Kathir 1.132, from Ibn Ishaq; Ibn Sa’d vol 1 p.77
- Hooda, Samreen (September 2006). "Mosque of Sayyed Hashim - Gaza". Palestine: This Week In Palestine. Retrieved 17 January 2012.