Qais Abdur Rashid

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Qais Abdur Rashid (575–661) (Pashto: قيس عبد الراشد), also known as Kasay, Kish and Imraul Qais Khan, is the legendary founding father of the Pashtun nation. Qais is said to be the first Afghan who travelled to Mecca and Medina in Arabia during the early days of Islam.[1] Traditional Afghan genealogies list him as the 37th descendent of King Saul (or Malik Talut), through Malak Afghana, a grandson of King Saul.[2][3][4] In his book "Hayat i Afghan", the Indian scholar, historian & educational reformer, Nawab Muhammad Hayat Khan traces the lineage of Qais/Kais through Jonathan, the son of King Saul as the 101 descendant.[5]

Family Tree & Lineage

Journey to Medina[edit]

In Afghan tradition, Qais was born in Ghor province of present Afghanistan. Upon hearing about the advent of Islam, his tribe sent him to Medina in modern day Saudi Arabia. He met the Prophet Muhammad and embraced Islam there, and was given the name Abdur Rashid by the Prophet. He then returned to the present region of Afghanistan and introduced Islam to his tribe. According to Mountstuart Elphinstone in legend the famous military leader and companion of Muhammad, Khalid ibn al-Walid, introduced Qais Abdur Rashid to the Prophet.

The Afghan historians proceed to relate that the children of Israel, both in Ghor and in Arabia, preserved their knowledge of the unity of God and the purity of their religious belief, and that on the appearance of the last prophet and messenger, Prophet Muhammad, the Afghans of Ghor listened to the invitation of their Arabian brethren, the chief of whom was Khalid ibn al-Waleed, so famous for his conquest of Syria, and marched to the aid of the true faith, under the command of Kyse, afterwards surnamed "Abdul Rasheed".[6]

However, the account in which the Afghans were introduced to Prophet Muhammad by Khalid ibn al-Waleed is probably without any historical foundation according to scholars like Thomas Walker Arnold.[7]

Genealogy and family tree of Malak Afghana, grandson of King Saul.


Legend says that when Qais Abdur Rashid felt his time was near, he asked his sons to take him from Ghor to the Sulaiman Mountains to bury him at the spot where his ancestor Malak Afghana was buried, and he was buried on top of the Kesai Ghar ("Mount of Qais"), located near the village of Darazinda in Frontier Region Dera Ismail Khan of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, close to the border with the Zhob District of Balochistan, Pakistan. Some people visit the place, mostly in the summer when the mountain is easier to climb and make animal sacrifices, usually a sheep or a goat, at the tomb of Qais. Nearly all major Pashtun tribes are said to be the progeny of his sons and daughters.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Meaning and Practice, Afghanistan Country Study: Religion, Illinois Institute of Technology (retrieved 18 January 2007).
  2. ^ Dawn, The cradle of Pathan culture, by Alauddin Masood, 4 April 2004.
  3. ^ Pakistan pictorial, Pakistan Publications, 2003.
  4. ^ Niamatullah's history of the Afghans, Volume 1, Niʻmat Allāh, Nirod Bhusan Roy, Santiniketan Press, 1958, pg. 5.
  5. ^ Hayat i Afghan, Section on Tareen tribe, Appendix 4 to the original Persian text by Nawab Muhammad Hayat Khan, published Lahore, 1865. English translation by HB Priestley, Lahore, 1874.
  6. ^ Life of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan; of Kabul, Volume 1. By Mohan Lal (1846), quoting Mountstuart Elphinstone pg. 5
  7. ^ The Preaching of Islam: A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith by Thomas Walker Arnold, pg. 183

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