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For the chapter in the Qur'an, see Quraysh (sura).
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The Quraysh (Arabic: قريش‎, Qurayš; other transliterations include Qureish, Quraish, Quresh, Qurish, Kuraish, and Coreish) were a powerful merchant tribe that controlled Mecca and its Ka'aba and that according to tradition descended from Ishmael.

The Islamic prophet, Muhammad was born into the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe.[1]


The tribe traditionally traces a genealogical history backwards from their eponymous ancestor Mudhar to Adam, Abraham and Ishmael:

According to this tradition, Quraysh is Nadhr[2] ibn ("son of") Kinanah ibn Khuzaimah ibn Madrakah ibn Ilyas (Elijah) ibn Mudhar ibn Nazar ibn Ma'ad ibn Adnan ibn Add ibn Sind ibn Qedar[3] ibn Ishmael[4][4][5] ibn Abraham[6] ibn Azar[7][8] (Terah) ibn Nahur[9] ibn Serug[10] ibn Reu[11] ibn Peleg[12] ibn Eber ibn Salah[13][14][15] ibn Arpachshad[16] ibn Shem ibn Noah ibn Lamech[17] ibn Methuselah ibn Idris (Enoch) ibn Jared ibn Mahalalel ibn Kenan ibn Enos ibn Seth ibn Adam.

Early history[edit]

According to Arabic history books, the Quraysh tribe was a branch of the Banu Kinanah tribe, which descended from the Mudhar. For several generations they were spread about among other tribal groupings. About five generations before Muhammad the situation was changed by Qusai ibn Kilab. By war and diplomacy he assembled an alliance that delivered to him the keys of the Kaaba, an important pagan shrine which brought revenues to Mecca because of the multitude of pilgrims that it attracted. He then gathered his fellow tribesmen to settle at Mecca, where he enjoyed such adulation from his kin that they adjudged him their de facto king, a position that was enjoyed by no other descendant of his. Different responsibilities were apportioned between different clans. There were some rivalries among the clans, and these became especially pronounced during Muhammad's lifetime.

The Quaraysh's main god was Hubal. According to The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity, "The Qurayshite pantheon was composed principally of idols that were in the Haram of Makka, that is, Hubal (the most important and oldest deity), Manaf, Isaf, and Na'ila."[18]

Opposition to Muhammad[edit]

Some clan leaders did not appreciate Muhammad's claim of prophethood and tried to silence him by putting pressure on his uncle, Abu Talib. They rejected Islam's conception of monotheism; while they agreed that there was a single higher God, they also worshipped many lesser Gods they believed were intermediaries between mankind and the one higher God.[19] Many of the clans also began to oppose the followers of Muhammad, for example by boycotting them. A number of early Muslims took refuge with the Christian king of Abyssinia,[20] while Muhammad himself would later emigrate to Yathrib, now Medina. The Quraysh fought many battles against Muhammad. One major clash, the Battle of Badr in 624 C.E., where the Quraysh were defeated, was later seen as a turning point for Muslims.[21] After Muhammad died, clan rivalries reignited, playing central roles in the conflicts over the caliphate and contributing to the Shia-Sunni divide.

Conflict with Muhammad[edit]

Muhammad ordered the Batn Rabigh Caravan Raid in 623 against the Quraysh. This was the first military operation against them [22][23][24][25]

The second operation against the Quraysh was in May/June 623 called the Kharar Caravan Raid [22][23][24][25][26]

This was followed by the Invasion of Waddan in August 623 [26][27]

In October 623 Muhammad ordered an attack against Quraysh caravans in Buwat known as the Invasion of Buwat [28][29]

Then in December 623 another Quraysh caravan was attacked in the Invasion of Dul Ashir [30]

He then ordered Muslims to gather intelligence against the Quraysh in January 624 in an operation known as the Nakhla Raid, 1 member of the Quraysh was killed and 2 were captured. This was the first time someone was killed in an operation[31][32][33]

A major operation was then launched in March 624 known as the Battle of Badr.[34] In this operation 14 Muslims were killed and 70 Quraysh members were also killed, 30-47 were captured[35]

Clans and the Caliphate[edit]

After the introduction of Islam by Muhammad, the Quraysh gained supremacy and produced the three dynasties of the Ummayad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate and the Fatimid Caliphate.[citation needed] The split between the Shi'a and Sunni branches of Islam centers over the succession to Muhammad.[36] The Sunnis believe Abu Bakr was elected as Muhammad's successor while the Shi'a (literally "supporters [of Ali]") believe Muhammad appointed `Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor.[citation needed]

`Ali was a member of Muhammad's clan, the Banu Hashim. Abu Bakr, while a close companion of Muhammad, came from the Banu Taym clan.[36]

The second caliph, `Umar ibn al-Khattab, was from the Banu Adi clan.[36]

The third caliph, `Uthman ibn `Affan, was from the Banu Umayyah clan.[36]

When `Ali was made caliph after the death of `Uthman, the Caliphate was in the hands of the Banu Hashim, but he was almost immediately challenged by Muawiyah, who was a member of the Umayyad clan.[36] After `Ali's assassination at the hands of the Kharajites, the Shi'a hoped his son Hasan would become Caliph, but he deferred the position to Mu`awiyah, in hoping to quell the long-lasting civil war between the Muslims at that time. Mu`awiyah, in turn, violated the treaty signed with Hasan bin Ali, established the Umayyad line of Caliphs.[36]

After the death of Mu`awiyah, his son Yazid became caliph but was almost immediately challenged by `Ali's younger son, Hussayn. Hussayn would not swear allegiance to Yazid when he received letters from the people of Al-Kufah that speak of Yazid's wrongdoing against Islam, and Hussayn's acknowledgment of the caliphate's non-hereditary lineage, which Yazid had breached. Hussayn was martyred by the stronger forces of Yazid at the Battle of Karbala. This event would ultimately lead to a full schism between Shi'a Islam and Sunni Islam.

In the Shi'a view, Muhammad's descendants through Ali were persecuted by Umayyad Caliphs.


Quraysh branched out into various sub-clans, who in turn branched out into yet further sub-clans. Roughly the division corresponded to the family lines of the current chieftain of that clan having sons.

  • Banu Quraysh — Quraysh was divided into several sub-clans.


The leaders of the Quraysh (Arabic: Sadat Quraysh), who formed Mecca's aristocracy upon the appearance of Muhammad, included:

Related tribes[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Al-Mubarakpuri, Safi-ur-Rahman (2002). The Sealed Nectar (Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum). Darussalam. p. 30. ISBN 1591440718. 
  2. ^ Koenig, Harold G. (2014-01-01). "Differences and Similarities". Health and Well-Being in Islamic Societies. Springer Science+Business Media. p. 97. The Quraysh was Nadhr, the 12th tribal generaton down from Kedar, the son of Ishmael mentioned in the Bible. 
  3. ^ Book of Genesis 25:12-16
  4. ^ a b Ishmael, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  5. ^ Azraqi, Akhbar Makkah, vol. 1, pp. 58-66
  6. ^ Qur'an 2:127 to 136
  7. ^ Qur'an 6:74
  8. ^ Qur'an 37:99–111
  9. ^ Luke 3:35
  10. ^ Book of Genesis11:20-23
  11. ^ Genesis 11:20
  12. ^ Genesis 10:25
  13. ^ Genesis 10:24
  14. ^ Genesis 11:12-13
  15. ^ Luke 3:36
  16. ^ Book of Genesis 10:22, 24; 11:10-13; 1 Chron. 1:17-18
  17. ^ Luke 3:37
  18. ^ Johnson, Scott (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195336931. 
  19. ^ Abdullah Saeed, The Qur'an: An Introduction, pg. 62. London: Routledge, 2008. ISBN 9781134102945
  20. ^ Donner, Fred M. (2010). Muhammad and the Believers. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-674-05097-6. 
  21. ^ "Witness-pioneer.org". Witness-pioneer.org. 2002-09-16. Retrieved 2010-03-19. 
  22. ^ a b Ibn Hisham , Ibn Ishaq, Alfred Guillaume (translator) (1998). The life of Muhammad: a translation of Isḥāq's Sīrat rasūl Allāh. Oxford University Press. p. 591. 
  23. ^ a b Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar p. 127
  24. ^ a b Hawarey, Dr. Mosab (2010). The Journey of Prophecy; Days of Peace and War (Arabic). Islamic Book Trust. Note: Book contains a list of battles of Muhammad in Arabic, English translation available here
  25. ^ a b Muḥammad Ibn ʻAbd al-Wahhāb, Mukhtaṣar zād al-maʻād, p. 345.
  26. ^ a b Sa'd, Ibn (1967). Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir,By Ibn Sa'd,Volume 2. Pakistan Historical Society. p. 4. ASIN B0007JAWMK. august 623 Then occurred the sariyyah of Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqa towards al-Kharar in Dhu al-Qa'dah (May–June 623 AC) 
  27. ^ Tabari, Al (2008), The foundation of the community, State University of New York Press, p. 12, ISBN 978-0887063442, In Safar (which began August 4, 623), nearly twelve months after his arrival in Medina on the twelfth of Rabi' al- Awwal, he went out on a raid as far as Waddan 
  28. ^ Muhammad Siddique Qureshi (1989), Foreign policy of Hadrat Muhammad (SAW), Islamic Publications, p. 118.
  29. ^ Tabari, Al (2008), The foundation of the community, State University of New York Press, p. 13, ISBN 978-0887063442, Expeditions Led by Muhammad Then the Messenger of God led an expedition in Rabi' al-Akhir (which began October 2, 623) in search of Quraysh. He went as far as Buwat 
  30. ^ Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, Darussalam Publications, p. 245, ISBN 978-9960899558 
  31. ^ Mubarakpuri, Sealed Nectar, P245
  32. ^ Wahhāb p. 346
  33. ^ Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, pp.128-131. (online)
  34. ^ Tabari, Al (2008), The foundation of the community, State University of New York Press, p. 12, ISBN 978-0887063442, Some say the Battle of Badr took place on 19 Ramadan (March 15, 624). 
  35. ^ Muḥammad Aḥmad Bāshmīl, The great battle of Badr, p. 122.
  36. ^ a b c d e f "Early Muslim Leaders from the Tribe of Quraysh" (PNG). Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  37. ^ GLUBB, John Bagot, The Life and Times of Mohammed, in A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims, chapter "Muhammad's Visit to Ta'if", Al-islam.org.
  38. ^ a b Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:59:286
  39. ^ a b M Pacuk.

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