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Banu Quraysh
(Arabic: بنو قريش‎‎)
Adnanite, Ishmaelite
Nisba Quraysh (also spelled Qureshi)
Location Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Descended from An-Nadr ibn Kinanah
Religion Idolatry and later Islam
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The Quraysh (Arabic: قريش‎‎, Qurayš; other transliterations include Qureish, Quraish, Quresh, Qurish, Kuraish, Qureshi, and Coreish) were a powerful merchant tribe that controlled Mecca and its Ka'aba and that, according to Pre-Islamic and Islamic tradition, descended from Ishmael.

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

The Quraysh tribe has reached as far as Kashmir.


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 Mudrikah ibn Ilyas 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

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 the clans, between whom there were some rivalries, which became especially pronounced during Muhammad's lifetime.

The Quraysh'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

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, which 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

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 and called the Kharar Caravan Raid.[22][23][24][25][26]

This was followed by the Invasion of Waddan in August 623.[27][28]

In October 623, Muhammad ordered an attack against Quraysh caravans in Buwat known as the Invasion of Buwat.[29][30]

Then, in December 623, another Quraysh caravan was attacked in the Invasion of Dul Ashir.[31]

He then ordered Muslims to gather intelligence against the Quraysh in January 624 in an operation known as the Nakhla Raid, in which one member of the Quraysh was killed and two were captured. This was the first time that someone was killed in an operation.[32][33][34]

A major operation was then launched in March 624 known as the Battle of Badr.[35] In this operation, 14 Muslims were killed as were 70 Quraysh members, with another 30-47 captured.[36]

Clans and the Caliphate

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 on the succession to Muhammad.[37] The Sunnis believe Abu Bakr was elected as Muhammad's successor while the Shi'a (literally "supporters [of Ali]") believe that Muhammad appointed `Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor.[citation needed]

`Ali was a member of Muhammad's clan, the Banu Hashim, and his son-in-law. Abu Bakr, while a close companion and the father-in-law of Muhammad, came from the Banu Taym clan.[37]

The second caliph, `Umar ibn al-Khattab, was from the Banu Adi clan. He was also the father-in-law of the Prophet.[37]

The third caliph, `Uthman ibn `Affan, was from the Banu Umayyah clan. He too was the son-in-law of the Prophet.[37]

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.[37] After `Ali's assassination at the hands of the Kharajites, 'Ali hoped his son Hasan, the Grandson of the Prophet, 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.[37]

After the death of Mu`awiyah, his son Yazid became ruler, but was almost immediately challenged by `Ali's younger son, Al-Husayn ibn 'Ali. 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. Al-Husayn was martyred by the stronger forces of Yazid at the Battle of Karbala.


Quraysh branched out into various sub-clans, which in turn branched out into yet further sub-clans. The division roughly 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

See also


  1. Al-Mubarakpuri, Safi-ur-Rahman (2002). The Sealed Nectar (Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum). Darussalam. p. 30. ISBN 1591440718.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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 generation down from Kedar, the son of Ishmael mentioned in the Bible.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Book of Genesis 25:12-16
  4. 4.0 4.1 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Witness-pioneer.org". Witness-pioneer.org. 2002-09-16. Retrieved 2010-03-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. 22.0 22.1 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. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. 23.0 23.1 Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar p. 127
  24. 24.0 24.1 Hawarey, Dr. Mosab (2010). The Journey of Prophecy; Days of Peace and War (Arabic). Islamic Book Trust.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>Note: Book contains a list of battles of Muhammad in Arabic, English translation available here
  25. 25.0 25.1 Muḥammad Ibn ʻAbd al-Wahhāb, Mukhtaṣar zād al-maʻād, p. 345.
  26. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  27. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  28. 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<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Muhammad Siddique Qureshi (1989), Foreign policy of Hadrat Muhammad (SAW), Islamic Publications, p. 118.
  30. 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<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, Darussalam Publications, p. 245, ISBN 978-9960899558<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. Mubarakpuri, Sealed Nectar, P245
  33. Wahhāb p. 346
  34. Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, pp.128-131. (online)
  35. 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).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. Muḥammad Aḥmad Bāshmīl, The great battle of Badr, p. 122.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 37.4 37.5 "Early Muslim Leaders from the Tribe of Quraysh" (PNG). Retrieved 2010-04-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. Glubb, John Bagot. The Life and Times of Mohammed (A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims)url=http://www.al-islam.org/restatement/16.htm Muhammad's Visit to Ta'if.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. 39.0 39.1 Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:59:286
  40. 40.0 40.1 M Pacuk.