A Brief History of the Quraysh
The Jurhumites ruled the Makkah and its surrounding areas for 2100 years until they were ousted by the Khuza’a who ruled for over 300 years. During this time, many tribes had left the area except for the Quraysh. The Quraysh were migrants that lived in small settlements and scattered encampments. It is said that they were the descendants of Prophet Isma’eel.
In his book, Al-Seerah al-Nabawiyya, Ibn Katheer writes that the word Quraysh is derived from the word al-taqarrush which means “to join together after dispersal”. He writes that this relates to the period of Qusai ibn Kilab when they were dispersed and he brought them together at Ka’abah. Some say that Qusai was known as Quraysh. It is also said that Quraysh were so named from al-taqarrush a word meaning business and trading. Al-Jawhari said, “al-qarsh means earning and accumulating.” Al-Farra’ stated that it was from this word that Quraysh was named.
What would have been our remarks had we been living in Makkah during the time? Seeing the events and 2100 years’ rule of an outside tribe we would have assumed that the vision of Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam did not come true. His descendants take a backseat so-much-so that no one knows there whereabouts yet Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala shows us by His Might how He can change things. Therefore, neither become complacent with power nor lose hope when things are not in your favor. Have faith in Him. His plans take time though always based on wisdom.
Qusai ibn Kilab – A Qurayshite
The Quraysh had no role in the political environment of Makkah until a boy Qusai ibn Kilab was born. Qusai was an Arab who after the death of his father migrated to Syria with his mother where she re-married. It was the plan of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that the child is raised in a foreign place.
Many a times when people migrate to another place they keep recalling their previous life, and missing their old friends and families. Girls who get married and move abroad keep crying about loneliness. This is a moment when instead of crying we need to calmly sit back and reflect on Allah’s wisdom: If He has sent me here what does He want me to do? What is He trying to teach me? Then ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to show you the way.
Without contemplation, we keep crying and complaining how miserable our lives are. Ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for insight and wisdom. Perhaps, He has disconnected you from the people so that you can dedicatedly study His religion or work in His cause. And this has been proven. Many girls study religion after they move abroad. Live for a higher purpose in life! Don’t waste your skills and energy in weeping over the past.
Leadership comes to the Quraysh
When Qusai grew up he learned he was an Arab and not a native Syrian. He decided to return to his birthplace and live among his people. Reaching Makkah, Qusai married the daughter of Hulayl bin Hubshiyya – a leader of Khuza’a.
When Hulayl died, a war broke between the tribes of Khuza’a and *Quraysh as to who will rule Makkah now. Qusai won the war and became their leader. It is also said that Hulayl entrusted guardianship over the House (Ka’abah) to Qusai because of his large family. Hulayl said to him, “You have more right to it than I do.”
(*Quraysh’s ancestry can be linked to Isma’eel ‘alayhi salaam )
Having leadership skills, Qusai was obeyed and revered by his people. He brought the Quraysh together from their various settlements and gained the help of the Arab tribes to oust the Khuza’a. Many battles and much bloodshed took place until they agreed upon arbitration. They all agreed that Qusai was more suitable for guardianship over the House than Khuza’a. Thus, the boy raised in Syria gained guardianship over Ka’abah and ruled Makkah.
Qusai was the first of Banu Ka’ab who took the kingship and was obeyed as such by his people. He had rights of the hijaba, the saqaya, the rifada, the nadwa, and the liwa. Thus, he controlled all of Makkah’s honors. He divided up Makkah into quarters and settled each family of Quraysh in their dwellings there. It was said that justice returned to Makkah. To prevent violence and resolve disputes, Qusai built an assembly house – Dar al-Nadwa. When a conflict became serious the chiefs of each of the tribes would meet, seek counsel and decide matters.
Qusai and His Sons
Qusai had four (or six) sons, we don’t know about others but ‘Abd al-Dar and ‘Abd Manaf play some role. Out of the two, ‘Abd Manaf was more capable, however, Qusai assigned the authoritative role to ‘Abd al-Dar. He believed that ‘Abd Manaf being strong could fend for himself while ‘Abd al-Dar was weak and had to be supported.
When ‘Abd al-Dar died, the leadership role was divided among the descendants of ‘Abd Manaf and ‘Abd al-Dar. Of their descendants, Hashim emerged as a strong leader who got the responsibility of siqaya (providing water to the pilgrims) and rifada (feeding the pilgrims). The literal meaning of the word Hashim is “he who breaks or crushes”. This was a tribe that would crush bread with meat and broth for the pilgrims and treat them with generosity. After his death, the duties were transferred to Mutalib and from him, they were later transferred to his nephew Abdul Mutalib (Prophet’s grandfather).
How did Idol Worship emerge in Arabian Peninsula?
‘Amr ibn Luhayy was the first person who introduced idol worship in the Arabian Peninsula. He was well-respected by his people who treated his words as law. During one trip to Syria, he saw people worshiping idols. He inquired about them and was told that these idols drew them closer to God. Luhayy asked for an idol that he could take with him back to his country. He brought an idol named Hubal to Makkah and instructed the people to worship him. And hence, began idol worship in Makkah – a pure land that Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam had chosen to settle his children away from idol worship and Shirk.
‘Amr ibn Luhayy introduced certain innovations thereby changing the religion of Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam. The Arabs imitated him in adopting these and thus strayed far off, in ways that were deplorable and atrocious. About him, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “I have seen him dragging his intestines in Hellfire.”
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from inventing things in religion and from associating partners with Him, ameen.
[Adapted from the talks of Dr. Farhat Hashmi on the book: Tajjaliyat e Nabuwat by Maulana Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri. Some material has also been taken from Imam Ibn Katheer’s book: Al-Seerah Al-Nabawiya]