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The Quraysh or Quraish (Arabic: قريش, Qurayš; other transliterations include "Quresh", "Qurrish", "Qurish", "Qirsh", "Qureshi", "Kuraish", "Koraish", "Koreish" and "Coreish") were a powerful merchant tribe that controlled Makkah and its Kaaba.
Quraysh is Nadhr ("son of") ibn Kinanah ibn Khuzaimah ibn Madrakah ibn Ilyas ( Elijah) ibn Madher ibn Nazar ibn Ma'ad ibn Adnan ibn Add ibn Send ibn Kedar (Arabic Qaydar) ibn Ishmael ibn Abraham ibn Azar (Terah) ibn Nahoor ibn Srooj ibn Ra'o ibn Phaleg ibn Aber ibn Shaleh ibn Arpheckshad ibn Sam ibn Noah ibn Lamek ibn Motoshaleh ibn Edres (Enoch) ibn Yared ibn Mehlaiel ibn Qenan ibn Anosh ibn Sheeth ibn Adam
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.
Some clan leaders did not appreciate Muhammad's claim of prophethood and tried to silence him by putting pressure on his uncle, Abu Talib. 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, while Muhammad himself would later emigrate to Yathrib, now Medina. The Quraysh fought many battles against Muhammad, one major clash was the Battle of Badr, where the Quraysh were defeated, the event was seen as a turning point for Muslims. After Muhammad's conquest of Mecca in 630, he pardoned most of those who had opposed him before, and peace among the different clans was maintained. After Muhammad's death, clan rivalries reignited, playing central roles in the conflicts over the caliphate and contributing to the Shia-Sunni divide.
After the introduction of Islam, the Quraysh gained supremacy and produced the three dynasties of the Ummayad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate and the Fatimid Caliphate. The split between the Shi'a and Sunni branches of Islam centers over the succession to Muhammad. 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.
The third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, was from the Banu Umayyah clan.
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. After Ali's assassination at the hands of the Kharajites, the Shi'a hoped his son Hasan would become Caliph, but he was forced to defer to Muawiyah, who, in violation of the treaty signed with Hasan bin Ali, established the Umayyad line of Caliphs.
After the death of Muawiyah, his son Yazid became caliph but was almost immediately challenged by Ali's younger son, Hussayn. Hussayn would not swear allegiance to Yazid for disgracing Islam by various heinous acts, among those the alleged corruption of Yazid 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.
The leaders of the Quraysh (Arabic: Sadat Quraysh), who formed Mecca's aristocracy upon the appearance of Muhammad, included: