or Quraish (Arabic: قريشQurayš, meaning little shark. Other transliterations include "Quresh", "Quraysh", "Koreish" and "Coreish". Turkish: Kureyş) was the dominant tribe of Mecca upon the appearance of the religion of Islam. It was the tribe to which the Islamic Prophet Muhammad belonged, as well as the tribe that led the initial opposition to his message.

According to popular legend, the Quraysh was a branch of the Kinana branch, which descended from the Khuzaimah, which has its genealogical root in Mudhar patriarchy, descendant of Adnan.

The Quraysh remained completely disunited until Qusai ibn Kilab managed to rally their ranks on honourable terms attaching major prominence to their status and importance[clarification needed].[1] 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.

For several generations the Quraysh 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 possession of the Meccan Sanctuary (the Kaaba). 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.

According to traditional legends, Arab lineages allegedly originate from three groups:

  1. Perished Arabs (العرب البائدة): These are the ancients of whose history little is known. They include ‘Ad, Thamûd, Tasam, Jadis, Imlaq and others.
  2. Pure Arabs (العرب العاربة): They allegedly originated from the progeny of Ya‘rub bin Yashjub bin Qahtan bin Hud so were also called Qahtanian Arabs.
  3. Arabized Arabs (العرب المستعربة): They allegedly originated from the progeny of Ishmael and were also called ‘Adnanite Arabs. The Quraysh are a branch of the "Arabized Arabs".

The Quraysh had become a prominent tribe in Mecca before the birth of Muhammad and essentially ruled the city. Before Muhammad's birth, the tribe had split into different clans, each with different responsibilities. There were some rivalries among the clans, but 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 persecute the followers of Muhammad, for example by boycotting them. This response led Muhammad to initially send some Muslims to Ethiopia, and later would lead to his own emigration to Medina.

After Muhammad's conquest of Mecca in 630, he pardoned many of those who had oppressed 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 Shi'a-Sunni divide.

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 "party [of Ali]") believe Muhammad appointed Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor.

Ali was a member of Muhammad's clan, the Banu Hashim. Abu Bakr, while a close companion of Muhammad, came from the Banu Taim clan.

The second Caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, was from the Banu Adi clan.

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 deferred to Muawiyah, who 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, Hussein, who would not swear allegiance to Yazid for a number of reasons, among which that the Caliphate was not supposed to be hereditary, and that Yazid was said to be corrupt. Yazid's forces were stronger than those of Hussein and Hussein was killed at the Battle of Karbela. This event would ultimately lead to a full schism between Shi'a Islam and Sunni Islam.

The fact that Muhammad's descendants through Ali would be persecuted by Umayyad Caliphs did not help the matter.

Banu Zuhrah

is a clan of the Quraish tribe. Akhnas ibn Shariq al-Thaqifi and the Banu Zuhrah where with the Meccan as part of the escort that preceded the battle of Badr, but since he believed the caravan to be safe, he did not join Quraish on their way to a festival in badr. He together with Banu Zuhrah returned, so this two clans present in the battle. 

Saad ibn Abī Waqqās

(Arabic: سعد بن أبي وقاص‎) was an early convert to Islam in 610-11 and one of the important companions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Sa'd was the seventeenth person to embrace Islam at the age of seventeen. He is mainly known for his commandership in the conquest of Persia in 636, governorship over it, and diplomatic sojourns to China in 616 and 651.

Born in 595, Sa'd was from the Banu Zuhrah clan of the Quraysh tribe,[1] and was a cousin to Aminah bint Wahb, mother of Muhammad.

In 614 the Muslims were on their way to the hills of Mecca to hold a secret meeting with the prophet Muhammad, when a group of polytheists observed their suspicious movements, and began to abuse and fight them. Sa`ad beat a polytheist and shed his blood, reportedly becoming the first to draw blood in behalf of Islam.[1][2]

He fought at the battle of Badr with his young brother Umayr. Being only in his early teens, Umayr was denied access to battle, but after struggling and crying, he was later given permission by the Prophet to fight in battle. Sa`d returned to Medina alone; Umayr was one of the fourteen Muslims who died in the battle.

At the battle of Uhud, Sa`d was chosen as an archer together with Zayd, Sa`īb (the son of Uthmān ibn Mazūn) and others. Sa`d was among those who fought in defense of Muhammad after some Muslims had deserted their positions.

Sa`d also fought under Umar's command against the Sassanid army at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah and Battle of Nahāvand. He was later appointed governor of Kufa and Nejd during the caliphate of Umar.

Some narrations state that although Umar deposed him from his post as governor, he recommended that the caliph who succeeded him reinstall Sa'd, since Umar had not deposed Sa'd due to any treachery.[3]

He was one of six people nominated by Umar ibn al-Khattab for the third caliphate.

Uthman carried out Umar's recommendation and appointed Sa'd as governor of Kufa.[3]

S'ad has been traditionally credited by Chinese Muslims with introducing Islam to China in 650, during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang,[4][5] although modern secular scholars don't find any historical evidence for him actually travelling to China.[6]

Aminah bint Wahb

(Arabic: آمنة بنت وهبʼĀminah bint Wahb) (died 577) was the mother of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

he daughter of Wahb ibn Abd Manaf ibn Zuhrah ibn Kilab ibn Murrah.[1] Aminah was born in Makkah. She was a member of the Banu Zuhrah clan in the tribe of Quraysh who were descendants of Ibrahim (Abraham) through his son Isma'il (Ishmael). Her ancestor Zuhrah was the elder brother of Qusayy ibn Kilab, who was also an ancestor of 'Abdallah ibn 'Abdul Muttalib. Qusayy ibn Kilab became the first Quraysh custodian of the Holy Ka'bah. 'Abdul Muttalib ibn Hashim, father of 'Abdallah, fixed the marriage of his youngest son 'Abdallah with Aminah. She was eventually married to Abdallah ibn Abd al-Muttalib when he was 17 years old.[2] It was said that 'Abdallah's face shone with a special light and that this light was the promise of a Prophet as offspring.[3]

'Abdallah's father was the custodian of the Holy Ka'bah in Makkah. Soon after their marriage 'Abdallah would be called to as-Sham (present day Syria) on a trading caravan. However, 'Abdallah would become sick and would die before returning to Makkah and his pregnant wife; a depression from which Aminah would never recover.[4]

[edit] Birth of Muhammad

Two months after Abdallah's death, in 570 AD, Muhammad would be born. As was tradition among all the great families at the time Aminah would send Muhammad into the desert as a baby. The belief was that in the desert one learned self-discipline, nobility, and freedom. This also gave Muhammad the chance to learn Arabic and Arab traditions. During this time Muhammad would be nursed by Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, a poor Bedouin woman from the tribe of Banu Sa'ad, a branch of the Hawāzin, who would be with him during his time in the desert.[5]

When Muhammad was five years old he was reunited with Aminah. After being reunited with her son Aminah took him to Yathreb (Madinah) to meet his extended family and introduce him to the city. They would end up spending one month in Yathreb. However, after having traveled only 23 miles from Yathreb towards Mecca, Aminah fell ill and eventually died and was buried in the village of Abwa’. Aminah died in 577 AD.[6]

[edit] Inconsistencies in Aminah bint Wahb's Biography

There are a few inconsistencies that appear in the biography of Aminah bint Wahb. In most biographies Aminah lived with her father, however, others say she lived under the guardianship of her uncle Wahb of Bani Zuhra.[7] The age of Abdallah is also contested. In most versions of Aminah's biography he is said to be 17 years old when the couple marries. Other versions claim he was 24 when they were married.[7] The third inconsistency surrounds the time of Abdallah's death. In most cases it is simply said that he died on the return trip from Syria to Mecca. However, according to Muhammad Zafrulla Kahn (author of the online book Muhammad: Seal of the Prophets) Abdallah was left behind in Medina by the caravan in the care of his father's maternal relatives. When his father found out Abdallah was ill he dispatched Harith, his eldest son, to take care of Abdallah. It was only once Harith arrived in Medinah that he learned Abdallah had died a month after the caravan had left him.[7]

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