The Prophet’s Line Family No 3 – Qusayy, Hubbah, and Banu Nadr to Quraysh

 

by

 

Sr. Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood

(Material adapted from her forthcoming seerah the Life of the Prophet)

 

The Banu Nadr

 

The immediate line of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was known as the Banu Nadr, taking the name from Nadr b. Kinanah b. Khuzaymah b. Amir (Mudrika) b. Ilyas b. Mudar b. Nizar b. Ma’add b. Adnan.

 

Zayd/Qusayy b. Kilab, ‘the Stranger’

 

The last of the kings of Khuza’ah, Hulayl b. Hubshiyyah,[1] gave his heiress daughter Hubbah in marriage to the Banu Nadr hero Qusayy b. Kilab, whose line was Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murrah b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr b. Malik b. Nadr. Qusayy’s mother was Fatimah bint Sa’d b. Sayl (Khayr),[2] a woman with a family interest in the Ka’bah since it was her great-great-great-grandfather Amir al-Jadir[3] (‘the builder’) of Azd who erected its present wall. She bore Kilab two sons, Zuhrah and Zayd, the latter being born many years after Zuhrah, in c400 CE. His real name Zayd was replaced by the nickname Qusayy – ‘little stranger’ – because his father Kilab died when he was only an infant, and Fatimah then married Rabi’ah b. Haram of the Banu Quda’ah of Yemen,[4] and shifted with the baby to al-Sham. Zuhrah had already grown up by that time, apparently, and stayed behind in Makkah. Fatimah then had a son to Rabi’ah, Darraj (or Rizah).[5]

 

Qusayy grew up among the Banu Quda’ah, but when he got into a teenage argument and swore something ‘by his tribe’ he was bluntly told they were not his tribe - he was an outsider, and had never been fully accepted by his step-father’s people. Shocked, he went to Fatimah, who told him who his real father was, and not to worry for his descendance was nobler then theirs and his people lived close to the Ka’bah. Excited, and eager to know his father’s people, in c418 CE he left his mother and went to Makkah to seek his fortune.[6]  The ‘Stranger’ was destined to find more than relatives and a new home – the results of this move were to be momentous.

 

The Khuza’ah monarch Hulayl had a fifteen-year-old daughter amongst his children, the princess Hubbah. Qusayy asked for her, was accepted, and in a short while acquired much wealth and respect, and fathered many children.

 

Qusayy’s sons by Hubbah

 

Qusayy had four sons by Hubbah - Abd ad-Dar who he dedicated to his house, Abdu’l Qusayy dedicated to himself, Abdu’l Uzzah to his goddess and Abdu’l Manaf  to the idol revered by Hubbah. They also had two daughters, Takhmur and Barrah.[7]  Abdu’l Manaf’s real name was Mughirah, and he also had the nickname al-Qamar (the Moon) because he was so handsome.

 

Qusayy becomes Guardian of the Ka’bah

 

Qusayy’s talents and character soon established him as Hulayl’s favourite, even above his own sons. When Hulayl died it was an easy matter for Qusayy to defeat his rivals and become the guardian of the Ka’bah. Hulayl actually entrusted the keys of the Ka’bah to Hubbah, since she was the Khuza’ah heiress, but as she did not have the strength to open and shut the door herself, she apologised and passed them to her cousin Abu Ghubshan.[8] This man had a weakness for alcohol, and soon bartered them to Qusayy for a skin of wine and a lute. The Khuza’ah princes were furious, but Qusayy called his relatives to his aid, and also gained the support of his half-brother Rizah and the Banu Quda’ah - who regretted the foolish rift they had caused. Thus Qusayy was confirmed as the Guardian of the Ka’bah. The tribe of Khuza’ah was then forced to evacuate after a fierce battle, and Qusayy reigned as king.

 

He was not just a ruler, but a ruler of considerable merit and enormous  fame. Hubbah’s house became known as the House of Assembly (the Dar al-Nadwah), and there Qusayy established a peaceful and beneficent rule as the chief (sharif) of Makkah. All the affairs of the Quraysh were discussed in the Dar al-Nadwah, marriages arranged, boys circumcised, caravans sent on their way. He organised a system of charity in which all his wealthy relatives paid a proportion of their annual accumulation and profits over to him, as Guardian of the Ka’bah, so that he could provide food and water for the pilgrims.

 

The Banu Nadr become the Quraysh

 

Qusayy’s wider family, now treated with great respect, began to move their dwellings close to the Ka’bah and built houses in the nearby valley.[9]  Qusayy was therefore given the nickname al-Mujammi (the ‘uniter’ or ‘assembler’)  by his people, and from this time of ‘gathering together’ onwards his people, the Banu Nadr, were known as the Quraysh, the most likely derivation being from the word taqarrush - ‘to gather together’  Other suggestions for the origin of the name Quraysh were that it derived from an old tribal totem name for ‘Shark’ (ie. qirsh), which referred to the hero Quraysh b. Badr of Kinanah, who defeated and put to shame the Banu Nadr, (al-Qarsh never passes by anything without eating it!); or thirdly, they may have been named after Quraysh b. Harith, the storekeeper of Banu Nadr; or fourthly, it may have been taken from a nickname of Nadr b. Kinanah himself, who used to inquire after the needs of his people and help them from his wealth, (qarrasha being ‘to inquire after’).

 

Those living closest to the Ka’bah became known as the Quraysh of the Hollow (Quraysh al-Bitah) - the ‘Hollow’ being the valley or torrent-bed (batha or al-abta) enclosing the sanctuary - and included Qusayy’s brother Zuhrah, his uncle Taym, and his cousins Jumah and Sahm. Other Quraysh relatives, who lived further away from the Ka’bah, were called the Quraysh of the Outskirts (Quraysh al-Zawahir).

 

Qusayy’s four sons by Hubbah all became respected chiefs. Although Abd ad-Dar was his eldest son, Abdu’l Manaf was far more respected by the people and deemed more noble and capable. Abdu’l Manaf in fact had every reason to believe he might succeed his father as paramount chief, for there was no fixed tradition of rule of succession by primogeniture amongst the tribes. If the eldest son happened to be inexperienced when his father died (as was frequently the case), the tribe would not jeopardise its existence by having such a man as the new leader. The chief was usually elected by consultation or majlis, and had to be a man of wisdom and sound judgement. He was therefore usually the most respected male in the leading family.

 

However, when Qusayy died he did bequeath his Ka’bah responsibilities to his eldest son, Abd ad-Dar, although many would have far preferred the leadership for Abdu’l Manaf. Abdu’l Manaf could certainly have challenged Abd-ad-Dar, but he never did - and died without reaching old age.

 

 



[1] Hulayl b. Hubshiyyah (Habashiya) b. Salul b. Ka’b b. Amr al-Khuza’i.

[2] Fatimah bint Sa’d b. Sayl (Khayr) b. Hamalah b. Awf b. Ghanm b. Amir al-Jadir b. Amr b. Juthumah b. Yashkur of the Azd Shanu’ah, confederates of the B. Dil.

[3] Al-Jadir was Amir b. Amr b. Juthum. He married the daughter of Harith b. Mudad al-Jurhumi. Their descendants were known as Jadara.

[4] Rabi’ah b. Haram b. Dinnah b. Abd b. Kabir b. Udhrah b. Sa’d b. Zayd of Quda’ah b. Malik b. Himyar.

[5] Rabi’ah already had three sons by another wife – Hunn, Mahmud and Julhumah.

[6] Ibn Kathir 1.133.

[7] Ibn Sa’d vol 1 p.69. (Notes in this format refer to the translation by Moinul Haq.) Tabari 6.18, Ibn Ishaq p45.

[8] Tabari 6.21. Abu Ghubshan was Sulaym b. Amr b. Buwayy b. Milkan b. Afsa.

[9] Some scholars believe there were no constructed houses in Makkah before this.