106. Quraish

Syed Abu-Ala' Maududi's Chapter Introductions to the Quran


The Sura has been so entitled after the word Quraish in the very first verse.

Period of Revelation

Although Dahhak and Kalbi regard it as a Madani Sura yet a great majority of the commentators are agreed that it is Makki and a manifest evidence of this are the words Rabba hadh-al-Bait (Lord of this House) of this Sura itself. Had it been revealed at Madinah the words "this House" for the Ka'bahcould not be relevant. Moreover its subject matter so closely relates to that of Sura Al-Filthat probably it was revealed immediately after it without any other Sura intervening between them. On the basis of this very relevance some of the earliest scholars regard the two Suras as one entity. This view is strengthened by the traditions which say that in the Quran copy belonging to Hadrat Ubayy bin Ka'b these two were written as one Sura i. e. without the insertion of the Bismillah between them. Furthermore Hadrat Umar had once recited the two Suras as one in the Prayer. But this view is not acceptable because in the Quran copy which Hadrat Uthman (may Allah bless him) had got written down officially by the cooperation of a large number of the Companions and sent to the centres of Islamic lands the Bismillah was written between these two Suras and since then these two have been written as separate Suras in all the copies of the Quran everywhere in the world. Moreover the style of the two Suras is so different that they manifestly appear as two separate Suras.

Historical Background

To understand the Sura well it is essential that one should keep the historical background relevant to the contents of this Sura and of Sura Al-Filin view. The tribe of Quraishwas scattered throughout Hijaz until the time of Qusayy bin Kilab the ancestor of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace). First of all Qusayy gathered it in Makkah and this tribe was able to gain authority over the Ka'bah. On that very basis Qusayy was called mujammi (uniter assembler) by his people. This man by his sagacity and wisdom founded a city state in Makkah and made excellent arrangements for the welfare of the pilgrims coming from all over Arabia with the result that the Quraishwere able to gain great influence among the Arabian tribes and lands. After Qusayy the offices of the state of Makkah were divided between his sons Abdi Manaf and Abd ad-Dar but of the two Abdi Manaf gained greater fame even durng his father's lifetime and was held in high esteem throughout Arabia. Abdi Manaf had four sons: Hashim Abdi Shams Al-Muttalib and Naufal. Of these Hashim father of Abdul Muttalib and grandfather of the Holy Prophet first conceived the idea to take part in the trade that passed between the eastern countries and Syria and Egypt through Arabia and also to purchase the necessities of life for the Arabians so that the tribes living by the trade route bought these from them and the merchants living in the interior of the country were attracted to the market of Makkah. This was the time when the Sasanian kingdom of Iran had captured the international trade that was carried out between the northern lands and the eastern countries and Byzantine empire through the Persian Gulf. This had boosted up the trade activity on the trade route leading from southern Arabia to Syria and Egypt along the Red Sea coast. As against the other Arabian caravans the Quraishhad the advantage that the tribes on the route held them in high esteem on account off their being keepers of the Ka'bah. They stood indebted to them for the great generosity with which the Quraishtreated them in the Hajj season. That is why tbe Quraishfelt no fear that their caravans would be robbed or harmed any where on the way. The tribes on the way did not even charge them the heavy transit taxes that they demanded from the other caravans. Hashim taking advantage of this prepared the trade scheme and made his three brothers partners in it. Thus Hashim obtained trade privileges from the Ghassanide king of Syria Abdi Shams from the Negus Al-Muttalib from the Yamanite nobles and Naufal from the governments of Iraq and lran and their trade began to flourish. That is how the four brothers became famous as traders and began to be called ashab al-ilaf (generators of love and affection) on account of their friendly relations with the tribes and states of the surrounding lands. Because of their business relations with Syria Egypt Iraq Iran Yaman and Abyssinia the Quraishcame across such opportunities and their direct contact with the culture and civilization of different countries so enhanced the level of their knowledge and wisdom that no tribe in Arabia could match and equal them. As regards wealth and worldly goods they became the most affluent tribe and Makkah became the most important commercial center of the Arabian peninsula. Another great advantage that accured from these international relations was that they brought from Iraq tile script which later was used for writin down the Quran. No other Arabian tribe could boast of so many literate people as Quraish. For these very reasons the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) said: "Quraishare the leaders of men." (Mustiad Ahmad: Marwiyat Amr bin al As). And according to a tradition from Hadrat Ali in Baihaqi the Holy Prophet said: "First the leadership of the Arabians was in the hands of the people of Himyar then Allah withdrew it from them and gave it to Quraish" The Quraishwere thus prospering and flourishing when the event Theme and Substance

As all this was well kown in the time of the Holy Prophet's appointment to Prophethood there was no need to mention them. That is why in the four brief sentences of this Sura Quraishwere simply asked to consider:"When you yourselves acknowledge this House (i. e. the Ka'bah) to be Allah's House and not of the idols and when you fully well know that it is Allah alone Who has granted you peace by virtue of this House made your trade and commerce flourish and saving you from destitution favoured you with prosperity you should then worship and serve Him alone!"

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