The Blessed Tree: The Prophet’s Lineage-Quṣayy

By Sheikh Idris Watts


Quṣayy

His name was Zayd or Yazīd. He was nicknamed Quṣayy because he lived far from his family. He was known as Mujammi’ (the Gatherer). He used to gather the people and tell them to honour the Holy House and that a prophet will be raised amongst them. He was also nicknamed ‘Mujammi’’ because all the tribes of Fihr go through his line.  His father died when he was an infant. His mother Fāṭimah daughter of Sa’d ibn Sayl al-Asadī, married again to Rabī’ah b. Ḥizām. Fāṭimah, took him to her tribe in the region of Quḍā’ah. Zuhrah was left in Makkah because he was old enough to live by himself. He lived the rest of his youth in the Levant with the tribe of her new husband Rabī’ah. The tribe of Rabī’ah never considered Qusayy as one of them. One day, a quarrel broke out and they reproached him. He went to complain to his mother and she informed him that he was nobler than they for he was from the land of the Holy House. This inspired him to move back to Makkah. His mother told him to wait for the sacred months so he could travel with the caravans because she was worried for his safety. He was very wise and married the daughter of a powerful man of Khuzā’ah at the time, Hulayl ibn Habshiyyah. He was entrusted with the guardianship of the Ka’bah at the time. When his father in law died, he entrusted his daughter with the keys. She imparted the trust to a man called Abu Ghibshām who was a drunk. Quṣayy was able to get him to exchange the keys to him for a jug of wine. The tribe of Khuzā’ah grew fearful of him and tried to dispossess him of it but Quṣayy called upon the tribes of Quraysh who were on the outskirts of Makkah to support him. They settled around the sanctuary and they became known as Quraysh of the Hollow. They attested that he was the one most deserving of the responsibility. He used to gather them on Friday and inform them of the coming prophet. The tribe of Khuzā’ah were forced to leave Makkah. He was responsible for clothing the Ka’bah and held its keys to open and close it (sadānah/ḥijābah), and given food (rifādah) and drink (siqāyah) to the pilgrims[1]. He also had the honour of housing the council meetings of Quraysh (Dār an-Nadwah)[2] and holding the flag into battle (liwā’) and leading the people in battle (qiyādah). He was officially the king of Makkah. He brought his brother Zuhra, uncle Taym, Makhzūm and some other family around him. He decided to build houses around the sanctuary instead of living in tents as the people had done before. He imposed a tax on the flocks of the tribes so that they could feed the poor pilgrims who came. He built himself a house which was to be called the House of Assembly (Dār an-Nadwah). His sons were ‘Abd ad-Dar (Muṣ’ab b. ‘Umayr is from his line), ‘Abd al-Manāf, al-‘Abd and Abd al-‘Uzzā (Khādījah and Waraqah are from his line). Quṣayy preferred ‘Abd al-Dar over ‘Abd al-Manāf even though he was more capable then his brother because ‘Abd al-Dar was older. Out of filial piety for his father ‘Abd al-Manāf did not go against his father’s wishes. Quṣayy gave the responsibilities and the House of Assembly to ‘Abd ad-Dār. It was he who established the institutions in Makkah which were still in operation in the lifetime of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. It was an advanced standard of government which helped Makkah change from a semi-Bedouin town to a civilized city. Many tribes moved into Makkah in this period and the city flourished and expanded. At first, the Makkans avoided building their houses square shaped in order to keep them different from the Ka’bah. In Quṣayy’s lifetime, they relaxed these restrictions but they did not allow their buildings to be higher than the Ka’bah. It was in his lifetime that they organized the two trips in the year: in the summer to Syria and in the winter to Yemen. This provided the backbone for the city’s economy. The Quryash did not like to work with their hands unless it was for warfare. Hence many of the builders in the city were Persian or Byzantine.  Makkah was the largest city in Arabia, serving as a religious and economic capital. It eclipsed other cities such as Sanai in Yemen.

[1] They would fill a vessel made of leather that would be placed in the court of the Kaʿbah and carry sweet water from the wells on camels before the digging of Zamzam.
[2] It was here that every marriage contract would take place and every decision affecting the community would be decided over here.

Picture: ZamZam TV

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