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The Quraysh Tribe of Mecca

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Definition: The Quraysh was a powerful merchant tribe of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century. It controlled Mecca, where it was the custodian of the Kaaba, the sacred Pagan shrine and destination for pilgrims that became Islam's most sacred shrine.

The Prophet Muhammad was born into the Hashemite clan of the Quraysh but was expelled from it once he began preaching Islam and monotheism. The Quraysh is the only tribe to whom a whole surah, or chapter--albeit a brief one of just two verses--is dedicated in the Koran:

For the protection of Quraysh: their protection in their summer and winter journeyings. Therefore let them worship the Lord of this House who fed them in the days of famine and shielded them from all peril." (Surah 106:1-2)

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