Humanities › Issues The Quraysh Tribe of Mecca The Arabian peninsula's powerful Quraysh Share Flipboard Email Print clu/Getty Images Issues The Middle East Basics Middle East & The U.S. Policy The U. S. Government U.S. Foreign Policy U.S. Liberal Politics U.S. Conservative Politics Women's Issues Civil Liberties Terrorism Race Relations Immigration Crime & Punishment Animal Rights Canadian Government View More By Pierre Tristam Political Journalist B.A., Politics and History, New York University Pierre Tristam is an award-winning writer who covers Middle East, foreign affairs, immigration, and civil liberties. He has been writing for more than 20 years. our editorial process Pierre Tristam Updated April 03, 2019 The Quraysh was a powerful merchant tribe of the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh 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 Quraysh tribe was named after a man named Fihr—one of the most important and famous chiefs in Arabia. The word "Quraysh" means "one who collects" or "one who searches." The word "Quraysh" may also be spelled Quraish, Kuraish, or Koreish, among many other alternative spellings. Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh The Prophet Muhammad was born into the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe, but he was expelled from it once he began preaching Islam and monotheism. For the next 10 years following the Prophet Muhammad's expulsion, his men and the Quraysh fought three major battles—after which Prophet Muhammad seized control of the Kaaba from the Quraysh tribe. Quraysh in the Quran The first four caliphs of Muslims were from the Quraysh tribe. 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 Quran: "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) Quraysh Today The bloodlines of the many branches of the Quraysh tribe (there were 10 clans within the tribe) are spread far and wide in Arabia—and the Quraysh tribe is still the biggest in Mecca. Therefore, successors still exist today.