Will the Real Quraysh Please Stand Up

16 Apr

by A. Freeman, contributing writer

Surah 106. Winter, Quraish

There is one reference in the Koran/Quran to the Quraysh/Quraish, found in Sura 106.

106:1. For the covenants (of security and safeguard enjoyed) by the Quraish,
106:2. Their covenants (covering) journeys by Winter and Summer,-
106:3. Let them adore the Lord of this House,
106:4. Who provides them with food against hunger, and with security against fear (of danger).

For hundreds of years, it has traditionally been assumed that the Quraysh (also spelled Quraish) were a pre-”Islamic” Meccan tribe, into which Muhammad was born. But if Mecca didn’t exist until hundreds of years after Muhammad’s passing, how could it have been home to any tribe, much less a tribe that’s notably absent from all secular historical records?

From Peter Townsend’s The Mecca Mystery: Probing the Black Hole at the Heart of Muslim History, section 3.2.2. The Roman Empire and the Arabian Peninsula:

“Some scholars even suggest that the term Quraysh is a corruption of the Syro-Aramaic verbal root (qras ‘to gather’).254 This would make perfect sense within the context as it would denote, not a specific tribe…”


On the Morphology and Etymology of قُرَيْش (Qurayš)

The Arabic spelling قُرَيْش (Sura 106:1), taken for an Arabic diminutive and falsely pronounced Qurayš, corresponds morphologically to the Syro-Aramaic masculine plural of the passive participle ܩܪ̈ܝܫܐܙ / qarīšē > qrīšē = gathered together, i.e.: foederati, and hence is to be pronounced in Arabic (without the Syro-Aramaic ending ē) Qarīš*. This meaning is attested in the Lisān (VI 335a) in one among other (from Aramaic) transmitted explanations as follows:

*Note: Qarīš = Christ’s (Matthew 24:31, Sura 43:61).

“It is said: the name of Qurayš is derived from (the verb) ta-qarraša i.e. ta-ğamma ca (= to meet, come together) to Mecca from its surroundings after they (i.e. the Qurayš / Qarīš) were dispersed in the countries**, when Quşayy / a(c)tually Qasī < Syro-Aramaic ܩܨܝܐ / qaşyã = the Far One – as far as he is said to be almost a Nabatean originating from Syria) b. Kilãb had triumphed over it; for this reason Quşayy / Qasī was called ‘assembler’.”

From this philological understanding Qurayš / Qarīš cannot be the name of a single tribe, particularly of that of the Prophet***, as it is assured by the Islamic tradition.

**Note: It is NOT to Mecca, but to Christ and His Place of Defence (Isa. 33:16-17) that Christ’s Elect will be gathered together (Gen. 49:10, Mark 13:27), from where they’ve been dispersed/scattered amongst the nations (Amos 9:9, James 1:1).

***Note: This is a reference to Muhammad, although Muhammad is never referred to as a “Prophet” anywhere in the Koran/Quran (only as an apostle/messenger).

Also from Peter Townsend’s The Mecca Mystery: Probing the Black Hole at the Heart of Muslim History, section 2.3.4. Mecca as an Ancient Religious Center?

MECCA DOES NOT APPEAR IN ANCIENT RECORDS AS A SITE OF RELIGIOUS IMPORTANCE. We have many historical sources from which to construct a picture of religion in pre-Islamic Arabia. Mecca is not mentioned in a single one of them. We read, for example, of places like Mamre (at the northern edge of Arabia)165 and Ma’rib (the ancient Sabean capital)166 that were fabled as places where Arabs came to pray and worship. Another such site was the capital of the Nabataeans, Petra.167 Once again, we do not find any record at all of large numbers of Arabs travelling to Western Arabia to worship at a shrine at the location of the modern city of Mecca. As with so much of Islamic history, THE RECORDS THAT STATE THAT MECCA WAS A PLACE OF PILGRIMAGE POST-DATES THE TIME OF MUHAMMAD BY ABOUT TWO HUNDRED YEARS.

The Islamic historical accounts on Mecca do not align with what we know about Arab religious practices. There are several sources that we can use to reconstruct Arab religious practices before Islam (this will be discussed in more detail in Section 3.1.1). Arab religion in the central part of the peninsula tended to be heavily pagan (outside of Jewish and Christian enclaves). As such it was focused on the worship of nature deities (i.e. gods of the sun, moon, stars etc.).168 The worship of these gods often happened on a rather unorganized level as their devotees were nomadic Arabic tribes-people. With nomads, religious devotion can necessarily not be focused on fixed temples or meeting places. This fact represents a powerful counter-argument to the idea that Mecca acted as a religious center at the heart of the Arabian Peninsula. Furthermore, where large communal gatherings of pagan Arabs occurred it would typically be during so-called ‘sacred months’ (an idea that made its way into Islamic tradition as well).169 During such sacred months, the Arab tribes, who were perpetually at war with each other, entered a temporary truce in order to trade and engage in the worship of the gods.170 For such truces to be honored, the large ‘worship events’ during the sacred months had to take place on neutral ground (i.e. territory not controlled by a single tribe). The reason for this should be obvious. By consecrating ‘no man’s land’ for worship, all the tribes would be in the same strategic position, thus decreasing the temptation to break the truce. It would also turn the defiling of such neutral ground by engaging in violence into a major sin. Let’s apply these ideas to the Islamic view of Mecca before the coming of Islam. One thing that the accepted tradition emphasizes very strongly is the claim that Mecca before the birth of Muhammad was under the control of a specific tribe, the Quraysh.171 THIS FACT ALONE WOULD DISQUALIFY MECCA AS A RELIGIOUS SITE FOR THE NOMADIC ARAB TRIBES, as going there to worship would not be going to ‘no man’s land’, but rather an entry into hostile territory.

So is this singular reference to the Quraish/Quraysh really the name of a single, Meccan tribe, presumed to be the keepers of the Lord’s House and The Covenants? Not only does the word itself suggest otherwise, but there is no record of such a tribe among the Romans/Byzantines or the Persians/Sasanians (even though they both heavily recruited mercenaries from Arabia), much less a tribe from a supposed city (Mecca) that didn’t appear on any known maps of Arabia until 900 AD, including those of ancient trade routes and religious sites.

Or is the Quraish/Quraysh simply another confirmation of the many references to “the gathered” (Gen. 49:10) in the Bible, also known as the “Elect”? In this instance where:

1. the Covenants in verse 1 = the Old Covenant and New Covenant = The New Song;

2. the references to journeys by “Winter” and “Summer” in verse 2 are the same as those mentioned in the Gospel accounts (Matt. 24:20-22, 32-34, Mark 13:18, 28, Luke 21:30, Thomas 4:1-2);

Matthew 24:20-22, 32-34
24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the Winter, neither on the Sabbath day:
24:21 For then shall be great oppression, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the Elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

24:32 Now learn a parable of the Fig tree (Jews); When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves (1948), ye know that Summer [is] nigh:
24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it (the end) is near, [even] at the doors.
24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Thomas 4:1-2
4:1 Jesus said: If you become disciples to Me and hear My words, these stones (Commandments) will minister to you. For you have five trees in Paradise which are unmoved in Summer or in Winter, and their leaves do not fall (the Torah).
4:2 Whoever KNOWS them will not taste death.

3. “the House” in verse 3 = the “House of Israel”; and

4. The Lord of the “House of Israel” in verse 4 provides them with all they need to keep them safe and secure from hunger and from fear.

Isaiah 33:16-17
33:16 He shall dwell on Sion (2 Esd. 13:35): his place of defence [shall be] the Fortress of Rock: bread shall be given him; his waters [shall be] sure.
33:17 Thine eyes shall see The King in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off (Israel).

2 Esdras 13:35. But he (Christ) shall stand upon the top of the mount of gathering (Isa 33:16).

See also Sura 52 and Sura 86 about the mount of gathering/fortress of the Rock and The Night Visitant

The sure word of prophecy (2 Peter 1:19) concerning Christ/Shiloh gathering the “Elect” from the sons of Jacob-Israel during the last days begins in the very first book of the Bible:

Genesis 49:1, 10, 22-24
49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell YOU [that] which shall befall YOU in the last days.

49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah [to Joseph], nor a law-giver from between his feet, UNTIL Shiloh comes [from Joseph-Ephraim v 22-24]; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be].

49:22 Joseph [is] a fruitful bough, [even] a fruitful bough by a well; [whose] branches run over the wall:
49:23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot [at him], and hated him:
49:24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty [God] of Jacob; (from THERE [is] The Shepherd, The [Corner] Stone of Israel:)(1 Cor. 10:4; Daniel 2:34-5; 45)

Which should be seen as yet another sure Sign that Christ is already here and Judgment Day is coming soon.

Sura 43:61. And (Christ the Mahdi) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) The Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about The (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is The Straight Way.

Surah 106. Winter, Quraish

106:1. For the covenants (of security and safeguard enjoyed) by the Quraish (the gathered, aka the “Elect” – Gen. 49:10, Enoch 1, Matt.24:22),
106:2. Their covenants (Old and New Covenants – Rev. 14:1-3, Rev. 15:3, covering) journeys by Winter and Summer (Thomas 4:1-2),-
106:3. Let them adore the Lord of this House (the “House of Israel”),
106:4. Who provides them with food against hunger (Isa. 33:16-17), and with security against fear (of danger).

May you adore the Lord of this House, that He may provide you with the Bread of Life that you may never hunger nor ever thirst (John 6:32-35) in the safety and security that only God can provide to those who cherish and keep the Covenants.

Peace be upon you.

The direct link to this article is https://hannahmichaels.wordpress.com/2022/04/16/will-the-real-quraysh-please-stand-up/

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