Qasi ibne Kalab

His real name was Zaid. His kunyat was Abu Mughaira. His mother was Fatima binte Saad. She married Rubiah ibne Haram Azri after the death of Kalab. She moved to the habitation of Bani Azra with her new husband. The little Qasi moved to the new place with his mother. Kalab’s other son, Zahra, was a grown youth and stayed back at Macca. The appellation of Qasi got stuck to Qasi because the word means ‘one who is away’. Qasi received his upbringing with Bani Azra and he was considered a member of the tribe. Once it chanced that he had an altercation with an Azari. The person sarcastically said that Qasi was an outsider who had imposed himself on the tribe. Qasi asked him to what tribe he originally belonged. The man said he must go to his mother and ask her. Qasi went to his mother and made inquiries. She replied:

“Myson! In the matter of personal pedigree and your male parentage you are far superior to the Azri. You are the son of Kalab ibne Marra and your people live in Makka near the Kaaba.”

Ref: Tareeq e Kaamil, Vol 2, Page 11.

When Qasi knew that his origin was Makka, he decided to go there. Fatima binte Saad said that she didn’t want to prevent him from going and, to the contrary, her wish was that he went to his ancestral home. But she wanted him to wait for some time. She said that Bani Qazaa would shortly leave for Haj when he could accompany them to Makka. When Haj drew near, Qasi along with step-brother, Zaraj Ibne Rabiah joined the caravan of Bani Qazaa and reached Makka. He stayed with his brother Zahra Bin Kalab. At that time Makka was under the control of Bani Qazaa and Haleel Ibne Habea was at the helm of affairs. Qasi asked for the hand of Haleel’s daughter, Habbi, in marriage. Haleel was aware of Qasi’s ancestral superiority and he readily agreed to the proposal. Habbi gave Qasi four sons who are known by the names of Abd Manaf, Abd al Uzza, Abd al Qasi and Abd al Dar. When these children grew into youths, Haleel said that Qasi’s children are his own children and in the future they would be the keepers of

the Kaaba and the rulers of Makka. Thus Qasi was nominated Haleel’s successor. Ibne Saad writes:

Haleel made a will that the upkeep of the Kaaba and the emirate of Makka must vest in Qasi. He also told to Qasi that it was his rightful inheritance.

Ref: Tabqat, Vol 1, Page 68

In the books of history it is also mentioned that when Haleel was breathing his last, he willed that his daughter Habbi would be the keeper of the Kaaba and Abu Ghabshan al Malkani to assist her in the discharge of this duty. Therefore, Abu Ghafshan used to open the gate of the Kaaba one day and on behalf of Habbi this duty was performed by Qasi the next day. When this practice continued for some time, Qasi told to Habbi that the rightful keepers of the Kaaba were the progeny of Ismail and, hence, this task must be entrusted to Abd al Dar. Habbi said that Abd al Dar was her son and she would have no objection entrusting the task to him. But she also insisted that, according to the will of her father, Abu Ghafshan had an equal right on the matter as she had. She also doubted if he would concede to the new arrangement. Qasi asked her to leave to him the matter of convincing Abu Ghafshan. When Habbi agreed to concede the keeping of the Kaaba in favor of her son, Abd al Dar, Qasi proceeded to Taef where Abu Ghafshan was residing. One evening Qasi went to the place of Abu Ghafshan where a carousel of music, dance and drinking was in full swing. Abu Ghafshan was high with intoxication. He shook Abu Ghafshan and struck a bargain for the Kaaba in return for a she camel and one container of liquor. When Abu Ghafshan regained his senses, he was very sorry for the deal. Qasi returned to Makka having achieved success in his task. In front of a large gathering the key of the precincts of Kaaba were handed over to Abd al Dar. When Bani Qaza-aa and Bani Bakr realized that Abu Ghafshan had deprived their tribes of the position of the keepers of the Kaaba because of his intoxicated and inebriated state of mind, they started to fight to get back their authority. Qasi too was prepared for such an eventuality. The Qureish and Bani Kanana were already with him and Zaraj ibne Rabia, along with his brothers and a strong contingent of Bani Qaza-aa came in support of Qasi. When many men from both the warring groups died, some well meaning persons arbitrated. Therefore Yaamar bin Auf was appointed the referee. He ruled that Qasi had a right to be the keeper of the Kaaba. The families of the persons from his side who died in the fight must be compensated with blood money. The men who lost their lives from the ranks of Bani Qaza-aa and Bani Bakr need not be compensated. This verdict was accepted as final and Qasi was now the sole keeper of the Kaaba and the ruler of Makka. Ibn e Ishaq writes:

Qasi was appointed the keeper of the Kaaba and the ruler of Makka. He gathered together people of his tribe from many places and consolidated his power. All people in Makka submitted to him. Among th progeny of Kaab, Qasi is the first ruler to whom the entire tribe owed allegiance. The keeping of the keys of Kaaba, feeding and provision of water to the Hajis, presiding over the Majlis ( the Council) and bearing the standard of the troops were

the duties entrusted to him. Thus all the prestigious responsibilities were vested in him.

Ref: Tareeq e Khamis, Vol 1, Page 155

The keeping of Kaaba always rested with Ismail and his progeny. After Ismail, his son Thabit performed this duty. But after Thabit this privilege slipped away from the hands of Bani Ismail and shifted to Bani Jarham, the maternal family of Thabit. Bani Jarham turned towards tyranny and as their power grew stronger they became more tyrannous. In the second century A.D when Yemen was struck with a deluge, a person, of name Qaza-aa moved from there to Makka. He assumed control of Makka and thus commenced the two hundred years’ rule of Bani Qaza-aa. When the authority shifted from Bani Qaza-aa to Qasi he gathered in Makka the Bani Fahr who were scattered in the nearby hills and the wilderness as nomads. Because of this act of consolidation he was remembered with the title of Majma or the one who gathered together the people! Therefore Hazafa ibne Ghanam says thus in his poem:

“Your father, Qasi, is one who is known with the title of Majma and it was through him that Allah brought together all the branches of Fahr in one place!”

Because of this gathering together of people Qasi is remembered with the title of Qureish. The word qureish is derived from taqreesh that means consolidating or clubbing together. There is, however, a difference of opinion as to who was the first to get the title of Qureish. Some say that the progeny of Ilyas were the first to be remembered with this title. Another opinion is that the progeny of Mudar are the Qureish. Some others say that the first to get this title were the progeny of Nazar ibne Kanana. One group feels that Fahr ibne Malik was the first to be known with this title. But the researchers do believe that Qasi got the title of Qureish and his progeny are known as such. Allama Tabari writes:

When Qasi came to the precincts of the Kaaba, and assumed control, he performed deeds of virtue; thus he is remembered as Qarshi. He was the first who was known as Qarshi.

Ref: Tareeq e Tabari, Vol 2, Page 23

Abdul Malik ibne Marwan enquired of Muhammed ibne Jubair as to when Qureish came to be called thus. He said ever since they came to the Haram of Kaaba, they are called the Qureish. They are called thus because the word is derived from Taqarrush which means gathering or assembling together. Abdul Malik said,

“I have not heard anything like this. My information is that Qasi was known as Qarshi and before him none was addressed with this title. Ref: Tabaqaat Ibne Saad, Vol 1, Page 71

Ibne Saad too was of the same opinion. He writes:

“It is because of Qasi that the Qureish are called as Qureish. Prior to him they were known as Banu Nazar.”

Ref: Tabaqaat Vol 1, Page 71

By facilitating the settlement of the progeny of Fahr in the environs of the Kaaba, Qasi revived their past greatness. He helped them achieve high state of civilization. On account of this the progeny of Fahr held him in
great esteem and bowed their heads in acceptance to all his commands as

people would do for the Commandments of their Faith! Balazari writes: “For the Qureish, every word of Qasi was like a religious Commandment. They followed his commands and never diviated an iota from what he desired them to do. 33

Ref: Ansaab al Ashraaf, Vol 1, Page 52

In addition to bringing together the progeny of Fahr and settling them, Qasi started the departments of Saqaya (Water Supply) and Rafada (The Public Mess) for the water and feeding needs of the Hajis. With the cooperation of the inhabitants of Makka he used to feed the pilgrims coming from far away places and take care of their comforts. He encouraged the people of Makka to take interest in this activity. He used to say during his sermons:

“You are the neighbors of Allah and the inhabitants of these Holy Precincts. These Hajis are the guests of Allah and the pilgrims of this Holy House. They are more esteemed than any other guests. Therefore, you must look after their comforts during the period of the Haj!”

Ref: Tareeq al Kaamil, Vol 2, Page 14

With his practical and active living Qasi performed highly commendable tasks for the society. He renovated the Kaaba and thatched its roof with date palm leaves. Between Arafat and Muna he constructed a building that he named Mashar al Haram. During the period of the Haj lamps used to be lighted in this building to facilitate the pilgrims reaching there without difficulty. Ibne Abdarba writes:

“Qasi built Mashar al Haram where lamps were lighted during the nights as beacons to guide the pilgrims.”

Ref: Aqd al Fareed, Vol 2, Page 209

He arranged lighting of pyres at Muzdalifa to guide the pilgrims coming from Arafat. Ibne Athir writes:

“Qasi was the first to get a pyre lighted at Muzdalifa. Then this practice was revived during the time of the Prophet (s.a.).” Ref: Tareeq e Kaamil, Vol 2, Page 18

Before the period of Qasi houses were not constructed in the area of Makka and people used to live in temporary shacks. He was the first to build a house near the Kaaba. The door of this house opened towards Kaaba. This house became known as Dar al Nadwa. Yaqoobi writes:

“Qasi built his house in Makka. This was the first house that was constructed in Makka and was called Dar al Nadwa.” “” Ref: Tareeq e Yaqoobi, Vol 1, Page 239

The Qureish used to view this house with great respect and veneration. They considered it very felicitous to celebrate their weddings in these precincts. They used to assemble there to settle their societal disputes and when going out to battle they used to raise their standards from there only. Before Qasi arrived at Makka the people used to draw water from the well of Lavi ibne Ghalib known as Aisara and the well of Marra ibne Kaab, known as Al Rawa. They also drew water from the stagnated pits near Makka. Qasi got a well excavated near Makka to facilitate the people there. This well was called Ajool. This well was situated at the place where the house of Umme Hani binte Abu Talib was located. The reforms achieved by Qasi were the renovation of the Kaaba, constructing other buildings, relocating the progeny of Fahr in Makka and other programmes of popular welfare.

Besides his reforms, Qasi is remembered for his words of wisdom. Here we quote a few of his wise sayings:

“One who agreed with the mean thoughts and words of a person, he will himself be a party to the meanness.

One who views evil with approbation, will himself be an evil person. One who cannot be reformed with respect, he can be reformed only with insults and harsh treatment.

One who expects more than his worth, he will be deserving of disappointment.

A jealous person is a hidden enemy.

Ref: Seerat e Halabia, Vol 1, page 13

During his last moments, Qasi advised his children in the following words:

“Abstain from intoxicating drinks. Though they might help improve your bodies, they will destroy your senses and wisdom!” Ref: Seerat e Halabia, Vol 1, Page 13

He died in 480 A.D. at Makka and is buried at the foot of the Mount Hajoon. The Arabs mourned their great leader and and reformer. People used to visit his graveside with much veneration. Balazari writes:

“When he died, he was interred at the Mount Hajoon. People visited his grave to pay respects to him and acknowledge his greatness.” Ref: Ansaab al Ashraaf, Vol 1, Page 152


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