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Kuraish (kōrĪshˈ) [key], ancient Bedouin tribe near Mecca to which Muhammad belonged. At one time camel drivers and caravan guides, they became, after acquiring custody of the Kaaba (5th cent.), one of the most powerful tribes in central Arabia and the chief family of Mecca. They were at first bitter opponents of Muhammad but became his devoted followers when Muhammad retained the Kaaba, a source of pilgrim revenue, as a sanctuary of Islam. The great founders of the Umayyad, Abbasid, and Fatimid dynasties were of Kuraish origin. The modern Hashemite rulers of Jordan, the former Imam of Yemen, and the king of Morocco claim to be the descendants of Muhammad's tribe. The name also appears as Quraysh or Koreish.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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