Banu Hashim

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Banu Hashim (Arabic: بنو هاشم) are a famous clan of the Quraysh tribe who are the descendants of Hashim ('Amr) b. 'Abd Manaf b. Qusayy b. Kilab. The Prophet (s) of Islam is from this clan. The clan was one of the famous and great Arab tribes before Islam. After the rise of Islam, in the time of leadership of Abu Talib over Banu Hashim, they supported the Prophet (s) against the polytheists. After the demise of the Prophet (s), Banu Hashim were always supporting Imams (a).

Banu 'Abbas, one of the clans of Banu Hashim, ruled the Islamic region for centuries. Also some other clans of Banu Hashim have formed governments in different areas of Islamic world.

Because of their relation with the Prophet (s), Banu Hashim have always been respected among Muslims.

Before Islam

Qusayy b. Kilab was one of the descendants of Isma'il (a), who was living near a century before the birth of the Prophet (s). Because of his actions, he gained the leadership of Quraysh and also he was the trusteeship of Ka'ba. After him his sons ('Abd Manaf and 'Abd al-Dar) gained the positions. But after the demise of the two brothers, their sons quarreled over the positions of Ka'ba. After the two sides made peace, Banu 'Abd Manaf gained the positions of "Rifada" (feeding the pilgrims) and "Siqaya" (giving water to the pilgrims).


Main article: Hashim b. 'Abd Manaf

Hashim b. 'Abd Manaf b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra, was one of the distinguished men of Quraysh, and the great grandfather of the Prophet (s), and Banu Hashim are his descendants.

After Hilf al-Mutayyibin, he gained the two positions of Siqaya and Rifada. He was very careful about the ceremony of Hajj and his two responsibilities.

Hashim was the founder of the two summer and winter trade caravans of Quraysh. He was the main element of greatness of Quraysh and they were very dependent to him; this was to the extent that after his demise they were afraid that other tribes will defeat them.

Feeding people in the time of famine in Mecca and founding the rule of sharing the benefits of trade with the poor, had made him famous.

'Abd al-Muttalib

Main article: 'Abd al-Muttalib

After the demise of Hashim, his brother Muttalib b. 'Abd Manaf became his successor, and after him 'Abd al-Muttalib (son of Hashim) gained his position.

'Abd al-Muttalib, in addition to the positions of his ancestors, gained dignity because of his magnificent traits.

He also dug the Zamzam well again, after it had been disappeared for a long time. Banu Hashim were always proud about the well.

The status of 'Abd al-Muttalib became higher in the event of the military expedition of Abraha in 'Am al-Fil; in the event, he presented before Abraha as the representative of the people of Mecca; his encounter with Abraha and his saving the lives of people from the army of Abraha, made Quraysh to title him as the second Ibrahim.

Some have considered the descendants of 'Abd al-Muttalib the only remaining descendants form Hashim, and considered Banu Hashim equal to Banu 'Abd al-Muttalib; but as other sons of Hashim had also children, the claim is not true.

Connections with other Clans of Quraysh

Because of the dignity of Quraysh among Arabs, the competition between different clans of Quraysh was very important; so every clan was trying to gain a better position among multiple clans of Quraysh.

These competitions are the root of the enmity between Banu Umayya and Banu Hashim; although some questionable historical reports, have considered the root of the enmity as some minor events, like that Umayya b. 'Abd Shams was envious of Hashim, or the rivalry of Harb b. Umayya with 'Abd al-Muttalib; even some of sources mentioned the story of the birth of Hashim and 'Abd Shams (the ancestor of Banu Umayya) as the reason of the enmity between Banu Umayya and Banu Hashim (see: Hashim b. 'Abd Manaf).

After the demise of 'Abd al-Muttalib and mainly because of financial shortages, the position of Banu Hashim decayed, but after the Bi'tha of the Prophet (s), the conflict between Banu Hashim and their rivals intensified; the opposite groups supposed that rise of a prophet form Banu Hashim is also in the series of the tribal competitions, and is a tool for Banu Hashim to rule other clans. So they were rejecting the apostleship of the Prophet of Islam (s) so that Banu Hashim don't gain more dignity.

In addition to Banu Umayya, sources also mentioned Banu 'Abd al-Dar and Banu Makhzum as the rivals of Banu Hashim. Banu 'Abd al-Dar had their first quarrel with Hashim b. 'Abd Manaf over gaining the positions of Ka'ba (see: Hilf al-Ahlaf). Also Banu Makhzum who were with Banu 'Abd al-Dar in the quarrel, joined the opponents of Islam, especially that Abu Jahl (the head of Banu Makhzum in the time), had a high rank in Mecca, and the rise of Islam was a threat to his leadership.

In the opposite, some clans are mentioned as the allies and confederates of Banu Hashim, among them Banu Muttalib is the largest and dearest ally of Banu Hashim. Also clans like Banu Zuhra b. Kilab, Banu Taym b. Murra, Banu Harith b. Fihr, and Banu Asad b. 'Abd al-'Uzza were with Banu 'Abd Manaf and Hashim in Hilf al-Mutayyibin and were against Banu 'Abd al-Dar. Later, in the alliance of Hilf al-Fudul lead by Zubayr b. 'Abd al-Muttalib they became allied with Banu Hashim for supporting the oppressed people.

After the rise of Islam, Banu Muttalib were associated with Banu Hashim in the support of the Prophet (s), in many of events. Presence in Shi'b Abi Talib and bearing three years of difficulties with Banu Hashim, is one of the greatest instances of their relation with Banu Hashim.

Khuza'a was the other ally of Banu Hashim. Some sources reported their alliance with 'Abd al-Muttalib, in his conflict with Nawfal b. 'Abd Manaf.

Rise of Islam

The Prophet (s) in his first step to publicize his call, began to convey his massage to his family and in the day of Indhar invited Banu 'Abd al-Muttalib to his home, and invited them to accept Islam.

Banu Hashim showed different reactions to the new religion; some of them accepted Islam and became followers of the Prophet (s), some of this group -like Abu Talib- were hiding their faith. Abu Talib hid his faith in order to keep his leadership of Quraysh, so that he could support the Prophet (s), he had always used his influence in Quraysh to prevent them harming the Prophet (s) (see: Faith of Abu Talib).

A small number of Banu Hashim began their animosity and confrontation with the prophet (s), and made all their effort in the way; Abu Lahab, one of the uncles of the Prophet (s), and Abu Sufyan b. Harith b. 'Abd al-Muttalib are among this group.

Although many of Banu Hashim didn't convert to Islam at the time, but most of them supported the Prophet (s) against the confrontation of other Quraysh leaders, and their hurting the Prophet (s) and Muslims. The presence of Abu Talib, the uncle of the Prophet (s), who was the head of Banu Hashim, had a significant role in the support.

Even when the leaders of clans of Quraysh, imposed social and economic sanctions over Banu Hashim, in order to make them stop supporting the Prophet (s); all of Banu Hashim, including non-Muslims (except for Abu Lahab and Abu Sufyan b. Harith), went to Shi'b Abi Talib, by the request of Abu Talib, and lived there in a very harsh conditions, for three years, but didn't give up supporting the Prophet (s).

After the demise of Abu Talib, Abu Lahab gained the leadership of Banu Hashim; then the head of Banu Hashim didn't support the Prophet (s) as before, so after the travel of the Prophet (s) to Ta'if, he entered Mecca under the protection of Mut'im b. 'Adi, one of the sons of Nawfal b. 'Abd Manaf.

After the emigration of the Prophet (s) to Medina, some of Banu Hashim like Hamza and 'Ali (a), also immigrated to Medina; but most of Banu Hashim remained in Mecca. Most of the times, Banu Hashim were refusing to accompany the polytheists against Muslims, but some of them were forced to participate in the Battle of Badr, in the army of the polytheists. The Prophet (s), had informed Muslims about the forced participation of some of Banu Hashim in the army of the polytheists, and had warned them against killing them; so Muslims took them captive. After the battle and the release of polytheist captives, some of Banu Hashim stayed with the Prophet (s) in Medina for a short time.

Most of Banu Hashim converted to Islam in the years after the emigration, and especially in the Conquest of Mecca, such as 'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib before the battle of Badr (or before the conquest of Khaybar), 'Aqil b. Abi Talib before the Treaty of Hudaybiyya (or in the 8th year after the emigration), and Abu Sufyan b. Harith in the Conquest of Mecca, converted to Islam; and some others like Abu Lahab died as polytheists.

Time of Imams

Opposing the Gathering of Nubuwwa and Caliphate in One Clan

After the demise of the Prophet (s), the pre-Islamic tribal competitions became unfolded, in the opposition to the caliphate of Imam 'Ali (a). Most of the opposition to the caliphate of Imam Ali (a) were considering his caliphate as the continuation of the rule of Banu Hashim over Arabs; as 'Umar, in his discussions with Imam 'Ali (a) and 'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, stated:

"'Arab doesn't accept that Nubuwwa and caliphate gather in one family".

In contrary, Imam 'Ali (a) emphasized that only special people are suitable for the responsibility, the ones who are chosen by Allah and introduced by the Prophet (s).

The opposition to the gathering of Nubuwwa and caliphate in Banu Hashim, caused the unity of other Arab clans against the caliphate of Imam 'Ali (a), because Quraysh clans, people of Medina and their allies, thought that if Imam 'Ali (a) becomes the caliph, the caliphate will never exit Banu Hashim.

This was one of the reasons that immediately after the demise of the Prophet (s), even before his burial, some of the companions of the Prophet (s) gathered in Saqifa and pledged allegiance to someone among themselves, against the introduction of Imam 'Ali (a) by the Prophet (s), and against their pledge of allegiance to Imam 'Ali (a) in the event of Ghadir. (see: [[Event of Saqifa Banu Sa'ida) From this time the quarrel between Banu Hashim, and the rulers have always been present.

Despite of this oppositions, Banu Hashim preserved their high status; for example in the story of the dividing the spoils, 'Umar prioritized Banu Hashim and considered them as the most noble of Arab because of their relationship with the Prophet (s).

Umayyad Bias

With the selection of 'Uthman for the caliphate, the enmity between Banu Umayya and Banu Hashim revived again; because in this period Banu Umayya took control of the power and the ground for tribal revenges became ready; for example, Abu Sufyan asked 'Uthman to preserve the caliphate in Banu Umayya, because there is neither Paradise nor fire (there's only the competition over the reign).

In the opposite, Imam 'Ali (a), rejecting this tribal bias, considered the faith, sincerity, and piety as the essential criteria for the ruler.

Caliphate of Imam 'Ali (a) and Imam al-Hasan (a)

With the beginning of the caliphate of Imam 'Ali (a) (35/655-40/660) Banu Hashim were with him in all of the events. Although Banu Hashim were mainly based in Medina, but with the changing of the center of caliphate from Medina to Kufa, some of Banu Hashim went there. Some of the governors assigned by Imam 'Ali (a) were from Banu Hashim.

After Imam 'Ali (a), in the short caliphate of Imam al-Hasan (a) (40/660-41/661) despite the support of Banu Hashim, some of the noble of Banu Hashim, like 'Ubayd Allah b. 'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, the commander of the Army of Imam al-Hasan, joined the army of Mu'awiya, which made Imam al-Hasan to the peace with Mu'awiya.

Mu'awiya and the Revival of the Tribal Bias

In the period of the rule of Mu'awiya, tribal conflicts raised more than ever; for example Mu'awiya in the battle with Imam 'Ali (Battle of Siffin), considered the army of Kufa as the adherents of Banu Hashim.

The view was prevalent in the rule of the successors of Mu'awiya. Umayyad rulers, put their effort to reject the religious motivations in the history of early Islam, and even the rise of Islam itself; and in contrary, pretended it as tribal conflicts. An obvious instance of the view, is the words of Yazid, after the event of 'Ashura', when he explicitly rejected the revelation and the apostleship, and considered Islam as only a political play of Banu Hashim against Banu Umayya.

When Imam al-Husayn (a) refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid in Medina, Banu Hashim supported him; and some of Banu Hashim (Banu 'Aqil and Banu 'Ali) accompanied him in his uprising against Yazid.

when 'Ubayd Allah b. Zubayr seized Mecca in 63/682 and caused much difficulties for the rule of Umayyads, Banu Hashim refused to pledge allegiance to him, despite their enmity toward the oppressive rule of Banu Umayya; so he exiled, or according to a report, imprisoned important figures of Banu Hashim, like Muhammad b. Hanafiyya and 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas.

After the repression of the insurgency of 'Abd Allah b. Zubayr, Umayyads continued their oppression over Banu Hashim and harassed and tortured their supporters. One instance of the subject is the order of Hisham b. 'Abd al-Malik to cut the hands and tongue of Kumayt b. Ziyad al-Asadi, because of his elegy for Zayd b. 'Ali b. al-Husayn.

Despite that the revenge of Banu Umayya put a lot of pressure over Banu Hashim, their influence over people didn't decline; for example, one of the reasons mentioned for the defeat of 'Abd Allah b. Zubayr, is his harsh encounter with Banu Hashim, and when Ziyad b. Salih started rebellion against Umayyads (133/750) he was calling for Banu Hashim. Also the supporters of 'Abbasids in Iran were calling people to support Banu Hashim.

Banu 'Abbas

Main article: Banu 'Abbas

In most of the Umayyads period, despite the differences of clans, Banu Hashim had a united political appearance. But in the late of Umayyads period, Banu Hashim had two social presences as the descendants of Imam 'Ali (a) (Banu 'Ali) and the descendants of 'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib (Banu 'Abbas).

The growth of the social discontent over the rule of Banu Umayya, caused the formation of uprisings in the first half of the 2nd/8th century. The growing tendency of people towards Ahl al-Bayt and their rejection of the request for an uprising (for the loss of proper conditions), made the opportunity for Banu 'Abbas.

Banu 'Abbas, because of the social status of Banu Hashim, exaggerated their relationship with Banu Hashim, and started their activities under the slogan of "the Hashimi call".

The social background of the conflict of Banu Umayya and Banu Hashim, which Umayyads had provoked, effected the choice of the title of "Hashimi". The allegiance of Banu 'Abbas was with the title of "Hashimi allegiance", with the justification that the rule is the right for Banu Hashim, and Banu 'Abbas are from this tribe.

So with the insistence of Banu 'Abbas over faking themselves as the progeny of the Prophet (s), the rule of Abbasids was famous as the rule of Banu Hashim. In contrast, Shi'as who didn't tolerate the abuse of the title, mentioned them as "Banu 'Abbas".

After all, till the end of Abbasid period, the title of Banu Hashim was mostly used for Banu 'Abbas, and was against the title of Banu Abu Talib and Banu 'Ali (or Alawis); but before this period when Kumayt b. Zayd al-Asadi composed his famous poem "Hashimiyyat", his intention was to mention the passions of the descendants of Imam 'Ali (a); and today in Shi'a societies Banu Hashim is only told to the descendants of the Prophet (s) who are only remained from his daughter, lady Fatima (s) and his son in law, Imam 'Ali (a).

The political conflict of Abbasids and Alawis, caused that Abbasid rulers supported the Sunni scholars against the Shi'a belief which consider Ahl al-Bayt as the only rightful successors of the Prophet (s).

Later Centuries

Abbasids ruled till 656/1258. In addition to them, other governments from Banu Hashim, like Fatimids in Egypt, Idrisids in Morocco, and Alawis in Tabaristan, were formed.

From the 4th/10th century to the first half of the 14th/10th century a family descended from Hasan b. 'Ali ruled Mecca, who named themselves as Hashimi. Hashimi governments in Hijaz, Iraq, and Jordan are from this family.

Special Rulings

In fiqh, there are some rulings specific to Banu Hashim. A share of Khums belongs to the poor of Banu Hashim from 'Abd al-Muttalib, and in return, Zakat is not given to them except in some cases. According to well-known hadiths the reason for this forbiddance is their dignity.


Honorable traits like munificence, avoiding the vices, and magnanimity is reported for the descendants of Hashim and 'Abd al-Muttalib. Hilf al-Fudul, in which Banu Hashim and some other tribes swore to advocate the oppressed people till their rights are taken, shows the magnanimity of Banu Hashim.

Ibn 'Abbas mentions 7 traits for Banu 'Abd al-Muttalib: beauty, eloquent, magnificence, magnanimity, bravery, knowledge, patience, and chivalry.

Ibn Habib al-Baghdadi narrates from Kalbi that Imam 'Ali (a) said: "Banu Hashim are beautiful, eloquent, and magnanimous".

Banu Hashim were famous for their chastity. The other trait is their pride, that even in the harshest conditions, they don't forget their social status.

In the Words of the Prophet (s)

One day the Prophet (s) came out of his home and he was very happy, when he was asked about the reason, he said: Jabra'il (Gabriel) came to me from Allah and said: "Allah have chosen 7 from Banu Hashim that He have neither created nor will create: You, O Prophet, 'Ali your successor, al-Hasan and al-Husayn your grandsons, Hamza your uncle, Ja'far your cousin, and al-Qa'im [[[Imam al-Mahdi (a)]]] who 'Isa (Jesus) will pray with."

Also when Muhajirun (the immigrants), Ansar (the supporters), and Banu Hashim were discussing about which of them are dearer to the Prophet (s), he said: "as for you, the supporters, I am your brother; as for you, the immigrants, I am one of you; as for you Banu Hashim, you are from me and with me".

There are hadiths from the Prophet (s) in many of Sunni sources that introduces Banu Hashim and Banu 'Abd al-Muttalib as the best of Arab, or even the best of mankind; but considering that most of the hadiths are narrated in the time of Banu 'Abbas, it is possible that these had been faked in the support of Abbasids, especially that they wanted to stress their relation to Banu Hashim. So the good encounter of the Prophet (s) with some of Banu Hashim was because of their faith not only that they were his relatives.

Status Among Muslims

Banu Hashim have always been respected by Muslims because of their relation with the Prophet (s); and respecting Banu Hashim as a demonstration of respecting the Prophet (s), had always been common in Muslim societies. Some examples are supporting Banu 'Abbas and other governments formed with the title of Hashimis. Other examples are the poems praising Banu Hashim, like the "Hashimiyyat" of Kumayt b. Zayd al-Asadi, and the respect of Hashimis among muslims specially Sayyids in Iran.


This article is mainly taken from بنی هاشم in Farsi WikiShia.