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Qusayy b. Kilab

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Qusayy b. Kilab
Ancestor of the Prophet (s)
Religious Affiliation Monotheist
Lineage Quraysh
Place of Birth Mecca
Burial Place Al-Hajun cemetery
Era Before Islam
Known for Ancestor of the Prophet (s)
Notable roles Hijaba (providing the curtain), Rifada (providing food), and Siqaya (providing water for the pilgrims) of Ka'ba
Activities Establishment of Dar al-Nadwa, establishment of al-Mash'ar al-Haram, reconstruction of the Ka'ba and ...

Quṣayy b. Kilāb b. Murra b. Kaʿb (Arabic: قُصَیّ بن کِلاب بن مُرَّة بن کَعْب) was the fourth ancestor of the Prophet (s) and the head of Quraysh in Mecca. He put an end to the dominance of the Khuza'a tribe in Mecca and boosted the position of the Quraysh in this city. His accomplishments include digging water wells, providing services for the pilgrims of the Ka'ba, and its reconstruction. Though he was very well known and despite his impacts, little is known about his life, and the dates of his birth and death are not known.


It seems that Kilab b. Murra, Qusayy's father, only had two sons (Qusayy and Zuhra) and one daughter (Nu'm). Their mother, Fatima bt. Sa'd b. Sayl, was from Banu Jadara, a clan of the Yemeni tribe of Azd. In addition to these two siblings, Qusayy also had a maternal brother, called Rizah, whose father was Rabi'a b. Haram.

Family tree of the Prophet (s)
400 CE
'Abd al-'Uzza
'Abd Manaf
430 CE
'Abd al-Dar
464 CE
'Abd Shams
'Abd al-Muttalib
497 CE
Khadija (a)
Abd Allah
b. 545 CE
Abu Talib
Muhammad (s)
b. 571 CE
'Ali (a)
b. 599 CE
Fatima (a)
'Abd Allah
Al-Hasan (a)
b. 625 CE
Al-Husayn (a)
b. 626 CE


His children are said to be: 'Abd Manaf or al-Mughira, 'Abd Allah or 'Abd al-Dar, 'Abd al-'Uzza, and 'Abd Allah b. Qusayy.

Qusayy is said to have lived during the kingdom of Bahram Gur (or Bahram V), the Sassanid king (438 or 439).


Most historians have recorded Qusayy's original name as Zayd.

It is said that he was called "Qusay" because when Kilab died, his mother, Fatima, married Rabi'a b. Haram (from the Banu 'Udhra clan)—who had gone to Mecca for hajj rituals—and Rabi'a took Fatima and Qusay, who was an infant then, to his homeland in Syria. Qusayy stayed there until his maturity, and then he went back to Mecca with a caravan of Quda'a pilgrims of hajj in one of the forbidden months. Since Zayd was away from his hometown, Mecca, and his relatives, he came to be called Qusay, that is, a person who is far from his hometown.

Battle with the Khuza'a Tribe

When Qusayy settled in Mecca, he proposed to Hulayl b. Hubshiya—the last Khuza'i ruler of Mecca and the guardian of the Ka'ba—to marry his daughter, Hubbay. Since Hulayl found him strong, tactful, competent, and a nobleman, he accepted his proposal.

When Qusayy had a lot of children and property and found a great reputation, Hulayl passed away. Near his death, Hulayl called Qusayy and assigned him the guardianship of the Ka'ba and its key, but when he died, people of Khuza'a took the key of the Ka'ba, which was with Hubbay, and did not let Qusayy have it. In order to get the key, Qusayy asked Quraysh, Banu Kinana, and his maternal brohter, Rizah, and his supporters for help, and eventually he defeated people of Khuza'a.

It has been said that in his battle with the Khuza'a tribe, Qusayy was assisted by Rome's Caesar. On another account, when Hulayl died, his son, Abu Ghubshan al-Muhtarish, undertook the guardianship of the Ka'ba, but he assigned the task to Qusayy in an exchange with a female camel and a wineskin.

Positions Regarding Ka'ba

Qusayy undertook the important positions regarding the Ka'ba such as protecting its curtain (hijaba), providing water for the pilgrims (siqaya), providing food for the Quraysh by the acquired property (rifada), Dar al-Nadwa and the banner of battles. He was the first person from the family of Ka'b b. Lu'ay who became the head of Mecca, and after him, the Quraysh continued to undertake these positions.


  • Digging water wells and supplying water to Mecca,
  • Providing food for the pilgrims of the Ka'ba,
  • Reinstallation of the signs to determine the boundaries of the forbidden area (haram),
  • Accommodation of the Quraysh around the Ka'ba and the unification of the clans of Quraysh: before this, people of Quraysh inhabited mountains and valleys near Mecca,
  • Reconstruction of the Ka'ba: Qusayy is said to have been the first person who reconstructed the Ka'ba after Ibrahim (a); he built a ceiling for the Ka'ba. The height of the walls of the Ka'ba used to be 9 cubits, and Qusayy added about 18 cubits. He made a ceiling for the Ka'ba by the palm woods. The Ka'ba did not have such a structure until then.


During his life and after his death, Qusayy was so widely respected that people considered it as an obligation to follow his practices.

Even after Qusayy's death and the emergence of Islam, when Mecca's polytheists opposed the Prophet (s), they challenge him to bring Qusayy to life so that they can ask him about the reliability of Muhammad (s) and the Dooms Day.


Qusayy was unique in his time with respect to tact, honesty, generosity, and chastity. According to Twelver Imamiyya, he was, just like other ancestors of the Prophet (s), a monotheist. Qusayy believed in the one lord, and refused to worship Lat, 'Uzza, and other idols, and discouraged Arabs from worshiping anything other than God.

Some aphorisms are attributed to him. For example, he reportedly told his sons: he who honors a mean man, he will share his meanness, and he who deems a wrong deed as right, he will share its wrongness, and he who is not bettered by your magnanimity, show him his meanness. For a medication eradicates the root of pain.

He also told his sons to respect and honor their real relatives so that they can be respected and honored by their tribe and clan; he told them not to do injustice to their tribe lest they are annihilated. He told them to avoid betrayal since God is present and it will lead to shame and blame. He told them to avoid drinking wine since even if it reforms the body, it will corrupt the mind.


Before his death, Qusayy distributed the tasks of hajj and the administration of Mecca among his sons.

Qusayy died in Mecca and his corpse was buried in the skirts of the al-Hajun Mountain; his mausoleum was honored and visited by people. And since then, people of Mecca buried their dead there, which was the first cemetery of Mecca (al-Ma'la Cemetery).


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from in Farsi WikiShia.