Surah Quraish (Arabic: قريش) is the 106th chapter of the Qu’ran and is classified as a Meccan Surah, meaning it’s revelation was before Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina (the journey known as hijra). It is a short surah and consists of only 4 ayat (verses).
The Quraysh was a mercantile Arab tribe that historically inhabited and controlled Mecca and the Kaaba. The Kaaba was central to their life, being the center of pilgrimage which brought much trade and prestige.
Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was born into the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe. The Quraysh staunchly opposed Muhammad until converting to Islam in 630 AD. This Surah urges the Quraysh, tribe who dominated Mecca, to serve Allah.
Below you can read this surah in its entirety. One of the goals of the My Islam site is to make it easy to read and understand the Qur’an so below every ayat you can find transliteration and Sahih International English translation. For those seeking to learn more about this Surah we’ve also included Tafsir which can be read at the end.
Read Surah Quraysh Translation and Transliteration:
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
1. For the accustomed security of the Quraysh –
Eelafihim rihlata ashshita-iwassayf
2. Their accustomed security [in] the caravan of winter and summer –
Fal y’abudu rabba haazal-bait
3. Let them worship the Lord of this House,
Allazi at’amahum min ju’inw-wa-aamana hum min khawf
4. Who has fed them, [saving them] from hunger and made them safe, [saving them] from fear.
Tafsir of Surah Quraish
If you’re looking benefit by gaining a deeper understanding into the background of Surah Quraish then reading Tafsir is a very honorable act. It provides you with the knowledge of the historical context, the impact of the Surah, introduction to relevant hadith, and more. By reading the various tafseers you’ll will receive a more comprehensive view of this Surah.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir of Surah Quraish
(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
They (the Companions) wrote “In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful” on the line (i.e., the space) between these two Surahs. They did this even though this Surah is directly related to the one which precedes it, as Muhammad bin Ishaq and `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam have both clarified. This is because the meaning of both of them is, “We have prevented the Elephant from entering Makkah and We have destroyed its people in order to gather (Ilaf) the Quraysh, which means to unite them and bring them together safely in their city.” It has also been said that the meaning of this (Ilaf) is what they would gather during their journey in the winter to Yemen and in the summer to Ash-Sham through trade and other than that. Then they would return to their city in safety during their journeys due to the respect that the people had for them because they were the residents of Allah’s sanctuary. Therefore, whoever knew them would honor them. Even those who came to them and traveled with them, would be safe because of them. This was their situation during their journeys and travels during their winter and summer. In reference to their living in the city, then it is as Allah said,
(Have they not seen that We have made it a secure sanctuary, while men are being snatched away from all around them) (29:67) Thus, Allah says,
(For the Ilaf of the Quraysh. Their Ilaf) This is a subject that has been transferred from the first sentence in order to give it more explanation. Thus, Allah says,
(Their Ilaf caravans, in winter and in summer.) Ibn Jarir said, “The correct opinion is that the letter Lam is a prefix that shows amazement. It is as though He (Allah) is saying, `You should be amazed at the uniting (or taming) of the Quraysh and My favor upon them in that.”’ He went on to say, “This is due to the consensus of the Muslims that they are two separate and independent Surahs.” Then Allah directs them to be grateful for this magnificent favor in His saying,
(So, let them worship the Lord of this House.) meaning, then let them single Him out for worship, just as He has given them a safe sanctuary and a Sacred House. This is as Allah says,
(I have been commanded only to worship the Lord of this city, Who has sanctified it and to Whom belongs everything. And I am commanded to be from among the Muslims.) (27:91) Then Allah says,
(Who has fed them against hunger,) meaning, He is the Lord of the House and He is the One Who feeds them against hunger.
(And has made them safe from fear.) meaning, He favors them with safety and gentleness, so they should single Him out for worship alone, without any partner. They should not worship any idol, rival or statue besides Him. Therefore, whoever accepts this command, Allah will give him safety in both this life and the Hereafter. However, whoever disobeys Him, He will remove both of them from him. This is as Allah says,
(And Allah puts forward the example of a township, that dwelt secure and well-content: its provision coming to it in abundance from every place, but it denied the favors of Allah. So, Allah made it taste extreme of hunger and fear, because of that which they used to do. And verily, there had come unto them a Messenger from among themselves, but they denied him, so the torment overtook them while they were wrongdoers.) (16:112-113)
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Quraysh, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
The Subject-matter of Surah Al-Fil and Surah Al-Quraish
All commentators concur that the subject-matter of the two Surahs is so closely related that in some of the copies of the Qur’an they had been written as a single Surah without the insertion of bismillah between them. But when Sayyidna ` Uthman ؓ compiled a standard copy of the Holy Qur’an with the consensus of all the companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، he separated these two Surahs and inserted bismillah between them, and the two Surahs.
لِإِيلَافِ قُرَيْشٍ (Because of the familiarity of the Quraish 106:1). The particle li is a preposition. According to the rules of Arabic grammar, it should be linked with another sentence. What is that sentence here? In answer to this question, different possibilities are highlighted by the exegetes. Keeping in view the close relation of the present Surah with the previous one, some of them have held that the following sentence should be taken as understood here: اِنَّا اھلکنا اصحاب الفیل “We [Allah ] destroyed the ‘people of the elephant’ so that the Quraish, who were familiar with two commercial trips during winter and summer, may not have any obstacle in their trips, and by this trading activity they might develop a certain prestige for them and respect them.” A second school of interpreters has taken the following sentence as understood: اَعجبوا (One should wonder on the Quraish undertaking winter and summer journeys freely and safely.) A third school of interpreters says that this is the lam of ta’lil and it is syntactically related to the sentence that follows it فَلْيَعْبُدُوا رَبَّ هَـٰذَا الْبَيْتِ (they must worship the Lord of this House.) The Surah draws attention to the fact that the Quraish used to make two trade journeys – one in winter to Yemen and another in summer to Syria. These trade-journeys made them wealthy and affluent. This was possible because Allah annihilated their enemies, the people of the elephant, in an exemplary way and created in the hearts of the people an awe and reverence for them. People held them in high esteem, respect and honor in all the territories where they went.
Superiority of Quraish
This Surah indicates that Quraish, of all the tribes of Arabia, was most acceptable in the sight of Allah. The Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said: “Verily, Allah selected Kinanah from the offspring of Prophet Ismail (علیہ السلام) and selected Quraish from the progeny of Kinanah. From the Quraish, Allah selected Banu Hashim and from Banu Hashim He selected me.” [Baghawi on the authority of Wathilah Ibn Asqa’]. Another Tradition reports that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “People will follow Quraish in matters of good as well as in matters of evil.” [Muslim on the authority of jabir, as quoted by Mazhari]. The reason for the selection of the tribes mentioned in the first Tradition is presumably on account of their special abilities, innate capacities and natural endowments. Even in the days of paganism and ignorance, when people practiced kufr and shirk, their morals and inborn abilities were of a very high standard. They had the perfect capacity to accept the truth. This is the reason why most of the blessed Companions and Friends of Allah were Quraishites. [Mazhari]
Verse [106:2] رِحْلَةَ الشِّتَاءِ وَالصَّيْفِ (…their familiarity with the trips of winter and summer.) It is a known fact that Makkah is situated in an utterly bleak and arid valley where no agricultural produce grows, nor are there any orchards where the people of Makkah could reap any kind of fruits. Therefore, the founder of the House of Allah, Sayyidna Ibrahim Khalil ullah (علیہ السلام) prayed to Allah at the time of founding the city, thus: [2:126] رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَـٰذَا بَلَدًا آمِنًا وَارْزُقْ أَهْلَهُ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ (My Lord, make this a city of peace, and provide its people with fruits) and this fact is mentioned in [28:57], thus: يُجْبَىٰ إِلَيْهِ ثَمَرَاتُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ (to which the fruits of everything are drawn) “. The Quraish thus needed to make these commercial trips out of Makkah into the neighboring territories to bring the necessities of life to their city. Sayyidna Ibn Abbas ؓ reports that the people of Makkah were in a state of abject poverty and Hashim, the great grandfather of the Prophet ﷺ ، exhorted the Quraish to undertake the trading caravans to the neighboring territories. As Syria was a cold region, they went there in summer; and Yemen had a warm climate, so they went there in winter to carry out their commercial activities. They, after their commercial ventures that brought to them great profits and gains, would return to their city safely due to the respect that the people had for them, because they were the keepers and custodians of Allah’s sanctuary. Therefore, whoever knew them would honor them. Even those who came to them and traveled with them, would be safe because of them. Hashim was the leader of the Quraish and maintained the economic principle to distribute among the rich and the poor members of the Quraish the gains and the profits made in their business. As a result, even the poor people lived like the wealthy people. Furthermore, an additional Divine favor was granted to them: Allah spared them the trouble of making these annual trips, in that the areas adjacent to Makkah such as Yemen, Tabalah and Harsh were made fertile, fecund and productive where corns, food grains and other agricultural produce grew abundantly – even more than their need. As a result, they had to carry these agricultural produce to Jeddah where they sold them. Thus most of the necessities were available in Jeddah. The people of Makkah, instead of undertaking the two long journeys, went to Jeddah, merely two stations away, to bring their necessities of life. In the current verse, Allah mentions His favor upon them.
Verse [106:3] فَلْيَعْبُدُوا رَبَّ هَـٰذَا الْبَيْتِ (they must worship the Lord of this House.) Having mentioned the Divine favors, the Quraish are especially enjoined to express their gratitude to ‘the Lord of this House’. Here, out of many attributes of Allah, ‘the Lord of this House’ is singled out, because it was this House that became the source and fountain of all blessings for them.
Verse [106:4] الَّذِي أَطْعَمَهُم مِّن جُوعٍ وَآمَنَهُم مِّنْ خَوْفٍ (Who gave them food against hunger, and gave them security against fear.) The verse comprehensively captures all that was needed for the Quraish to live happily and peacefully in the world. The first phrase أَطْعَمَهُم مِّن جُوعٍ (Who gave them food against hunger) implies that they were provided all year round with every kind of fruit and food. The security referred to in the second phrase آمَنَهُم مِّنْ خَوْفٍ (and gave them security against fear) includes security from enemies and robbers (who, out of their respect to them as guardians of Ka’bah, spared them from their attacks), and it also includes security from the punishment in the Hereafter (for those who fulfilled the necessary conditions of faith).
Ibn Kathir says that whoever worships Allah according to the command given in this verse, Allah will give him safety, not only in this world, but also security from punishment in the Hereafter. And whoever deviates from this command, He will deprive him of both types of safety and security as exemplified in the following verse [16:112]:
ضَرَبَ اللَّـهُ مَثَلًا قَرْيَةً كَانَتْ آمِنَةً مُّطْمَئِنَّةً يَأْتِيهَا رِزْقُهَا رَغَدًا مِّن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ فَكَفَرَتْ بِأَنْعُمِ اللَّـهِ فَأَذَاقَهَا اللَّـهُ لِبَاسَ الْجُوعِ وَالْخَوْفِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ ﴿112﴾ (And Allah has given an example that there was a town, secure and satisfied, with its sustenance coming in plenty from every place. Then, it turned ungrateful to the bounties of Allah; so, Allah made it taste hunger and terror [cast over it] like a garment in return of what its people used to do. [16:112]
A Great Benefit
Abul Hasan Qazwini has stated that anyone who fears his enemy or an affliction, should recite Surah Al-Quraish. It will give him security from fear and calamity. This is cited by Imam Jazri and he says that this Surah has been tried and tested successfully for this purpose. Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati (رح) cites this in his Tafsir Mazhari and says that his Shaikh Mirza Mazhar Jan-i-Janan instructed him to recite this Surah at the time of fear and danger, and said its recitation has been tested and tried to avert all kinds of calamities and afflictions. Qadi Thana’ullah says that he has experienced it several times.
The Commentary on
Lest They Forget
When Abraham, God’s friend, or khalīl as he is called in Arabic, completed the building of the House of worship, the Ka`bah, and had purified it he turned to God with the following prayer: “Lord, make this a land of security and make provisions of fruits for those of its people who believe in God and the Last Day.” (2: 126) o God made that House one of peace; free from all human authority and from all tyranny. He granted security and peace to anyone seeking shelter in that House, while fear was all around it. Even when the people transgressed, ascribed divinity to beings other than God and worshipped idols, there was peace and security in it; for God had designed a purpose for this sacred House.
When the people of the Elephant marched to destroy the House, there happened to them what is described in the preceding surah, The Elephant. God preserved for the House its peace, security and sacredness. Of those who lived around it, God said: “Do they not see that We have made a secure Sanctuary, and that men are being snatched away from all around them?” (29: 67)
The Elephant incident had an added effect in greatly enhancing the sanctity of the House amongst the Arabs all over the Peninsula. It also strengthened the position of the Quraysh, the custodians of the House, in all Arabia. They were thus able to travel far and wide in peace and security. Wherever they went they met with generosity and high esteem. This encouraged them to establish two great routes for their commercial caravans, to the Yemen in the south and to Syria in the north. They organized two enormous trading expeditions; one to the Yemen in winter and the other to Syria in summer.
In spite of very poor conditions of security in all parts of the Arabian Peninsula at that time, and in spite of all the looting and plundering raids that were common in that land, the sanctity of the House in the eyes of all Arabs guaranteed security and peace in their flourishing business to those who lived near it and were its custodians. It created for the Quraysh a distinct and exclusive position and opened up for them an extensive and guaranteed means of sustenance in peace, security and contentment. The Quraysh became accustomed to these two profitable and peaceful trips, which were soon established among their traditional habits.
This is the specific grace of which God reminds the Quraysh, as He reminded them of the Elephant incident in the previous surah. It is the grace of their being accustomed to the winter and summer trips, and the abundance with which He endowed them by means of these two fruitful journeys. It is by the grace of God that while their land is desolate and dry, they still live a comfortable life. Out of His grace He secures them from fear whether in their hearths and homes, next to God’s House, or on their journeys. Their security is the result of their being the custodians of the House, the sanctity of which is ordained and preserved by God against any violation.
God reminds them of these graces in order that they may be ashamed of their submission to other beings, while He is the Lord of the House. God says to them in effect: for this tradition of the Quraysh, namely their winter and summer trips, let them submit to the Lord of this House who guaranteed their security and so encouraged them to take such beneficial journeys. “Let them worship the Lord of this House, who provided them with food against hunger, and with security against fear.” (Verses 3-4) As their land was infertile, they would have starved had it not been for the sustenance supplied by God. “And with security against fear.” Poor as they were, and living in an insecure surroundings, their life would have been one of fear and apprehension. But God granted them security and allayed their fear.
This is a reminder which should have left a profound sense of shame in the hearts of the Quraysh, who were not unaware of the great value of the House and the effect of its sanctity on their lives. At the moment of danger and difficulty, the Quraysh used to appeal only to the Lord of that House and seek only His help. This was the case with `Abd al-Muttalib, who did not confront Abrahah with any army or physical strength. Instead `Abd al-Muttalib addressed himself only to the Lord of the House, because He was the only One who could protect His House. `Abd al-Muttalib did not appeal to any of the idols or craven images for help. He did not even say to Abrahah that these deities would protect their House. He only said to him, “I am only the master of the camels, but the House has its own Lord who is sure to protect it.” But ignorance does not listen to any logic, or acknowledge what is right, or accept any reasonable argument.
This surah seems to be an extension of the preceding one, The Elephant, with regard to its subject matter and general tone. Nevertheless, it is an independent surah with the usual beginning of the Qur’ānic surahs, namely, “In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.” Qur’ānic commentators state that nine surahs were revealed between the revelation of this and the preceding surah, but that they were placed next to each other in the Qur’ān because of their close similarity of subject.
The word ilaf, as used in the original is from alf which means to be habituated and accustomed to be reunited after breaking up, and to adopt something as a habit. About the lam that is prefixed to ilaf, some Arabists have expressed the opinion that it is to express surprise and wonder. Thus, Li-ilaf-i Quraish-in means: How surprising is the conduct of Quraish! It is only by virtue of Allah’s bounty that they are reunited after their dispersion and have become accustomed to the trade journeys which have brought them their prosperity, and yet from Allah’s worship and service they are turning away. This is the opinion of Akhfash, Kisai and Farra, and holding this opinion as preferable Ibn Jarir writes: When the Arabs mention something after this lam, the same thing itself is regarded as sufficient to show that the attitude and conduct a person has adopted in spite of it, is surprising and amazing. On the contrary, Khalil bin Ahmad, Sibawaih and Zamakhshari say that this is the lam of talil and it relates to the following sentence: Fa-ya budu Rabba hadh al-Bait, which means: Allah’s blessings on the Quraish are countless. But if for no other blessing, they should worship Allah at least for this blessing that by His bounty they became accustomed to the trade journeys, for this by itself is indeed a great favor of Allah to them.
That is, the trade journeys. In summer the Quraish travelled northward to Syria and Palestine, for they are cool lands, and in winter southward to Yaman, etc. for they are warm.
This House: the Holy Kabah. The sentence means that the Quraish have attained to this blessing only by virtue of the House of Allah. They themselves acknowledge that the 360 idols, which they worship, are not its lord, but Allah alone is its Lord. He alone saved them from the invasion of the army of elephants. Him alone they had invoked for help against Abrahah’s army. It was His House the keeping of which enhanced their rank and position in Arabia, for before that they were dispersed and commanded no position whatever. Like the common Arab tribes, they too were scattered factions of a race. But when they rallied round this House in Makkah and began to serve it, they became, honorable throughout Arabia, and their trade caravans began to visit every part of the country fearlessly. Therefore, whatever they have achieved, it has been possible only by the help of the Lord of this House; therefore, they should worship Him alone.
The allusion implies that before the Quraish came to Makkah, they were a scattered people in Arabia and living miserable lives. After their gathering together in Makkah they began to prosper, and the Prophet Abraham’s (peace be upon him) prayer for them was literally fulfilled when he had prayed: Lord, I have settled some of my descendents in a barren valley near Thy sacred House. Lord, I have done this in the hope that they will establish salat there. So turn the hearts of the people towards them, and provide fruits for their food. (Surah Ibrahim, Ayat 37).
Secure against fear: Secure from the fear from which no one anywhere in Arabia was safe. There was no settlement anywhere in the country the people of which could sleep peacefully at night, for they feared an attack any time from any quarter by some unknown enemy. No one could step out of the bounds of his tribe for fear of life or of being taken prisoner and made a slave. No caravan could travel safely from fear of attack, or without bribing influential chiefs of the tribes on the way for safe conduct. But the Quraish were immune from every danger; they had no fear of an attack from an enemy. Their caravans, small or big, freely passed on the trade routes everywhere in the country. As soon as it became known about a certain caravan that it belonged to the keepers of the Kabah, no one could dare touch it with an evil intention, so much so that even if a single Quraishite was passing on the way, he was allowed to pass unharmed and untouched as soon as the word hara-mi or ana min hara-millah” was heard from him.