‘Adnan, a descendant of Ismail had many children. Among ‘Adnan’s descendants, Fihr bin Malik in particular, was a distinguished chief of the tribe. From Fihr’s descendants, Qusai bin Kilab emerged. He ruled Makkah and held the keys to the Ka’bah. He was the guardian of the waters of Zamzam and was responsible for feeding the pilgrims. He presided at the assemblies where the nobles of Makkah gathered for consultation. He alone controlled the affairs of Makkah.
Among his sons, Abd Manaf was the most illustrious, while his eldest son, Hashim, became a great man of the people. He provided food and water for the pilgrims coming to Makkah. He was the father of Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). His popularity outstripped that of his ancestors.
The Quraish were organised on Bedouin principles. They had no kind or any other municipal institution. They used an assembly of notables of all the clans for non-binding consultation and decisions. The threat of blood feud guarded the peace. The Quraish had maintained solidarity and had made effective use of their resources. They also controlled the north-south trade and grew rich by it. They first won a secure diplomatic position among the tribes of the Hijaz and then controlled the trade in the area.
They were the custodians of the Holy Ka’bah and the guarantors of protection to the worshippers in pilgrimage to the city, therefore their position was institutionalised in religious forums. They had acquired a prestige as a tribe of dependable and independent honour.
Source: Rafi, Salim, Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) – the beloved of Allah, Darussalam, Riaydh, Saudi Arabia, 1999. p.17-18.