Qullays, al- Literally meaning high and lofty to describe its location and architecture, this was a cathedral built by the Christian ruler of southern Arabia (present-day Yemen), Abraha, as a rival to the Ka’bah in Mecca. Abraha would later try to destroy the Ka’bah militarily but was prevented from doing so by his elephants’ refusal to enter the city of Mecca and an alliance of Meccan tribes joining forces to defeat him (hence the name the Year of the Elephant being given to the year). He is believed to have been injured during the battle and died on the way home.

Quraish, Quraysh, Quresh, Qurish, Qurrish, Qureshi, Koreish, Coreish The name of the dominant tribe in and around Mecca at the time of the ascent of the Prophet Muhammad. They opposed Muhammad’s teachings and went to war with his Muslim army on several occasions. The Battle of Badr is considered a turning point in Islamic history when Muhammad’s Muslim forces prevailed. The tribe exists to this day in the Arabian Peninsula.

Qur’an, Koran The Muslim holy book, often called the Holy Qur’an. Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the word of Allah as delivered to the Prophet Muhammad over 23 years by the Angel Gabriel, starting with the Prophet’s encounter with Gabriel in a cave in 610 ce. It is also believed to be the final testament before the end of days. The Qur’an has 114 chapters (sura), divided into two sections: those delivered while Muhammad was a resident of Mecca (the Meccan suras, of which there are 87) and those delivered when he resided in Medina (the Medinan suras, of which there are 27). Each sura is divided into ayat, which range in number from three to 286. The Qur’an covers much of the ground covered by the Jewish and Christian holy books, and the people who appear in them mostly appear also in the Qur’an, although their stories might be interpreted differently. Many of the key figures in the Christian Bible, for example, Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Noah, are seen as prophets in the Qur’an, and whereas they often display human weaknesses in the Bible, they are seen as perfect humans in the Qur’an. The Qur’an proclaims God’s existence and will and is the ultimate source of religious knowledge for Muslims. It serves as both a record and a guide for the Muslim community, transcending time and space. Because the Qur’an is the criterion by which everything else is to be judged, all movements, whether of radical reform or of moderate change, whether originating at the centre or at the periphery of the Islamic world, have grounded their programmes in the Qur’an and used it as a support.


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