The declaration of Ka’bah and its surrounding as ‘forbidden’, attracted traders as the Qurayshite formed an oligarchy that extended its forbidden status geographically and made the region economically strong. The Queayshites established a socio religious center within the ‘forbidden’ region where Allah reigned supreme.
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The centralization led to a selective observance of law according to kinship, attracting Arab tribesmen who wanted such privileges (Farah 32). Allah became the equalizing force among the different tribes.
However, merchants took over the control of political power from clans, and class brought division between the inner Quraysh and the outer Quraysh. The message brought by Muhammad would bring back this unity (Farah 34).
“But the organization of power among the aristocracy of Quraysh was not complete because their council of oligarchs lacked legislative force and the means to execute decisions without having to resorting to traditional methods. In a society now organizes around functional classes rather than tribal membership, the threat of a blood feud or a protracted vendetta was no longer an effective weapon of social restraint when friction developed within the society”. (Farah 33-34)
The above quote makes a critical point in providing the evidence of transformation. It concludes the description of the existing social order in Quraysh before Muhammad (Farah 31). In addition, it offers a narration of the imperfections that existed within the system, which made it inefficient and in need of a solution to the growing injustices.
The aristocracy of Quraysh became powerful by forming pacts that quashed clan affiliation in favor of kinship and trade interests. During this time, the socio religious function of Allah as the guarantor of rights outside family and tribal members increased (Farah 32). The prominence of Allah helped the Makhzum and Umayya clans to occupy the inner city (Farah 33).
However, economic ambitions came before religion and social order, thus the region’s legislation failed to develop at the same rate of its trade and industry development. The traditional methods of the legislature served the region, but did not match the transformed need of the society, which had moved from a classification of tribal affiliation into a classification of economic classes.
The second sentence in the above quote informs the reader of the preexisting socio religious condition that was full of injustices before the arrival of Muhammad. Without the imperfections, it would be difficult for the transformation to occur. Alternatively, if a transformation took place with relatively perfect conditions, then its impact would be negligible.
The annihilation of tribal affiliations was a major factor contributing to the co-existence of dissimilar tribes in the Quraysh. Moreover, the declaration and extension of the ‘forbidden’ status of Ka’bah laid a foundation for the assembly of different tribes and their subsequent transformation into the Quraysh. The cohesion allowed the ruling oligarchy to perpetuate social practices such as wage payment for economic reasons.
This created a new societal division of the inner Quraysh and their clients and slaves who were on the receiving end of the punitive measures. Muhammad belonged to the outer Quraysh and therefore, identified better with the oppressed (Farah 33). This affiliation would be important for his message to gain prominence.
The last part of the quote above is symbolical. Just as the organization around functional classes negated the need for a blood feud, Muhammad would not require the help of the existing political power to spread his message. The fermented state of Mecca already made his message appealing (Farah 34).
Farah, Caesar. Islam Beliefs and Observances. Virginia: Barron’s Educaton Series, 1970. Print.