Hashemite, also Hashimite, is the Latinate version of the Arabic: هاشمي, transliteration: Hāšimī, and traditionally refers to those belonging to the Banu Hashim, or “clan of Hashim”, an Arabian clan within the larger Quraysh tribe. It also refers to an Arab dynasty whose original strength stemmed from the network of tribal alliances and blood loyalties in the Hejaz region of Arabia, along the Red Sea.
The Hashemites trace their ancestry from Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf (died c. 511 AD), the great-grandfather of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, although the definition today mainly refers to the descendants of Muhammad’s daughter, Fatimah. The early history of the Hashemites saw them in a continuous struggle against the Umayyads for control over who would be the Caliph or successor to Muhammad. The Umayyads were of the same tribe as the Hashemites, but a different clan. After the overthrow of the Umayyads, the Abbasids would present themselves as representatives of the Hashemites, as they claimed descent from Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, an uncle of Muhammad. Muhammad’s father had died before he was born, and his mother died while he was a child, so Muhammad was raised by his uncle Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, chief of the Hashemites.
From the 10th century onwards, the Sharif (religious leader) of Mecca and its Emir was, by traditional agreement, a Hashemite. Before World War I, Hussein bin Ali of the Hashemite Dhawu-‘Awn clan ruled the Hejaz on behalf of the Ottoman sultan. For some time it had been the practice of the Sublime Porte to appoint the Emir of Mecca from among a select group of candidates. In 1908, Hussein bin Ali was appointed to the Emirate of Mecca. He found himself increasingly at odds with the Young Turks in control at Istanbul, while he strove to secure his family’s position as hereditary Emirs.