. Surah 105 Al-Feel
. In The Name of Allah, the Compassion, the Compassionate
 


The Elephant

(1) Have you not wondered about what the Lord your God did to the army of the elephant?

(2) Has He not frustrated their aggressive designs 


(3) by great swarms of flying things 


(4) which smote them with ordained stones


(5) until they were defoliated like stubble.



Commentary

This surah alludes to the Abyssinian campaign against Mecca in 570 A.D. under the command of Abraha, the Christian viceroy of the Yemen who wanted to replace the centrality of Mecca in Arab life by San`a
Abraha tried at first to do so by erecting a great cathedral at San’a to attract Arabs away from the Meccan shrine the Ka`bah to the cathedral. The success of such a venture would have changed the whole order and destiny of the Arabian peninsula and hence the world at large.
But when it failed, Abraha tried to force it by the use of an invading army which had a number of war elephants which presented the residents of Mecca with a military problem hither to unknown to them. What was ordained, however, by God came to pass. The invading army was defeated by the outbreak of a pestilence which took the life of Abraha himself also on his return to San`a. The pestilence was spread by great swarms of insects which smote them, as it were, with “ordained stones” and left them like stubble.
The moral is perhaps that it was God’s will that Mecca should be spared for a different mission, the mission of Islam. For it was in the same “year of the elephant” that the prophet of Islam was born.
   

.. .Ibrahim AbuNab (1931-1991)