The People of the Elephants

The story of the people of the elephants is a very famous story. Allah Ta‘ala speaks of this story in the Quraan Majeed in Surah Feel. This story happened about two months before Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was born, in the time when ‘Abdul Muttalib was the leader of the Quraish.

The story starts with a man named Abrahah. He was a Christian man who was the ruler in the land of Yemen. He saw that every year, all the Arabs from different places would travel and go to the house of Allah Ta‘ala, the Ka’bah, to perform hajj. When Abrahah saw this, he built a big, fancy church in Yemen and decorated it to make it look very beautiful. He wanted this church to be the new Ka’bah, and wanted all the Arabs to come to it to make hajj.

But, the Arabs had very, very deep love for the Ka’bah, because it is the house of Allah Ta‘ala. So, when they heard about Abrahah’s new church, and that he wanted them to come to his church for hajj instead of the Ka’bah, they became very upset. Then, one day, a young Arab boy went to Abrahah’s church and used it as a toilet, making a mess inside. This made Abrahah very angry. In fact, he was so mad that he decided to take a whole army, with powerful elephants, and break the Ka’bah!

Abrahah took his army, with the elephants, and marched to Makkah Mukarramah. When he reached Makkah Mukarramah, his army saw all the nice camels of the Arabs grazing outside Makkah Mukarramah, and took them away, stealing them! The people in Makkah were worried, but ‘Abdul Muttalib told them, “Don’t worry! Nobody can destroy and break the Ka’bah! It is Allah Ta‘ala’s house, so Allah Ta‘ala will look after it!”

‘Abdul Muttalib then went to Abrahah and asked him to give him his camel’s back. Abrahah was very surprised and said, “You are asking for your camels, but you are not asking me anything about the Ka’bah which is very important to you!” ‘Abdul Muttalib replied, “I am the owner of the camels. That is why I am asking for my camels. Allah Ta‘ala is the owner of the Ka’bah, and He will look after it.”

‘Abdul Muttalib then instructed the people to go away to the top of the mountains, because Abrahah was coming to break the Ka’bah. Before leaving, ‘Abdul Muttalib went to the door of the Ka’bah with a few people and made du‘aa to Allah Ta‘ala, begging Him to protect the Ka’bah.

As Abrahah’s army went towards the Ka’bah, Allah Ta‘ala sent flocks of small birds that carried stones in their beaks and claws. These birds dropped the stones on the army of Abrahah, and through the power of Allah Ta‘ala, these stones destroyed the army of Abrahah.

Allah Ta‘ala then made Abrahah become very sick. There were sores all over his body, making his body rotten. Blood and pus were leaking out of his body. This sickness finally caused him to die. After Abrahah and his evil army were all dead, Allah Ta‘ala sent a flood of water that washed all their bodies away, into the ocean, leaving the land of Makkah Mukarramah clean once again.

This was how Allah Ta‘ala saved the Ka’bah from Abrahah and his elephants in the time of ‘Abdul Muttalib, just before Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was born.

(Sharhuz Zurqaani vol. 1, pgs. 156 – 165)


1. Just as the Ka’bah is the house of Allah Ta‘ala, the masjid is also the house of Allah Ta‘ala. We must respect every masjid, keep it clean, not make noise or play in the masjid, and love the masjid. If we are boys, then when we are old enough, we must go to the masjid for salaah.

2. Allah Ta‘ala is most powerful and strong. When Allah Ta‘ala wants to protect something, then nothing can hurt it and harm it. That is why when Abrahah tried to destroy the Ka’bah, then although he had a powerful army with elephants, he could not do anything. In fact, Allah Ta‘ala used tiny birds and small stones to destroy the big elephants and strong soldiers. This shows us how powerful Allah Ta‘ala is. So, we must always ask Allah Ta‘ala to protect us, because if He protects us, nobody can hurt us.

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