Approximately 1500 years ago, a person called “Abrahah” used to rule over Yemen and Abyssinia. He would see people going to Makkah Mukarramah to perform Hajj and do Tawaf of the blessed Ka’bah. He thought: Why not I construct a place of worship in San’a, a city in Yemen, so that people come to do its Tawaf instead of the blessed Ka’bah. Therefore, he constructed a place of worship. People of Arab severely disliked this action of his and a person from the tribe of Bani Kinanah excreted in that worshipping place.
Attempt of demolishing the blessed Ka’bah
When Abrahah came to know about this, he swore to demolish the Ka’bah out of fury. Therefore, he gathered his army and headed towards Makkah Mukarramah with this intention. This army had a lot of elephants, and the leader of all the elephants was an elephant called “Mahmood” who had a very strong body. It is due to these elephants that this army has been referred to as ‘اَصْحٰبُ الْفِیْل’, i.e. “those with the elephants” in the Holy Quran.
Taking over of the animals
When Abrahah reached near Makkah, he settled in a valley nearby and took over the animals of the people of Makkah. Among those animals were also 200 camels of the grandfather of the Holy Rasool صَلَّى اللہُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, Sayyiduna ‘Abdul Muttalib رَضِىَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ.
Refuge in the mountains
Upon looking at the evil intentions of Abrahah, Sayyiduna ‘Abdul Muttalib رَضِىَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ commanded the people of Makkah to seek refuge in the mountains; and after supplicating to Allah Almighty for the safety of the blessed Ka’bah, he too came on a mountain.
Army of Ababeel
In the morning, Abrahah ordered the army to proceed in order to attack. When the elephant called Mahmood was made to get up, he would walk in any direction that the army would face him but would sit down when they would face him towards the blessed Ka’bah. In the meanwhile, suddenly an army of the birds called “Ababeel” emerged flying from the sea and came over their heads. Every Ababeel had three pebbles, two in the claws and one in the mouth. Every pebble also contained the name of the dying person. Ababeel started throwing pebbles on the army. The elephant-rider whom the pebble would fall upon, it would go through his metal helmet and strike the head. Moreover, it would pierce through his body and reach the elephant, and would create a hole in the elephant’s body and fall upon the ground. This way, the whole army was destroyed. They became like a pile of leaves of harvest consumed by animals. The year in which this incident took place, the Holy Rasool صَلَّى اللہُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was born later in the same year.
(Siraat-ul-Jinaan, vol. 10, pp. 827; ‘Ajaaib-ul-Quran ma’ Gharaib-ul-Quran, pp. 224)
Madani pearls obtained from the parable
Dear Madani children!
٭ By disobeying Allah Almighty, one faces disgrace in this world and the Hereafter.
٭ It is necessary to respect and revere the Holy Ka’bah.
٭ Those who disrespect sacred places meet a terrible end, as was the case with the army of the elephants.
٭ We shall abide by the etiquette whenever we attain the privilege of going to the Masjid for Salah, Tilawat [recitation of the Holy Quran] and other Nafl [supererogatory] acts of worship, because “bright future” is only for those who observe etiquette.