Quran Learning Journey: Surah Al-Fil – Unveiling the Divine Intervention in the Year of the Elephant

by 14 March 20242 comments

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Surah Al-Fil, the 105th chapter of the Quran, unfolds a historical narrative that echoes through the ages. This surah recounts the event known as the Year of the Elephant (the year in which the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was born) and the sacred city of Mecca. In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the historical event and the profound lessons encapsulated in Surah Al-Fil.

In the Arabian Peninsula, there existed a powerful kingdom in Yemen ruled by a Christian king named Abraha, who had the intention of destroying the Kaaba. He then constructed a grand cathedral in Yemen, hoping to attract pilgrims to divert their trade route from Mecca to his own territory so that he can proceed with his plans in destroying the Kaaba. However, the Arabs continued their traditional pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca.

Frustrated by his unsuccessful attempts to divert the pilgrimage, Abraha, in the year 570 CE, led a military expedition with a formidable army, including war elephants, towards Mecca to destroy the Kaaba and establish his cathedral as the new pilgrimage destination.

As Abraha approached Mecca, the Quraysh, the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and other tribes evacuated the city and sought refuge in the mountains surrounding Mecca. Despite the apparent vulnerability of the Kaaba, the Arabs believed in the sanctity of the House of Allah and trusted in its divine protection. 

As Abraha and his army approached Mecca, a miraculous event unfolded. Flocks of birds, resembling swallows or small birds carrying stones in their beaks and claws, descended upon the army of Abraha. Allah mentioned this phenomenon in verse 3 from the Surah:

For He sent against them flocks of birds

Which means: For He sent against them flocks of birds.

The stones carried by these birds are made of hard clay or ‘sijjil’ which struck its target precisely, wreaking havoc among the soldiers and their elephants. This incident was mentioned in Surah Al-Fil, verse 4 & 5:

that pelted them with stones of baked clay

Which means: that pelted them with stones of baked clay (4)

leaving them like chewed up straw

Which means: leaving them like chewed up straw. (5)

In conclusion, the Quran tells a remarkable story in Surah Al-Fil about how Allah protected the Kaaba from a powerful ruler named Abraha by sending birds carrying stones. This miraculous event shows that even a mighty army could not destroy the House of Allah, the ultimate protector of this place.

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About The Author

Ustazah Nurfilzah

Nurfilzah Binte Mohamad Noor serves as the Assistant Manager of Trust & Safety Content Moderation at Muslim Pro/Qalbox. Through her work, she strives to promote understanding, respect, and unity within the Muslim community. With a background rooted in trust and safety management, Nurfilzah remains steadfast in her mission to enhance the online experience for users worldwide.


  1. Benson Kudirat

    Jazak Allahu Kairan. This blog just cemented my understanding of Suratul Fihl.

    • Nurul Mimsy

      Jazakallah khair for reading our humble blog. May Allah bless you always.


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