The story of the Companions of the Elephant

The story of the Companions of the Elephant
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 Vital events prior to the birth of the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ).

Another such vital event was the following:
 
This incident is confirmed by the Quran and prophetic Sunnah, and its details are explained in the books of biographies and history, as well as by the scholars of Tafseer (Quranic exegesis) in their compositions. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Have you not considered, [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant? Did He not make their plan into misguidance? And He sent against them birds in flocks, striking them with stones of hard clay, And He made them like eaten straw.} [Quran 105:1-5]
 
The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) made many references to that incident:
 
It is narrated that when The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) set out in the year of the treaty of Hudaybiyah, he proceeded until he reached the mountainous way through which one would go to the people of the Quraysh. Qaswaa’, the she-camel of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) then knelt down. The people tried hard to make the she-camel get up, but in vain, so they said, “Al-Qaswaa' has become stubborn! Al-Qaswaa' has become stubborn!” The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said, “Al-Qaswaa' has not become stubborn, for that is not one of its traits; rather, but she has been stopped by He who stopped the elephant.” [Al-Bukhari]
 
According to Ibn Abu Haatim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him in his As-Seerah An-Nabawiyyah, it was stated with regard to the elephant,
An Abyssinian king named Abrahah took power in Yemen and built a church which he named Qullays in the city of San‘aa’, and claimed that he would divert the Arab pilgrims to it [instead of the Ka‘bah]. He took an oath to proceed towards the Ka‘bah in order to demolish it. A king of Himyar called Thu-Nafar, set out with a group of his people who had accepted his call to fight along with him against Abrahah, but was defeated and taken captive by him. When he was brought to him he said, “O king! Kill me not, for to spare my life is better for you than to kill me.” He spared his life and tied him with fetters. He then proceeded towards the Ka‘bah until he was near the towns of Khath‘am, where An-Nufayl bin Habeeb Al-Khath‘ami set out leading those of the tribes of Yemen who had mobilized with him, and fought him, but they were defeated and An-Nufayl was taken as a captive. An-Nufayl said to him, “O king! I am well-acquainted with the land of the Arabs, and I have the power of authority to make my people pledge to hearken and obey.” Abrahah thus spared his life and took him in his company as a guide.
 
When they reached At-Taa’if, Mas’ood bin Mu‘attab set out in the company of the men of Thaqeef to meet him and said, “O king, we are your slaves and at your disposal, and we have no dispute with you, for it is not Al-Laat that you want to demolish but rather it is the House which is in Makkah that you desire [to demolish] and we will send with you a man to guide you to it.” They sent with him a freed slave belonging to them called Abu Righaal. He set out with them until they reached a place called Maghnas [near Makkah] and Abu Righaal died and was buried there. It was his grave which the Arabs would stone in Maghnas.
 
From Maghnas, Abrahah sent a man called Al-Aswad bin Maqsood leading his horsemen, who gathered the inhabitants of Al-Haram, after having seized two hundred camels belonging to ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib in a place called ’Ark. A man called Hunaatah Al-Himyari was sent to the chief of Makkah with a message from Abrahah in which he said, “I have not come to this land to fight with you, but rather to tear down this House [i.e the Ka‘bah].” When Hunaatah entered Makkah and met ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib bin Haashim he said to him, “The king has sent me to inform you that he has not come to fight you unless you fight him, but he has come to tear down this House [i.e the Ka‘bah] and then he will leave you.” ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib said, “We have no wish to fight him and we are unable to do so. We will not stand between him and the House, and if Allah leaves it for him [to destroy], then by Allah, we have no power to protect it.” Hunaatah said, “Then come with me to him,” so went with him.
 
When they arrived at his camp, ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib asked for Thu-Nafar, who was his friend. He entered into his fortress and said, “Oh Thu-Nafar, do you have any advice to avail us for what is happening to us?” He said, “What is the benefit of the advice of a captive who does not feel safe from being killed at any moment! However, I shall tell Unays, the elephant driver, to use his good contacts for you as much as he could with the king and exalt your honor and rank to him.” Thu-Nafar sent somebody to call Unays and he said to him, “‘Abd-Al-Muttalib is the chief of the Quraysh and the owner of the Makkah spring [i.e Zamazam]; he feeds the people in the valleys and the beasts in the mountains, and the king has taken from him two hundred camels, so, if you are able to help him then do so, for he is my friend.” Unays went to Abrahah and said to him, “O king, this is ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib, the chief of the Quraysh and the owner of the spring of Makkah, who serves food to the people in the valleys and the beasts in the mountains. He is at your door, asking permission to enter and talk to you, and it is better to admit him as he has come to you showing no hostility and he has no dispute with you.” Then ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib was admitted.
 
‘Abd-Al-Muttalib was well-built and good-looking, so when Abrahah saw him, he showed him respect and reverence . He disliked having him sit beside him on his throne or to make him sit below him, so he got down and sat beside him on the carpet. ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib said, “O king! You have seized significant assets from me, so return it to me.” Abrahah then said, “I admired you when I first laid eyes on you, but not anymore.” ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib asked, “Why?” He replied, “Are you asking me for the two hundred camels I have seized from you and not for the House which I have come to tear down, even though it is the symbol of your religion and the religion of your forefathers and [the means of] your protection?” ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib said, “I am the owner of these camels, and the Sacred House has its own Lord who will protect it.” Abrahah said, “He will not protect it from me.” ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib said, “Whatever you wish”.
 
Abrahah returned his camels. ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib came out and told his people of what had occurred and ordered them to leave their homes and disperse in the mountain passages [out of fear of the powerful Abyssinian army]. In the morning, Abrahah, who was in Maghnas, prepared himself to enter Makkah and mobilized his army. He drew his elephant close to him and loaded it with what he wished while it was standing. When the elephant was turned towards the Ka‘bah, it stopped, bent towards the ground and was about to kneel. People beat it with a mattock on its head, but it refused to move. They thrust bent-headed sticks into the lower part of its stomach and legs [until it bled], but it would not stand up. When it was turned towards Yemen, it would stand and run. When it was turned towards the Haram [i.e., the Ka’bah] once again, it again refused to budge.
 
Finally, the elephant went off to one of the mountains and Allah The Almighty sent huge multitudes of birds coming from the direction of the sea in flocks like swallows, each carrying three pebbles, two in its feet and one in its beak, like small lentils and seeds. When they flew over the people, they showered them with these stones, and everyone who was touched by them died. However, it is not the case that everyone died immediately because of that. This is the significance of the statement of Allah The Almighty (what means): {Have you not considered, [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant? Did He not make their plan into misguidance? And He sent against them birds in flocks, striking them with stones of hard clay, And He made them like eaten straw.} [Quran 105:1-5]
 
Abrahah was afflicted by a disease in his body, and they all returned as fast as they could in retreat, falling [and dying] one after another in every town they came upon [on their way back to Yemen]. The fingers of Abrahah kept falling off, one after the other, and whenever a finger fell, a substance of pus and blood would flow. When he reached Yemen with those who remained alive among his companions, he was [as motionless and weak] as a flapper, and [a short time later] he died.
 
Ibn Ishaaq  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him mentioned in his Seerah, according to Ibn Hishaam  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him that during this incident, ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib took hold of the doorframe of the Ka‘bah and stood with some of the Quraysh to supplicate to Allah The Almighty, and seek His help against Abrahah and his soldiers. Then, ‘Abd-Al-Muttalib released the doorframe of the Ka‘bah and went, in the company of those of the Quraysh who were with him, to the mountain passages and sat watching what Abrahah would do to Makkah when he entered it. Following this, he mentioned the destruction of Abrahah and his army.

The story of the Companions of the Elephant – II

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