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Army of Elephants

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Joined: 28 Jan 2007
Posts: 141
Location: UAE

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:47 am    Post subject: Army of Elephants Reply with quote

Salam all,

I know it does not relate to actual deen at all as it is an account of history but still I can't help thinking how did they manage to bring army of elephant to Mecca. I mean it's a big animal, not at all meant for long walks over the sand dunes, needs lots of water to survive unlike camels and cannot run in sands fast at all like horses, then how did they bring elephants to Mecca? Can anyone help?


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Dr. Shabbir
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Joined: 24 Dec 2006
Posts: 1333
Location: Florida, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Respected Sister,

Elephant is an excellent swimmer and its feet are well-designed to swim or tread on hard or soft grounds. And even today, there are plenty of oases, springs and wells between San'a and Makkah, and the distance is less than 400 miles.

Surah 105. Al-Feel – The Elephant

[Author’s Note] Good planning and timely action can ward off a strong invasion.

This brief Surah has a very interesting history behind it. As we have seen in the history of the Empire of Sheba (Surahs An-Naml 27, Saba 34, and Qaaf 50), the Kingdom of Sheba had collapsed in 115 BC. They were overtaken by the Himairis who ruled until 300 CE when other tribes overtook the control of Yemen. They were in turn defeated by the Christian Kingdom of Ethipoia-Abyssinia when they invaded Yemen in 525 CE. Abrahah was then appointed Viceroy of Yemen.

The Roman and the Abyssinian Christians longed for converting the idolaters of Arabia to Christianity. They also sought control of the trade routes between Arabia, Persia and the Western Roman Empire. They saw Ka’bah in Makkah as a hindrance to their imperialistic and religious designs. Abrahah, the Viceroy of Yemen made a smart move. Between 550 and 555 CE he built a gorgeous cathedral EKKLESIA in San’aa, Yemen, and invited people and neighboring countries to come for pilgrimage there instead of going to Makkah. When Ekklesia remained unpopular, Abrahah decided to invade Makkah and demolish the Ka’bah.
Since he correctly anticipated the presence of hostile tribes en-route, he came up with a 60,000 Strong army aided by thousands of horses, camels and thirteen elephants.
I agree with the research of Hamiduddin Farahi, Amin Ahsan Islahi and G.A.Parwez on what eventually happened. As Abrahah’s army approached Makkah, the Makkans who had been alerted by some travelers beforehand, saw flocks of birds that normally fly over caravans in search for food. The Makkans mounted the hills around and threw stones on the troops. The elephants, and in turn, other rides panicked and trampled the soldiers. This incident took place in 570 CE when the exalted Messenger was born. The event carried such significance that the Arabs, in their Calendar, marked it as the “Year of the Elephant” (‘Aam-il-Feel) as a point of reference in history.

With the Glorious Name of God, the Instant and Sustaining Source of all Mercy and Kindness

105:1 Are you not aware of how your Lord dealt with the Army of the Elephant?

105:2 Did He not bring their strategy to utter failure?

105:3 And sent upon them swarms of flying creatures.

105:4 Then you showered them with hard stones earmarked with requital. [Sijjeel = Inscribed = Marked out]

105:5 And made them like a field of grain eaten down to stubble.

[An interesting footnote here might be appropriate. Three Arabs had guided Abrahah on his way to Makkah through the desert. The pre-Islamic Makkans humiliated the traitors and made out three statutes of them in today's plains of Mina outside Makkah. Then they used to stone those statues every year at the time of Pilgrimage. This ritual was 'Islamized' by Muslim historians naming them as three places where the 'Satan' tried to prompt Prophet Abraham to defy God's command to 'sacrifice' his son. And so, to this day during Pilgrimage, Muslims stone the three pillars calling them the Great, the Medium, and the Small Satan!]
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