Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Invasion of the Elephants
Episode 7: Invasion of the Elephants
Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
This episode continues to review the attack on Makkah by Abraha, the leader of Yemen, with a group of intimidating elephants accompanying his 60,000-strong army.
Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), met Abraha before the attack: he asked to have his 200 camels returned, which had been taken by the army. Abraha reports that with this seemingly nonsensical request, his initial high regard for Abdul Muttalib rapidly dissipated, as he was expecting him to appeal for the attack on the Kaba to be halted. With this, Abdul Muttalib intelligently answered that he was the owner of the camels and the Kaba had an owner, Allah, who would take care of it. Abraha remained intent on destroying the Kaba. Thus, the inhabitants of Makkah evacuated to the hills in anticipation of the attack, with Abdul Muttalib appealing to Allah to protect the Kaba.
Abraha approached Makkah, riding the largest elephant, Mahmood. However, the mighty elephant sat down and refused to walk. He would walk in the opposite direction, but on being turned towards the Kaba, immediately sat down. The army proceeded, but a flock of small birds carrying 3 small stones each, one in the beak and one in each claw, threw the stones down on the army and obliterated it. A flash flood carried the bodies away from Makkah. Abraha died a slow, painful death as a result of the injuries he sustained.