Surah Al-Feel

Have you not seen ˹O Prophet˺ how your Lord dealt with the Army of the Elephant?

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصْحَـٰبِ ٱلْفِيلِ ١

Did He not frustrate their scheme?

أَلَمْ يَجْعَلْ كَيْدَهُمْ فِى تَضْلِيلٍۢ ٢

For He sent against them flocks of birds

وَأَرْسَلَ عَلَيْهِمْ طَيْرًا أَبَابِيلَ ٣

that pelted them with stones of baked clay,

تَرْمِيهِم بِحِجَارَةٍۢ مِّن سِجِّيلٍۢ ٤

leaving them like chewed up straw.1 

فَجَعَلَهُمْ كَعَصْفٍۢ مَّأْكُولٍۭ ٥

Surah Al-Fil


 Surah Al-Feel (Arabic سورة الفيل) is the 105th chapter (surah) of the Quran. It is a ‘Makki’ Surah with 5 ayat /verses. Surah Al-Fil is in Juz’ 30 of the holy Quran and was revealed in the city of Mecca, as its name refers to the well-known historical event that happened in the year of the birth of our beloved prophet Muhammad peace be upon him when Allah protected the Kaaba against the attack of the army of pagans who, riding on the backs of elephants, came from Yemen intending to destroy the Kaaba. It is a story illustrating the fate of those who tried to attack the Kaaba.

The story behind surah Al-Feel

According to many reports relating to surah Al-Feel, Yemen was under the rule of Abyssinia during this time. Their ruler was named Abraha Al-Ashram. when Abraha noticed the immense benefits of the pilgrimage that people all over the Arabian Peninsula made to Makkah (Al Kabaa), he decided to establish a huge church named al-Qalis in Yemen to try and make people come to his land instead of the Kaaba. A man from Kenana came to it at night and defecated or vandalized it.

This angered Abraha, so he decided to go to the Kaaba and destroy it; Claiming that the reason was what the man did from Kenana when he defecated in it, but he was seeking to conquer Mecca; So that he would link Yemen with Sham so that all of them would become Christian countries.

He prepared a large army and took many elephants with him. when he reached a place called Al-Mughamis, which is located near Mecca, Abraha, meanwhile, sent a messenger to the Quraish, who were taking care of the Kaaba. In his message, Abraha declared that he had come only to destroy the Sacred House and wouldn’t harm anyone unnecessarily. He said that if the people didn’t want to fight, their leader, Abdul Muttalib, should come and meet Abraha.

Abdul Muttalib, after listening to the message, said:

“By Allah! We do not intend to fight. We cannot afford it. This is the Sacred House of Allah and His Khalil (friend) Ibrahim (AS). He Alone can protect it if He wills to.” 

The owners of the elephant and their leader went to destroy the Kaaba. The term owners of the elephant are applied to those who came from Abyssinia wanting to destroy the Kaaba, led by Abraha Al-Ashram with their giant elephants. Abdul Muttalib was a dignified looking who was distinguished by his wisdom, ordered the people of Mecca to evacuate their homes and go up to the mountains of Mecca. Abdul Muttalib had offered large sums of money to Abraha Al-Ashram to return without destroying the Kaaba, but he refused and returned to Abdul Muttalib the camels that he had seized, so Abdul Muttalib took men from Quraish to the Kaaba and hold its rings. They began to pray to God Almighty to drive Abraha and his soldiers away from the house.

When Abraha came, he did not find anyone there to stop him, he insisted on entering the Kaaba and destroying it, but the people of Mecca know that it is under God’s protection, so when Abraha’s army arrived, the elephant refused to enter this sacred place and kneeled. tried everything to make the elephant stand again but in vain. They beat and hurt him with weapons, but the elephant still refused to get up and march towards Makkah.

Allah the Almighty then sent birds from the seaside that resembled hawks. Each bird held three stones: one in its beak and one in its every leg. The birds dropped these stones on the Abraha and his soldiers to kill them. Some Abyssinians fled while death pursued them every way they went. every time one of them scratched his skin fell off his body.  The birds started throwing stones at them, so they fled wanting to survive. no one was hit by it except his flesh fell off his bones. Abraha was hit and his fingers started falling one by one, and as soon as Abraha arrived in Yemen, he died. In the holy Quran, they resembled straw or grass after the animal had eaten it.

Benefits of reciting surah al-Feel

  1. Imam Jaffar Sadiq (RA) said: “He who recites Surah Al-Feel in his obligatory/fard prayers/salat, any level land, mountains or any clods of dirt will bear witness for him, on the Day of Judgement, that he has been one of the prayerful (believers).On that Day, a herald calls saying, ‘You are right about My servant I accept your witness for him or against him Let him enter Paradise without Reckoning him. Verily, he is the one whom he and his action I like.
  2. Recitation of Surah Al-Feel provides safety from enemies and It also acts as a quick problem solver for all our issues.
  3. If Surah Al-Feel is recited over a person in trouble, his worries and troubles would disappear. The reciter of Surah Al-Feel would always have an upper hand over his opponent.
  4. It also shows us that people can make plans all they want; however, their plans pale in comparison to Allah’s plans because He is the Best Planner.


Last, of all, This Surah is a recollection of the miraculous event. It is a great reminder for everyone who thinks their egos, arrogance, or even their power could stand in the way or even get compared to Allah’s will and power. We have to obey and worship Allah and no one except Allah.

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