When The Kaaba Faced An Army of Elephants - Our Prophet 1

So, Makkah was very prominent. It was a very important city, and they came to do the Hajj in the city of Makkah. Now, what happened is, and we will conclude with this, some regional areas at the time, they grew jealous of Makkah. All these tribes, they are going to Makkah. And when you go to the Hajj , you spend money, right?

So, they realized, you know what? Let us make our own Ka'bah. There was a king, a ruler in Yemen, south of Makkah, by the name of Abraha. Abraha was a Christian ruler who was dispatched by the Roman Christian emperor because the Christians were persecuted in Yemen.

In a long story, he became the ruler. Najaashi, the just ruler of Abyssinia, had asked Abraha to go to Yemen to save the Christians. He did that, but then he took power and then he started his own, you know, persecution. Abraha realized these Arabs, backward Arabs, they have this Ka'bah. Why do I not make something fancier than the Ka'bah? So, he built the fanciest, most beautiful house of worship in Yemen, which was supposed to compete with the Ka'bah.

[ does it still stand?] ah, no, It has now been destroyed and demolished. So, he created that and he invited all nations, come and do Hajj here. People did not listen to him. Most people were still going to that humble looking Ka'bah and they would just do the Hajj there. He got really upset.

But then, what really, you know, caused him to explode was that some silly Arabs, they went into that temple that he made and they desecrated it. Some Hadiths say they burned it, burned some places of it. Some say they defecated in it. Abraha became furious. He was like, you do that to my house of worship? I am going to destroy the Ka'bah.

So, he mobilizes a huge army towards Ka'bah and he brings elephants with him as well. Remember, his origin was he came through Abyssinia, so he probably brought those big African elephants and they marched towards Makkah. A messenger came to Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of the Prophet. This was before the Prophet was born. He came to Abdul Muttalib and he told him, 'Look, Abraha has mobilized a huge army and they are coming to Makkah to destroy the Ka'bah, just know that!'

Abdul Muttalib, he meets Najaashi and also Abraha, and he makes one request. Because, what he did, Abraha, he had sent some of his army members. They went and they looted the people of Makkah. They looted their camels, their precious belongings. Abdul Muttalib had 200 camels. Remember, one camel back then was very expensive! It was very expensive. So, 200 camels was like everything that Bani Hashim literally owned.

Abdul Muttalib goes to the king and he complains. They tell him, what is your complaint? They thought, he is here to negotiate. Do not desecrate the Ka'bah. This is the house of God. He did not mention the Ka'bah. He told them, I am here. Give me my 200 camels back. Abraha according to one historical account, he is like, I had respect for you, Abdul Muttalib. You know, I have heard about you. Even looking at your glorious face, I had a lot of respect for you. But now that you came and you asked for your camels and you did not even tell me to not destroy the Ka'bah, I have changed my opinion on you.

What did Abdul Muttalib tell him? He made his famous statement. He told him, 'I am the lord or the owner of the camel and the Ka'bah, the house has its own Lord.' Abdul Muttalib was inspired by Allah. How? whether through divine inspiration, through revelation, he was inspired by God that God will protect the Ka'bah. Do not do anything. God will protect the Ka'bah.

So, his [Abraha's] army marches towards Makkah with those elephants. Abdul Muttalib told the people of Makkah go and hide. Let us go in these valleys and mountains and hide and let us see what happens. As they go into those valleys and caves and they are hiding, the army of Abraha is now reaching the Ka'bah. The people of Makkah, they see a black cloud coming. They tell Abdul Muttalib, this black, ominous cloud is coming.

He is like, okay, that is a good sign. Allah is responding. So, when those soldiers gather, it turns out that this black cloud was not a cloud. It was small birds called 'Abaabil' in Arabic. Small birds, each one carrying three stones, two with its claws and one with its beak. Two, three stones. Tens or hundreds of thousands of them came, and they rained down these stones on Abraha, and the elephants and the soldiers.

Now, the elephants, the Hadith says they refused to go to Makkah. Abraha would push them, they would refuse. But when he would turn them towards Yemen, they would quickly want to move. Subhana Allah! Even the elephants, you know, knew something was going to happen.

So, Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, decimated them. And we have Suratul Fil: "Bismillahi ar-Rahmani ar-Rahim. Alam tara kayfa fa'ala Rabbuka bi as-habi al-feel" (105:1) - 'Do you not see what your Lord did with the people of the Elephant? And then, Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, mentions in the short chapter how he destroyed them.

So, this year was so significant. It was such a big victory for the family of Bani Hashim, for the Arabs who wanted to defend the Ka'bah, that it was known to be 'Aam al-Feel'-'The Year of the Elephant.' Because, remember back then, they did not have calendars, you know, years, so and so. They did not have years for them to document their events. They would go by major events. So, that year came to be known as the Year of the Elephant. And that was the year that the holy Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa alihi, was born [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa aali Muhammad].

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