Download PDF:  S105 V001 Tafseer of Ahlus Sunnah تفسیر اھل السنۃ

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصْحَابِ الْفِيلِ ﴿١﴾

O dear Prophet (Muhammad – peace and blessings be upon him), have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the People of the Elephant?

 

Tafsir al-Tabari                                                             تفسیر الطبری

أَلَمْ تَنْظُرْ يَا مُحَمَّدُ بِعَيْنِ قَلْبِكَ، فَتَرَى بِهَا {كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصْحَابِ الْفِيلِ} [الفيل: 1] الَّذِينَ قَدِمُوا مِنَ الْيَمَنِ يُرِيدُونَ تَخْرِيبَ الْكَعْبَةِ مِنَ الْحَبَشَةِ وَرَئِيسِهِمْ أَبْرَهَةَ الْحَبَشِيِّ

i.e. did you not see, O Muhammad, with the eyes of your heart how your Lord dealt with the People of the Elephant, those that had come from Yemen to bring destruction to the Ka’bah with their Abyssinian leader Abraha?

 

Tafsir Al-Tabari (Tafsir Ibn Jareer / Jame’ al-Bayaan fi Taweel al-Quraan) of Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jareer al-Tabri t D. 310 A.H.

 

Tafsir al-Baghawi                                                        تفسیر البغوی

وَكَانَتْ قِصَّةُ أَصْحَابِ الْفِيلِ عَلَى مَا ذَكَرَهُ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِسْحَاقَ عَنْ بَعْضِ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بن  جُبَيْرٍ وَعِكْرِمَةُ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ وَذَكَرَهُ الْوَاقِدِيُّ:

أَنَّ النَّجَاشِيَّ مَلِكَ الحبشة كان قد بعث أرياطا إِلَى أَرْضِ الْيَمَنِ فَغَلَبَ عَلَيْهَا، فَقَامَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الْحَبَشَةِ يُقَالُ لَهُ أَبْرَهَةُ بْنُ الصَّبَاحِ أَبُو يَكْسُومَ  ، فَسَاخَطَ أَرْيَاطَ فِي أَمْرِ الْحَبَشَةِ حَتَّى انْصَدَعُوا صَدْعَيْنِ وَكَانَتْ طَائِفَةٌ مَعَ أَرْيَاطَ وَطَائِفَةٌ مَعَ أَبْرَهَةَ فَتَزَاحَفَا فَقَتَلَ أَبْرَهَةُ أَرْيَاطَ.

Imam Ibn Ishaq reported the incident of the people of elephant from the scholars; such as, Sayyiduna Sa’eed ibn Jubair, ‘Ikramah – from Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them, and Imam Waaqidi has also narrated it.

Najjashi, the king of Abyssinia, had appointed Aryat on Yemen, and he was victorious.  An Abyssinian soldier, by the name of Abraha ibn al-Sabah, forced Aryat to step down until they were split into two groups; one with Aryat and the other with Abraha.  They fought against each other and Abraha killed Aryat.

 

وَاجْتَمَعَتِ الْحَبَشَةُ لِأَبْرَهَةَ وَغَلَبَ عَلَى الْيَمَنِ وَأَقَرَّهُ النَّجَاشِيُّ عَلَى عَمَلِهِ، ثُمَّ إِنَّ أَبْرَهَةَ رَأَى النَّاسَ يَتَجَهَّزُونَ أَيَّامَ الْمَوْسِمِ إِلَى مَكَّةَ لِحَجِّ بَيْتِ اللَّهِ، فَبَنَى كَنِيسَةً بِصَنْعَاءَ وَكَتَبَ إِلَى النَّجَاشِيِّ: إِنِّي قَدْ بَنَيْتُ لَكَ بِصَنْعَاءَ كَنِيسَةً لَمْ يُبْنَ لِمَلِكٍ مَثَلُهَا، وَلَسْتُ مُنْتَهِيًا حَتَّى أَصْرِفَ إِلَيْهَا حَجَّ الْعَرَبِ، فَسَمِعَ بِهِ رَجُلٌ مِنْ بَنِي مَالِكِ بْنِ كِنَانَةَ فَخَرَجَ إِلَيْهَا مُسْتَخْفِيًا فَدَخَلَهَا لَيْلًا فَقَعَدَ فِيهَا وَتَغَوَّطَ بِهَا وَلَطَّخَ بِالْعُذْرَةِ قِبْلَتَهَا، فَبَلَغَ ذَلِكَ أَبْرَهَةَ فَقَالَ: مَنِ اجْتَرَأَ عَلَيَّ وَلَطَّخَ كَنِيسَتِي بِالْعُذْرَةِ فَقِيلَ لَهُ: صَنَعَ ذَلِكَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الْعَرَبِ مِنْ أَهْلِ ذَلِكَ الْبَيْتِ سَمِعَ بِالَّذِي قُلْتَ فَحَلَفَ أَبْرَهَةُ عِنْدَ ذَلِكَ لِيَسِيرَنَّ إِلَى الْكَعْبَةِ حَتَّى يَهْدِمَهَا.

The Abyssinians elected Abraha as their leader and he ruled over Yemen.  Najjashi appointed him on this position.  Abraha saw the people preparing to visit Makkah Mukarramah during the Hajj season for the pilgrimage of Allah’s House.  He therefore built a church in Sana (capital of Yemen) and wrote to Najjashi, “I have built a church for you in Sana, that no king has ever built anything like it before, and I will not stop until I turn the direction of Arab pilgrims towards it.”  When a man of the tribe “Malik ibn Kenanah” heard this, he secretly entered the place in the night and answered the call of nature in it and scattered the feaces all over their Qiblah.  When Abraha was informed about it, he said, “Who had the audacity to dirty my church?”  He was then informed that an Arab from Makkah Mukarramah overheard what he had said.  Abraha then took an oath at the time that they (he, along with his army) will go on expedition to Ka’bah and destroy it.

 

فَكَتَبَ إِلَى النَّجَاشِيِّ يُخْبِرُهُ بِذَلِكَ وَسَأَلَهُ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ إِلَيْهِ بِفِيلِهِ، وَكَانَ لَهُ فِيلٌ يُقَالُ لَهُ مَحْمُودٌ وَكَانَ فِيلًا لَمْ يُرَ مِثْلُهُ عِظَمًا، وَجِسْمًا وَقُوَّةً، فَبَعَثَ بِهِ إِلَيْهِ فَخَرَجَ أَبْرَهَةُ مِنَ الْحَبَشَةِ سائرا إلى مكة، وأخرج مَعَهُ الْفِيلُ

He wrote to Najjashi, informing him about it and asked him to send his elephant to him.  He had an elephant by the name of Mahmood.  It was so gigantic that people had never seen an elephant of its size before.  He sent the elephant to him so Abraha came out of Abyssinia and travelled to Makkah and took the elephant along with him.

 

فَسَمِعَتِ الْعَرَبُ بِذَلِكَ فاستعظموه وَرَأَوْا جِهَادَهُ حَقًا عَلَيْهِمْ، فَخَرَجَ مَلِكٌ مِنْ مُلُوكِ الْيَمَنِ يُقَالُ لَهُ ذُو نَفَرٍ بِمَنْ أَطَاعَهُ مَنْ قَوْمِهِ، فَقَاتَلَهُ فَهَزَمَهُ أَبْرَهَةُ وَأَخَذَ ذَا نَفَرٍ، فَقَالَ: أَيُّهَا الْمَلِكُ لَا تَقْتُلَنِي فَإِنَّ اسْتِبْقَائِيَ خيرا لَكَ مِنْ قَتْلِي فَاسْتَحْيَاهُ وَأَوْثَقَهُ، وَكَانَ أَبْرَهَةُ رَجُلًا حَلِيمًا ثُمَّ سَارَ

When the Arabs heard about it, it bothered them, so they felt it was righteous to fight them.  Hence, a king amongst the kings of Yemen by the name of Dhu Nafar came out to fight but Abraha defeated him and captured him.  He said to Abraha, “O king, please do not kill me, for my retention will work out better for you than my murder.”  So, he felt sorry for him and believed him.  Abraha was a tolerant man.  He then advanced on his journey.

 

ثُمَّ إِنَّ أبرهة بعث حناطة الحميري إلى أهل مكة، فقال: سَلْ عَنْ شَرِيفِهَا ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَا أُرْسِلُكَ بِهِ إِلَيْهِ، أَخْبِرْهُ أَنِّي لَمْ آتِ لِقِتَالٍ إِنَّمَا جِئْتُ لِأَهْدِمَ هَذَا الْبَيْتَ، فَانْطَلَقَ حَتَّى دَخَلَ مَكَّةَ فِلَقِيَ عَبْدَ الْمُطَّلِبِ بْنَ هَاشِمٍ، فَقَالَ: إِنَّ الْمَلِكَ أَرْسَلَنِي إِلَيْكَ لِأُخْبِرَكَ أَنَّهُ لَمْ يَأْتِ لِقِتَالٍ إِلَّا أَنْ تُقَاتِلُوهُ، إِنَّمَا جَاءَ لِهَدْمِ هَذَا الْبَيْتِ ثُمَّ الِانْصِرَافِ عَنْكُمْ، فَقَالَ عَبْدُ الْمُطَّلِبِ: مَا لَهُ عِنْدَنَا قتال ولا له عندنا إِلَّا أَنْ نُخَلِّيَ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ مَا جَاءَ لَهُ، فَإِنَّ هَذَا بَيْتُ اللَّهِ الْحَرَامُ وَبَيْتُ خَلِيلِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ، فَإِنْ يَمْنَعْهُ فَهُوَ بَيْتُهُ وَحَرَمُهُ، وَإِنْ يُخَلِّ بينه وبين ذلك فو الله ما لنا [به] قوة إلا به

Abraha then sent Hanatah al-Hameeri to the people of Makkah Mukarramah as his messenger and instructed him to ask for the leader of Makkah Mukarramah to deliver his message.  The instruction was to inform their leader that Abraha has not come here to fight with them, but he has come to demolish this House (Ka’bah shareef).  He left, and upon entering Makkah Mukarramah, he met Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib ibn Hashim (the leader of Quraish) and said, “The king has sent me to inform you that he has not come here to fight, unless you start the fight.  He has come here to demolish this House, and then he will leave.”  Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib – may Allah be pleased with him – said, “We also do not wish to fight.  We will not put any obstacle between him and his way to the Ka’bah.  It is Allah’s Sacred House built by His Khaleel Ibrahim – peace be upon him.  So, if Allah does not stop him from approaching His House then we certainly are not in a position to stop him.”

 

قَالَ لِتُرْجُمَانِهِ قُلْ لَهُ: مَا حَاجَتُكَ إِلَى الْمَلِكِ فَقَالَ لَهُ التُّرْجُمَانُ ذَلِكَ، فَقَالَ عَبْدُ الْمُطَّلِبِ: حَاجَتِي إِلَى الملك أن يرد إلي مِائَتَيْ بَعِيرٍ أَصَابَهَا لِي، فَقَالَ أَبْرَهَةُ لِتُرْجُمَانِهِ قُلْ لَهُ: لَقَدْ كنت أعجبتني حين رأيتك، ولقد زَهِدْتُ فِيكَ، قَالَ عَبْدُ الْمُطَّلِبِ: لِمَ قَالَ: جِئْتُ إِلَى بَيْتٍ هُوَ دِينُكَ وَدِينُ آبَائِكَ وَهُوَ شَرَفُكُمْ وَعِصْمَتُكُمْ لِأَهْدِمَهُ لَمْ تُكَلِّمْنِي فِيهِ وَتُكَلِّمُنِي فِي مِائَتَيْ بَعِيرٍ أَصَبْتُهَا قَالَ عَبْدُ الْمُطَّلِبِ: أَنَا رَبُّ هَذِهِ الْإِبِلِ وَإِنَّ لِهَذَا البيت ربا سيمنع عنه من يقصده بسوء، قَالَ: مَا كَانَ لِيَمْنَعَهُ مِنِّي، قَالَ: فَأَنْتَ وَذَاكَ

(Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib – may Allah be pleased with him – approached Abraha) Abraha said to his interpreter, “Ask him, what brings him to the king?”  The interpreter asked him that.  Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib replied, “I request you to return my 200 camels.”  Abraha said, “When I saw you, you appeared to be a good person but now I have changed my opinion about you.”  Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib asked, “And why is that?”  He replied, “I came to destroy the Ka’bah which is your religion and the religion of your forefathers and your honour and dignity but instead of talking to me about that, you are asking me to return these 200 camels?!”  Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib – may Allah be pleased with him – replied, “I am the owner of these camels, and this house has its own Owner who will stop whoever intends any evil towards it.”  Abraha said, “He cannot save it from me.”  He then said, “Its between you and Him.”

 

فَأَمَرَ بِإِبِلِهِ فَرُدَّتْ عَلَيْهِ، فَلَمَّا رُدَّتِ الْإِبِلُ إِلَى عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ خَرَجَ فَأَخْبَرَ قريشا الخبر الذي وقع بينه وبين أبرهة، وَأَمَرَهُمْ أَنْ يَتَفَرَّقُوا فِي الشِّعَابِ ويتحرزوا في رؤوس الْجِبَالِ تَخَوُّفًا عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ مَعَرَّةِ الجيش فيهم، فَفَعَلُوا وَأَتَى عَبْدُ الْمُطَّلِبِ الْكَعْبَةَ وَأَخَذَ بِحَلْقَةِ الْبَابِ وَجَعَلَ يَقُولُ:

He gave an order for his camels to be returned to him, and when the camels were returned to Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib – may Allah be pleased with him, he left.  He (Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib – may Allah be pleased with him) disclosed to Quraish whatever had transpired between him and Abraha and instructed them to take shelter in the valleys and mountain tops, so that they can be saved from any harm approaching them from the army.  They followed as they were told and Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib came to the Holy Ka’bah and grabbed the chain of its door saying (O Allah! Surely a man defends his own home, therefore, You should protect Your Own House. Their cross and their wrath can never overcome Your wrath. O Allah help Your Own people against the fellows of the cross and its worshippers).

 

ثُمَّ تَرَكَ عَبْدُ الْمُطَّلِبِ الْحَلْقَةَ وَتَوَجَّهَ فِي بَعْضِ تِلْكَ الْوُجُوهِ مع قومه، وأصبح بأبرهة بالمغمس قد تهيأ للدخول وهيأ جَيْشَهُ وَهَيَّأَ فِيلَهُ ، وَيُقَالُ كَانَ مَعَهُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ فِيلًا، فَأَقْبَلَ نُفَيْلٌ إِلَى الْفِيلِ الْأَعْظَمِ ثُمَّ أَخَذَ بِأُذُنِهِ فَقَالَ: اُبْرُكْ مَحْمُودُ وَارْجِعْ رَاشِدًا مِنْ حَيْثُ جِئْتَ فَإِنَّكَ فِي بَلَدِ اللَّهِ الْحَرَامِ، فَبَرَكَ الْفِيلُ فَبَعَثُوهُ فَأَبَى.

Sayyiduna Abdul Muttalib – may Allah be pleased with him – then released the chain and went back to organize his people.  Abraha prepared to enter Makkah Mukarramah in the morning.  He prepared his army and his elephant.  It is said that he had twelve elephants with him.  (A man by the name of) Nufail went to the biggest elephant and grabbed him by his ear and said, “Sit down Mahmood and return to wherever you came from, for you are in the sacred city of Allah.”  The elephant sat down. They tried their best to get him up, but he did not get up.  They even hit the elephant on its head with an axe, but he still refused to stand.

 

فَوَجَّهُوهُ رَاجِعًا إِلَى الْيَمَنِ فَقَامَ يُهَرْوِلُ، وَوَجَّهُوهُ إِلَى الشَّامِ فَفَعَلَ مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ، وَوَجَّهُوهُ إِلَى الْمَشْرِقِ فَفَعَلَ مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ، فَصَرَفُوهُ إِلَى الْحَرَمِ فَبَرَكَ وَأَبَى أَنْ يَقُومَ، وَخَرَجَ نُفَيْلٌ يَشْتَدُّ حَتَّى صَعِدَ في أعلا [الْجَبَلِ]

وَأَرْسَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ طَيْرًا من البحر أمثال  الْخَطَاطِيفِ مَعَ كُلِّ طَائِرٍ مِنْهَا ثَلَاثَةُ أَحْجَارٍ حَجَرَانِ فِي رِجْلَيْهِ وَحَجَرٌ فِي مِنْقَارِهِ أَمْثَالُ الْحِمَّصِ والعدس.

When they faced him towards Yemen he got up and walked swiftly and when they turned him towards Syria, he behaved in the same manner and when faced him towards the east, then again, he did the same but when they turned him towards Makkah Mukarramah he sat down and refused to get up.  Nufail ran away and climbed up the cliff.

Allah Almighty sent Ababeel birds upon them from the ocean.  Every bird carried three stones, the size of chickpea or lentil; two in their claws and one in their beak.

 

وَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ عَلَى أَبْرَهَةَ دَاءً في جسده فجعل تتساقط منه أَنَامِلُهُ كُلَّمَا سَقَطَتْ أُنْمُلَةٌ اتَّبَعَتْهَا مِدَّةٌ مِنْ قَيْحٍ وَدَمٍ، فَانْتَهَى إِلَى صَنْعَاءَ فِيمَنْ بَقِيَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِهِ، وَمَا مات حتى انصدع صدره من قَلْبِهِ ثُمَّ هَلَكَ.

Allah Almighty afflicted a disease upon Abraha in his body which caused his fingers to break and fall off.  His blood spilled for a while until he reached Sana with his remaining companions and at last, his chest got torn apart by his heart and then he died.

 

Tafsir al-Baghawi (Ma’aalim al-Tanzeel) of Muhiyy al-Sunnah Imam Abu Muhammad Al-Husain ibn Mas’ood al-Baghwi al-Shafe’I t D. 510 A.H.

 

Tafsir al-Kabeer                                                                                                 التفسیر الکبیر

وَهُوَ إِشَارَةٌ إِلَى أَنَّ الْخَبَرَ بِهِ مُتَوَاتِرٌ فَكَانَ الْعِلْمُ الْحَاصِلُ بِهِ ضَرُورِيًّا مُسَاوِيًا فِي الْقُوَّةِ وَالْجَلَاءِ لِلرُّؤْيَةِ

It is to denote that the news was Mutawatir (in a manner that all the narrators are unanimous in reporting it with the same words without any substantial discrepancy), so the knowledge derived from a Mutawatir source obviously validates its authenticity and clarification as one seeing the event himself.

 

Tafsir al-Kabeer (Mafateeh al-Ghaib) of Imam Fakhruddin Muhammad ibn Umar al-Raazi al-Shafe’i t D. 606 A.H.

 

Tafsir al-Jalalain                                                                                                                        تفسیر الجلالین

{أَلَمْ تَرَ} اِسْتِفْهَام تَعَجُّب أَيْ اِعْجَبْ {كَيْف فَعَلَ رَبّك بِأَصْحَابِ الْفِيل} هُوَ مَحْمُود وَأَصْحَابه أَبَرْهَة مَلِك الْيَمَن وَجَيْشه بَنَى بِصَنْعَاء كَنِيسَة لِيَصْرِف إِلَيْهَا الْحَاجّ عَنْ مَكَّة فَأَحْدَثَ رَجُل مِنْ كِنَانَة فِيهَا وَلَطَّخَ قِبْلَتهَا بِالْعَذِرَةِ اِحْتِقَارًا بِهَا فَحَلَفَ أَبَرْهَة لَيَهْدِمَنَّ الْكَعْبَة فَجَاءَ مَكَّة بِجَيْشِهِ عَلَى أَفْيَال الْيَمَن مُقَدَّمهَا مَحْمُود فَحِين تَوَجَّهُوا لِهَدْمِ الْكَعْبَة أَرْسَلَ اللَّه عَلَيْهِمْ مَا قَصَّهُ فِي قَوْله

Have you not considered (an interrogative meant to provoke marvel, in other words, ‘marvel at’) the way in which your Lord dealt with the Men of the elephant i.e. Mahmood, and the people of the elephant were Abraha, King of Yemen, and his troops. He had built a church in Sana in order to divert pilgrims away from Makkah Mukarramah and then redirect them to his church. A man from the tribe of Kenanah defecated in it and stained its prayer niche.  In response to it, Abraha then swore oath that he would demolish the Ka‘bah. So he approached Makkah Mukarramah with his troops riding Yemeni elephant Mahmood but when they turned to destroy the Holy Ka‘bah, Allah Almighty unleashed upon them what He relates in His words…. (Next verse)

 

Tafsir al-Jalalain of Imam Jalaaluddin Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Mahalli al-Shafe’i t D. 864 A.H. and Imam Jalaaluddin Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr al-Suyooti al-Shafe’i t D. 911 A.H.

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