Significance Behind Prophet Mohammad`s Birth in the Year of the Elephant

Author : An Article by the Secretary General Dr. Ahmad Al-Hassanat

Date Added : 10-11-2019

Significance Behind Prophet Mohammad`s Birth in the Year of the Elephant



The birth of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has opened a new page in the history of humanity and the world as his divine message illuminated the darkness of the universe.


Humanity was stumbling in darkness and injustice where polytheism and apostasy prevailed, random killing spread, prosecution, and ignorance reached their peak. Therefore, a major event had to happen to change the course of history and end the violation of human dignity, so Allah the Almighty sent Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).


Usually, major events are introduced by other major events that make them stand out. I will refer to one particular event that paved the way for the emergence of this great Prophet (PBUH). It is known as the event of the elephant in which Abraha, the Abyssinian, Christian ruler of Yemen, marched upon the Ka'bah in Mecca with a large army, which included one or more war elephants, intending to demolish it. The Ka`bah wasn`t for the Arabs of the peninsula alone. Rather, it was for all the followers of Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail (PBUT). The miracle, here, is that Allah the Almighty defended His House. 'Abdul-Muttalib said to Abraha, "The Owner of this House is its Defender, and I am sure He will save it from the attack of the adversaries and will not dishonor the servants of His House." Abraha advanced with his army. Seeing the walls of the Ka'bah, he ordered its demolition. No sooner had the army reached near the Ka'bah than an army of Allah appeared from the western side. A dark cloud of small birds (known in Arabic as Ababil) overshadowed the entire army of Abraha. Each bird had three pebbles: two in its claws and one in its beak. A rain of the pebbles poured down from the birds, and in a few minutes, the whole army was destroyed. Abraha himself was seriously wounded; he fled towards Yemen but died on the way. It is to this important event that Allah refers in Chapter 105 "Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the companions of the Elephant? Did He not make their treacherous plan go astray? And He sent against them birds in flocks, striking them with stones of baked clay, so He rendered them like straw eaten up."


Was that event a mere coincidence or did it have a certain significance? From my point of view, I believe that Allah the Almighty wanted to associate the birth of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) with that event. Had that event not taken place, none would have known the time the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was born. Before his birth, the Arabs used to date with major events, so Allah the Almighty wanted the year in which the Prophet (PBUH) was born to be marked with a major event to be remembered by all people afterwards, and this is the first aim behind the above miracle. 


As for the event of the elephant, Allah wanted to show the Arabs in particular and the people in general that it is  a prelude to a greater event; namely, the birth of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). In addition, Allah the Exalted wanted the people to go back to His righteous path, search for the secret of existence and the truth about the creation. When the Arabs failed to fight the army of Abraha, the pagans gave up on their idols, the world was almost certain that they will be defeated and the K`abah destroyed, they turned to Allah alone in supplication.


All those miracles brought the glad tidings of Prophet Mohammad`s birth. He conveyed the true religion of Allah the Almighty to humanity, so that they have no excuse to deny his Prophethood. Just as Allah saved His Ancient House from the army of Abraha and his elephants, He the Almighty saved humanity by sending Mohammad (PBUH) as bringer of glad tidings and warner.


His birth (PBUH) has marked the birth of a new era and the revival of a new nation. A nation distinguished for its knowledge, scientific and cultural advancement, mercy, pride and dignity.


"It is He Who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it)."{As-Saf, 9}. Indeed, Allah will proclaim His religion over all religion regardless of enemies` countless attempts to destroy it and distort its luminous image. Once we unite and hold on to the rope of Allah, as the Arabs did at the time of Abraha`s attempt to destroy the Ka`bah, He the Exalted will bless us with defeating our enemies