Christian Churches of God

No. Q105



Commentary on the Koran: Surah 105 “The Elephant”


(Edition 1.5 20180601-20201229)



A Very Early Beccan Surah warning the Beccans of God’s Intervention when they least expect it.


Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright © 2018, 2020 Wade Cox and Alan Brach)


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Commentary on the Koran: Surah 105 “The Elephant”

Pickthall Translation; Bible Quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.



Al-Fil “The Elephant” takes its name from a word in the first verse. It is a Very Early Beccan Surah. The text refers to the advance of the Abyssinians of the Himyarite kingdom in Yemen under Abrahah in ca 570 CE (at the year of the birth of the Prophet).  Tradition says that at the last stages of the march the elephants refused to continue, perhaps from the insects. The idolaters claim that flying creatures pelted the Abyssinians with stones. Another tradition says that they retired after an outbreak of smallpox (or other disease) occurred among the Abyssinians. That is probably the reality. Dr. Krenkow considers they were swarms of insects carrying infection. This was held to be the salvation of the Ka’bah which the Abyssinians intended to destroy. This view shows the failure of the Beccans to fully understand the danger of the Ka’bah as an idolatrous object in its own right.


105.1. Hast thou not seen how thy Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant?

105.2. Did He not bring their stratagem to naught,

105.3. And send against them swarms of flying creatures,

105.4. Which pelted them with stones of baked clay,

105.5. And made them like green crops devoured (by cattle)?


The mention of the destruction of that great army by Allah by use of tiny flying creatures was to convey a warning to the pagan tribes that Allah could similarly destroy them if they conspired to destroy His Prophet.


So also the tribes of A’ad and Thamud and all those empires that succeeded them were destroyed. They considered them as strong and invincible but against the might of the Almighty God they stood no chance of survival.


Refer to:

Job 5:12 in Commentary on the Koran: Surah 29 (No.Q029) at ayat 4 and Proverbs 21:30 in Commentary on Koran: Surah 30 (No. Q030) at ayat 27.


Psalm 33:10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.


Job 9:4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and prospered? (ERV)


Psalm 33:16 The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.


Exodus 15:4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.


Deuteronomy 3:1-3 Then we turned and went up the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 2But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.’ 3So the LORD our God gave into our hand Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people, and we struck him down until he had no survivor left.


Judges 8:28 So Midian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they raised their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.


2Kings 19:35 And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.


2Chronicles 32:21 And the LORD sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword.


Acts 12:23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.