People of the Elephant
(1,261 words)

The phrase in the first verse of q 105 ( Sūrat al- Fīl, “The Elephant”), from which al-fīl (“the elephant”) provides the term by which that sūra is known. The verse is addressed directly to the prophet Muḥammad: “Have you not seen how your lord has dealt with the People of the Elephant ( aṣḥāb al-fīl)?” The short sūra of five verses is early Meccan (see chronology and the qurʾān ) and it describes an expedition in which one of the mounts was an elephant and which was miraculously annihilated by God, who sent flocks of birds against the invading host. The sūra leaves unknown both the identity of the Peo…

Cite this page
Shahīd, Irfan, “People of the Elephant”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 14 November 2018 <>

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