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In what area of Makkah did the birds (Ababil) throw stones on the army of Abrahah?

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Publication : 07-04-2024

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Question

In which area of Makkah did the birds (Ababil) throw stone on the army of Abraha?

Answer

Praise be to Allah.

Abrahah made preparations to enter Makkah; he mobilised his army and prepared his elephant. Then when he was in Wadi Muhassir, between Muzdalifah and Mina, the elephant knelt down and would not get up to advance towards the Ka‘bah.

It was said that when they made the elephant face towards Makkah, Nufayl ibn Habib al-Khath‘ami came up to the elephant and stood beside it, then he took hold of its ear and said: Sit down, Mahmoud, for you are in the sacred land of Allah. Then he let go of its ear, and the elephant knelt down. Nufayl left, running up to the top of the mountain. They beat the elephant to make it stand up, but it refused. So they struck its head to make it stand up, and it refused. They turned it around as if to go back to Yemen, and it got up and ran in that direction. They turned it to face towards Syria, and it did the same thing; they turned it to face towards the east, and it did the same thing; but when they turned it to face towards Makkah, it knelt down.

Whilst they were like that, Allah, may He be exalted, sent against them birds in flocks from the sea. Each bird was carrying three stones, one in its beak and one in each of its feet; the size of the stones was like the size of chickpeas or lentils. None of the army were struck but his limbs were cut off and he died, but not all of them were struck; those who were spared fled, rushing towards the road by which they had come.

See: al-Lu’lu’ al-Maknun by al-‘Azimi (1/61).

As-Salihi said: When the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) came to the bottom of Wadi Muhassir, he made his she-camel speed up and run quickly. This was his habit in places where the punishment of Allah had come down upon His enemies, and that was the place where there happened to the people of the elephant that which Allah has told us about.

Hence that wadi was called Wadi Muhassir, because the elephant halted (hasara) there and did not proceed any further.

Muhassir is an area between Mina and Muzdalifah; it does not belong to either of them."(Subul al-Huda wa’r-Rashad  8/474).

Al-Fayyumi said: Wadi Muhassir is between Mina and Muzdalifah.

It is named thus because the elephant of Abrahah grew tired there and could not proceed any further, which caused sorrow (hasarat) to its owners."(Al-Misbah al-Munir  1/135).

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A