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November 12, 2007, 12:22 am
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and only then the lot did fall on the camels. 'Abd Allah was saved and
everyone was very happy. 'Abd al-Muttalib however, wanted to make sure
that this was the true result so he repeated the draw three times and
each time it fell on the camels. He then gave thanks to Allah that He
had spared 'Abd Allah's life. The camels were sacrificed and there was
enough food for the entire city, even the animals and birds. 'Abd
Allah grew up to be a handsome young man and his father eventually
chose Aminah, the daughter of Wahb, as a wife for him. It was a good
match for she was the finest of Quraysh's women and 'Abd Allah the
best of its men. He spent several months with his wife but then he had
to leave her and travel with one of the caravans to trade with Syria.
On his way back to Mecca from Syria 'Abd Allah became ill and had to
stop off in Yathrib to recover. The caravan, however, continued on its
way and arrived back in Mecca without him. On hearing of 'Abd Allah's
'Abd al-Muttalib sent another son, al-Hareth, to bring 'Abd Allah back
to Mecca, but he was too late.
When he arrived in Yathrib 'Abd Allah was dead. Aminah was heart-
broken to lose her husband and the father of the child she would soon
give birth to. Only Allah knew that this orphan child would one day be
a great Prophet.
The Elephant Refuses To Move
Abrahah, who came from Abyssinia-a country in Africa-conquered Yemen
and was made vice-regent there. Later, he noticed that at a certain
time of the year large numbers of people would travel from all over
Yemen and the rest of Arabia to Mecca. He asked the reason for this
and was told that they were going on pilgrimage to the Ka'bah. Abrahah
hated the idea of Mecca being more important than his own country, so
he decided to build a church of colored marble, with doors of gold and
ornaments of silver, and ordered the people to visit it instead of the
Ka'bah. But no one obeyed him.
Abrahah became angry and decided to destroy the Ka'bah.
He prepared a large army led by an elephant and set off towards Mecca.
When the Meccans heard that he was coming they became very frightened.
Abrahah's army was huge and they could not fight it. But how could
they let him destroy the Holy Ka'bah? They went to ask the advice of
their leader, 'Abd al-Muttalib. When Abrahah arrived outside Mecca,
'Abd al-Muttalib went to meet him. Abrahah said, 'What do you want?'
Abrahah had taken Abd al-Muttalib's camels, which he had found grazing
as he entered Mecca, so 'Abd al-Muttalib replied, 'I want my camels
back.' Abrahah was very surprised and said, 'I have come to destroy
your Holy Ka'bah, the holy place of your fathers, and you ask me about
some camels?' 'Abd al-Muttalib replied calmly, 'The camels belong to
me; the Ka'bah belongs to Allah and He will protect it.' Then he left
Abrahah and went back to Quraysh and ordered them to leave Mecca and
wait for their enemies in the mountains.
In the morning Abrahah prepared to enter the town.
He put armor on his elephant and drew up his troops for battle. He
intended to destroy the Ka'bah and then return to Yemen. At that
moment, however, the elephant knelt down and refused to get up, no
matter how much the soldiers tried to get it to move by beating it.
But when they turned its face in the direction of Yemen it immediately
got up and started off. In fact, it did the same in any other
direction, but as soon as they pointed it towards Mecca it knelt down
again. Suddenly, flocks of birds appeared from over the sea. Each bird
carried three stones as small as peas and they dropped them on
Abrahah's army. The soldiers suddenly fell ill. Even Abrahah was hit
by the stones and fled in fear with the rest of his army back to
Yemen, where he later died. On seeing their enemy flee the Arabs came
down from the mountains to the Ka'bah and gave thanks to Allah.
After this, Quraysh gained great respect and became known as 'the
people of Allah',
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