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Amu ul-Fil (Year of the Elephant)
Year of the Elephant (عام الفيل), The Year of the Elephant, is the name in Islamic history for the year approximately equating to 570 CE. According to Islamic tradition, it was in this year that Muhammad was born. The name is derived from an event said to have occurred at Mecca: Abraha, the Christian ruler of Yemen, which was subject to the Kingdom of Aksum of Ethiopia, marched upon the Kaaba with a large army, which included one or more war elephants, intending to demolish it. However, the lead elephant known as Mahmud is said to have stopped at the boundary around Mecca, and refused to enter. The year came to be known as the Year of the Elephant, beginning a trend for reckoning the years in the Arabian Peninsula used until it was replaced with the Islamic calendar during the rule of Umar.
An imaginary picture of the invasion, and retreating army of Abraha. Abraha, launched an expedition of forty thousand men against the Ka‘bah at Mecca, led by a white elephant named Mahmud (and possibly with other elephants - some accounts state there were several elephants, or even as many as eight) in order to destroy the Ka‘bah. Several Arab tribes attempted to fight him on the way, but were defeated.
Mecca at the time, the artistic illustration of the boundary wall that Mahmud (lead elephant) might have refused to cross. Some scholars have placed the Year of the Elephant one or two decades earlier than 570 CE, with a tradition attributed to Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri in the works of ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-San‘ani placing it before the birth of Muhammad's father.
Wadi-i Muhassar, where Abraha's army was decimated by Ababīl birds. Wadi (valley) Muhassar (Arabic: وادي محسر) is situated between Mina and Muzdalifah. It is a Sunnah to walk briskly through this area when crossing between the two sites. It is also reported to be the location where the army of Abraha was destroyed as they marched towards Makkah, as mentioned in Surah al-Fil.
A hoopoe from 17th or 18th century manuscript copy of "The Book of Wonders of the Age" (St Andrews ms32(o)). The reference to the story in Qur’an is rather short. According to Surah al-Fil, the next day [as Abraha prepared to enter the city], a dark cloud of small birds named 'Ababil' (Arabic: أَبـابـيـل) appeared. The birds carried small rocks in their beaks, and bombarded the Ethiopian forces and smashed them like "eaten straw".
- Hajjah Adil, Amina, "Prophet Muhammad", ISCA, Jun 1, 2002, ISBN 1-930409-11-7
- "Abraha." Archived 2016-01-13 at the Wayback Machine Dictionary of African Christian Biographies. 2007. (last accessed 11 April 2007).
- Walter W. Müller, "Outline of the History of Ancient Southern Arabia," in Werner Daum (ed.), Yemen: 3000 Years of Art and Civilisation in Arabia Felix. 1987. Archived 2014-10-10 at the Wayback Machine.
- ʿAbdu r-Rahmān ibn Nāsir as-Saʿdī. "Tafsir of Surah al Fil - The Elephant (Surah 105)". Translated by Abū Rumaysah. Islamic Network. Archived from the original on 20 December 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2013. This elephant was called Mahmud and it was sent to Abrahah from Najashi, the king of Abyssinia, particularly for this expedition.
- Marr JS, Hubbard E, Cathey, JT (2015). "The Year of the Elephant". WikiJournal of Medicine. 2 (1). doi:10.15347/wjm/2015.003. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015.
In turn citing: Willan R. (1821). Miscellaneous works: comprising An inquiry into the antiquity of the small-pox, measles, and scarlet fever, now first published; Reports on the diseases in London, a new ed.; and detached papers on medical subjects, collected from various periodical publi. Cadell. p. 488. Archived from the original on 4 September 2015.
- William Montgomery Watt (1961). Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 7.
- Azmayesh, Seyed Mostafa (2015). New Researchers on the Quran: Why and how two versions of Islam entered the history of mankind. United Kingdom: Mehraby Publishing House. p. 262. ISBN 9780955811760.
- Kistler, John M. ; foreword by Richard Lair (2007). "The Year of The Elephant". War elephants. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0803260047. Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. The lead elephant, named Mahmud, stopped and knelt down, refusing to go further.
- The Message 8f The Quran, by Mohammad Asad, Surah 105:2-3.
- Ibid M. Asad, Commentary on Surah 102, see note 2. Lit., "with stones of sijjil". As explained in note  on 11:82, this latter term is synonymous with sijill, which signifies "a writing" and, tropically, "something that has been decreed [by God]": hence, the phrase hijarah min sijjil is a metaphor for "stone-hard blows of chastisement pre-ordained", i.e., in God's decree (Zamakhshari and Razi, with analogous comments on the same expression in 11:82).
- Ibid. As already mentioned in the introductory note, the particular chastisement to which the above verse alludes seems to have been a sudden epidemic of extreme virulence: according to Waqidi and Muhammad ibn Ishaq - the latter as quoted by Ibn Hisham and Ibn Kathir - "this was the first time that spotted fever (hasbah) and smallpox (judari) appeared in the land of the Arabs". It is interesting to note that the word hasbah - which, according to some authorities, signifies also typhus - primarily means "pelting [or smiting"] with stones" (Qamus).
- Al-Qamus Al-Muhit by Muḥammad Ibn-Jaʻqūb al- Fīrūzābādī.
- Ibid. As regards the noun ta'ir (of which tayr is the plural), we ought to remember that it denotes any "flying creature", whether bird or insect (Taj al-'Arus). Neither the Qur'an nor any authentic Tradition offers us any evidence as to the nature of the "flying creatures" mentioned in the above verse; and since, on the other hand, all the "descriptions" indulged in by the commentators are purely imaginary, they need not be seriously considered. If the hypothesis of an epidemic is correct, the "flying creatures" - whether birds or insects - may well have been the carriers of the infection. One thing, however, is clear: whatever the nature of the doom that overtook the invading force, it was certainly miraculous in the true sense of this word - namely, in the sudden, totally unexpected rescue which it brought to the distressed people of Mecca.
- "The birth of El Imam Ali related to the year of the elephant". balaghah.net. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
- Al-Islam, Thiqatu (2015). Al-Kafi (Second ed.). New York: Islamic Seminary Inc. p. 457. ISBN 978-0-9914308-6-4. Archived from the original on 27 October 2017.
- Esposito, John L. (1995). The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World: Libe-Sare. Oxford University Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-0195096149.
- ibn Rashid, Mamar (16 May 2014). The Expeditions: An Early Biography of Muhammad. Translated by Sean W. Anthony. NYU Press. p. 3–5. ISBN 978-0814769638.