Sīrah – [4] The Story of the Elephants [Simplified for Children]

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Today you will learn about the best man that ever lived. We already know that the prophets were the best from all the people. But our Prophet Muhammad (ṣallāllāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam) was the best from all the prophets. He was the most special person chosen by Allah.

Our Prophet Muhammad (ṣallāllāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam) is the best and his story is also the best from all the prophets! By reading his story, we will learn how the best person ever lived!

The Story of the Elephants 

50 or 55 days before our Prophet Muhammad (ṣallāllāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam) was born, the story of the elephants happened. It became a very famous story. It was such an amazing story that Allāh talked about in the Qur’an!


There was a person called Abraha who was in charge of Yemen. He saw that all the people would go to Makkah every year to see the Ka’bah. He would see all the people go round and round the Ka’bah. He became jealous and made a plan. 

He made a very big church in a place called Sanʿā’. Sanʿā’ was the capital of Yemen. He wanted all the people to come to his church and not go to the Ka’bah. 

He did all this because he was jealous.

We learn that becoming jealous makes you do bad things. We should never become jealous of anyone because whatever another person has is from Allāh. We should be happy with whatever Allāh gives us and be happy with whatever Allāh gives other people. 

The Church

When the church was built, someone went inside the church and made it dirty. Some people say that a person put the church on fire. 

When Abraha found out what had happened, he became very angry. He made a promise that he would destroy and break the Ka’bah. 

The Army

He had a very strong army. He had something which no one had. He had elephants. He got his army ready and started going to Makkah. 

Some people tried to stop him but they could not. 

When Abraha and his army got close to Makkah, they found camels which belonged to Abdul Muṭṭalib. They stole all of his 200 camels. 

The People of Makkah

Abdul Muṭṭalib was the leader of Makkah. He was also the grandfather of our prophet. When he heard that the army was coming, he called all the people. 

Because he was the leader, he was in charge of looking after the Ka’bah. He told all the people to leave Makkah and hide. He told them that no one will be able to destroy the Ka’bah because it is the house of Allāh. Allāh will protect His own house. 

Abraha sent someone to call Abdul Muṭṭalib. He sent a message saying that he did not want to hurt anyone. He just wanted to destroy the Ka’bah. 

Abdul Muṭṭalib went to see Abraha. Abdul Muṭṭalib was someone who everyone was scared of. When Abraha saw Abdul Muṭṭalib, he got off his throne out of respect. 

They both started talking. Abdul Muṭṭalib asked him about the camels he stole. Abdul Muṭṭalib never said anything about the Ka’bah. 

Abraha was shocked. He said, “I want to destroy the Ka’bah and your worried about your camels!”

Abdul Muṭṭalib said, “I am the owner of my camels and Allāh is the owner of His house. Allāh will protect His house.”

Abraha told his army to give Abdul Muṭṭalib his camel’s back. He took his camels and came back to Makkah. 

He told all the people to go somewhere else because army was going to attack. 

The Attack

Abdul Muṭṭalib took a few people with him and went to the Ka’bah. They all made dua to Allāh to protect the Ka’bah. 

After they finished, they went and hid in the mountains. 

Abraha marched with his army towards the Ka’bah. The elephant he was sitting on suddenly stopped. Everyone tried to make it go forward but it wouldn’t move. 

The Birds

All of a sudden, small birds began to appear from the sky. Each bird had a pebble in its beak and a pebble in each claw. So every bird had three pebbles. 

The birds dropped the pebbles on the Abraha and the elephants. 

Even though the pebbles were so small, they went right through the soldiers and the elephants!

The pebbles destroyed everything. The whole army could not go forward. 

Imagine that small birds won a fight with big elephants! Allāh was teaching everyone a lesson. Allāh was telling everyone how strong and powerful He is. Allāh was showing everyone that He can do anything he wants. 

Abraha and the army started to go back to where they came from. Some of them died and fell down. Abraha became ill and blood started coming out of his body. His body started falling apart bit by bit. And soon there was nothing left. 

This was how Allāh protected the Ka’bah!

It is because of this amazing story; this year was called: “The Year of the Elephant”. Our Prophet Muhammad (ṣallāllāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam) was born in “The Year of the Elephant”.

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