Surah Al-Feel – Transliteration, Meaning and Hadith

Surah Al-Feel, or ‘The Elephant’ is the 105th chapter of the Holy Quran.  It contains 5 verses that were revealed in Makkah.  The surah appears in the 30th juz and is related to surah Quraish that comes after it.  The story of the companions of the elephant is only mentioned once in the Quran, unlike many other stories that appear many times.

The most famous name of the surah is Al Feel, but it is also known as ‘alum tara’ and ‘alum tara kayfa.’ 

Main theme of Surah Feel

The main topic of the surah is Allah teaching us about His power in destroying the evil plan of the wrongdoers and oppressors.  The plan of those who tried to attack the religion of Allah by attacking its teachings or its holy sanctities.  Allah shows how He alone, without any help, restored the honor and dignity of His religion.

NameAl Feel
MeaningThe Elephant
Number of Verses5
Place of RevelationMakkah
Chapter Number105

Background to Surah Feel

The year in which Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was born is known as “the Year of the Elephant.” This was the year when Mecca was attacked by Abraha, the governor of Yemen who wanted to demolish the Kaaba so the Arabs would come to Yemen to worship at the cathedral he had built.  His army of 60000 was accompanied by elephants. Allah saved the Meccans from his force by sending a flock of birds that hit the invaders with stones of baked clay.

The event took place in the same year that the Prophet (SAW) was born and acted as an introduction to the birth of the Prophet (SAW).  One of the purposes of the surah is to teach the tribe of Quraish with a lesson – that look at how Allah protected the Kaaba from the people that wanted to violate and destroy it.  And if you try to violate and harm the Prophet (SAW), Allah will protect him from you and destroy you.

Surah Feel is related to the surah before. Surah Humazah talks about the loss of a person who gathers and hoards his wealth, who will be thrown into a fire that will be sealed.  Surah Feel then talks about the loss of the one who abused his power and authority. 

Surah Al Feel Arabic Text


  1. Alam tara kaifa fa’ala rabbuka bi ashaabil feel
  2. Alam yaj’al kaidahum fee tadleel
  3. Wa arsala ‘alaihim tairan abaabeel
  4. Tarmeehim bihijaaratim min sijjeel
  5. Faja ‘alahum ka’asfim m’akool

English Translation of Surah Al-Feel

  1. Seest thou not how thy Lord dealt with the Companions of the Elephant?
  2. Did He not make their treacherous plan go astray?
  3. And He sent against them Flights of Birds,
  4. Striking them with stones of baked clay.
  5. Then did He make them like an empty field of stalks and straw, (of which the corn) has been eaten up.

Story of the Elephants in hadith

Al-Muttalib bin ‘Abdullah bin Qais bin Makhramah narrates from his father, who narrates from his grandfather, that he said:

“I and the Messenger of Allah (SAW), were born in the Year of the Elephant” (Tirmidhi)

Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA) “In the year of the Conquest of Mecca, the tribe of Khuza`a killed a man from the tribe of Banu Laith in revenge for a killed person belonging to them in the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance.

So Allah’s Apostle (SAW) got up saying, “Allah held back the (army having) elephants from Mecca, but He let His Apostle and the believers overpower the infidels (of Mecca). Beware! (Mecca is a sanctuary)! Verily! Fighting in Mecca was not permitted for anybody before me, nor will it be permitted for anybody after me; It was permitted for me only for a while (an hour or so) of that day.

No doubt! It is at this moment a sanctuary; its thorny shrubs should not be uprooted; its trees should not be cut down, and its Luqata (fallen things) should not be picked up except by the one who would look for its owner. And if somebody is killed, his closest relative has the right to choose one of two things, i.e. either the Blood money or retaliation by having the killer killed.”

Then a man from Yemen, called Abu Shah, stood up and said, “(Write that) for me, O Allah’s Messenger (SAW)!” Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said (to his companions), “Write that for Abu Shah.” Then another man from Quraish got up, saying, “O Allah’s Messenger (SAW)! Except Al- Idhkhir (a special kind of grass) as we use it in our houses and for graves.” Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Except Al-idhkkir.” (Bukhari)