Overview - Surah 105: al-Fil (The Elephant)

Naming Convention of the Surah

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This Surah takes its name from the first Ayat, أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصْحَابِ الْفِيلِ "Have you not considered, [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant?" [105:1]. The word "elephant" only appears in this Surah and nowhere else in the Qur'an.

There are 5 Ayat in this Surah.


Total Ayat5
Total Words23
Root Words18
Unique Root Words1
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 19th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 5th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
Physical beating and torture of some Muslims - 1st Migration of Muslims to Abyssinia, Public Invitation to Islam - Persecution of Muslims; antagonism - ridicule - derision - accusation - abuse and false propaganda., Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam ,
Events during/after still to occur*
2nd Migration to Abyssinia, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 1, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 3, Death of Abu Talib - Death of Khadijah - Stoning at Ta'if - al-Isra wal Mi'raj - Night Journey, 1st Pledge of Aqabah, 2nd Pledge of Aqabah, , Migration from Makkah to Madinah - Building of Masjid Nabi in Madinah - Treaty with Jews of Madinah - Marriage of Prophet to Aishah, Change of Qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah - Battle of Badr, Battle of Uhud, , Battle of Ahzab - Expedition of Banu Quraydhah, Treaty of Hudaiybiyah - Letters to Kings and Rulers, , Conquest of Makkah - Battle of Hunain, Hajj led by Abu Bakr - Expedition of Tabuk, Farewell Hajj by Prophet - Death of Prophet - End of Divine Revelation,
Names of Prophets Mentioned
No Prophets names are mentioned in this Surah
Surah Index

Central Theme

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If this Surah is studied in the light of the historical details as given above, one can fully well understand why in this Surah only God’s inflicting His punishment on the people of the elephant has been referred and described so briefly. It was an event of recent occurrence, and everyone in Makkah and Arabia was fully aware of it. The Arabs believed that the Ka’bah had been protected in this invasion not by any God or Goddess but by God Almighty Himself. Then God alone had been invoked by the Quraysh chiefs for help, and for quite a few years the people of Quraysh having been impressed by this event, had worshipped none but God. Therefore, there was no need to mention the details, but only a reference to it was enough so that the people of Quraysh, in particular, and the people of Arabia, in general, should consider well in their hearts the message that the Prophet Muhammad was giving. For the only message that he gave was that they should worship and serve none but God, the Only and One. Then, they should also consider that if they used force to suppress this invitation to the truth, they would only be inviting the wrath of God, Who had so completely routed and destroyed the people of the elephants.

Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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  • Surah al-Fil [105] and al-Quraish [106] - The incident of the Elephant was related to what happened to the tribe of the Quraish and the following Surah is also about the Quraish.

The Virtues of the Surah

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Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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The word "elephant" only appears in this Surah and nowhere else in the Qur'an.

Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat)

Unique Root Words to this Surah only

1 unique root words that do not appear in any other Surah

Top 10 Most Frequent Root Words used in this Surah

Root Word Frequency
in Surah
in Qur'an
ج ع ل 2 346
أ ب ل 1 3
ك ي ف 1 83
ر م ي 1 9
ك ي د 1 35
ف ع ل 1 108
ح ج ر 1 21
ض ل ل 1 191
ر ب ب 1 980
س ج ل 1 4

Period of Revelation

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Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  • An example that Allah can save His house (Al-Ka'bah) by destroying an army of 60,000 with elephants, through a flock of birds. 

Tafsir Zone

Wiki Forum

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Miscellaneous Issues

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