Sūra al-Fīl (Arabic: سورَة الفیل) is the 105th sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura in the 30th juz'. It is called "al-Fil" (the Elephant) because it narrates the story of the Army of the Elephant—people who moved from their land towards Mecca in order to destroy the Ka'ba, but God sent the Flocks of Birds to throw Stones of Shale on them and kill them.
There is a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) about the virtues of reciting this sura, according to which if one recites Sura al-Fil in their daily prayers, then all beings in the world will testify on the Day of Resurrection that they were among those who prayed, and God will accept their testimony and orders that he will be allowed into the Heaven. According to some marja's, if one recites Sura al-Fil in their daily prayers after the recitation of Qur'an 2 (Sura al-Hamd), then it is an obligatory caution to recite Qur'an 106 (Sura Quraysh) as well, because Sura al-Fil and Sura Quraysh count as one and the same sura.
This sura is called "Sura al-Fil" because it narrates the story of the Army of the Elephant. It is also called "Sura Alam Tara" because it begins with the phrase, "alam tara?" (did you not see?).
Place and Order of Revelation
Sura al-Fil is a Makki sura, and in its order of revelation, it is the 19th sura which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (s). In the traditional order of revelation, it is the 105th sura located in the 30th juz' of the Qur'an.
The number of verses and other features
Sura al-Fil has 5 verses, 23 words, and 97 letters. It is a short sura which counts as one of the mufassalat (suras with numerous and short verses). All verses of Sura al-Fil were revealed to the Prophet (s) all at once.
In this sura, God points to the story of the Army of the Elephant who went towards Mecca in order to destroy the Ka'ba, but they were killed by birds of Ababil sent by God. The birds threw stones or clods on the army and killed them. As a result of the attack, people in the army were like chewed meat.
The Occasion of the Revelation
Imam al-Sajjad (a) was quoted as saying about the occasion of revelation of Sura al-Fil that Abu Talib told the Prophet Muhammad (s): 'Have you been chosen by God to call everyone to your religion, or to call your own people only?' The Prophet (s) replied: "I have been chosen to call all human beings to the religion, from the white and the black, the Arab and the Ajam; I call all people who are on mountains and in the seas to this religion; I call the whole Persia and Rome". This remark by the Prophet (s) was transmitted to the Quraysh and surprised them. The Quraysh told Abu Talib: 'Do you not listen to what your nephew says? We swear to God that if people of Persia and Rome hear these remarks, we will be stolen from our lands and the stones of the Ka'ba will be dissembled." It was then that God revealed Sura al-Fil to the Prophet (s).
The Recitation of Sura al-Fil in the Prayer
According to some marja's, if one wants to recite Sura al-Fil in his or her daily obligatory prayers after the recitation of Sura al-Hamd (Qur'an 2), one should take caution and recite Sura Quraysh (Qur'an 106) as well, because they practically count as one and the same sura.
Virtues and Features
There is a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) according to which if one recites Sura al-Fil in one's obligatory prayers, then all things in the world will testify on the Day of Resurrection that he was among those who prayed, and then a voice is heard as saying that 'you have truly testified about My servant; I have accepted your testimony about him. Take him to the Heaven; he and his actions are loved by God'.
There are hadiths in which certain features and effects are attributed to the recitation of Sura al-Fil, such as getting rid of one's enemy, protection against drowning or dying in water.
|For the full text, see text:Sura al-Fil.|
- The material for this article is mainly taken from سوره فیل in Farsi WikiShia.
- Khamagar, Muhammad, Sakhtar-i suraha-yi Qur'an-i karim, Mu'assisa-yi Farhangi-yi Qur'an wa 'Itrat-i Nur al-Thaqalayn, Qom: Nashra, ed.1, 1392 Sh.