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Abraha

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Abraha
Well-known As Abraha al-Ashram
Religious Affiliation Christianity
Place of Birth Abyssinia
Place of Residence Abyssinia and Yemen
Death Sixth century AD
Known for Marching to Mecca to destroy the Ka'ba
Notable roles Commander of the army of the elephants, Ruler of Yemen

Abraha (Arabic: أبرهة) or Abraha al-Ashram (Arabic: أبرهة الأشرم) was the king of Yemen and the commander of the army of the elephants who marched to Mecca to destroy the Ka'ba but was defeated by flocks of birds throwing pieces of shale. Abraha later died in Yemen from the injuries he had in that incident.

Abraha was the ruler of Yemen and a follower of Christianity. His motive for destroying the Ka'ba was to react to the disrespect of one of the Yemenis to the church he had built to prevent them from traveling to Mecca. The spread of Christianity and the interests of Rome and Abyssinia were also considered among the other motives of his attack on Mecca.

Introduction

Abraha was from Abyssinia.[1] He lived in the sixth century AD, around the year of the birth of the Prophet of Islam (s).[2] After defeating the Yemenis, Abraha became king there.[3] Abraha was called Ashram (having a split nose and lips) because of the wound he had received on his face during the war.[4] However, in Dala'il al-nubuwwa, his name is recorded as “Abraha b. Ashram”.[5] But, it is said that his father's name was not Ashram,[6] as his father's name is mentioned Sabah in Mu'jam al-buldan.[7]

Abraha was also called Abu Yaksum,[8] “Sahib al-Fil”[9] (the Companion of the Elephant), and Abraha Habashi (Abraha of Abyssinia).[10]

Campaign to Mecca

A panel of Army of Elephants by Isfandyar Ahmadiya

Abraha marched to Mecca with an army of elephants in front of him[11] to destroy the Ka'ba.[12] According to the verses of the Qur'an, flocks of birds appeared in the sky and threw stones at them.[13] The army of Abraha returned to Yemen after the defeat.[14] Abraha was also injured in the incident and died in Yemen after being transferred there.[15]

In Sura al-Fil, the story of the army of the elephants and their destruction by flocks of birds throwing pieces of shale is mentioned.[16]

Motivation to Destroy the Kaaba

Abraha was a follower of Christianity.[17] To prevent the Yemeni Arabs from traveling to Mecca, he built a church in San'a and decorated it with gold and jewelry, and forced them to visit it.[18] The church was called “Qilis”[19] and was built to prevent Arabs from traveling to Mecca.[20] But, one of the Yemenis disrespected this church, so Abraha swore to destroy the Ka'ba.[21] However, the spread of Christianity in the western and southern parts of the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the political and economic interests of Rome and Abyssinia, are considered to be the motives of his attack on Mecca.[22]

Government of Yemen

Abraha was the commander of one of the two armies that the ruler of Abyssinia sent to capture Yemen.[23] Another army was led by a man named Ariat.[24] According to some accounts, only one army was sent to Yemen under the command of Ariat, and Abraha was one of Ariat's corps.[25] After the conquest of Yemen by the Abyssinian army,[26] a war broke out between Ariat and Abraha.[27] Abraha killed Ariat and became the ruler of Yemen.[28]

According to al-Mas'udi, the killing of Ariat angered the king of Abyssinia, who decided to attack with an army and kill Abraha.[29] But, Abraha sent gifts with a letter to the king of Abyssinia, in which, in addition to asking for forgiveness, he declared his loyalty and obedience to the king of Abyssinia.[30] The king of Abyssinia also forgave him.[31]

See Also

Notes

  1. Maqrizī, Imtāʿ al-asmāʾ, vol. 4, p. 68.
  2. Bargnīsī, Abraha. vol. 2, p. 563.
  3. Muqaddisī, al-Bidaʾ wa tārīkh, vol. 3, p. 185.
  4. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 2, p. 129.
  5. Bayhaqī, Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa, vol. 1, p. 117.
  6. Bargnīsī, Abraha. vol. 2, p. 563.
  7. Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī,Muʿjam al-buldān, vol. 3, p. 53.
  8. Dhahabī, Tārīkh al-Islām, vol. 1, p. 164.
  9. Samʿānī, al-Ansāb, vol. 5, p. 200.
  10. Maqrizī, Imtāʿ al-asmāʾ, vol. 4, p. 68.
  11. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 1, p. 67.
  12. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 27, p. 335.
  13. See: Qur'an 105.
  14. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 27, p. 335.
  15. Ibn Qutayba al-Dīnawarī, al-Maʿārif, p. 638.
  16. Quran 105, verses 1-5.
  17. Jawād ʿAlī, al-Mufaṣṣal fī tārīkh al-ʿarab qabl al-Islām, vol. 6, p. 184.
  18. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 1, p. 67.
  19. Ibn Kalbī, al-Aṣnām, p. 46-47.
  20. Ibn Kathīr al-Dimashqī, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 2, p. 170.
  21. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 1, p. 67.
  22. Bargnīsī, Abraha, vol. 2, p. 569.
  23. Ibn Kathīr al-Dimashqī, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 6, p. 306.
  24. Ibn Kathīr al-Dimashqī, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 6, p. 306.
  25. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 2, p. 125.
  26. Yaʿqūbī, Tārīkh al-Yaʿqūbī, vol. 1, p. 200.
  27. Yaʿqūbī, Tārīkh al-Yaʿqūbī, vol. 1, p. 200.
  28. Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 1, p. 41
  29. Masʿūdī, Murūj al-dhahab, vol. 2, p. 52.
  30. Muqaddisī, al-Bidaʾ wa tārīkh, vol. 3, p. 185.
  31. Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 1, p. 42.

References

  • Balādhurī, Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā al-. Ansāb al-ashrāf. Edited by Suhayl Zakār & Riyāḍ al-Ziriklī. 1st edition. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1417 AH.
  • Bayhaqī, Aḥmad b. al-Ḥusayn al-. Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa wa maʿrifat aḥwāl ṣāḥib al-sharīʿa. Edited by ʿAbd al-Muʿṭī al-Qalʿajī. 1st edition. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmīyya, 1405 AH.
  • Bargnīsī, Kāzim. "Abraha", dāʾirat al-maʿārif buzurg-i Islāmī. volume 2. Tehran: Markaz-i Dāʾirat al-maʿārif buzurg-i Islāmī, 1368 Sh.
  • Dhahabī, Muḥammad b. al-Aḥmad al-. Tārīkh al-Islām. Edited by ʿUmar ʿAbd al-Salām al-Tadmurī. 2nd edition. Beirut: Dār al-Kitāb al-ʿArabī, 1409 AH.
  • Ibn Kalbī, Hishām b. Muḥammad. Al-Aṣnām. Tehran:Nashr-i Nu, 1364 Sh.
  • Ibn Qutayba al-Dīnawarī, ʿAbd Allāh b. Muslim . Al-Maʿārif. Edited by Tharwat ʿAkkāsha. Cairo: al-Hayʾat al-Misrīyya al-ʿĀmma li l-Kitāb, 1992 CE.
  • Ibn Kathīr al-Dimashqī, Ismāʿīl b. ʿUmar. Al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1407 AH-1986.
  • Ibn Hishām, ʿAbd al-Malik. Al-Sīra al-nabawīyya. Edited by Muṣṭafā al-Saqā, Ibrāhīm Ābyārī and ʿAbd al-Ḥafīz Shalbī. 1st edition. Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifa, [n.d].
  • Jawād ʿAlī. Al-Mufaṣṣal fī tārīkh al-ʿarab qabl al-Islām. [n.p]: Dār al-Sāqī, 2001.
  • Masʿūdī, ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn al-. Murūj al-dhahab wa maʿadin al-jawhar. Edited by Asʿad Dāghir. 2nd edition. Qom: Dār al-Hijra, 1409 AH.
  • Muqaddisī, Muṭahhar b. Ṭāhir. Al-Bidaʾ wa tārīkh. Port Said: Maktabat al-Thaqāfa al-Dīnīyya, [n.d].
  • Maqrizī, Aḥmad b. ʿAlī. Imtāʿ al-asmāʾ. Edited by Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd al-Namīsī. 1st edition. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, 1420 AH.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimūna. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyya, 1374 Sh.
  • Samʿānī, ʿAbd al-Karīm b. Muḥammad. al-. Al-Ansāb. Edited by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Yaḥyā al-Muʿallimī al-Yamānī. 1st edition. Hyderabad: Majlis Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif al-ʿUthmānīyya, 1382 AH/1962.
  • Ṭabarī, Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-.Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk. Edited by Muḥammad Abu l-faḍl Ibrāhīm. 2nd edition. Beirut: Dar al-Turāth, 1387 AH.
  • Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī. Muʿjam al-buldān. 2nd edition. Beirut: Dār Ṣādir, 1995.
  • Yaʿqūbī, Aḥmad b. Abī Yaʿqūb al-. Tārīkh al-Yaʿqūbī. 1st edition. Beirut: Dār Ṣādir, [n.p].