Unknown to most, the entire last 10 selection of Surah’s are actually part of the prayer of Ibrahim a.s In order to understand Surah Feel extensively, I’ll have to first give you a quick overview.
Ibrahim a.s, when he built the Ka’bah, he made Du’a to Allah for a few things.
I’ll highlight two of them; “رَبِّ ٱجۡعَلۡ هَـٰذَا بَلَدًا ءَامِنً۬ا وَٱرۡزُقۡ أَهۡلَهُ ۥ مِنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ”
Let’s understand the 2 parts of this Du’a
1st part: ‘Master! Make this a safe/peaceful city (i.e. Makkah)’ 2nd part: ‘And give them all kinds of fruit’
For any society to prosper, safety is absolutely essential. If your home, your businesses, your money, your family isn’t safe, you can’t and won’t live there.
Also if everything is safe, but you don’t have any means of making money, you can’t feed yourself or you family, so you can’t survive in this case either.
So on the one hand you need safety, and on the other hand you need prosperity. That’s the Idea behind Ibrahim a.s’ Dua’, ‘Provide them all kinds of fruit’
Ibrahim a.s asked that the city around the Ka’bah should be safe, and the one time in history when the safety of Makkah was in question, more than any other time was when an army of The Elephant was coming to crush the city and annihilate it.
It wasn’t just about the city itself; the leader of the army, the Yemeni king Abraha wanted his trade route in Yemen to be the most prosperous. Abraha actually even built a fake Ka’bah to try and bring in religious tourism, so people would also end up travelling to his territory and trade and spend money in his land. He was bent on economic growth, yet to no avail.
Abraha imagined he’d get people from far wide travelling to his markets and stopping by, shopping, trading, businesses to boom and so on, which would mean he would receive more in taxes. Making him wealthier and more powerful.
His plan failed miserably, and he started noticing the economy in Makkah was getting stronger and stronger, all the economic traffic is being pushed towards Makkah, and that they are getting ‘All kinds of Fruit’.
People from all over the place are journeying to Makkah and providing them. Makkah experiences an immensely lucrative economic boom and growth.
This infuriated Abraha. His rage intensified and he set out for war with his huge army, to once and for all crush and decimate the Ka’bah.
So Allah says in Surah Feel; “أَلَمۡ تَرَ كَيۡفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصۡحَـٰبِ ٱلۡفِيلِ” ‘Didn’t you see how your Master dealt with the people of the elephant’
They bought a huge army, including an elephant, an unseen ‘beast’ in the region of Makkah at the time. The Makkan’s had only heard about elephants prior. Yet the prayer of this man, Ibrahim a.s was still answered, after all this time, thousands of years had passed, yet the echoes of his plea to Allah still kept this House, the Ka’bah safe.
Then Allah says, ” أَلَمۡ يَجۡعَلۡ كَيۡدَهُمۡ فِى تَضۡلِيلٍ۬ ” ‘Didn’t HE make their (Abraha’s) scheme lay all to waste?’
What was this scheme? To crush this place Makkah, so they could have their own economic capital. To drive business their way.
Then Allah says ” وَأَرۡسَلَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ طَيۡرًا أَبَابِيلَ” ‘And he sent on them birds.’
‘That would cast on them with stones made up of ‘Sijjeel’ ‘. ” تَرۡمِيهِم بِحِجَارَةٍ۬ مِّن سِجِّيلٍ۬ “
‘Sijjeel’ is, you could say clay. In actual fact it’s not originally an Arabic word. It comes from a couple of Faarsi words “Sangey gil”
Which means stones made from clay. How soil dries up and it makes these small pebbles. That’s what ‘Sijjeel’ is.
Allah ends by saying, “فَجَعَلَهُمۡ كَعَصۡفٍ۬ مَّأۡڪُولِۭ” ‘So he made them like straws eaten up’
Just How ironic is it that, Abraha wanted that he brings food (“fruit”) his way . . . Yet they themselves looked like chewed up food in the end.
This is the irony of the language, “فَجَعَلَهُمۡ كَعَصۡفٍ۬ مَّأۡڪُولِۭ”
Another point, the Idea of straws is, when elephants walk, they crush things and turn them into like straw eaten up.
It’s the elephants that are supposed to crush something, yet they were the ones that became crushed themselves. See the irony? _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Now I’ll give a little something away about the next Surah that follows after Al-Feel, how it beautifully connects together. Surah Feel is about peace, safety and security, whilst Surah Quraysh is about fruits & prosperity.
You find the fulfilment and completion of the Du’a of Ibrahim a.s in these 2 Surahs, Al-Feel and Quraish.
How beautifully things are tied together, you will see in Surah Quraysh.