Interpretation of the Quran- Surat Al-Fil (105)- Lesson (1-1)- Verses [1-5]: The story of the owners of the Elephant and the wisdom of it

1985- 07- 05

Surat Al- Feel affirms Surat Al-Humazah:

 Dear brother, the Surah of today is Surat Al-Fil, Allah the Almighty says:
 In The Name Of Allah,The Most Gracious,The Most Merciful

"1-Have you (O Muhammad) not seen how your Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant?* * Did He not make their plot go astray?* And He sent against them birds, in flocks,* Striking them with stones of Sijjil (backed clay).* And He made them like (an empty field of) stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle)."

(Al-Fil, 105:1-5)

*{The Elephant army which came from Yemen under the command of Abraha Al-Ashram intending to destroy the Ka'bah at Mecca].
 And Allah the Almighty says in Surat Al-Humazah:

"1-Woe to every slanderer and backbiter.* Who has gathered wealth and counted it."

[Al-Humazah, 104:1-2]

 Allah the Almighty has threatened the disbelievers with the Fire's torture, and the surah of Al-Fil came to affirm this threatening, and this will happen definitely on the Day of Resurrection, because a type of destruction was sent to a people who dared to disobey Allah, then He destroyed them,thereupon, He made this Surah (Al-Fil) as a confirmation of Surah Al-Humazah, Allah the Almighty says::

"1-Have you (O Muhammad[Peace be upon him]) not seen how your Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant? {The Elephant army which came from Yemen under the command of Abraha Al-Ashram intending to destroy the Ka'bah at Mecca]."

[Al-Fil, 105:1]

 The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was born fifty days after this event the event of the Elephant, when Abraha Al –Ashram (An Abyssinian [Ethiopian] leader ) came to destroy the Ka'bah,and that time, the Prophet hadn't been born yet, the address is directed to the Prophet [may Allah bless him and grant him peace], so how Allah the Great and Almighty says to the Prophet about a thing that he didn't see it: Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant?
 Man receives his earliest knowledge through hearing and sight:
 Some scholars said: "Have you not seen",here, means have not you known? So as long as the two phrases have the same meaning, " why has Allah said ":Have you not seen"?instead of have you known?.
 This is because man, in fact, receives the early (first ) information through his hearing and sight. Allah the Almighty says:

"-And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your msh3er while you know nothing.And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah)."

(An-Nahl, 16:78)

 The first thing which man receives from the outer world is the sounds through his ear,therefore, most of the Qur'anic ayat which speak about the hearing and sight, start by the hearing because it precedes the sight, and if a baby who was just born(a newly-born baby) heard a sound of anybody (or anything) he /she responses to this sound immediately,but if you put your hand in front of his eyes, they wouldn't blink but after three days of his birth.you start to receive the information by your hearing firstly, then by your sight secondly, and the scientists called this knowledge "the sensory knowledge or perception", this is to denote to a thing that you have heard or seen, although it precedes the sight, the sense of hearing still weaker than the sense of sight, this means that the thing that you see, doesn't need to proof, but what needs the proof,is what you hear, you describe who tells you something either a truthful or a liar (or honest or dishonest) so, what you see in your eyes became the top degree of confirmation of the facts.
 Our master Ali (May Allah honor him) said: " it is just (the distance of ) four fingers between the truth and falsehood", between your saying: I heard and I saw, Allah the Almighty says:

"And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your msh3er while you know nothing.And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah)."

[Al-Nahl, 16:78]

Human is distinguished by deductive knowledge:

 The commentators of the Noble Quran said: the hearts,here, mean the mind, or the brain, or the thought. Man has perceptions which include all what he sees with his eye, hears with his ear, tastes with his tongue, smells by his nose, touches by his hand..etc, and also he has deductive reasoning (lore, knowledge), he obtains the information and facts from raw data that the perceptions give.
 Therefore, having the deductive information beside the sensory perception is what distinguishes man from the animal and this is what our Lord, the Exalted and Glorious, has called the sure knowledge, while the certainty of sight means to see a thing. Serially, there is sight, hearing then deduction; you see a smoke then you say: no smoke without a fire, you deduce from the smoke that there is a fire.
 According to certainty and verification, the knowledge obtained by the sight is the top of these facts, is it reasonable that the informing about this event ( the event of Al-Fil [the Elephant]) from Allah has lesser degree of certainty than the sight? This means that when Allah, the Great and Almighty, tells you about something, you should take (accept, believe) it exactly as if you see it, because of its certainty. For this reason, Allah has not said: haven't you known or haven't you heard, but He said:" Haven't you seen", because that what Allah tells you about is,of its certainty and confirmation, at the level of sight…

"Have you not seen"

 According to the eloquent science of the Arabic Language, the Phrase "Have not" in the Arabic language is (A-Lam), (Lam) here is an apocopate, turning, negative particle, a turning particle because it turns the tense of the verb from the present to the past, i.e. 'have not you seen' means: you saw what happened in the past by your eyes (because when Allah informs you about something, it is as if you see it by you own eyes). Another thing: 'A' in "A-Lam" is a questioning particle which carries the meaning of negation, also 'Lam" is a negation particle so there is a negation to the negation which means the affirmation. So:

"have not you seen"

 Means you saw it for sure.

Allah has narrated stories in the Quran to be lessons for us:

 The story, as it was mentioned in the books, is that Abraha Al-Ashram, the king of Abyssinia (the former name of Ethiopia) was a Christian, and he wanted to build ka'bah in Sana'a like the K'abah in Mecca, in order that the people come(visit) to it (Sana'a ) instead of Mecca , and he built it. It happened that a Bedouin heard about that alleged ka'bah , he came to it , and evacuated inside it , the king raged and intended to destroy the real Ka'bah , he prepared a great army for this mission and directed to Mecca.
 Actually, this is a long story with some additions which could be true or false, that army was primarily composed of the elephants , an army of elephants, leaded by a great elephant. Before reaching Mecca , Abraha wanted to meet its leader , Abdul Muttalib [the grandfather of the Prophet(may Allah bless him and grant him peace)] and the leader of the army , Abraha, had taken(seized) two hundred camels belong to Abdul Muttalib , when he met him, he (Abdul-Muttalib) didn't speak with him about the Ka'bah at all , but he asked him to return his camels back to him , and that was what surprised Abraha greatly ,"I came to destroy your Ka'bah and your religion , the place that all the Arabs come to you to visit it , then you say to me: return my camels back to me!!" Abraha said , " I am the lord (owner) of these camels , but the House has its own Lord Who is sure to protect it. 'Abdul Muttalib replied , upon that, Allah sent birds , in flocks, weak birds , threw them (the army) with stones , and killed all the army , the great elephant that leaded that army, refused to head to the Ka'bah , whenever it was directed to Ka'abah, it sat on the ground (or stops), and whenever it was directed to Sana , it ran.
 Narrated Al-Miswar ibn Makhrama and Marwan: (whose narrations attest each other) Allah's Messenger set out at the time of Al-Hudaibiya (treaty), and when they proceeded for a distance, he said, "Khalid bin Al-Walid leading the cavalry of Quraish constituting the front of the army, is at a place called Al-Ghamim, so take the way on the right." By Allah, Khalid did not perceive the arrival of the Muslims till the dust arising from the march of the Muslim army reached him, and then he turned back hurriedly to inform Quraish. The Prophet went on advancing till he reached the Thaniyya (i.e. a mountainous way) through which one would go to them (i.e. people of Quraish). The she-camel of the Prophet sat down. The people tried their best to cause the she-camel to get up but in vain, so they said, "Al-Qaswa' (i.e. the she-camel's name) has become stubborn! Al-Qaswa' has become stubborn!" The Prophet said,

"Al-Qaswa' has not become stubborn, for stubbornness is not her habit, but she was stopped by Him Who stopped the elephant."

(Al-Bukhari)

 In fact, this is a story , but any story that is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an has definitely ever living great significance , so all the stories that were mentioned in the Qur'an , are not just stories to bring enjoyment the listeners or to pass the time of leisure , which is the aim of the writers of stories , but when Allah narrates a story , He wants it to be an everlasting example for all generations.

Attributing the action to Allah directly without any means:

 Abraha wanted to attack the K'abah, the Sacred House of Allah:

"Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Mecca), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-'Alamin (mankind and jinn)."

(Al-Imran, 3:96)

 So, this is the Sacred House of Allah, and when Abraha wanted to destroy it, Allah repelled his attack. By the way, it is well known that the fire burns and the sword cuts because Allah has made a cause for everything , He has created a reason for every event, He has created the universe and its laws, and the deeds happen according to these laws and through them , but Allah the Almighty could create burning without fire ,for example, there are many cases that death happened because the heart stopped, or the nervous system stopped working , so there are many causes of death, on the other hand, it could happen without any reason, our Lord the Great and the Almighty says:

"Have you (O Muhammad[Peace and blessing be upon him]) not seen how your Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant?"

[Al-Fil, 105:1]

 This deed is attributed to Allah, which is on the contrary to ordinary laws, when you say: the birds carried the germs of smallpox , and they afflicted the army with , this is the direct deed of Allah , and it isn't subject to our laws and the laws of universe , this is like when the sea turned into ground under the feet of Prophet Musa [Moses] , and when the fire did not burn Prophet Ibrahim(Abraham), Allah the Almighty says:

"-We (Allah)said:"O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibrahim(Abraham)!"

(Al-Anbiya', 21:69)

 Everything happens in this world has its own rules, laws and principles, but sometimes ,when the deeds are attributed, they are attributed to Allah , The Great and Almighty, as He is the Creator (Causer) of reasons (or causes), but if you attribute the deed directly to Allah without existing of causes , this is regarded a breach (break) of the laws of universe.

The destruction of the owners of the Elephant is an everlasting lesson:

 The scholars of tawhid (those who study the Oneness of Allah)said that the fire doesn't burn but by Allah's Will and Leave , they summed up their whole belief in this word:By it, not because of it , this is means that the fire doesn't burn except at the existing of Allah's Will ,just when He will that this fire should burn, it burns. And when Allah wants that the fire burns a person , it does that, this is a well known thing for all mankind. As regards those who wanted to destroy the Ka'bah , if Allah had wanted that Quraish fights and defeats them, it would have been an ordinary thing (case), an attack which was repelled , but He wanted that He Who crushes this campaign , because they attacked His House (Ka'bah), for this reason, Allah has wanted this destruction to be a lesson for all mankind till the end of the world.

" Have you (O Muhammad[Peace be upon him]) not seen how your Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant?"

 The scholars said: the Prophet [may Allah bless him and grant him peace] was born in the year of Elephant (the year in which this story happened or occurred),and naturally ,there were people lived to see these events , and when the Prophet was sent , they were very old , so if this event didn't happen at all, or happened but in another way, they would deny this story and said: Muhammad is lying , but Allah , Who is the Most Honest One, told a story that these people saw by their eyes

"Haven't you seen"

 Which means the year of the Elephant, that people knew it before and after the Prophet, for this reason Allah the Almighty says:

" Haven't you seen how ,…"

 However, why didn't Allah say: Haven't you seen 'what' Allah did with the owners of the elephant? And why was it replaced by "how"? what is meant is to know the way how this thing happened , to realize that Allah owns everything and everything is in His Hand ,and when He wants anything just He says: "Be! " –and it is. This happens according to the reasons or causes.

Some of Allah's deeds break the universe laws:

 If man asks Allah to make him rich, will he find one hundred thousand pounds under his pillow ? surely no, Allah will inspire him how he should do to earn money , and by the time , he becomes rich , so Allah enriches him according to the laws and courses that He put , and this is a very well- known thing to everybody. On the other hand, there is a kind of Allah's Deeds that doesn't work in this manner, for example, a man marries a woman then they have a baby , Allah created a womb , two ovaries , two tubes , sperms swim in semen , such two hindered and fifty million sperms head to the ovary where the ovum (or egg) exists , then this ovum chooses just one of these sperms, the strongest one to fertilizes it, then after it be fertilized , it divides into ten thousand parts at its way to the uterus to sticks to it , then the cells begin to divide and become larger, an primary design of the brain is created , then the guts , then the organs , then the heart and as such this manner, the embryo grows , after nine months and ten days , it comes out to the world , this is the way that Allah created , this is the greatest law , the law of reproduction , but sayyidina Adam was created without a father or mother , contrary to this rule (way) , and Eve was created from no mother, and Prophet Isa (Jesus) was created just from mother , and man may get married but Allah makes him sterile , while all of us have fathers and msh3er , according to these facts and laws. Actually, Allah, according to a deep wisdom, created Adam from no father and no mother, created Eve from no mother, created Prophet Isa (Jesus) from no father , and made whom He wills a sterile although they have the conditions (causes) of reproduction , but why? It is to know , you the man, that marriage isn't enough to produce children , but it is inevitably the Creator of the causes (Allah) when His Will exists , therefore, Allah the Almighty says:

"He is the First (nothing is before Him) and the Last (nothing is after Him, and the Most High (nothing is above Him) and the Most Near ( nothing is nearer than Him). And He is the All- Knower of everything."

(Al-Hadid, 57:3)

 He is the Most High (the Manifest) , the Most Near (the Hidden); the meaning of: 'the Manifest ' is when He makes things clear to you, while the meaning of: ' the Hidden' is when something happens without a cause, so Who has created that cause? He is Allah the Almighty. Hence , in medicine, according to scientific researches, there is something called the self healing, which the medicine is still unable to give an explanation of it , how did this patient be healed? Nobody knows , it is a self healing , but it is more suitable to say: the Hand (the Power) of Allah caused this healing (recovery) , He is Able to heal with and without a medicine. Also, as regards knowledge , you can't acquire it but when He wills, Allah the Almighty says:

"-…,And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills."

(Al-Baqarah, 2: 255)

This Surah encompasses a threat to Quraish, and reassuring to the Prophet:

 Sometimes Allah gives a scientist a hint or a tip about something which enables him to discover it. An creative (innovative) approach happens serially , premise , result then it becomes a fact , this discovery happens through premises , causes, evidences and notes and the like , but the fact (reality) can be discovered completely without any premise. So ,in this subject, most of the Deeds (Works) of Allah , the Exalted and Glorious , in this universe are according the laws of the universe , He enriches and impoverishes (pauperizes) by certain causes , He gives and denies by another causes , man's body can be healthy with some causes and also can be sick with another causes. On the other hand, he may be sick or may become rich with no reason, nevertheless, Allah doesn't do all of this but according to perfect wisdom , to teach us about something. Also, if Quraish fought Abraha and defeated him, this war wouldn't be a Sign among Allah's Signs ,rather it would be an ordinary war , where one party (group) triumphs over the other , but Allah wanted to run this war by Himself , to crush that campaign , because it dared to try to harm His Sacred House , which if one enters it, he feels secure and safe , Allah the Almighty says:

"In it are manifest signs , the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim(Abraham); whosoever enters it , he attains security. And Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) to the House o(ka'bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision and residence): and whoever disbelieves(i.e. denies Hajj , then he is a disbeliever of Allah), then Allah stands not in need of any of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)."

(Al-Imran, 3:-97)

 As if there are a threat and blame to Quraish in this Surah, also it encompasses assurance for the Prophet , may Allah bless him and grant him peace, which means: O Muhammad don't be afraid , you are My Messenger , and this House is Mine , and Abraha had previously came to destroy it , and I took retribution from him , so don't worry , I Am with you , I will support you , this is one meaning.

This ayah has two meanings:

 Allah the Almighty:

"Have you (O Muhammad[Peace be upon him]) not seen how your Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant?"

1-Those who oppose you should learn a lesson from Abraha:

 Those who oppose you to extinguish Allah's Light , those who plot against you to drive you out from your home, to kill you , to imprison you, they should learn a lesson from Abraha and his hosts, this is the first meaning.

2-Allah blames whom He protected from Abraha, yet they still disbelieve:

 The second is: Allah the Exalted and Glorious , reproaches those whom He protected from that invasion , and yet they disbelieve in His Messenger.

" Haven't you seen"

 It means how? How did that happen? According to the known rules and laws, is it possible that a bird carried a stone? It , maybe, hardly carried it , but how could those birds destroy an army like Abraha's army, completely? These birds which can 't fly alone because of their weakness and fear, but they fly in groups ( in flocks), those birds threw stones upon that army to make it like the eaten stalks , is it possible ?.

" haven't you seen?"

 What I want to explain is that "Haven't you " is used to negative the negation (in Arabic) , and the negating of the negation means affirmation , it means: your Lord dealt with the owners of Elephant , and (Haven't you seen) means an information (notification) from Allah, which it is at the highest degree of certainty , and you should take it as if you see it. Like when you say: Worship Allah as if you see Him, but since you do not see Him you should know that He sees you.

You should believe for sure whatever Allah informs you:

 You should believe everything which Allah informs you about with absolute certainty as if you see it by your own eyes ,for this reason Allah sometimes uses the past tense instead of the future tense (in Arabic language) , Allah the Almighty says:

"-And (remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection):"O Isa (Jesus) , son of Maryam (Mary)! Did you say unto men:' Worship me and my mother as two god besides Allah?' " He will say:"Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right (to say).Had I said such a thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in my inner –self though I do not know what is in Yours; truly , You only You, are the All-Knower of all that is hidden (and unseen).*"Never did I say to them aught except what You (Allah) did command me to say:' Worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord.' And I was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when you took me up, You were the Watcher over them; and You are a Witness to all things."

(Al-Mai'dah, 5:116-117)

 This event has not happened yet, also Allah the Almighty says:

"And those who kept their duty to their Lord (Al-Muttaqun) will be led to Paradise in groups , till , when they reach it , and its gates will be opened (before their arrival for their reception) and its keepers will say:"Salamun Alaikum (peace be upon you) ! You have done well , so enter here to abide therein."

(Az-Zumar, 39:73)

Using the present tense instead of the past tense affirms the occurrence:

 Allah mentioned all these scenes in the past tense (this is in the Arabic version of Qur'an) , and if we use the past tense instead the future tense, we use it to give an affirmation (inevitability) of occurrence , so whatever Allah promises to happen , it is as if it has really occurred , Allah the Almighty says:

"Is he whom We have promised an excellent promise (Paradise)—which he will find true---like him whom We have made to enjoy the luxuries of the life of (this) world, then on the Day of Resurrection, he will be among those brought up (to be punished in the Hell-fire)?"

(Al-Qasas, 28:61)

 Therefore, if one is a believer , and I hope all of us to be believers, and he waits Allah's promise with Paradise , he feels as if he entered it.

"Is he whom We have promised an excellent promise (Paradise)—which he will find true---like him whom We have made to enjoy the luxuries of the life of (this) world, then on the Day of Resurrection, he will be among those brought up (to be punished in the Hell-fire)?"

(Al-Qasas, 28:61)

 One of the noble Companions , because of his great belief in his Lord's Saying, said: "and as if I see the people of Paradise how they enjoy, and the people of Hell how they cry" this was when the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked him: How were you this morning? (or what did you feel this morning?) , and he answered , after the Prophet listened his answer , he said: 'a slave that Allah has lit his heart by belief , you have acquired the (real )knowledge , so adhere to it.'
 When you see a student who he is a lazy , you feel that he will be at the lowest class (grade, rank) in society , although he is still a student, his present state denotes his future.

The meaning of ' Lord':

 The word "Seen" means that you should consider all what Allah informs you about as if you see it , the Prophet didn't see that by his eyes..but Allah told him , and no one can say about this: No , this didn't happen at all , because the Prophet saw old people who saw this event and how Allah dealt with the owners of the Elephant by their very eyes ,then Allah said after "seen" how ,

"Haven't you seen how"

 How , here, is a direct intervention without any cause (mean) because the House is His House , and Allah took upon Himself its security and protection.

"-Have you (O Muhammad[Peace be upon him]) not seen how your Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant?"

 As regard the phrase "(your Lord)", Allah didn't say , haven't you seen how did Allah , or the God , or the All-Strong, but He said:' your Lord', This means that Allah take care of you and you are under His Protection ,' you are under Our Eyes'. So, the word "Lord" suggests tenderness, affection and mercy , the Lord (Ar-Rabb in Arabic) is the Supporter, the Supplier , Who manage the affairs , and resolves the problems , this is the Lord.
 We, perhaps, use this word (Rabb) in our daily life such as (Rabb ul –Osra)= the paterfamilias or householder , what does this word mean? Can the paterfamilias forget his family's needs? If his son gets ill, would he leave him without any care? No , surely, he takes him to the doctor , he raises his family and provides al what they need, and he takes care about their bodies and souls with guidance all the time.
 This is the small conception of (rabb) , but the Lord of Al-'Alamin (mankind and jinn and all that exists) the Lord of all worlds is He Who sponsors every creature , He provides all what he (it) needs , food, drink, garment..etc, and all what he (it) needs from guidance, care, treatment..etc,.

The plan of Allah foils the plot of the unbelievers:

 Allah called the attempt of those who came to destroy the Ka'bah , the plot

"Did He not make their plot go astray?"

[Al-Fil, 105:2]

What does plot mean?

 We deal with our matters in life with two ways: by challenge (by confronting the problem) or by plotting , if one is strong enough and confident , he doesn't plot , but he faces and challenges his enemy directly, who does plot? The weak person , he plots a plan against his strong opponent (or enemy), hence Allah the Almighty says:

"Verily, they are but plotting a plot(against you O Muhammad{Peace be upon him}).*-And I (too) am planning a plan."

(At-Tariq, 86:15-16)

 But Allah's Plotting isn't of the same kind of theirs , out of their weakness they plot , but Allah the Exalted and glorious, defends His believing servants, the faithful, so He plots a counter plan to foil their enemy's plot , Allah the Almighty says:

"Verily, they are but plotting a plot(against you O Muhammad{Peace be upon him}).*-And I (too) am planning a plan."

[ At-Tareq, 86:15-16]

 And He says too:

"They were plotting and Allah too was plotting; and Allah is the Best of those who plot."

(Al-Anfal , 8: 30)

 Then, Allah's Plotting is a frustration of their plans and plots.
 You cannot say: Allah is a Plotter , this is a management against their plots.

"Verily, they are but plotting a plot(against you O Muhammad{Peace be upon him}).*-And I (too) am planning a plan."

[At-Tareq, 86:15-16]

"They were plotting and Allah too was plotting; and Allah is the Best of those who plot."

(Al-Anfal , 8: 30)

Allah defends His Awliya and the believers:

 Defending His Awliya' (the pious righteous people) , those who love Him and all the believers, He plots a plan to frustrate their enemy's plots. This is what Allah meant in His Saying:

"Did He not make their plot go astray?"

 Abraha attempted to destroy the Ka'bah , to divert people to Sana' , as if this Ka'bah is made by the tribe of Quraish (while in fact it is the House of Allah), and it brings to them many gains and the like.

"Did He not make their plot go astray?"

 Go Astray means that they didn’t achieve their purpose and their attempt was in vain.
 How did He do that? By sending birds in flocks, weak birds.
 Man, sometimes, dies from a blow (hit) by a strong man, but if he dies by the hit of weak person, his death be associated (attended) with a dishonor (or affront). It is just like the Arabic proverb: "if only I was slapped by a noble lady, not a slave!!"
 Sometimes garbage truck crushes man , it is a real disaster , if another vehicle did this, it would be little worse , a destruction with dishonor is the great disaster.

"And He sent against them birds, in flocks,"

[Al-Fil, 105:3]

 The weakest birds , just if Allah destroyed them with a frightening predatory birds like falcons or eagles , or ferocious monsters.. it would be rather accepted.
 But:

"birds in flocks, "

 Their death was by the slightest cause ,
 Nothing happens randomly: "Striking them with stones of Sijjil (backed clay)."
 Some commentators of the Noble Qur'an said: stones of Sijjil means every kind of stone made of hard clay , and sh3er said: it means that the name of every soldier was written on a stone, ( it was specifically designed for him), this means there wasn't any stray bullet ,it strikes the target very accurately according to the Allah's plan , the mistake in the firing happens with the men, but the firing that is managed by the Devine Planning has no mistake at all.

"And He sent against them birds, in flocks,* Striking them with stones of Sijjil (backed clay).* And He made them like (an empty field of) stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle)."

(Al-Fil, 105:3-5)

 This is the Qur'anic way in choosing the most polite words , Al-Asf( eaten –not excreted- stalks) is the dung (droppings)of the cattle ,this is when the animal eats grass or any fodder then it excretes some parts of it, and this description depicts the extreme of weakness and dishonor.

"And He made them like (an empty field of) stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle)."

 Which means an eaten food that appeared in the excrement or in the dung

Affliction is general while Mercy is particular:

 Allah the Almighty says:

"And He sent against them birds, in flocks,* Striking them with stones of Sijjil (backed clay).* And He made them like (an empty field of) stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle)."

(Al-Fil, 105:3-5)

 And there is another similar ayah , Prophet Ibrahim(Abraham) said when the Messengers of Allah (here, the angels) came to him:

"-[Ibrahim(Abraham)] said:"Then for what purpose you have come , O Messengers?"* They said:"We have been sent to a people who are Mujrimun (polytheists, sinners, criminals, disbelievers in Allah)* To send down upon them stones of baked clay.* Marked by your Lord for the Musrifun (polytheists, sinners, criminals---those who trespass Allah's set limits in evil –doings by committing great sins)"

(Adh-Dhariyat,51:31-34)

 Marked, means everyone's name is written on a stone , this stone kills that one , and that for this one, in order that nobody says: by Allah , it is a bewildering thing, the disaster (catastrophe) hits the obedient and disobedient , No, the disaster is general and the mercy is specific (or special) Allah the Almighty says:

"So We brought out from therein the believers.* But We found not there any household of the Muslims except one [of Lut(Lot) and his two daughters].* And We have left there a sign (i.e. the place of the Dead Sea in Palestine) for those who fear the painful torment."

(Adh-Dhariyat, 51:35-37)

Everything happens in the universe is an absolute good:

 The first step is bringing out the believers and Muslims , then the destruction happened, our Lord the Great and Almighty commits no wrong (mistake); there is no stray bullet or fault and nothing happens by chance in the sights of Allah.
 Once, a person applied for a job , they asked him to bring a health certificate and X ray test, he went to hospital to have a chest X ray, then after couple days, the result was negative , he has tuberculosis at its early stage , he informed his family, they applied, so to speak, the quarantine , they got away from him, the separated him, he should eat alone, no one should use his dish , towel..etc, he retired , he felt loss and black fait waits him , he suffered painfully , cried , got despaired of life , but a glimmer (ray) of hope lit in his soul that Allah may cure him , so he returned to Allah with repentance , performed the five prayers. Then his father went to that hospital , they found that they gave him a wrong result, they made a mistake (error), they gave him the result of testing another person, so he was originally healthy and had no problem, but they (the doctors) , by mistake , gave him another result, so, their mistake is rightness to Allah, because He brought him back to Him by this way. Thus, man makes mistake , but Allah doesn't , and sometimes one's error is employed for benefit of another one , so, when Allah allowed that incident to happen , it is ,even not entirely ,definitely good , relative good; for example, having the abdomen incised is not a good thing in general but it is good for whom complains severe pains in his appendix in order to remove it , in another words, it is a relative good , the absolute good is not to need have this operation at all. Then, everything happens in this universe is good. Allah the Almighty says:

"Say (O Muhammad[Peace be upon him]):"O Allah! Possessor of the kingdom, You give the kingdom to whom You will, and You take the kingdom from whom You will, and You endue with honor whom You will , and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do all things."

(Al-Imran, 3:26)

 The endowment is good, and also the deprivation. The honor is good and the humiliation is good too. everything is good. Allah the Exalted and Glorious doesn't preordain to His servants but what is good for them.

"And He sent against them birds, in flocks,* Striking them with stones of Sijjil (backed clay).* And He made them like (an empty field of) stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle)."

The story mentioned in the Qur'an is a profound lesson:

 Allah the Almighty says:

"And He sent against them birds, in flocks,* Striking them with stones of Sijjil (backed clay).* And He made them like (an empty field of) stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle)."

(Al-Fil, 105:3-5)

 This short surah is called a story, because it is a whole event, this Devine Story is a profound lesson at the end; do not fear your miscreant enemy , because Allah is Greater than him.

"Have you (O Muhammad[Peace be upon him]) not seen how your Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant?"

 Also, Allah the Almighty says:

"O Messenger (Muhammad[Peace be upon him]) !Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not convoyed His Message. Allah will protect you from mankind. Verily, Allah guides not the people who disbelieve."

(Al-Ma'idah, 5:67)

 And He says:

"So put your trust in Allah; surely , you (O Muhammad[ Peace be upon him]) are on manifest truth."

(An-Naml, 27:79)

 If you want to be the strongest man , so put your trust in Allah, if you want to be the most honorable man; fear Allah (be pious) , and if you want to be the richest one , so be more confident in that which is in Allah's Hand than in that which is in your own hand.
 Why did Allah do that with the owners of the Elephant? Why did He make their plot go astray? Why did He send against them birds in flocks ,striking them with stones of Sijjil and He made them like( an empty field of) stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle)? (you should know the wisdom behind that)