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Allah’s Birds and the (Ex)-Israeli Freighter

Iran invokes Koranic imagery following attack on formerly-Israeli owned freighter in the Indian Ocean

Israel and Iran are engaged in an escalating naval conflict. Photo: Shutterstock

It was the pro-Iranian TV station Al Mayadeen that first highlighted yesterday’s attack on a ship in the Indian Ocean. The Lebanese broadcaster reported that the Israeli freighter had been attacked with "unknown weapons.” It was later reported that the ship’s owners were no longer Israeli.

About 50 minutes later, a Twitter account closely linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard tweeted the third verse from Sura 105, which is called "The Elephant,” Al-Fīl: “And he sent flocks of birds over them.” The two verses before that read: “Do you not see how your master dealt with the people of the elephant? Did He not let their cunning get lost and send birds against them in flocks one after the other, which pelted them with stones of burning clay, and made them look like eaten stalks?”

"And he sent flocks of birds over them."

This verse explains that Allah defeated the “elephant army” with the so-called flock of birds called Ababil. These birds fired fireballs from the air at the enemies, defeating these enemies who intended to destroy Islam’s holiest site. In Islam, these “birds in herds” are referred to in the Koran as the protectors of the Kaaba in Mecca. For this reason, a number of Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles bear the name Ababil, including those used by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Ababil – flock of birds

Just as the Bible plays a role in Israel's politics, it is the same in the Islamic world with the Koran. Incidentally, the description in the Koran of the flock of birds is related to the biblical annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah, where it says: "And God let sulfur and fire rain down on Sodom and Gomorrah from heaven.” In Arabic the word siggil is used, which was originally part of a pre-Koranic Arabic retelling of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

These Ababil birds are now an Iranian weapon from heaven against all those who threaten the Kaaba in Mecca. From an Iranian point of view, this includes not only Israel, but also the Sunnis and Saudi rule over Mecca.

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