Abraha was very jealous that the Arabs looked upon the Holy Ka'aba with such honour, he decided to build a huge church in Yemen. When the church was built, he asked the Arabs to leave the Holy Ka'aba and come to his church instead. The Arabs did not listen, which annoyed Abraha.
Once some Arab travellers sheltering in the church lit a fire to keep themselves warm and by mistake burnt the church down. This made Abraha even more angry and he decided to destroy the Holy Ka'aba once and for all.
Abraha marched with a huge army of elephants towards Makkah. He stopped just outside Makkah and sent a few of his people to capture the camels of the Makkans. Of the camels captured, around 200 belonged to Abdul Muttalib.
Abdul Muttalib went with some of his sons to see Abraha. Abraha expected Abdul Muttalib to ask him not to destroy the Holy Ka'aba but instead Abdul Muttalib asked for the return of his camels.
Abraha asked Abdul Muttalib why he was talking about camels when the Holy Ka'aba itself was going to be destroyed. In reply, Abdul Muttalib said: "I am the owner of the camels. The House too has a Master who looks after it." On hearing this, Abraha shook his head and proudly replied: "There is none powerful enough to stop me."
On his return, Abdul Muttalib ordered the people to leave Makkah and go to the hills for safety. He then prayed to Allah to protect them and the Holy Ka'aba from any harm.
The next morning Abraha prepared to march towards Makkah. All of a sudden, a flock of birds appeared from the side of the sea, holding tiny stones in their claws and beaks.
Each bird held three stones and they showered the stones on the army of Abraha in such a way that many men and elephants were soon dead. One of the stones hit Abraha on his head and he was so frightened that he ordered the remaining men in his army to retreat at once.
Many of his men died on the way back and Abraha himself died a painful death. This dreadful and miraculous event is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an in Surah al-Feel, verses 1 - 5:
"In the Name of Allah the most Kindt, the Most Merciful. Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the People of the Elephant? Did He not cause their plan to go astray? He sent down upon them flocks of birds, who showered them with stones of baked clay. So they became like straw eaten up by cattle." (Quran 105:1-5)(Courtesy of:- Shia Ithna asheri Madressa)