Surah Feel 105:1:
الْفِيلِ أَصْحَابِ بِ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ كَيْفَ تَرَ أَلَمْ
Alam tara kayfa fa’AAala rabbuka bi- as-haabi al feel
Have you not seen , [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant ?
As-haab al Feel.
Allah did not say aRbaab or aMlaak (the owners/masters) of the Elephant/s. He said as-haab, which means Companions.
Saahib can be a categorical statement, i.e. You are like those who you are companions (as-haab) with.
1 – So these people are called As-haab al Feel = Elephant people.
Allah is humiliating them and implying that these people are like animals, like elephants. In their morals and etiquettes – they have a lack of understanding and intellect (‘aql).
2 – Whenever there is companionship between two people;
it is said; lil adwanu innahoo saahib ul a’la – the lesser one is the companion of the higher one.
i.e. If there are 2 men, the one who has less skills than the other will be called the saahib (companion), and the higher skilled one will be called the higher one.
i.e. Allah’s Messenger is higher than the companions (sahaba), and this is why – they are called sahaba and Allah’s Messenger is not called a Sahabi/companion of his companions.
So these people in Abraha’s army are called the companions (as-hab) of the Elephant. It is like Allah is implying that the elephant/s are of a level higher than these people in the army!
So they are the elephants’ companions’, while the elephants are the higher ones!
وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ ۖ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لَّا يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آذَانٌ لَّا يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ
And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like livestock; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless. [al A’raf 7:179]