Waadi Muhassar is a place between Mina and Muzdalife in Mecca; it was here that Allah destroyed Abrah and his army of elephants. This incident is mentioned in the Surat Feel. Pilgrims are advised to walk fast on this area, like the Prophet (saw) did, since this is a place of punishment from Allah.
Abrah al-Ashram was viceroy of the Negus, king of Abyssinia. He was a Christian who ruled Yemen, building an impressive cathedral in Sana’a made of marble and gilded wood and calling it “Al-Qulays.” He deliberate to divert the Arab pilgrimage to Sana’a. Being a Christian, he envied that the Kaaba should be a place where pilgrims gather, and he wanted this place to be for his church.
Meanwhile, a man from the Banu Kinana tribe entered the church and defecated in it. This enraged Abrah, and he made a fatal mistake when he decided to go with his army to the Kaaba to destroy it.
He went to Mecca with a strong force that included elephants. When the army reached Waadi Muhasar, the largest of the elephants, whose name was Mehmood, sat down and refused to move on. The more he pulled toward the Kaaba, the more he moved back. Oddly enough, when he turned in any other direction (from the Kaaba), he ran in that direction. While they were here, Allah sent little birds with pebbles in their beaks. When they flew over the army of Abrah al-Ashram, the birds released their stones, which devastated the army, as a result of which all they struck fell dead. Some of them collapsed, just seeing this sight, and then they went back to Sana. Abraha’s fate was much worse. When he returned to Sana, his flesh began to dwindle and rot. By the time he reached Sana, his fingers had fallen off, and his body was just a skeleton. It was there that his heart eventually fell, and he died. This incident occurred shortly before the blessed birth of the Prophet (saw).
Referring to this, Allah says in “Suraht’ul feel”: “Have you not seen how your Rabb treated people of elephants? Had He not laid their plans to squander and send birds flying against them, who threw them with clay pebbles, so that they looked (destroyed) like an empty field of stalks (of which the corn has been eaten up by cattle). “[105: 1-5]
After this miraculous event, the fame of the Kaaba spread everywhere, and Arabs came from all parts of the peninsula to visit the Sacred House. It was 571 CE; it was so important to the Arabs that they called it the “Year of the Elephant”.
The Prophet (saw) was born 52-55 days after this event.
Sources: The history of Makkah, Muhammed the last Prophet – Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi