Qur’an Stories: Habil and Qabil


And (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him» recite to them (the Jews) the story of the two sons of Adam (Habil and Qabil) in truth; when each offered a sacrifice (to Allah), it was accepted from the one but not from the other. The latter said to the former: “I will surely kill you.” The former said: “Verily, Allah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” “If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you: for I fear Allah, the Lord of the `Alamin (mankind, jinn, and all that exists).” “Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours, then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire; and that is the recompense of the alimin (polytheists and wrong-doers);” So the Nafs (self) of the other (latter one) encouraged him and made fair-seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers; Then Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him to hide the dead body of his brother; He (the murderer) said: “Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother?” Then he became one of those who regretted}. 5:27-31

Narrated As-Sadiy on the authority of Abu Malik and Abu Salih after Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) and on the authority of Ibn Mas`ud and other Companions that Adam (Peace be upon him) used to get the male brought by one birth married to the female brought by the other. Hence, it was supposed that Abel would get married to Cain’s sister who was better and more beautiful than anyone else. At the same time, Cain wanted to keep her for himself. Adam (Peace be upon him) ordered him to allow’ Abel to marry her, but he totally refused. Then, Adam (Peace be upon him) ordered both (Abel and Cain) to offer a sacrifice to Allah Almighty. Meanwhile, Adam set forth towards Mecca to perform Pilgrimage. Just before leaving, Adam tried to entrust (the affairs of) his children to the heavens, the earth and finally to the mountains, but all declined to shoulder the (heavy) trust. Thereupon, Cain accepted the trust and after Adam went away they (Abel and Cain) offered their sacrifices to Allah. Abel offered a fat she-goat, while Cain offered a bundle of bad plants. Later, a fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice offered by Abel and left untouched that of Cain. Cain became livid with rage and said to his brother: I will kill you so as not to marry my sister, Abel said: {Verily, Allah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious)}.

‘Abdullah Ibn `Amr (May Allah be pleased with both of them) said: By Allah! The murdered (Abel) was stronger (than the murderer, Cain), but he refused to stretch his hand against his brother to kill him due to his piety and God-fearing. Abu Ja`far Al-Baqir mentioned that Adam (Peace be upon him) was present there when they offered their sacrifices. After Abel’s sacrifice was accepted, Cain said to his father, Adam: “It was accepted only from him because you invoked Allah for his sake.” And, he secretly intended something against his brother. One day, Abel was late and Adam sent Cain to look for him. The two brothers met and Cain said: “Your sacrifice was accepted and mine was not.” Abel said: “{Verily, Allah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious)}.” Cain got angry and hit his brother with an iron rod and Abel fell dead at once.

It was said: Cain killed Abel by throwing a rock at his head while he was asleep. It was also said: Cain choked Abel violently and bit him to death as beasts do. However, Abel’s saying when Cain threatened to kill him: {If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you: for I fear Allah, the Lord of the” Alamin (mankind, jinn, and all that exists)} (Al-Ma’idah, 28) indicated his good morals and ethics, his fear from Allah, and perfect piety that he may harm his brother, in contrast with the odious deed intended by his brother, Cain. For this, Abu Bakrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) as saying: “‘When two Muslims confront each other and the one amongst them attacks his brother with a weapon, both of them get into Hell-Fire.’ He (Ahnaf, one of the sub-narrators) said: ‘I said, or it was said: Messenger of Allah! It may be the case of one who kills, but what about the slain (why he would be put in Hell-Fire)?’ Thereupon, he (Peace be upon him) said: ‘He also intended to kill his companion. “

Allah the Almighty says: {Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin (on yourself) as well as yours, then you will be one of the denizens of the Fire; and that is the recompense of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers)}. (Al-Ma’idah, 29) i.e. I do not intend to fight against you though I am myself far stronger and tougher than you are, but you will {draw my sin on yourself as well as yours}, i.e. you will bear the sin of murdering me along with your previous sins.1

Narrated Imam Ahmed, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi on the authority of Sa’d Ibn Abu Waqqas his statement upon the ordeal of `Uthman Ibn `Affan that reads: I testify that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said: “There will be soon a period of turmoil in which the one who sits will be better than one who stands and the one who stands will be better than one who walks and the one who walks will be better than one who runs.” Someone said: ‘Allah’s Messenger! What is your opinion if someone entered my home and stretched his hand to kill me?’ Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said: ‘Be just like the son of Adam (Abel). “Narrated by Ibn Mardwiyah after Hudhaifah Ibn Al- Yaman in another wording as saying: “Be just like the best of Adam’s two sons.”

Imam Ahmed transmitted after Mu`awiyah and Waki` their saying: We were told by Al- A ` mash on the authority of `Abdullah Ibn Murrah after Masruq after `Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) as saying: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “None (no human being) is killed or murdered (unjustly), but a part of responsibility for the crime is laid on the first son of Adam who invented the tradition of killing (murdering on earth). ” (Ahmed’s Musnad)

However, there is a cave, called the “Blood Cave”, in a mountain located to the northern part of Syria. It is thought to be the scene of the crime where Cain killed his brother Abel. The people living there came to know this through the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) and only Allah Almighty knows the validity or realness of this. .Al-Hafiz Ibn `Asakir mentioned in the biography of Ahmed Ibn Katheer that “He (Ahmed) saw in a dream Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him), Abu Bakr, `Umar and Abel. Ahmed came to know from Abel -who took an oath of that- it was his own blood (that was spilt there (in that very cave)). Abel said that he had asked Allah Almighty to make the invocations and supplications offered in that place acceptable. Allah accepted his own invocations and His Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) believed in that and said: I (Allah’s Messenger), Abu Bakr and `Umar used to visit that place every Thursday. “However, it is to be stated that this narration represents only a vision. Even if it were true, no religious ruling can ever be based on such a thing; and Allah knows best!

Allah Almighty says: {Then, Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him how to hide the dead body of his brother. He (the murderer) said: “Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother? “Then he became one of those who regretted}. (Al-Ma’idah, 31) Some interpreters said: “After Cain had killed his brother, he carried him on his back for a full year (not knowing what to do with his brother’s corpse!).” Others said: He carried him on his back for one hundred years till Allah Almighty sent two crows who fought against one another. One of them was killed. The murderer scratched the ground to hide the body of the dead crow. Seeing him doing that, Cain said: Woe to me! Am I not even able to do as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother? Then, he buried the body of his dead brother and covered it with earth.

Historians said: Adam became very sick at heart and felt great sorrow for his dead son, Abel. Mujahid said: Cain was brought punishment very soon afterwards. On the same day he killed his brother, Abel, his foot was tied up to his thighbone and his face was forcibly directed up to the sun disk. His face used to go where the sun goes as a way of punishment and penalty in return for what he had done to his own brother. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said: “There is no sin more recurring punishment (very rapidly) in the present life, along with what awaits for its doer in the Hereafter, than transgression and severing the ties of relationship.”

Imam Abu Ja’far mentioned in his Tarikh “History” on the authority of some people who had said: Eve gave birth to forty children through twenty births. Ibn Ishaq viewed the same and he mentioned their names in detail. However, nothing is sure of their names or numbers. Only Allah knows best and no one else can know their exact number! Others said: there were one hundred and twenty births, in each one a male and a female were born. The first among them were Cain and his sister Qalimah, and the last ones were `Abdul Mughith and his sister Ummul Mughith. Then, humans increased in number and spread into the earth. Allah Almighty says: {O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women; and fear Allah through Whom you demand (your mutual rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you}. (An-Nisa’, 1)

Historians said: Adam did not die till he saw from among his progeny and offspring four hundred thousand persons (400.000). Only Allah knows best!

Allah, the Almighty says: {It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He has created from him his wife [Hawwa’ (Eve)], in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her. When he had sexual relation with her, she became pregnant and she carried it about lightly. Then when it became heavy, they both invoked Allah, their Lord (saying): “If You give us a Salih (good in every aspect) child, we shall indeed be among the grateful.” But when He gave them a Salih (good in every aspect) child, they ascribed partners to Him (Allah) in that which He has given to them. High be Allah, Exalted above all that they ascribe as partners to Him}. (Al-A’raf, 189, 190) Adam was mentioned first to draw the attention of the reader of the Qur’an, then whom was mentioned second was the whole race of mankind.

This is done by way of mentioning the whole race of mankind after mentioning the forefather thereof; Allah the Almighty says: {And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth). Thereafter We made him (the offspring of Adam) as a Nutfah (mixed drops of the male and female sexual discharge and lodged it) in a safe lodging (Womb of the woman)}. (Al-Mu’minun, 12, 13); and in: {And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps (as) missiles to drive away the Shayatin (devils)}. (Al-Mulk, 5) Where it is well-known that the “lamps as missiles” are not the same as lamps of adornment, but He turned from a single category or person to the whole race. Adam (Peace be upon him) was. the father of mankind. He was created by the Hand of Allah Who breathed out of His Soul into him, Who made the Angels prostrate themselves before him, Who taught him names of everything, and Who made him dwell in His spacious Paradise. Narrated Ibn Hibban in his Sahih on the authority of Abu Dharr his saying: “I said, 0 Allah’s Messenger! How many were the Prophets of Allah?’ He (Peace be upon him) said: ‘One hundred twenty-four thousands.’ I said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! How many were the Messengers among them?’ He (Peace be upon him) said: ‘Three hundred and thirteen, a great number!’ I said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Who was the first among them? ‘He (Peace be upon him) said: ‘Adam.’ I said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Was he a Prophet sent with a Message?’ He (Peace be upon him) said: ‘Yes, Allah the Almighty created him with His Hand, then, breathed into him out of His Soul, then, He fashioned him (in a very proper manner). “

In the Night Journey Hadith that can be found in the two Sahihs Al-Bukhari and Muslim Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “So the gate was opened and we went over the nearest heaven and there we saw a man sitting with some people on his right and some on his left. When he looked towards his right, he laughed and when he looked towards his left he wept. Then he said, ‘Welcome! 0 pious Prophet and pious son!’ I asked Gabriel: ‘Who is he?’ He replied: ‘He is Adam and the people on his right and left are the souls of his offspring. Those on his right are the people of Paradise and those on his left are the people of Hell and when he looks towards his right he laughs and when he looks towards his left he weeps. ” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Regarding the Prophetic Hadith that reads: “Then, I passed by Yusuf (Joseph) and I found him to be granted half of beauty.”Some scholars explained that it means that he was given half of the beauty Adam was granted. Indeed, this is very suitable and convincing! That Allah, the Almighty created Adam, fashioned him by His Hand and breathed into him out of His Soul, for all these Allah the Almighty must have created the best of all things. It was narrated on the authority of `Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar and’ Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr that: When Allah the Almighty created Paradise, the Angels said: “‘Our Lord! Make this for us for You created for mankind the present world in which they eat and drink.’ Allah the Almighty said: ‘By My Glory and Loftiness! I will not equalize between the pious from among those whom I created with My Hand, and those whom When I said “Be “, they were!” It was narrated in the two Sahihs -Bukhari and Muslim that Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) as saying: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious created Adam in His own image with His length of sixty cubits, and as He created him He told him to greet that group, and that was a party of angels sitting there, and listen to the response that they give him, for it would form his greeting and that of his offspring. Adam then addressed them: Peace be upon you! They (the angels) said: May there be peace upon you and the Mercy of Allah, and they made an addition of “Mercy of Allah “. So he who would get into Paradise would get in the form of Adam, his length being sixty cubits, then the people who followed him continued to diminish in size up to this day. “(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

1 As for the Prophetic Hadith that was transmitted by some other narrators that reads: “The killer will bear all sins of the slain”, no one even knows its degree of validity: whether it be Authentic, Good, or even Weak. It cannot be found in any of the Prophetic Hadith Compilations.

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