The Sons of Adam (عليه السلام)
The Prophet Adam (عليه السلام) and his wife Hawwa had two sons. The elder son was called Qabil. The younger son’s name was Habil. Qabil was a farmer and Habil was a shepherd. Habil herded sheep, goats and other animals, whereas Qabil worked as a farmer, tilling the fields.
Background of First Murder in Islam
Qabil had been in love with his twin sister, not Habil’s twin sister. Qabil’s twin was the prettier of the two and he had wanted to spend the rest of his long life with her. But she had been happy with Habil and had been as kind as she could be when she rejected Qabil.
Unable to accept his twin’s rejection, Qabil argued with Habil in the hopes of getting him to abandon Qabil’s twin. But to no avail, Habil was happy with his lovely young wife and he had no intention of abandoning her to Qabil.
One day they decided to offer a sacrifice to Allah. Habil chose a sheep for Allah. Qabil brought his best crops. Allah accepted the sheep offered by Habil! But Allah didn’t accept the crops offered by Qabil!
رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ مَن تُدْخِلِ النَّارَ فَقَدْ أَخْزَيْتَهُ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ
OUR LORD, INDEED [YOU] WHOM YOU ADMIT (TO) THE FIRE THEN SURELY YOU (HAVE) DISGRACED HIM, AND NOT FOR THE WRONGDOERS (ARE) ANY HELPERS. (AL-‘IMRAN 3:192)
Eventually Qabil Murdered Habil
Qabil was very angry. He began to fight with Habil. He shouted: “I will kill you!” But Habil loved Allah very much. He always had fear of Allah in his heart. He told Qabil to fear Allah. He said calmly to his brother: “Even if you raise your hand to kill me, I will not fight back, for I fear Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.”
Qabil was jealous of his brother. He didn’t listen to him. He began to fight with him and eventually killed him.
Who Gave an Idea to Qabil to Bury His Brother Habil
After killing his brother, Qabil became ashamed of his action. He started to cry. He was full of regret. He didn’t know what to do with the corps of his brother.
He cried in agony. “Now I have killed my brother, but what shall I do with his body?”
Allah sent a black raven. The raven scratched the ground and showed Qabil how to bury his brother.
رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
OUR LORD, WE BELIEVE, SO FORGIVE US AND HAVE MERCY ON US. YOU ARE THE BEST ONE TO SHOW MERCY. (AL-MU’MINUN 23:109)
“Woe is me!” cried Qabil helplessly. “I am worse even than this raven, for I cannot hide my brother’s dead body.”
Qabil felt his meanness all the more so, because even raven could teach him a lesson. When one does things in a rage, it results in humiliation, shame and disgrace. One should not fly into a rage and must fear Allah.
The Peace Loving Brother
Qabil had certainly done a wrong. He had committed a great sin. He killed a person, that too his own brother, without any reason. He had no fear of Allah. Allah was certainly not happy with Qabil. Read: Significance of Sadaqah in Islam
Allah is happy with those who fear Him. Allah doesn’t like it when we fight and harm others.
I SEEK SHELTER IN THE LORD OF PEOPLE, THE KING OF PEOPLE, THE GOD OF PEOPLE, FROM THE MISCHIEF OF EVERY SNEAKING WHISPERER, WHO WHISPERS INTO THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE, FROM JINN AND MEN. (AL-NAS 114: 1-6)
Lesson of the Story
The story of Qabil and his brother Habil teaches us that the two believers should never fight with each other. Even if one of them is bent on fighting, the other one, like the gently and obedient Habil, should never fight back.