Story of Qabil and Habil: Many people are familiar with the Cain and Abel story (Story of Qabil and Habil), including both Muslims and non-Muslims. One of the best stories in the Quran contrasts Cain (Qabil), who is greedy and envious, with his brother Abel (Habil), a believing person who is unattached to material possessions. Since Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve’s children, the article begins with summarising the accounts of Adam and Eve in the Bible and the Quran before describing the tale of the two brothers as it appears in these two Holy Books.
The Life of Prophet Adam (A.S.)
To understand the Story of Qabil and Habil in Islam, let’s first look into the brief summary of the Story of Prophet Adam and Eve (PBUT). The Islamic tradition refers to the story of Adam and Eve as the “story of Adam and Hawa.” God made the first man, whom he named Adam after he had made the earth. God made a companion for Prophet Adam because he was lonely while living in paradise, a beautiful abode. She was the first woman, known in Islam as Hawa or Eve. God had warned Adam and Eve not to eat from a certain tree in Paradise since doing so would force them to leave Heaven.
There was one angel, Iblis, who was humiliated and kept apart from the other angels because he refused to respect Adam when he was created by God. He planned to try to convince Eve and Adam to eat fruit from the tree of paradise that God had forbidden them from doing so. After eating from the tree, Adam and Eve were forced to leave paradise and settle on Earth. God pardoned them, but they were unable to remain in paradise. The ensuing narrative of two of Adam and Eve’s sons is told in this article.
Also Read: Story of Prophet Adam (A.S.) in Islam
Story of Cain and Abel in the Bible
Genesis chapter four of the Bible tells the story of Cain and Abel. It begins with the account of Adam and Eve, who had two children: Cain, who was the first, and Abel, who was Cain’s brother. It also shows how these two men were living separate lives and supporting themselves in various ways. According to the Bible, both Abel and Cain offered a sacrifice to God, with Abel’s offering coming from his flock of sheep because he was a shepherd and Cain’s offering coming from the plowing of his land because he was a farmer. According to the story, God accepted Abel’s offering but rejected Cain’s.
The reason for this is that while Cain did not pick his best land to offer to God, Abel did choose the best of his flock as a sacrifice. Abel met God’s standards, but Cain did not. Then, jealous of Abel’s favorable standing with God, Cain made the decision to lure him into the fields and kill him. He denied having any knowledge of his brother’s whereabouts when God questioned him about what had happened to Abel.
God marked him with a mark and exiled him from his nation. He married and had children away from his native region, but his two sons, Lamech and Enoch, turned out to be murderers. Meanwhile, Adam and Eve received a second son, who was named Seth (Sheeth/ Shees A.S.) as compensation after the death of their righteous son Abel.
Also Read: Story of Prophet Sheeth (Seth) in Islam
Story of Qabil and Habil in the Quran
Cain and Abel are referred to by different names in the Quran, which are Qabil (Cain) and Habil (Abel).
The following are references to the Story of Qabil and Habil in the Quran:
Relate to them truly the account of Adam’s two sons.
When the two of them offered an offering,
it was accepted from one of them
and not accepted from the other.
[One of them] said, ‘Surely I will kill you.’
[The other one] said, ‘Allah accepts only from the God wary.
Even if you extend your hand toward me to kill me,
I will not extend my hand toward you to kill you.
Indeed, I fear Allah, the Lord of all the worlds…’
(Quran, Chapter Al-Ma’idah; 5: 27-28)
The Qur’an continues the narrative by mentioning Cain’s subsequent actions;
So his soul prompted him to kill his brother
and he killed him,
and thus became one of the losers.
(Quran, Chapter Al-Ma’idah; 5:30)
After Cain commits the first murder on earth, there is a call to respect and protect life that follows;
That is why We decreed for the Children of Israel
that whoever kills a soul,
without [its being guilty of] manslaughter
or corruption on the earth,
it is as though he had killed all mankind,
and whoever saves a life
it is as though he had saved all mankind.
(Quran, Chapter Al-Ma’idah; 5: 32)
It is reported in historical sources, Quranic exegesis, and hadith literature or narrations that Habil, despite being the younger brother, was chosen to succeed his father. Qabil disagreed with the decision and was jealous of his younger brother since he did not think it was God’s will. Then, Prophet Adam (A.S.), their father, advised them to each make an offering to God, saying that the one whose contribution was accepted by God would be his or her successor.
Qabil offered inferior produce from his farm as he was a farmer, while the best Ram from Habil’s herd was offered as he was a shepherd, and it was his offering that was accepted. This was also the first sacrifice ever.
Qabil threatened to kill Habil and, after doing so, attacked him in the fields and killed him. After this, he became remorseful and didn’t know what to do with his body as it was the first murder on Earth. To his surprise, he saw a crow bury another which he had killed, and thus according to the example, buried his brother.
What happened to Qabil after he killed Habil?
Qabil was filled with guilt and became one of the “losers” and remained lost and astray ever after. The descendants of Qabil are likewise disparaged in Islamic exegetical literature. According to legend, his family was among those who perished in the Great Flood of Noah because they had been engaging in sins including adultery, intoxication, and gambling. Seth, the other son of Adam and Eve, therefore carried on the human race’s genetic heritage and Prophet Adam’s legacy.
Are Qabil and Habil mentioned in Quran?
Qabil and Habil are not mentioned in Quran by their names in the Quran. But they are mentioned in the Bible (Injeel).