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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Short Stories from the Holy Quran: Abel, Cain and the Crow


All stories begin with "once upon a time" - but what about a story that was the first story of an incident that happened at the very beginning of the mankind? Well that is the story of the first two ever born sons of the Prophet Adam and his wife Eve: The story of Habeel and Qabeel, or as in English Abel and Cain.

The story has been part of all the Divine scriptures like Torah and Bible and by and large has the same substance. A story that tells man's intrinsic attributes of love, hatred, jealously, guilt and remorse - a story that emphasizes the sanctity of human life.

Both the brothers were asked to offer up individual sacrifices to God; God accepted Abel's sacrifice and rejected Cain's; out of jealousy, Cain slew Abel - the first ever case of murder committed upon the Earth. In the Islam, Abel has been chronicled in history as one of the first believers and as the first ever martyr. Although Islam does not traditionally view Abel as a Prophet, some scholars speak of him as a prophet like his father. 




Herein under how the story of Abel and Cain has been mentioned in the fifth Surah / chapter of the Holy Qur'an, Surah al Maidah:
  • 5: 27) And recite to them the story of Adam's two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah ], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], "I will surely kill you." Said [the former], "Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him].
  • 5:28) If you should raise your hand against me to kill me - I shall not raise my hand against you to kill you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds.
  • 5:29) Indeed I want you to obtain [thereby] my sin and your sin so you will be among the companions of the Fire. And that is the recompense of wrongdoers."
  • 5:30) And his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers.
  • 5:31) Then Allah sent a crow searching in the ground to show him how to hide the disgrace of his brother. He said, "O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?" And he became of the regretful.
Although no details have been given as to what prompted the two brothers to offer a sacrifice, but mentions from history as have been shared by the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reveal that Prophet Adam used to marry the son of a birth to the daughter of another Birth. Thus it turned out to be so that the sister of Cain which was to be married to Abel was rather beautiful and Cain wanted to marry her instead, breaking the rule as set forth by their father. In order to decide the feud between the two, both offered a sacrifice with a view that one whose sacrifice is accepted will have the hand of the sister in dispute.

Abel, who was a shepherd, offered and well fed lamb for the sacrifice, while Cain offered a few strands of his produce being a farmer. And as it turned out, the sacrifice of Abel was accepted, which was not accepted by Cain and in a scuffle, Cain killed Abel. Ashamed of his act, Cain did not what to do with the body of his slain brother and as per verse 5:31 quoted above, Allah sent a crow who flew near Cain and started to dig the earth to hide something it was carrying as to show to Cain how to carryout the burial of his brother. Seeing this, Cain lamented: O woe to me! Have I failed to be like this crow and hide the body of my brother?" And he became of the regretful.

The purpose of sharing the story of Abel and Cain in fact is a message for the mankind. In fact as per Islamic teachings, the murder of single soul in fact is tantamount to killing of the whole mankind. However, despite sending clear messages so that man can take a lead and desist from killing one's brethren, the man did not even spare prophets of Allah and many of them were slain when they tried to persuade their people to listen to the Divine commandments and follow the righteous path. In fact more than the ordinaries, it were the prophets that were persecuted, mocked and even killed.

In Qur'an, this incident has been quoted in Surah Al Maidah right after an incident which has been mentioned wherein the Jews of Medina plotted against the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and wanted to kill him and invited him on a dinner. It was at the nick of the time that the heinous intentions were picked up and the Prophet of Allah did not go for the dinner.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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