Islam-beliefs

Story of Habil and Qabil to Seth AS

The First Four Children

Adam and Eve had the birth of their first children, a set of twins. Adam was a loving father and Eve a caring mother. The twins were Qabil (Cain in English) and his sister. Later, Eve gave birth to a second set of twins, Habil (Abel in English) and his sister. The family enjoyed the bounties and fruits of the earth provided by their Lord. The children grew up to be strong and healthy young adults. Habil tilled the land while Habil raised cattle.

Habil was intelligent, obedient, and always ready to obey the will of Allah. This contrasted sharply with his brother who was arrogant, selfish and disobedient to his Lord. 

Allah the Almighty’s Ruling

The time arrived when the two young men desired life partners. This was part of Allah’s plan for mankind, to multiply and form nations with different cultures and colors. Allah revealed to Adam that he should marry each son to the twin sister of the other.

Qabil’s Disobedience

Adam instructed his children according to Allah’s command, but Qabil was displeased with the partner chosen for him, for Habil’s twin sister was not as beautiful as his own.

It appears that since the beginning of time, physical beauty has been a factor in the attraction between men and women. This attraction caused Qabil to be jealous of his brother Habil. He rebelled against Allah’s command by refusing to accept his father’s advice.

At first glance, Qabil’s rebellion might appear strange. But we have both good and bad qualities. We can become greedy, covetous, possessive, selfish and even destructive. Man is therefore, capable of seeking self-satisfaction even if it leads to failure in this life and in the hereafter. The path to goodness lies in overcoming the enemy within him, by controlling evil thoughts, desires and actions. His reward then will then be in this world and the hereafter. Thus Allah tests us through our divided nature.

Adam was in a difficult situation to decide. He wanted peace and harmony in his family, so he invoked Allah for help. Allah commanded that, each son must offer a sacrifice, and he whose offering was accepted would have right on his side. Habil offered his best camel while Qabil offered his worst grain. His sacrifice was not accepted by Allah because of his disobedience to his father and the lack of sincerity in his sacrifice.

Qabil’s Jealousy towards Habil

This made Qabil more angry. He realized that he won’t be able to marry his own beautiful sister. So, he threatened his brother: “I will kill you! I refuse to see you happy while I remain unhappy!”

Habil, feeling sorry for his brother, replied, “It would be more proper for you, my brother, to search for the cause of your unhappiness and then walk in the way of peace. Allah accepts the deeds only from those who serve and fear Him, not from those who reject His Commands.” He continued, ” My brother, you are deviating from the right path and are sinful in your decisions. It is better that you repent to Allah and forget about your foolish threat. But if you do not then I will leave the matter in the hands of Allah. You alone will bear the consequence of your sin, for the Fire is the reward of the wrongdoers.”

Habil’s plea did not reduce the hatred in Qabil’s heart, nor did he fear Allah’s (swt) punishment. Even brotherhood was cast aside. According to Ibn Kathir, Qabil started to twist Habil’s neck in order to kill him so Shaytan came and taught Qabil to take a stone and throw it on his head. Then Shaytan went to Hawwa and said to her, `O Hawwa’! Qabil killed Habil.’ She asked him, What does `kill’ mean’ He said, `He will no longer eat, drink or move.’ She said, `And that is death’ He said, `Yes it is.’ So she started to weep until Adam came to her while she was weeping and said, `What is the matter with you’ She did not answer him. He asked her two more times, but she did not answer him. So he said, `You and your daughters will inherit the practice of weeping, while I and my sons are free of it.”’ 

This was the first death of humanity and the first criminal act (murder) committed by man on earth. After this, for any unjust murder Qabil will share the sin of it:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “No human being is killed 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 the earth. (It is said that he was Qabil). {Sahih al-Bukhari 6867}

When Habil had not appeared for some time, Adam began to search for him but could not find him. So, he asked Qabil about Habil, Qabil rudely replied that he was not his brother’s keeper nor his protector. From these words his father understood that Habil was dead and Adam was filled with grief.

The First Burial

Meanwhile Qabil did not know what to do with his brother’s dead body. He carried it on his back wandering from place to place trying to hide it. His anger had now been replaced with his conscience of guilt. He got tired with the burden of the corpse which had started to emit a smell. Allah sent two ravens(birds) that began fighting, causing the death of one. The victorious bird dug a hole in the earth, rolled its victim into it and covered it with sand.

Witnessing this, Qabil was overcome with shame and remorse. “Woe unto me!” he exclaimed. “I was unable to do what this raven has done, that is to hide my brother’s corpse.” Qabil then buried his brother. This was also the first burial of a human.

Allah the Almighty revealed:

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 [Qabil], “I will surely kill you.” Said [Habil], “Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him] 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. 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.” And his soul permitted to him the murder of his brother, so he killed him and became among the losers.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.{Surah Al-Maidah: Ayat 27-31}

Commentary

Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud and a group of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam related that when the brothers were told to sacrifice, Habil offered a fat lamb, he was a shepherd, while Qabil offered a bundle of the worst grain. Fire descended and devoured Habil’s sacrifice, leaving that of Qabil so he became angry and said: “I will surely kill you so that you will not marry my sister.” Habil replied, “Allah accepts from those who fear Him.”

According to Abu Ja’far al-Baqr, Adam was watching their offering and was sure that Habil’s sacrifice would be accepted. Qabil complained to Adam that the acceptance happened due to his supplication for Habil and not Qabil, so he promised his father to settle the matter between himself and his brother. One night, Habil was late returning from tending his flock. Adam sent Qabil to see what happened to him. When he found him, he stared angrily at him saying: “Yours was accepted, and mine was not.” Habil replied, “Allah only accepts from the Allah-fearing.” Qabil became angry on hearing this and hit him with a piece of iron that was with him and thus killing him. In another version it was said that he killed him with a rock to the head while he was sleeping.

The Death of Adam AS

‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal narrated that Ubayy ibn Ka’ab said: 

“When Adam’s death was near, he said to his children: ‘O my children, indeed I feel an appetite for the fruits of Paradise.’

So they went away searching for what Adam had requested. They met with the angels, who had with them his shroud and what he was to be embalmed with. They said to them: ‘O Children of Adam, what are you searching for? What do you want? Where are you going?’

They said: ‘Our father is sick and has an appetite for the fruits of Paradise.’

The angels said to them: ‘Go back, for your father is going to meet his end soon.’

So they returned (with the angels) and when Eve saw them she recognized them. She tried to hide herself behind Adam. He said to her, ‘Leave me alone. I came before you; do not go between me and the angels of my Lord.’ So they took his soul, embalmed and wrapped him, dug the grave and laid him in it. They prayed on him and put him in his grave, saying: ‘O Children of Adam, this is your tradition at the time of death.’ “

Before his death Adam reassured his children that Allah would not leave man alone on the earth, but would send His prophets to guide them. The prophets would have different names, traits and miracles, but they would be united in one thing; the call to worship Allah alone. This was Adam’s bequest to his children. Adam finished speaking and closed his eyes. Then the angels entered his room and surrounded him. When he recognized the Angel of Death among them, his heart smiled peacefully.

Adam’s successor Seth AS 

Adam was utterly grief stricken by the loss of his two sons. One was dead, the other was won over by the devil. He was a prophet advising his children and grandchildren, telling them about Allah and calling them to believe in Allah. He told them about Iblis and warned them by recounting his own experience with the devil and of how the devil had tempted Qabil to kill his brother.

Adam grew old and his children spread all over the earth. Muhammad Ibn Ishaq related that when Adam’s death drew near, he appointed his son Seth to be his successor and taught him the hours of the day and night along with their appropriate acts of worship. He also foretold to him the floor that would come.

Restriction between mixing of the Descendants and Introduction of Music

After killing his Brother, narrations mention that Qabil could not stay with his father and went away. Adam AS with all his children used to live in mountain regions and Qabil went away to the valleys of flat lands. Later on, Allah(swt) instructed Seth AS that they are not allowed to mix with the descendants of Qabil. This rule of Allah(swt) was followed until Shaitan (in the form of a man) went to Qabil’s territory and asked for a job. He was appointed and as a man he started to work really hard there. Gradually, Shaitan started to introduce various kinds of sounds using instruments within the people of Qabil.

The introduction of musical instruments came into existence for the first time on earth. Through that Shaitan used to control the human being. They used to set aside a day when the people of Qabil used to gather in the evening and listen to these sounds. They started to (kind of) party on that occasion.

On the other side, Shaitan started to raise questions in the minds of the youth within the descendants of Seth regarding the order of Allah(swt) restricting them to mix with their cousins (Qabil’s people). The people of Seth also heard the sound and got amazed by it and came down to listen. The people of Seth got so engrossed in the sounds that they forgot the command of Allah(swt). Subsequently, the people of Seth silently came with a bigger group and gradually started to get engaged in sins and adultery. Even to this day we can see the effect of the music, controlling our moves(even unintentionally), leading us towards parties/disco-s and finally ending up with adultery.

104 Psalms, of which 50 were sent down to Seth

Abu Dharr narrated that the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Allah sent down 104 Psalms, of which 50 were sent down to Seth.” When the death of Seth came, his son Anwas succeeded him. He in turn, was succeeded by his son Qinan, then Mahlabil (who many claim was the King of the Seven Regions who was the first one to cut down trees to build cities and large forts and that he built the cities of Babylonia). He reigned for a period of forty years. When he died his duties were taken over by his son Yarid, who on his death, bequeathed them to his son Khonoukh, who is Idris AS according to the majority of the scholars.

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