Qabeel and Habeel - The First Murder
Ancient Knights

Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Where two brothers quarreled. It was not the brothers' first quarrel but tragically, it would be their last. For the first time ever, the brothers' disagreement had turned violent and when the dust settled, one brother lie dead and the other stood looking down at him in shock.

Qabeel had never seen a dead human before. On some level he had been aware that humans could die, just like the animals he hunted, but to see an actual human lying dead filled him with unspeakable horror.

It had all started so simply. Qabeel had been in love with his twin sister, not Habeel's twin sister. Qabeel'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 Habeel and had been as kind as she could be when she rejected Qabeel.

Unable to accept his twin's rejection, Qabeel argued with Habeel in the hopes of getting him to abandon Qabeel's twin. But to no avail, Habeel was happy with his lovely young wife and he had no intention of abandoning her to Qabeel.

Eventually their father, Adam, grew impatient with his sons' endless arguing. He suggested to the two brothers that they settle the matter by offering a sacrifice to God. Whichever sacrifice was accepted by God would indicate which brother was in the right. Qabeel and Habeel were both equally confident that their sacrifice would be the one accepted, so they happily set off to choose an appropriate sacrifice.

Qabeel, the elder of the two brothers, was a diligent farmer so he decided to offer a selection of his crops as a sacrifice. Qabeel was so sure that his sacrifice would be the one accepted that he took no pains in the selection of the crops. He simply gathered whatever was at hand.

Habeel was a hale and hearty herdsman, so he chose to offer an animal as his sacrifice. Realizing the importance of the sacrifice he and Qabeel were about to present, Habeel carefully selected the biggest and healthiest animal in his herd.

Once the two sacrifices had been prepared and placed, both brothers stood back to see which would be accepted. Without delay, a roaring white fire shot down from the sky and consumed the animal Habeel had sacrificed. Habeel felt a great surge of joy when he saw that, but when he looked over at his brother, the look on Qabeel's face chased away all the joy Habeel had felt.

"I will kill you!" Qabeel said to Habeel in a cold voice, his face contorted with rage.

Habeel looked steadily into his brother's burning eyes and replied, "God accepts offerings from those who fear Him. Even if you raise your hand against me, meaning to kill me, I will not raise a hand against you, meaning to kill you. If you kill me, you will carry my sin and your own into hell, which is the final resting place of the unjust."

Unwilling to stay and perhaps further provoke his volatile brother, Habeel took his herd and set off into the mountains. He hoped that with time Qabeel's temper would cool and his murderous feelings would pass. But Qabeel's anger and hatred were such that he could find no peace while his brother lived. So he, too, set off into the mountains, seeking Habeel in order to vent his anger and frustration on his younger brother.

After some time, Qabeel found Habeel and again quarreled with him but this time, the quarrel was physical. Habeel, easily the stronger of the two, refused to fight back and so he was quickly killed. As he lay there unmoving, Qabeel stood and looked down at him, unsure what to do.

Up until that moment, Qabeel had been angry, jealous and desperate. Now, he was just sorry. Regret, as many humans would learn through the coming centuries, always came too late. No matter what Qabeel did for the rest of his life, he could never fix this terrible mistake, he could never bring his younger brother back to life.

After some time, Qabeel became aware of two crows fluttering near the ground. They fought briefly, then one crow killed the other. The crow that still lived began to scratch the ground diligently with its claws. It dug a small hole and then dragged the dead crow into the hole. The crow then buried the dead crow, covering it completely with dirt.

Qabeel looked from the disturbingly still form of his brother to the crow and said in a numb voice, "Am I incapable of doing what the crow has done?"

That day, the first human grave was dug by Qabeel. He dug a hole in the ground, just as he had seen the crow do, then placed his brother in it and covered him with as much dirt as he could. When Habeel's silent form was finally no longer visible, Qabeel slunk away into the darkness.

With Habeel missing and Qabeel's undeniable guilt, there was nowhere for Qabeel to go where he would be welcomed. With one violent act, Qabeel had taken his brother's life and lost his own as well. Qabeel would also bear a portion of the sin of every murder to come, for whoever creates a new path of evil, must pay for every soul that walks down that path.

Cursed and alone, Qabeel long regretted his rash and deadly actions.

*Written by © 2011. Care to read or leave Comments?

  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Adam: آدم عليه السلام
    • Habeel (aka Abel): هابيل
    • Qabeel (aka Cain): قابيل
  2. Story Variations: There is a great deal of variety in the specifics of this ancient tale. This version contains the most common details (what constitutes acceptance of the sacrifices, what the brothers said to each other, what the fight was about, how they each made their living, whether the crow fought another crow and what it buried).
  3. The absolute facts of the story are simple and scarce: There were two brothers named Qabeel and Habeel (Cain and Abel), they fought, Cain killed Abel, and a crow inspired Cain to bury Abel.

  1. Ibn Katheer Al-Dimishqui, Emad Al-Deen (1399 H). مختصر تفسير ابن كثير [Summarized Tafseer Ibn Katheer]. Beirut: Dar Al-Quran Al-Kareem. Volume I. Page 505-509.
  2. Qutub, Muhammad, A. (2011 AD, 1432 H). قصص القرآن [Stories of the Quran]. Beirut: Al-Maktaba Al-Assrya. Page 8-17.
  3. القرآن الكريم [The Noble Quran]. (1417 H). Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah, KSA: Mujama'a Al-Malik Fahad. Page 112. Surat Al-Ma'ida (سورة المائدة). Aya (Verse) 27-31.

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