Lives of the Prophets: Adam (as) and his Sons

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

Apologies for the delay in getting around to posting the next set of notes from the series—I usually listen to my podcasts while I embroider or do housework, so for this one I actually have to sit down and take the notes, which I find it harder to get in my schedule!

At any rate, today’s notes are from the next set of episodes of the Qalam Institute’s podcast on the lives of the prophets, all about the two sons of Adam (as), Cain and Abel. The Arabic pronunciation of their names is Qabeel and Habeel, though I find myself getting quite mixed up when I use those, so for this post I will be sticking with the English versions.

It will be a shorter one than the last, because the two episodes dealing with their story were much shorter, but in shaa Allah you will learn something new and take some benefit from it; I know I did alhamdulillah!


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  • Adam and Eve’s (alayhim salaam) children were born in sets of twins, one boy and one girl each time
    • It was forbidden to marry your direct twin, but other than that the siblings could marry
    • I started off at with this point because it was a huge revelation for me! Perhaps when I was a Christian I just didn’t really pay much attention to the story, but I was always confused as to how Adam and Eve had two sons and then the rest of humanity sprung from there…question answered!
  • Cain (Qabeel) was the oldest son
  • Abel (Habeel) was a younger son
  • Adam (alayhi salaam) decided that Cain should marry Abel’s twin, and Abel would marry Cain’s twin.
  • This is what began the jealousy: Cain knew he and his twin were much more attractive than Abel and his sister, so he thought that he was getting the raw end of the deal
  • He decided he would rather marry his own twin.
  • This was forbidden, so Adam (alayhi salaam) decides that each son should offer a sacrifice, and they would know whose intention was pure by whose sacrifice was accepted
  • Cain is a farmer
    • He isn’t so enthusiastic about having to give up some of his livelihood, so he brings the worst of his crops as the sacrifice
  • Abel takes care of animals
    • He understands that there must be wisdom in his father’s decision, because his father is a prophet, so he brings the best animal he has for the sacrifice
  • Abel’s sacrifice is accepted, Cain’s is not.
  • One point to take away here is that when we want to give something in the way of Allah swt such as charity, we should be giving our best. We wouldn’t like it if someone gave us tattered clothes or leftovers from dinner three days ago, so why do we give this way to other people?
  • Another great reminder: when you sacrifice an animal (like for the second Eid) Allah swt is not benefiting from the meat or the skin or any other part of the animal, He is looking at your taqwa, your consciousness of Him. Will you give the cheapest/worst animal you can find, or will you spend to get the best that is within your means?
  • After the sacrifices are made, Cain feels insulted and jealous that his isn’t accepted
  • He tells Abel that he will kill him
    • Abel tells him that he will not fight back—he understood that murder is something that has never yet been done in the history of humanity, and he doesn’t want to be the one to start that trend, plus Cain is his brother
  • Cain begins plotting on how to kill Abel, but isn’t sure how it should be done
  • Shaytan teaches him to use a huge rock to hit him on the head
  • Once he has killed his brother, Cain begins to feel shame and regret, and he doesn’t know what to do with the body
  • Allah swt sends a crow who begins digging a hole, and showing Cain how to bury a body
    • Allah swt could’ve just let him stay there and expose Cain, but He sent the crow because Abel’s body deserved a proper burial
    • Plus this was the first time a human had ever died, so we needed to be taught what to do
  • The scholars note that the first sin to be committed in the garden was jealousy (Shaytan was jealous of Adam, leading to arrogance,expulsion from the garden, etc.) and the first sin to be committed on the earth was jealousy (Cain was jealous of Abel, led to murder)
    • This really goes to show how horrid jealousy is
    • Not referring to jealousy as in being jealous of something someone has, and wanting to get it for yourself
      • e. my best friend got a new abaya, and I really want one like it so I start saving up money to get one for myself
    • But referring to jealousy as in being jealous of something someone has, and wanting it to be taken from them
      • e. my best friend god a new abaya, and I really hate that she got it and I didn’t, so I “accidentally” give it a few snips with my embroidery scissors
      • This is the most damaging, sinful type of jealousy
    • Also, a portion of the sin of every murder committed since then comes back to Cain, because he is the one who set the precedent
      • Lesson: be careful what trends you are setting.
      • We should be striving to encourage good; start trends of giving, of worship, of kindness, of standing up for what is right
      • Don’t set trends that are useless, and if you are doing something sinful don’t advertise it because someone may see and think that they should start doing that too
    • Back to Cain’s regret: he regretted and grieved for what he had done, but he never repented
      • Regret without the actual repentance does nothing to erase the sin
      • In order to be forgiven we need to feel the regret, pray for forgiveness and set a strong intention to never go back to the sin
    • Adam (alayhi salaam) finds out what has happened and goes looking for Cain, but Cain has run far away
    • Christian and Jewish scriptures mention that the other sinful children of Adam (as) eventually joined him and formed a community, but there is nothing confirmed in our scripture so it is not certain
    • Some main points: be very careful of jealousy and envy, purify your intentions, give the best of what you have, and encourage good!



6 thoughts on “Lives of the Prophets: Adam (as) and his Sons”

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