The Quran

Commentaries for 5.27

Al Maida (The food) - المائدة

5.27 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(But recite unto them) O Muhammad (with truth) with the Qur'an (the tale of the two sons of Adam, how they offered each a sacrifice, and it was accepted from the one) Abel (of them and it was not accepted from the other) Cain. ((The one)) Cain (said) to Abel: (I will surely kill thee) O Abel. ((The other) answered) why? Because Allah has accepted your offering and rejected mine. And Abel said: (Allah accepteth only from those who ward off (evil)) the sincere in their speech and action, whose hearts are pure, and your heart is not pure.
5.27 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
And recite, O Muhammad (s), to them, your people, the story, the tale, of the two sons of Adam, Abel and Cain, truthfully (bi’l-haqq is semantically connected to utlu, ‘recite’), how they each offered a sacrifice, to God, which in Abel’s case was a ram, and in Cain’s, some green crops, and it was accepted from one of them, namely, from Abel, when a fire came down from the heaven and consumed his offering, and not accepted from the other, that is, from Cain, and so he became furious and kept secret his envy until Adam left on pilgrimage. He said, to him, ‘I will surely slay you,’, and the other said, ‘Why?’, to which the first replied, ‘Because only your offering was accepted’. The other said, ‘God accepts only from the God-fearing’.
5.27 Kashani - Kashani
And recite to them the story of the two sons of Adam, [Adam] of the heart, of the two who are Abel of the heart and Cain of estimation. Each of them had a twin. As for the twin of the intellect, this is the cognitive intelligence (āqila ʿilmiyya) that manages the affairs relating to livelihood and the final return by means of beneficial opinions that require righteous deeds and excellent characters traits which are able to infer all types of handiwork and rules of governance. As for the twin of the estimative faculty, this is the imaginal faculty that has free disposal of objects of sensory perception and particular meanings for the purpose of actualising satanic opinions. Thus the Adam of the heart commanded that the estimative faculty be married to the twin of the intellect, namely, the cognitive intelligence so that it might acquire mastery over it by means of rational proof-based analogies and that it might train it by means of obedience-inducing forms of spiritual disciplining and spiritual manipulation, making it subject to the intellect so that it might become obedient to the father-heart, be kind to him and be dutiful towards him and designate him in righteous deeds and refrain from being disobedient to him through corrupt satanic enticements and embellishments and by tempting the soul to these through wicked configurations and evil deeds. As for the marrying of the intellect the twin of estimation, that is in order to make it righteous and to prevent it from lusting after corrupt imaginations and from the goading of the mendacious conversations of the soul so that its father [the heart] might find rest from it and exercise it in intelligible and sensory objects as well as universal and particular meanings so that it then becomes a reflective entity that works to actualise forms of knowledge and its father thereby profits. The Cain of estimation was envious of the Abel of the intellect since his [Abel's] twin was more beautiful to him [Abel] and more beloved [to him] on account of its correspondence to him. Their father the heart commanded that each of them offer a sacrifice, a ritual slaughter, with which to draw nearer to God by means of the effusion of the result [of the sacrifice] and the annihilation of the analogous form and the acceptance of the universal intelligible form [of the sacrifice] that corresponds to the very thing that is his ritual sacrifice by which he seeks nearness to God.
The non-acceptance of the sacrifice of estimation, which is a fraudulent form or a particular illusory form, is due to the impossibility of the conjunction of the intellect to it at the effusion of the result since there is no result therefrom, or it is due to the impossibility of the acceptance of the illusory form, since there is no correspondence to the very thing [being sacrificed]. Thus his envy increased against him: He said, 'I will surely slay you', that is, the closer that the intellect drew to God and the further away it became from the level of estimation in terms of the objects of its perception and objects of disposal, the more eager was the desire of the estimation to invalidate its [the intellect's] deed and to prevent it from its act, as when you see [the appearance of the] doubts induced by illusion and its [estimation's] opposition to the intellect's actualisation of profound considerative pursuits. As for his slaying, this expresses its [the estimation's] attempt to prevent it [the intellect] from its act and to sever from it any reinforcement from the spirit and the light of guidance from which the intellect draws life. [The other said, God accepts only] from the God-fearing: those who take God as their protective shield when good things issue from them, or who guard against the sins of dark corporeal configurations, invalid fabrications, misguiding deceptions, ruinous caprices and destructive temptations.
5.27-31 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Story of Habil (Abel) and Qabil (Cain)
Allah describes the evil end and consequence of transgression, envy and injustice in the story of the two sons of Adam, Habil and Qabil. One of them fought against the other and killed him out of envy and transgression, because of the bounty that Allah gave his brother and because the sacrifice that he sincerely offered to Allah was accepted. The murdered brother earned forgiveness for his sins and was admitted into Paradise, while the murderer failed and earned a losing deal in both the lives. Allah said,
وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ابْنَىْ ءْادَمَ بِالْحَقِّ
(And recite to them the story of the two sons of Adam in truth;) meaning, tell these envious, unjust people, the brothers of swine and apes from the Jews and their likes among mankind, the story of the two sons of Adam, Habil and Qabil, as many scholars among the Salaf and later generations said. Allah's statement,
بِالْحَقِّ
(in truth;) means, clearly and without ambiguity, alteration, confusion, change, addition or deletion. Allah said in other Ayat,
إِنَّ هَـذَا لَهُوَ الْقَصَصُ الْحَقُّ
(Verily, this is the true narrative about the story of `Isa,)
نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ نبَأَهُم بِالْحَقِّ
(We narrate unto you their story with truth, ) and,
ذلِكَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ قَوْلَ الْحَقِّ
(Such is `Isa, son of Maryam. (It is) a statement of truth.) Several scholars among the Salaf and the later generations said that Allah allowed Adam to marry his daughters to his sons because of the necessity of such action. They also said that in every pregnancy, Adam was given a twin, a male and a female, and he used to give the female of one twin, to the male of the other twin, in marriage. Habil's sister was not beautiful while Qabil's sister was beautiful, resulting in Qabil wanting her for himself, instead of his brother. Adam refused unless they both offer a sacrifice, and he whose sacrifice was accepted, would marry Qabil's sister. Habil's sacrifice was accepted, while Qabil's sacrifice was rejected, and thus what Allah told us about them occurred. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said -- that during the time of Adam -- "The woman was not allowed in marriage for her male twin, but Adam was commanded to marry her to any of her other brothers. In each pregnancy, Adam was given a twin, a male and a female. A beautiful daughter was once born for Adam and another one that was not beautiful. So the twin brother of the ugly daughter said, `Marry your sister to me and I will marry my sister to you.' He said, `No, for I have more right to my sister.' So they both offered a sacrifice. The sacrifice of the one who offered the sheep was accepted while the sacrifice of the other the twin brother of the beautiful daughter, which consisted of some produce, was not accepted. So the latter killed his brother.'' This story has a better than good chain of narration. The statement,
إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ
("Verily, Allah accepts only from those who have Taqwa.) who fear Allah in their actions. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Ad-Darda' said, "If I become certain that Allah has accepted even one prayer from me, it will be better for me than this life and all that in it. This is because Allah says,
إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ
(Verily, Allah accepts only from the those who have Taqwa.) The statement,
لَئِن بَسَطتَ إِلَىَّ يَدَكَ لِتَقْتُلَنِى مَآ أَنَاْ بِبَاسِطٍ يَدِىَ إِلَيْكَ لاًّقْتُلَكَ إِنِّى أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَـلَمِينَ
("If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of all that exists.") Qabil's brother, the pious man whose sacrifice was accepted because of his piety, said to his brother, who threatened to kill him without justification,
لَئِن بَسَطتَ إِلَىَّ يَدَكَ لِتَقْتُلَنِى مَآ أَنَاْ بِبَاسِطٍ يَدِىَ إِلَيْكَ لاًّقْتُلَكَ
(If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you,) I will not commit the same evil act that you threaten to commit, so that I will not earn the same sin as you,
إِنِّى أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَـلَمِينَ
(for I fear Allah; the Lord of the all that exists.) and, as a result, I will not commit the error that you threaten to commit. Rather, I will observe patience and endurance. `Abdullah bin `Amr said, "By Allah! Habil was the stronger of the two men. But, fear of Allah restricted his hand.'' The Prophet said in a Hadith recorded in the Two Sahihs,
«إِذَا تَوَاجَهَ الْمُسْلِمَانِ بِسَيْفَيهِمَا فَالْقَاتِلُ وَالْمَقْتُولُ فِي النَّار»
(When two Muslims fight (meet) each other with their swords, both the murderer as well as the murdered will go to the Hellfire.) They said, "O Allah's Messenger! It is all right for the murderer, but what about the victim'' Allah's Messenger replied,
«إِنَّه كَانَ حَرِيصًا عَلى قَتْلِ صَاحِبِه»
(He surely had the intention to kill his comrade.) Imam Ahmad recorded that, at the beginning of the calamity that `Uthman suffered from, Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas said, "I bear witness that the Messenger of Allah said,
«إِنَّهَا سَتَكُونُ فِتْنَةٌ القَاعِدُ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ الْقَائِمِ، وَالْقَائِمُ خَيْرٌ مِنَ الْمَاشِي، وَالْمَاشِي خَيْرٌ مِنَ السَّاعِي»
(There will be a Fitnah, and he who sits idle during it is better than he who stands up, and he who stands up in it is better than he who walks, and he who walks is better than he who is walking at a fast pace.) When he was asked, `What if someone enters my home and stretched his hand to kill me' He said,
«كُنْ كَابْنِ آدَم»
(Be just like (the pious) son of Adam.)'' At-Tirmidhi also recorded it this way, and said, "This Hadith is Hasan, and similar is reported on this subject from Abu Hurayrah, Khabbab bin Al-Aratt, Abu Bakr, Ibn Mas`ud, Abu Waqid and Abu Musa.'' The Qur'an continues,
إِنِّى أُرِيدُ أَن تَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِى وَإِثْمِكَ فَتَكُونَ مِنْ أَصْحَـبِ النَّارِ وَذَلِكَ جَزَآءُ الظَّـلِمِينَ
("Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours, then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire, and that is the recompense of the wrongdoers.") Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, As-Suddi and Qatadah said that,
إِنِّى أُرِيدُ أَن تَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِى وَإِثْمِكَ
("Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours...") means, the sin of murdering me, in addition to your previous sins. Ibn Jarir recorded this. Allah's statement,
فَطَوَّعَتْ لَهُ نَفْسُهُ قَتْلَ أَخِيهِ فَقَتَلَهُ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ الْخَـسِرِينَ
(So the soul of the other encouraged him and made fair-seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers.) means, his conscience encouraged him to kill his brother by making it seem like a sensible thing to do, so he killed him, even after his brother admonished him. Ibn Jarir said, "When he wanted to kill his brother, he started to twist his neck. So Shaytan took an animal and placed its head on a rock, then he took another rock, and similar is reported on this subject from Abu Hurayrah, Khabbab bin Al-Aratt, Abu Bakr, Ibn Mas`ud, Abu Waqid and Abu Musa.'' The Qur'an continues,
إِنِّى أُرِيدُ أَن تَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِى وَإِثْمِكَ فَتَكُونَ مِنْ أَصْحَـبِ النَّارِ وَذَلِكَ جَزَآءُ الظَّـلِمِينَ
("Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours, then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire, and that is the recompense of the wrongdoers.") Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Ad-Dahhak, As-Suddi and Qatadah said that,
إِنِّى أُرِيدُ أَن تَبُوءَ بِإِثْمِى وَإِثْمِكَ
("Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours...") means, the sin of murdering me, in addition to your previous sins. Ibn Jarir recorded this. Allah's statement,
فَطَوَّعَتْ لَهُ نَفْسُهُ قَتْلَ أَخِيهِ فَقَتَلَهُ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ الْخَـسِرِينَ
(So the soul of the other encouraged him and made fair-seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers.) means, his conscience encouraged him to kill his brother by making it seem like a sensible thing to do, so he killed him, even after his brother admonished him. Ibn Jarir said, "When he wanted to kill his brother, he started to twist his neck. So Shaytan took an animal and placed its head on a rock, then he took another rock, and smashed its head with it until he killed it while the son of Adam was looking. So he did the same thing to his brother.'' Ibn Abi Hatim also recorded this. `Abdullah bin Wahb said that `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said that his father said, "Qabil held Habil by the head to kill him, so Habil laid down for him and Qabil started twisting Habil's head, not knowing how to kill him. Shaytan came to Qabil and said, `Do you want to kill him' He said, `Yes.' Shaytan said, `Take that stone and throw it on his head.' So Qabil took the stone and threw it at his brother's head and smashed his head. Shaytan then went to Hawwa' in a hurry and said to her, `O Hawwa'! Qabil killed Habil.' She asked him, `Woe to you! 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.''' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded it. Allah's statement,
فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ الْخَـسِرِينَ
(And became one of the losers.) in this life and the Hereafter, and which loss is worse than this Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«لَا تُقْتَلُ نَفْسٌ ظُلْمًا إِلَّا كَانَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ الْأَوَّلِ كِفْلٌ مِنْ دَمِهَا،لِأَنَّهُ كَانَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ سَنَّ الْقَتْل»
(Any soul that is unjustly killed, then the first son of Adam will carry a burden of its shedding, for he was the first to practice the crime of murder.) The Group, with the exception of Abu Dawud, also recorded this Hadith. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amr used to say, "The son of Adam, who killed his brother, will be the most miserable among men. There is no blood shed on earth since he killed his brother, until the Day of Resurrection, but he will carry a burden from it, for he was the first person to establish murder.'' Allah said,
فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ غُرَاباً يَبْحَثُ فِى الاٌّرْضِ لِيُرِيَهُ كَيْفَ يُوَارِى سَوْءَةَ أَخِيهِ قَالَ يَـوَيْلَتَا أَعَجَزْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِثْلَ هَـذَا الْغُرَابِ فَأُوَارِيَ سَوْءَةَ أَخِى فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ النَّـدِمِينَ
(Then Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him how to hide the dead body of his brother. He (the murderer) said, "Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother'' Then he became one of those who regretted.) As-Suddi said that the Companions said, "When his brother died, Qabil left him on the bare ground and did not know how to bury him. Allah sent two crows, which fought with each other until one of them killed the other. So it dug a hole and threw sand over the dead corpse (which it placed in the hole). When Qabil saw that, he said,
يَـوَيْلَتَا أَعَجَزْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِثْلَ هَـذَا الْغُرَابِ فَأُوَارِيَ سَوْءَةَ أَخِى
("Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother'') `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "A crow came to the dead corpse of another crow and threw sand over it, until it hid it in the ground. He who killed his brother said,
يَـوَيْلَتَا أَعَجَزْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِثْلَ هَـذَا الْغُرَابِ فَأُوَارِيَ سَوْءَةَ أَخِى
(Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother)'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented on the statement,
فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ النَّـدِمِينَ
(Then he became one of those who regretted.) "Allah made him feel sorrow after the loss that he earned.''
The Swift Punishment for Transgression and Cutting the Relations of the Womb
A Hadith states that the Prophet said,
«مَا مِنْ ذَنْبٍ أَجْدَرُ أَنْ يُعَجِّلَ اللهُ عُقُوبَتَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعَ مَا يَدَّخِرُ لِصَاحِبهِ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْبَغْيِ وَقَطِيعَةِ الرَّحِم»
(There is no sin that is more worthy of Allah hastening its punishment in this life, in addition to what He has in store for its offender in the Hereafter, more than transgression and cutting the relations of the womb.) The act of Qabil included both of these. We are Allah's and to Him is our return.
5.27-31 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "It is no fault of mine if your sacrifice has not been accepted; it is because you lack piety. You should, therefore, try to foster piety in yourself instead of making an attempt at slaying me."
It does not mean: "If you attempt to kill me, 1 will sit with folded hands before you, ready to be killed without any resistance." What it means is: "You may cherish evil intentions of murdering me, but I will not you may make schemes for my murder but I will do nothing to forestall you, even after knowing that you are making preparation for my murder." In this connection, it should be understood clearly that it is not virtue to offer oneself for murder, nor is it a virtue to refrain from resisting an aggressive attack. True virtue is that one should not plan the murder of an enemy though he might be in search of an opportunity to kill the one. A virtuous man would rather prefer, like the noble son of Adam, that the enemy might be the aggressor and not he.
That is, "I would rather prefer that you alone should be guilty of the sin of cherishing evil intentions of slaying me than that I should also be guilty of the same. Thus you shall bear the burden of your own sin of aggression as well as of the injury that I might inflict on you in self-defense."
Thus Allah warned the erring son of Adam of his ignorance and folly through a raven. And when once he became aware of the fact that the raven was better equipped for hiding the dead body, he was not only filled with remorse on this account but also began to feel that he had done an evil deed by slaying his brother. This is implied in: "After this he became very remorseful of what he had done "
The story of the two sons of Adam has been related here to reproach the Jews in a subtle manner for their plot to kill the Holy Prophet and some of his eminent Companions. (Please refer to E.N.30 of this Surah).
The similarity between the two incidents is quite obvious. The Jews plotted against the Holy Prophet and his Companions for the same reason for which the erring son of Adam had slain his pious brother. The Jews became jealous of the Holy Prophet and his Companions because God withdrew His Favor from them and bestowed it upon the un-lettered Arabs just because the former lacked piety and the latter were God-fearing. Instead of considering the matter coolly and considering why they had been condemned and making up for their error which had brought God's wrath on them, they plotted to kill those whom God had blessed with His favors. And they did so in spite of the fact that they knew it well that their evil reaction could not win the favor of Allah but would make them even more condemnable than before.