Author : Heba Shakeel

Heba Shakeel grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and graduated from the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi. She believes that learning is a life-long process & is herself driven by a thirst for knowledge and a passion for technology. Her goal is to make a positive impact on the world through innovative thinking and relentless hard work.

Then Allah sent a crow digging ˹a grave˺ in the ground ˹for a dead crow˺, in order to show him how to bury the corpse of his brother. He cried, “Alas! Have I ˹even˺ failed to be like this crow and bury the corpse of my brother?” So he became regretful.
(Qur’an: Surah Maidah : 31)

The enduring story of Qabil and Habil has long fascinated people, providing a deep understanding of the human mind and the complex dynamics of our feelings. This biblical story, which is also present in the Quran, explores the complex relationship between two brothers and delves into themes of envy, anger, and the consequences of their choices. The story not only has religious significance but also serves as a reflection of our own lives, offering insights into the complex psychological factors that influence our actions. The exploration of the Qabil and Habil narrative reveals a complex interplay of emotions such as jealousy and anger and the delicate balance between conscience and moral development.
Let us embark on a journey to explore the psychological dimensions at play in this compelling story, unveiling the lessons it offers for our own lives.

Adam and Eve had two sons, Habil and Qabil. On one occasion, they were asked to offer a sacrifice to God. Habil was the owner of a flock of sheep and goats. He offered the sacrifice of a good spring lamb. Qabil was a farmer. He offered some grains as his sacrifice. In those days, an open sign of a sacrifice being accepted was that a fire would come from the sky and eat up the sacrifice; and the sacrifice which was not eaten up by the fire was the sign of its remaining unacceptable. As customary with them, a fire did come from the sky and ate up the sacrifice offered by Habil – and the sacrifice offered by Qabil remained lying where it was, untouched. Thereupon, hit by failure and disgrace, Qabil was further enraged. Unable to restrain it, he told his brother openly:

“I will kill you”, to which Habil replied “Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him]”. – (Qur’an: Surah Maidah : 27)

There appears in this dialogue between Habil and Qabil a sentence which has the status of an important principle: The acceptance of one’s deeds and acts of worship depends on Taqwa (fear of Allah).

Sayyidna ` Umar Ibn ` Abdul-` Aziz, may Allah be pleased with him, gave the following good counsel to a person in a letter he wrote to him:

“I tell you to hold on to Taqwa without which no deed is accepted; and mercy is not shown to anyone except those who observe Taqwa; and without it there is no Divine reward on anything. There are many who preach it but there are very few who practice it.”


The story illustrates how jealousy can have a significant impact on individuals’ psychological state, leading them to perceive situations inaccurately and resort to drastic actions. When Qabil’s offering was not accepted, he was confronted with a stark contrast between his own sense of worth and the apparent favour bestowed upon his brother. Overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy and resentment, Qabil’s anger took root, clouding his judgment and fueling a destructive impulse. His actions reveal a clear psychological impact of jealousy, as he gives in to the temptation to cause harm to his own brother. The cautionary tale serves as a reminder of the potential dangers of jealousy, compelling us to reflect on the ways it can corrode our relationships and undermine our own well-being.

Habil further replied: “If you raise your hand to kill me, I will not raise mine to kill you, because I fear Allah—the Lord of all worlds. I want to let you bear your sin against me along with your other sins, then you will be one of those destined to the Fire. And that is the reward of the wrongdoers.” – (Qur’an: Surah Maidah : 29,30)

Habil’s response reflects his righteousness and moral character. Rather than responding with anger or violence, he calmly explains to his brother that Allah only accepts offerings from those who are righteous. His words demonstrate his understanding of the importance of sincerity and righteousness in one’s actions. It portrays him as a person of wisdom and virtue, emphasizing his commitment to pleasing Allah and adhering to divine guidance.

Yet Qabil convinced himself to kill his brother, so he killed him—becoming a loser. – (Qur’an: Surah Maidah : 31)

Additionally, this story highlights how anger influences human behaviour. Qabil’s initial rejection, coupled with his festering jealousy, ignited a deep-seated anger within him. When left uncontrolled and unaddressed, this intense anger overwhelmed him, causing him to lose sight of rationality and guiding him towards a negative trajectory. The tale serves as a reminder of the destructive power of uncontrolled anger and its potential to drive individuals to commit acts of violence and harm. It raises questions about the importance of cultivating healthy outlets for anger and practising emotional regulation as a means to prevent the escalation of negative emotions into irreversible actions.

Then Allah sent a crow digging a grave in the ground for a dead crow, in order to show him how to bury the corpse of his brother. He cried, “Alas! Have I even failed to be like this crow and bury the corpse of my brother?” So he became regretful. (Qur’an: Surah Maidah : 32)

The presence of guilt and remorse in the narrative sheds light on the profound psychological impact of moral transgressions. Following the act of fratricide, Qabil is plagued by an overwhelming sense of guilt. His conscience, awakened by the gravity of his crime, weighs heavily upon him. The internal struggle between his actions and his innate moral compass becomes evident, as he grapples with the consequences of taking a life. This serves as a powerful reminder of the inherent human capacity for moral reflection and the weight of our choices.

As we conclude our exploration of the profound psychological factors within the story of Qabil and Habil, we are left with lingering questions that invite introspection and self-reflection. How often do we find ourselves tangled in the web of jealousy, anger, or sibling rivalry? What measures can we take to nurture healthier relationships and manage our emotions in a constructive manner? How do we navigate the delicate balance between personal responsibility and the well-being of those around us? The story of Qabil and Habil serves as a mirror, inviting us to examine our own psychological complexities and moral choices. May it inspire us to cultivate empathy, seek selfawareness, and strive for personal growth, ultimately fostering a world built on  understanding and compassion.


  1. Ruqayya Subhani

    اللهم أذهب غيظ قلوبنا وأعذنا
    من همزات الشياطين

    Oh God, remove the anger of our hearts and protect us from the whispers of the devils

  2. Anonymous

    May Allah help us control our anger and overcome the hard situations with patience.

  3. Sœur ainée

    اللهم أذهب غيظ قلوبنا وأعذنا
    من همزات الشياطين

    Oh God, remove the anger of our hearts and protect us from the whispers of the devils


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