In the Holy Quran, God warns humanity against taking a life unjustly. The backdrop of this warning is the story of Cain and Abel, the two sons of Adam. This story is found in the Old Testament as well as the Quran. The two versions have so much in common that one cannot escape the thought that the source of both must be the same. In the story, as mentioned in the Quran, God says, “And recite to them (O Muhammad) the story of the two sons of Adam in truth; when each offered a sacrifice, it was accepted from one but not from the other. The latter said to the former: ‘I will surely, kill you.’”
The former said, “Verily, Allah (the Arabic name of God) accepts only from those who are God conscious. If you (indeed) do stretch your hand to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of all that exists. 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.”
So, the soul of Cain made it sensible to murder his brother; and he became one of the losers. Then Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him how to hide the dead body of his brother. He 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. (Quran 5:27-31)
By unjustly taking the life of Abel, Cain became the first murderer in the history of humanity, as all three Abrahamic faiths tell us. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and all the Prophets) said, “Any soul that is unjustly killed, the first son of Adam (Cain) will carry a burden of its shedding, for he was the first to commit the crime of murder.” Allah says in the next verse, “Because of that (first murder), We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a (single) person that was not in retaliation for murder, and/or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a (single) life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.”
These verses of the Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad mention what was revealed to the children of Israel as a warning to all, that murdering one innocent person is equivalent in the eyes of God to killing all humanity. By revealing it in the Quran, this warning now extends to the children of Israel and the children of Ismael. To avoid having to face God with the burden of killing all humanity, we ALL need to think deeply about our emotions and consider the consequences of our actions in this world.
Most of us can hardly understand the true barbaric, heinous and inhumane reality of the massacre in Las Vegas. The best writers of this world joined together cannot describe the pain of one mother who lost her child, let alone the pain of all the loved ones of the 58 victims of the Vegas terrorist. We are still waiting to hear the motive of the man who must not be given the honor of being named, but who achieved infamy like none other in the history of modern mass shootings in the United States.
My plea to all my readers, of all religions, is to develop a cool minded attitude, even when dealing with adversity of any kind, and take a path different than that of Cain.
Jawad Rasul is the imam of the Islamic Society of Augusta. He can be reached at (706) 210-5030. Learn more at isaugusta.com.