Reading Cain and Abel through the lens of the Qur’an

Sarah Snyder
Doctoral Candidate, University of Cambridge, Trustee of the Jubilee Centre

‘Unlike the Genesis narrative, the Qur’anic Abel has a voice, gently but firmly counselling his brother against wrongdoing. Commentators postulate the reasons for their argument – a love triangle with a beautiful girl at stake, a collision between nomad and land owner, a jealous response to a younger brother’s success. Whilst Adam is away visiting Mecca, Cain takes matters in to his own hands. Why, they ask, does Abel not resist, given his moral and physical superiority? Perhaps this was an assassination…This seminar explores Muslim readings of the Qur’anic story of Cain and Abel and the role of Genesis 4 in supporting their interpretation. What, if any, light is thrown on the biblical view of Cain and Abel by this Qur’anic story?