Allaah Ta’aala says in the Qur’an,
“Wa qaalal-lazeena kafaroo rabbanaa arenal-lazayne azallaanaa minal jinne wal inse naj’alhoma tahta aqdaamena le-yakoona minal asfaleen”,
which means, ‘And those who disbelieve will say: “Our Lord! Show us those among Jinns and men who led us astray, we shall crush them under our feet, so that they become the lowest.”’ (29/41)
In the Tafseer of the above verse, Maulaana Ali (as) has said that, the one from the Jinns who led the people astray is Iblees and the one among the men is Qaabeel – son of Maulaana Aadam (as) who murdered his brother Haabeel (as). Iblees is the first among the Jinn and the Qabeel is the first among men to disobey Allaah. It has been accounted in the Ta’weel that Rasoolullaah (saws) appointed Maulaana Ali (as) as his successor at Ghadeer-e-Khumm and handed over the legacy of Prophets, books, weapons to him. This became a matter of jealousy for some of the Ashaab of Rasoolullaah (saws), especially 3 taghoot who usurped and forcibly took over the darajah of Maulaana Ali (as). Maulaana Ali (as) and Zidd-e-awwal (1st opponent) were like spiritual sons of Rasoolullaah (saws). Among them, Zidd-e-awwal became envious and jealous on Maulaana Ali (as). He tried to belittle and usurp the status and rank of Maulaana Ali (as). He decided to become the leader of the people in place of Maulaana Ali (as). This conspiracy of Zidd-e-awwal against Maulaana Ali (as) was like a Baatini Qatl (hidden murder) on the basis of which there was Zaahiri Qatl (open murder) in the Masjid of Kufa by Abd ur-Rahmaan bin Muljim.
Just like Allaah Ta’aala commanded all His Angels to bow down to Maulaana Aadam (as) and the Iblees Shaitaan refused to bow down to him. All the Angels bowed down except Iblees who was cursed by Allaah till the Day of Qayaamat. When the question of appointing the successor (Wasi) of Maulaana Aadam (as) arose, Allaah Ta’aala ordered Haabeel (as) and Qaabeel to do the sacrifice in the way of Allaah. Qaabeel was a farmer and Haabeel was a shepherd. Qaabeel brought stale grains from the farm and Haabeel brought a young Kabash (male sheep) for the sacrifice. Allaah Ta’aala descended fire on the sacrifice of Haabeel and it was accepted by Allaah. Seeing this miracle of Allaah, Maulaana Aadam (as) appointed Haabeel (as) as his Wasi and successor. This incidence ignited the fire of jealousy and hatred in the heart of Qaabeel and he murdered Haabeel (as).
It has been accounted in the book Asaas ut-Ta’weel by Saiyedna Qazi No’maan (aq) that, An unlawful murder of a man is the murder of the whole mankind and giving life to one person is equal to give life to the whole mankind. Saiyedna Moayyad ash-Sheerazi Saheb (aq) further goes into the detail and explains that the above concept applies to the murder or life of a person who is loved by Allaah and he is no one but Imaam uz-Zamaan (as). Haabeel (as) was the Wasi of Maulaana Aadam (as). He was the Imaam and Hujjat of Allaah and his murder is the murder of the whole mankind. “Mautul ‘aaleme mautul aalam” which means, ‘Death of learned is the death of universe.’ Murder of Haabeel (as) was such a heinous crime that it was equal to the murder of the whole universe.
Saiyedna Ahmad Hameeduddin Kirmaani Saheb (aq) writes in his book Ma’aasem ul-Hodaa that Maulaana Ali (as) slept on the bed of Rasoolullaah (saws) in the night of Hijrat (migration) which was the bed of death. Rasoolullaah (saws) peacefully left to Madeenah from Makkah leaving behind Maulaana Ali (as) on his bed. This was as if Maulaana Ali (as) gave a new life to Rasoolullaah (saws) which was equal to enliven the whole mankind till the Day of Qayaamat. Such a supreme sacrifice was this that even Jibra’eel (as) and Mika’eel (as) fell short of it. The true essence and the meaning of the verse of the Qur’an “ahyaaha fa-ka’annamaa ahyan-naasa jamee’a” i.e. giving life to one person is equal to give life to the whole mankind, was depicted and portrayed in reality by Maulaana Ali (as) in the night of Hijrat of Rasoolullaah (saws).
In the same way, Maulaana Abu Taalib (as) used to make Maulaana Ali (as) sleep on the bed of Rasoolullaah (saws) in the She’ab (mountainous trail) because he knew that the people of Kuffaar (infidels) of the Quraysh had boycotted the Bani Haashim and were always ready to murder Rasoolullaah (saws). Maulaana Abu Taalib (as) had given the lessons of sacrifice to Maulaana Ali (as) right from this time and even he remained as the guardian of Rasoolullaah (saws) and saved him from the infidels of Quraysh.
Ibn Abi Hadeed who is a Sunni scholar writes in his book Sharh Nahj ul-Balaagah that,
“Fa-laulaa Abu Taalib wabnohu, lamaa masolad-deeno shakhsan wa qaama, fa-haaza be-Bakkata aawaa wa haamaa, wa-zaaka be-Yasrib khaazal hemaamaa”
‘In the absence of Abu Taalib (as) and his son Ali (as) the man of Deen (of Allaah) would never have established, this Abu Taalib (as) in the Makkaah and that Ali (as) in the Madeenah supported Rasoolullaah (saws) and sacrificed for him.’
Saiyedna Ahmad Hameeduddin al-Kirmaani Saheb (aq) describes the murder of Haabeel (as) in his book Kitaab ur-Riyaaz that, the belief of ‘Zidd’ (enemy of the Da’wat of Allaah) against every Wali (representative of Allaah) in every time regarding the promise and ibaadat (worship) of Allaah is their sacrifice. Their way of thinking regarding the Allaah and the Shari’at differentiates them in their deeds and the same thing defines their ranks. Their deeds and beliefs are responsible for their fate in the Hereafter. ‘Zidd’ harboured the belief that following the Zaahir (obvious and the evident of religion) and executing the deeds according to it is the key to Najaat and Shafaa’at (salvation) and it is the path of getting the supreme position after the death of Nabi (Qaabeel after Aadam (as) and Zidd-e-awwal after Rasoolullaah (saws) who was first to oppose the status of Wasaayat (deputyship) of Maulaa Ali (as)). On the contrary, the Wali held the belief that not only Zaahir (which is nothing but deeds) or Baatin (which is nothing but knowledge) is necessary for the Najaat but it is both, Zaahir and Baatin (deeds and knowledge), which will take us to the final destiny of Najaat and will ascend us to the supreme position after the Nabi. Hence, only the one who Rasoolullaah (saws) chooses and ascends, is liable to become his successor.
There was an argument between Maulaana Ali (as) and Zidd-e-awwal regarding this issue and they approached Rasoolullaah (saws) disclosed their respective beliefs as mentioned above. Rasoolullaah (saws) liked and appreciated the belief of Maulaana Ali (as) (Wali) and disliked the belief of Zidd. Rasoolullaah (saws) then said quoting the Qur’anic verse,
“Inna akramakum ‘indallaahe atqaakum” (13/49)
which means, ‘The one who fears Allaah the most is revered near Allaah.’
Rasoolullaah (saws) also said, “atqaakum Abu bakr”, which Abu Bakr heard and assumed that the above aayat is meant for him and not for Maulaana Ali (as). Here, “Atqaakum” has two meanings i.e. The one who fears Allaah and also the one who is coward. The latter were the words meant for Zidd-e-awwal. He (zidd) assumed that he is superior to the Maulaana Ali (as) and is a legible successor of Rasoolullaah (saws) after him. Under this false assumption he said to Maulaana Ali (as), “La-aqtolannaka” (I will kill you) i.e. ‘I will nullify your belief and prevent you from becoming the successor of Rasoolullaah (saws).’ Maulaana Ali replied “innamaa yataqabbalullaaho minal muttaqeen”. Indeed Allaah will appoint the one who is established on the foundation of Deeds and Knowledge (Zaahir and Baatin) i.e. attained the zenith of piety. Zidd started teasing Maulaana Ali (as) who replied that if you will belittle me then I won’t behave like you and if you will harm me in any way then I won’t do that to you because I am the follower of Rasoolullaah (saws) without whose permission I don’t do anything.
Second and third Zidd followed the evil belief of the first Zidd and supported him. They tried to falsify the belief of Maulaana Ali (as) and instigated Zidd-e-awwal to kill Maulaana Ali (as) through argument and confrontation. This led Zidd-e-awwal on the wrong path and he proclaimed as the Khaleefah of Rasoolullaah (saws). He usurped the Wasaayat of Maulaana Ali (as) who remained silent through all these times. His silence was a shear wisdom and sacrifice for the sake of Islaam. After some period, Maulaana Ali (as) sent his Hujjat (representative) to the Zidd-e-awwal to make him aware that the rank which he has forcibly and unlawfully taken away, belongs only to Maulaana Ali (as). This Hujjat was Mohammad – son of Zidd-e-awwal who was a staunch follower of Maulaana Ali (as). Mohammad bin Abu Bakr said to his father to leave the rank and seek forgiveness from Allaah and return the Wasaayat of Maulaana Ali (as). Zidd-e-awwal became soft on listening to his son but Second and third Zidd obviated the inclination of the first towards Maulaana Ali (as).
Zidd-e-awwal then repented and said,
“Qaala yaa waylata a-‘ajazto an akoona misla haazal ghoraabe fa-owaareya sau’ata akhee fa-asbaha minan-naademeen”
which means, ‘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 of those who regretted.’
He felt ashamed that Alas! I would have been like my son and protected the Wali of Allaah and followed him. But I was unable to do that and I am among those who will regret till the Day of Qayaamat. This is the interpretation of the verses of Surat ul-Maa’edah (27 to 31) which describes the murder of Haabeel (as) by his Zidd Qaabeel which is the Zaahiri (evident and outer) understanding.
The account of Maulaana Ali (as), Rasoolullaah (saws) and Zidd-e-awwal is the Baatini (hidden, esoteric and inner) understanding which has been accounted by A’immat-e-Taahereen (as) and Du’aat ul-Akrameen (aq) in the various books as mentioned above.