A short story of Al- Abbas (a.s.)
A man by the name of Qambar who was the faithful sevant of Imam Ali (a.s) came running to the Prophet’s Mosque in the holy city of Medina. For a moment Qamber stood at the door looking among the worshippers for his master Ameer Almomeneen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as). He was very excited and upon spotting his Master of Believers he rushed towards him breathlessly, shouting I have good news for you.
Qambar Wiping the sweat off his forehead, said: My master! I have just come from your house and God Almighty has blessed you with another son. Happiness could be seen in the Imam’s eyes. He smiled and said this child has a high status before God. I will name this son Abbas like my Uncle. That day was the fourth of Sha’ban in the year 26 AH.
Abul Fadl Al-Abbas (a.s.) was a towering and handsome personality. His determined courage, supreme confidence and persistent loyalty earned him many titles. He was called, “Qamar-Bani Hashim” (Moon of the Hashimites), because of his imposing appearance. His remarkable horsemanship made him “Sayed-ul-Forosan” (the chief of horsemen). His ability to lead people resulted in his being called (the leader of the courages), and the manner in which he sacrificed his life earned him the title of Afdalul- Shohada” (the choicest of the martyrs) and “Saqqa” (water carrier), because he sacrificed his life in an effort to obtain water for Imam Hussain’s children in the tragic battle of Kerbala. He fully lived up to his name Abbas,
which in Arabic stands for Lion.
Since his youth, Al- Abbas (a.s.) showed signs of bravery and courage alongside his father Imam Ali (a.s.). During the Siffeen war against the rebel governor of Syria Mua’wiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, when the enemies blocked the water supply to the camp of Muslims, Abbas ibn–Ali (a.s.) who was in his early teens entered the battlefield with a mask on his face to hide
his true identity.
Mua’wiyah ordered one of his powerful men Abu Shasa to confront him. The Syrian arrogantly said: People compare my bravery to a thousand riders, now you want me to fight this young boy? Abu Shasa sent his youngest son to confront him.
But his son was soon defeated and killed. Abu Shasa then sent his other son, but to his surprise, he was also killed. Then Abu Shasa fuming with rage swallowed his proud words and personally entered the battlefield seeking to avenge the death in combat of his sons. But the boy was so courages that he defeated him and made swift work of the infidel. At this sight, the Muslim army rejoiced and felt surprised at the bravery of the young masked lad. Imam Ali (a.s.) called the youth and took the mask off his face. Then everyone saw that the brave youth was no one but Abbas ibn– Ali (a.s.).
The height of the greatness of the personality and Loyalty of Al-Abbas ibn Ali (a.s.) reached its peak in Kerbala where he was martered. It is said that before a man’s death all the past events of his life pass before his mind’s eye in a flash-back. In his last moments Abbas was experiencing this.
He was seeing himself as a child in Medina following Hussein (a.s) with a devotion which was considered unique even for a brother. He was seeing the events of that hot and boiling day in Kufa when his famous father Ali ( a.s) was addressing a congregation in the mosque and he, as a child, with his distinctive devotion, was looking at the face of his beloved brother Hussein (a.s) watching him carefully so that he could attend to his wishes on
an instant command.
Seeing from the dried up lips of his brother Hussein (a.s) he knew Hussein was feeling extremely thirsty, how he had rushed out from the mosque and returned with a tumbler full of cool, refreshing water and in the hurry to carry the water as quickly as possible to quench the consuming thirst of his dearest brother, how he had spilled water on his own clothes. He was recalling how this incident had made his Famous father Imam Ali (a.s) stop in the midst of his speech, with tears rolling down his cheeks at the sight of his young son all wet with water.
He was remembering his father’s reply to the queries from his faithful followers as to what had brought tears in his eyes, and by his father Imam Ali (a.s) responding that Abbas who had wetted his body with water in the process of quenching Hussein’s thirst would in the not too distant future wet his body with his own blood in attempting to quench the thirst of his young children.
He was brightly seeing the scene on the 21st Ramadan, way back in 40 Hijra, when his mortally wounded father was lying on his death-bed and entrusting his children and dependents to the care of the his eldest brother, Hassan – all except him. Seeing that his father had commended all but him to the care of Hassan – how he, a child of 12, had burst out into uncontrollable tears. His father, on hearing him sobbing, had called him to his side and placed his hand in Hussein;s hand with the words:
Hussein, this child I am entrusting to you. He will represent me on the day of your supreme sacrifice and lay down his life in defending you and your dear ones, much as I would
He remembered how his father had turned to him and warmly told him:
Abbas, my child, I know your absolute love for Hussein. Though you are too young to be told about it, when that day dawns, consider no sacrifice too great for Hussein and his children.
He saw before his mind’s eye that parting with his aged mother Fatima in Medina. How she had lovingly embraced him and reminded him of the dying desire of his father to lay down his life in the defense of Hussein and
his dear ones.
A faint smile of satisfaction flickered for a brief moment on his burnt lips, a smile of satisfaction that he had fulfilled his father’s wish; that he had performed his duty for which he was brought up. Other scenes came before his mind’s eye. He was re- living the events of the night before.
He was seeing Shimr cautiously coming to him; and talking to him about his ties of relationship; about the protection he had been promised for Abbas by the Commander of Yazid’s forces, only if he would leave Hussein and go over to Yazid’s camp; about the promises of riches and rewards that he would get; how he had fiercely rejected the suggestion of Shimr with the utmost disregard to one who had sold his soul for little wordly gains. How he had scared away that coward by his furious rage saying:
You worshipper of the material world, do not think that Abbas will be lured by your tempting offer of power and wealth. If I die in defending my master, Hussein, I shall consider myself the luckiest person. O coward,
remember that martyrars die but once. Nobody is born to live eternally. By betraying my master, you have betrayed the Prophet, whose religion you profess to follow. On the Day of Judgement you will be doomed to eternal punishment. I am ashamed to own any relationship with you. Had it not been for the fact that you have come here unarmed, I would have given you the chastisement you deserve for your disrespect in asking me to become a traitor
Al- Abbas (a.s) tossed on the burning sand with agonizing pain until he met his fate as the choicest of the martyrs (Afdal-ul-Shohada) Out of all the things he is known for, including his bravery, self-sacrifice, devotion to Islam and to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.),including his patience and other traits, the 12th Imam (a.s) Sahib Al-Asr (Imam of Era) has summarized it beautifully when he spoke the following words about Abbas ibne Ali (a.s.):
“My greetings upon Abul Fadhl al-Abbas, son of Amirul Momineen, He preferred his brother to himself; supplied himself with (opportunities of) today for (the rewards of) tomorrow; sacrificed himself for his brother; protected him; hurried for fetching him water and as a result, his two hands were cut off…”
Peace be upon Hussain and Ali bin Hussain and the decendents of Hussain and the companions of Hussain, and may the constant curse of Allah (S.W) be upon those who have victimized and oppressed the Ahlul Bait (A.S) from
now until the rise of the day of judgement.