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THE MOON OF BANI HASHIM - AL-ABBAS IBN ALI (A.S.)
Al-Abbas (a.s.) belonged to the most noble, prestigious and brave families from both his mother’s side and father’s side. His father was the Commander of the Faithful, the “Gateway of Knowledge, the Conqueror of Khyber, one of the Purest Persons as decreed by Allah in the Ayah of Tatheer. His mother was Lady Fatima (s.a.) Bint Hizam, the chief of his illustrious tribe Kelab, famous for honor, open-handedness, nobility, courage, and bravery. Apart from Al-Abbas, she had four sons; hence she was called “Umm-ul- Banin”.
After the sad demise of the Lady of Paradise Sayyidah Fatima Zahra (s.a.), Imam Ali (a.s.) married Lady Umm-ul- Banin (s.a.). From the first day in the sacred “House of AhlulBayt (a.s.), she established herself as a kind and loving person. She told Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Hussayn (a.s.), who were very young, that she did not come in their house as a mother but as a servant to take care of them. She had groomed Al-Abbas (a.s.) accordingly. Hence, all along their life, he would call Imam Hussayn (a.s.) “master” and considered himself as his slave.
Birth of Al-Abbas (a.s.): He was born on 4th of Sha’ban 26 A.H. As soon as the news of his birth was given to the Commander of the Faithful, he hurried to take him and kissed him frequently, recited Azan in the newborn’s right ear and Iqama in the left ear. Young Lady Zaynab (s.a.) had a special link with the newborn. She asked: “Father, have a chosen a name and a nick name for the new baby?” Imam Ali replied: “Yes, I have named him Al-Abbas and nick name “Abul Fazl”. Al-Abbas means a lion that other lions fear and escape. Abul Fazl means “Father of Virtues”
At Turaihi described Al-Abbas (a.s.) in his al-Muntakhab as “Al-Abbas Ibn Ali looked like an unshakable mountain. His heart was the same as such an immovable mound because he was such a unique horseman and hero. In battlefields, he was fearless!”
Once, Imam Ali (a.s.) was holding baby Al-Abbas on his knees and kissed his little hands and cried. Upon Inquiry from his mother, he predicted as to what will happen to his hands and the mother cried heavily. Imam Ali (a.s.) told her about her baby’s great position with Allah.
From early childhood, Al-Abbas would follow Imam Hussayn (a.s.) like a shadow. If Imam Hussayn was thirsty, he would rush to get water for him. If he felt hot in summer, Al-Abbas would fan him with the hem of his cloak. At the battle of Siffin in the year 34 A.H. Al-Abbas was only 8 years old. Imam Hussayn was fighting in the field, when Al-Abbas saw an enemy approaching Imam Hussayn from behind, he took a sword and rushed into the battlefield and killed the enemy, at the same time crying loudly: “How can anyone dare attack my Mawla while I am alive.” Muawiya saw this and asked: “Who is this boy?” When he was told he was Abbas ibn Ali, he said: “By God, No one can fight like that at that age except a son of Ali!”
Al-Abbas was nursed at the hands of a faithful mother who nurtured him on faith, loyalty, knowledge, devoutness and high principles. His father was also great personality who is described as a copy of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.s.), the inheritor of his knowledge and the bravest man on earth. After his father’s demise, he adhered to his two brothers who were the “Chief of the Youths of Paradise”. Consequently, he became a true copy of the knowledge and morality of the two Infallible Imams.
Al-Abbas (a.s.) had more than thirteen epithets. Epithet is word or phrase which is considered to be a quality or characteristic of a person. Some of his famous epithets were; Babul Hussayn, Qamar-e-Bani Hashim, As-Saqqah, Hamil ul Liwaa, Al-Abd-us Saleh, and Bab-ul-Hawa’ij.
Al-Abbas (a.s.) was a manifestation of all virtues and merits which included every lofty characteristics. It is sufficient to say that he was the son of the Commander of the Faithful, the “Perfect Man”. Consequently, he inherited all noble manly qualities from his father. He was a symbol of courage, faith, disdain patience, loyalty, will power, mercy and kindness.
Al-Abbas (a.s.) was the Commander of his brother Imam Hussayn (a.s.)’s army of pious and fearless warriors and the women-folk of harem-e-Imam Hussayn were confident about their security all along the journey from Madinah al- Munawwarah to the desert of Karbala. He was the back-bone of Imam Hussayn (a.s.). His patience and discipline was unparallel in history. He completely put in rein his bravery to abide by the decisions of his brother Imam Hussayn (a.s.), the King of Martyrs.
The Infallible Imam Ali Zain-al-Abedin (a.s.) said about his uncle Al-Abbas (a.s.): “May Allah have Mercy upon my uncle, Al-Abbas. He preferred his brother to himself; he did well and sacrificed himself for his brother until he lost his two hands for the sake of this. Thus, instead of his two hands, Allah will give him two wings with which he will fly with the angels in Paradise, just like Jaffer ibn Abi Talib. In the sight of Allah, the Blessed, the Exalted, Al-Abbas enjoys a peculiar rank for which all the Shahid (Martyrs) will be hopeful for if they have its like on the Day of Resurrection.” (al-Khissal 1/35)
The Infallible Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq (a.s.) and the Infallible Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.) also expressed similar sentiments for this Great Lion of Karbalah!
Al-Abbas by Badr Shahin – Ansarian Publications, Qum
Journey of Tears by Bashir Hasan Ali Rahman
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