Article By: Kumailabbas Dewji
Imam Zainul Abideen(AS) is quoted to have said, “ Mercy of Allah be upon my uncle Abbas, he sacrificed himself and gave himself away for his brothers cause and that Allah replaced his hands with wings in Jannah in the way Allah gave wings to Jafer bin Abi Talib.”
The topic of discussion as can be seen from the above statement is the personality of a man so great, a personality who is a universal role model, an individual who Imam Hussein described as “His backbone”. A personality who was a fierce warrior, the most submissive servant to Imam Hussein, a protector of Hijab, a quencher of thirst. The personality of Abbas bin Ali.
When one talks about the personality of Hazrat Abbas then one cannot help but relate him to Imam Hussein (AS). This is due to the strong bond existing between these two amazing individuals such that one can say we would not be doing justice if we did not discuss the two in relation to each other.
Hazrat Abbas was born on the 4th of Shaaban 26AH. His father was Imam Ali and his mother Fatimah Al Kilabiyyah, famously known as Ummul Banin. (The mother of the sons). Imam Ali married Ummul Banin with the intention of getting sons who would be fierce warriors and surely all the sons of Ummul Banin did turn out to be just that. One of the sons wrestled lions whereas the other was known to chase wild animals. Hazrat Abbas too was a ferocious warrior one trained by the Lion of Allah himself- Imam Ali (AS).
Hazrat Abbas first real appearance came in the Battle of Siffin in the year 37AH when he was just 11years of age. During the battle of Siffin he displayed his extraordinary skills he possessed by killing one of the strongest enemies in the army of Muawiyah. Together with him he killed all of his seven sons such that the army of Muawiyah mistook him for Imam Ali (AS). Only to find out that he was the son of Ali – Abbas. Upon asking him who he was he proclaimed that he was Abbas, the “Qamar /Moon of the Bani Hashim” Muawiyah tried to mock him by saying that the Bani Hashim already had moons in Imam Hassan and Hussein(AS). Hazrat Abbas then made a statement that summed up the aim of Hazrat Abbas life. He said, “They are the sons of Mohamed (SAWW) and I am the son of Ali. It is the role of the sons of Ali to protect the sons of Mohamed (SAWW).”
This explained the type of person Hazrat Abbas was and what his aim in life was. From day one his mother instilled in him that Imam Hussein was his Master and that his role in life was the protection and happiness of Aba Abdillah. It was engraved in him that Imam Hussein was his master and Hazrat Abbas never failed in living up to it. Throughout his life he called Aba Abdillah as “Master” and it was Imam Hussein`s face that he first saw when he opened his eyes. It was Imam Hussein who chose who he should marry and it was on Imam Hussein`s lap when he took his last breath. He lived for Hussein such that it is said when everyone called out Hussein, then Hussein turned and called out Abbas.
The question comes in what can we learn from this great personality and how can we implement it into our lives.
The first and foremost is the essence of Brotherhood. As stated above Hazrat Abbas lived for Imam Hussein. The peak of this brotherhood was demonstrated in the plains of Kerbala and his total dedication to his brother can be seen in the lines he reads when he reaches Furaat and takes the water in his hands. He says, “O Self, After Hussein there is revival but after this life there is humiliation if you are not on his way. This is Hussein drinking the syrup of death and I drink the syrup of this cold water?” He then puts the water back and on his way back we all know what happens when his arms are cut. He says, “Even if you cut my hands I will protect this religion forever and the Imam of truth.” Hazrat Abbas is teaching us how one should obey his brother, yet we look in our community today and we see that brothers do not even talk to each other. Relationships have been cut off and hatred has developed between brothers due to reasons which are unimaginable. Is this the brotherhood Abbas displayed in the plains of Kerbala?
The second message one can take out of Hazrat Abbas is putting the needs of the Imam and the religion forefront. It is amazing when one hears the statement Ummul Banin makes when she hears news of the events of Kerbala. They tell her your sons died in Kerbala, they tell her Abbas died in Kerbala- yet she replies, “Tell me what happen to my Imam Aba Abdillah.” Then she makes a statement that is unimaginable. She says, “Give me 70 Abbas and I will swap them all for one Hussein to be safe” Brothers and sisters a mother making this strong a statement tells us how for her the only person that mattered was the safety of the Imam and this was seen in the sacrifices of Hazrat Abbas as well. Hazrat Abbas did not give anything short but HIMSELF away for the religion and for the Imam. The question I ask myself is how much am I giving for my Imam? Is the Imam our priority in life, do we live in the way our Imam expects us to live? Or then is the Imam someone we just turn to for our hajaat?
Patience is a lesson many a times we forget to mention when it comes to Hazrat Abbas. Abul Fadhil displayed a great level of patience in various aspects when he otherwise had the full ability to demolish the enemies. One such circumstance was during the burial of Imam Hassan (AS). Imam Hassan body was showered by arrows but Abbas was forced to practice patience under the orders of Aba Abdillah. He never questioned the Imam and was always submissive. The lesson here is the practice of patience when one has the ability to respond. That is the true patience something we all ought to develop.
Hazrat Abbas is also a symbol of a protector of Hijab and this can be seen in the words of Bibi Zainab. When Hazrat Abbas comes to Bibi Zainab for the farewell before going to the battlefield then Bibi Zainab tells him that now that he is going away she can understand why her Hijab will be snatched. Abbas protected Hijab yet how much do we respect the Hijab?
Hazrat Abbas is surely a personality we can learn lots of lessons from and it should be our aim to try and take one lesson and place it in our lives. One of our Imams has said, “If people knew what position Allah has given Abul Fadhil Abbas (AS) in heaven then they would want to be like him.” We pray to Allah to grant us the submissiveness of Abbas and to