Al-Abbas (Hazrat Abul Fazl)

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Al-Abbas (Hazrat Abul Fazl)

Author: Abu Talib Al-Tabrizi

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Al-Abbas (Hazrat Abul Fazl)

Al-Abbas (Hazrat Abul Fazl)


Descendants of Aqil

The righteous progeny glorifies the ascendants. On that account, the descendants of Aqil were high examples of heroism and defense of their belief. Muslim ibn Aqil, for instance, was that glorious personality who fulfilled his mission so completely until he was martyred. The other sons of Aqil lost themselves for defending their leader, Imam al-Hussein, during the battle of at-Taff, and provided unprecedented examples of sacrifice for their belief. Moreover, among the descendants of Aqil, there have been numerous personalities of piety, knowledge, and writing. Their names are well known all over the Islamic world.


Jafar ibn Abi-Talib was a great personality. The Prophet (s) chose him for the commandment of his army at the campaign of Mu'ta. Jafar, however, was martyred during that campaign, and the Prophet (s) conferred upon him with the eternal name 'At-Tayyar,' when he said after that event during which both the hands of Jafar were severed:

"Instead of his hands that were cut, Jafar will have two wings with which he will fly in Paradise wherever he wants. " The Prophet (s) also said to him: "You are copying me in physique and morality."31


Umm-ul-Banin is the glorious mother of al-Abbas. Her name is Fatima, daughter of Hizam. Historians have referred to the names of eleven mothers each of whom was known of glory, honor, and good reputation. Her father, too, was one of the most celebrated personalities of the Arabs, and was the chief of his people. Historians have also mentioned many names of this great lady's ascendants who were well known of horsemanship, heroism, and courage.33

In conclusion, Umm-ul-Banin belonged to one of the most celebrated families in fields of honor, openhandedness, nobility, courage, and bravery.


When Imam Ali lost his wife, Fatima the daughter of Prophet Mohammed (s), he summoned his brother Aqil who was a well-known genealogist to ask him to search for a lady being the descendant of heroes so that she would give birth of a courageous, immaculate hero whose mission would be supporting his brother in the field of Karbala.34 Without hesitation, Aqil advised his brother to propose to Umm-ul-Banin; from the tribe of Kelab, because her fathers and people had been the foremost among others in fields of heroism and courage. Agreeing to his advice, Imam Ali asked his brother, Aqil, to go to that lady's father and ask her hand for him.

As soon as Aqil mentioned the matter with him, Aamir -Umm-ul-Banin's father- welcomed and responded with pride. Some historians35 have confirmed that Imam Ali married Umm-ul-Banin after the death of his first wife Fatima the Veracious (a). Others36 have recorded that Imam Ali had married Imama, daughter of Zaynab daughter of the Prophet, before Umm-ul-Banin.


Lady Umm-ul-Banin took care of al-Hasan and al-Hussein so remarkably that she asked her husband not to call her with her name, Fatima, so that this name would not remind these two boys with their mother. They, however, found the extreme kindness and sympathy with this lady who could remedy a part of their great loss of their mother who left in their minds deep sadness. Emotionally, Umm-ul-Banin had great love for al-Hasan and al-Hussein because of their perfection and unique morality. She in fact loved them more than her own children. She also preferred them to her sons in care and responsibility. Except this great lady, history has never seen a fellow wife acting so sincerely with her stepsons. This is because this perfect lady believed that it was her religious duty to take care of the two Imams the love for whom is imposed by God and revealed in the Quran: Say, "I do not ask you for any payment for my preaching to you except (your) love of (my near) relatives."37


Umm-ul-Banin had full knowledge of the actual standings and heavenly ranks of the Ahl-ul-Bayt; therefore, she performed her duty towards them so perfectly. Historian have recorded that when she was carried to her husband's house, al-Hasan and al-Hussein were sick. As soon as she noticed so, she, willingly, went on caressing them, using the nicest language. Since that moment, she went on treating them so kindly. From this cause, she could occupy a great position in the sight of the Ahl-ul-Bayt who had great regard for her, especially for her unique situation of loyalty for Imam al-Hussein (s). As soon as she was back home after the tragedy of Karbala, Zaynab, daughter of Imam Ali, visited Umm-ul-Banin for consoling her for the martyrdom of her four sons. Moreover, Zaynab used to visit her on the Eids.38

Umm-ul-Banin gave birth of four sons; al-Abbas, Abdullah, Jafar, and Uthman. After the death of Imam Ali, she did not marry again until she died.


Like the Ahl-ul-Bayt, this lady occupies a great position in the sights of Muslims. Many believe that she has a great position in the sight of God Who will surely respond to any request that is presented through the intercession of her great position. It is natural that such a great lady occupies a great position in the sight of God because she sacrificed her four sons for His sake.


Al-Abbas had fifteen brothers and eighteen sisters. Their father was the great Imam Ali who brought them up on uprightness and piety.


In the first place we should refer to the two Imams al-Hasan and al-Hussein (a) from whom al-Abbas learnt the best lessons of morality and heroism. They are, as described by their grandfather Prophet Mohammed (s), "the chiefs of the youth of Paradise and the two Imams whether they choose peace or choose fighting."39 Their father took pride in them whenever he wanted to prove his precedence to the others.40 This is in fact enough for proving their supreme worth.

So, to live under the custody of such persons, after their father, is enough to achieve perfection of personality and to acquire the highest moralities. In addition to the divine knowledge and lore, al-Abbas came by innumerable virtues and good points because of his brotherhood to the two Imams al-Hasan and al-Hussein (a).


Mohammad ibn al-Hanafiyya is another brother from whom al-Abbas learnt courage plus horsemanship and eloquence. During the battle of Siffin, Imam Ali regarded his son Mohammed as his hand. Hence, the son was fighting bravely before his father.41


Abdullah, Jafar, Uthman, Abu-Bakr, and Mohammed al-Awsat-all these brothers were martyred during the battle of at-Taff before al-Abbas.42


Al-Abbas, too, was the brother of Zaynab al-Kubra, daughter of Fatima az-Zahraa daughter of Prophet Mohammed (s). She was older than al-Abbas. Like her mother the chiefess of the women of this world, Zaynab was the best example of glory, honor, and perseverance on principles; therefore, she has become the pattern of the virtuous woman who contributes strongly in erecting the ideal human society. She was one of the fragments of prophecy and one of the pieces of Imamate. Besides, she was so knowledgeable, righteous, and sagacious.43 Like her father, she was so eloquent. This lady had special situations with al-Abbas who engaged himself with her guardianship during the tragic journey to Karbala.

After the martyrdom of her brothers, sons, and nephews, and after she had been taken as captive to the palace of Yazid, Zaynab gave the ever best example of perseverance and steadfastness when she delivered that incomparable sermon before her enemies who tried, uselessly, to humiliate her. It is now not odd for , al-Abbas, to hold all the mental virtues in his unparalleled personality, since his forefathers, father, mother, brothers, and sisters were all models of human perfection.


Al-Abbas, was the first child of Umm-ul-Banin. With his birth, Medina shone and the whole world glittered. Waves of pleasures flowed in the family of Ali (a), for the birth of their magnificent moon that would light this world with his merits, and would add immortal glory to the numerous glories of the Hashemites.

As soon as Imam Ali (a) was given the good news of the birth of this blessed child, he hurried to take him, kiss him frequently, and hold the Shariite ceremonies of newborns. The Imam (a) recited the azan44 in his newborn's right ear and recited the iqama45 in the left. Hence, the first voice that penetrated this great newborn's hearing was his father's, shouting:

Allahu Akbar -Allah is the Greatest…

La ilaha illa (a)llah -There is no god but Allah. These great words, which are the message of all prophets and the melody of all the God-fearing, found a ground in the inner self of al-Abbas. They, later on, became the most significant elements of his personality. In his future, he would adopt the calling to the true application of these words for which he would lose all his limbs.

On the seventh day of birth, Imam Ali (a) shaved the newborn's hair and gave golden and silver alms as weighty as the cut hair. As he had done to al-Hasan and al-Hussein, Imam Ali (a) slaughtered a ram as offering to God on behalf of his baby. These practices are adopted from the Prophet (s) whose words, practices, and confirmations are regarded as authoritative ground, altogether with the holy Koran, for Muslims.


Historians46 have confirmed that al-Abbas was born on the fourth of Shabaan, AH 26.


After holding the Islamic ceremonies of newborns for Imam Ali's new baby, Lady Zaynab (a) turned her face towards her father and asked, "Father, have you chosen a name and a nickname for this new baby?"

Her father answered, "Yes, daughter, I have." "What are they, father?" she asked eagerly. The father, as he perceived that this baby would be one of the heroes of Islam and would be frowning in the faces of evils and the wrongdoers, said: "I name him 'al-Abbas (the frowning), and nickname him 'Abu'l-Fadhl (father of virtue)."47 Lady Zaynab however loved this baby very much and could not depart him for a single moment. She then told her father about the strange feelings that she had for this child…


Referring to the linguistic meaning of the Arabic al-Abbas, Ibn-Manzhour,48 in his al-Ayn, writes down: (Al-Abbas: the lion that other lions fear and escape.)49 In Muntaha al-Irab, the following is recorded: (Al-Abbas: this name is called on the courageous, the fearless, the strong, and the attacker. It is one of the names of the lion. Describing al-Abbas in the battlefields, many historians have likened him to the angry lion.)50 Describing al-Abbas ibn Ali, at-Turaihi, in his al-Muntakhab, says: (Al-Abbas ibn Ali looked like an unshakable mountain. His heart was as same as a mound because he was such a unique horseman and hero. In battlefields, he was fearless.)


Out of her great love for her son, Umm-ul-Banin did her best to protect him from any evil, including the evils of the envious. Hence, she composed the following poetic verses:

I seek the guard of the One (God) for him

From the eye of every envious

Including the risings and the sitters

The Muslims and the unbelievers

The comers and the goers

And sons and fathers.51


Al-Abbas was called Abu'l-Fadhl (father -or owner- of virtue). Some mentioned that he had a son called al-Fadhl.52 As a matter of fact, this name represents his personality completely, because he was the owner, leader, and source of virtue. In his life, he was so openhanded-he used to distribute his virtue and charity on everyone who directed to him. After martyrdom, he is the shelter and refuge of everyone who seeks his help. Most surely, God will relieve him who directs to Him and implores to Him by using Abu'l-Fadhl as his means and interceder. Because of its commonness, this fact is undeniable.

Al-Abbas was also called Abu-Qirba (the owner of the skin of water) because he carried water to the harem of Imam al-Hussein (a) during the battle of at-Taff.

He was also called Abu'l-Qasim. This name, however, is not common among historians some of whom have mentioned that al-Abbas had a son called al-Qasim and was martyred during the battle of at-Taff. Jabir al-Ansari addressed to al-Abbas during the Ziyara of al-Arbaeen:53 "Salaam be upon you, Abu'l-Qasim. Salaam be upon you, al-Abbas ibn Ali." Undoubtedly, Jabir was that great personality who spent much of his time in the house of prophecy and Imamate; therefore, he was more knowledgeable than others in the secrets, affairs, and news of this holy house.54


It is narrated that, once, Imam Ali (a) seated his baby al-Abbas on his knees, lifted his (the baby's) hands, kissed them, and wept. Watching this situation, the mother was astonished; hence, Imam Ali (a) foretold her about the future of her baby and what would happen to his hands. She, as well as the others, wept heavily. After that, the Imam told her about her baby's great position with God, and this relieved her.55


Al-Abbas was nursed at the hands of a faithful, faithful mother who nurtured him on faith, loyalty, knowledge, devoutness, and high principles. His father, too, was that great personality whom is described as a copy of the Prophet (s), the inheritor of the prophets' knowledge, and the hero of all combats. Under the custody of these parents, al-Abbas was brought up. No wonder then if he possessed such personality and offered such big sacrifices for sake of his religion and principles.

Al-Abbas adhered to his father since he was in Medina, and when he moved to Iraq and resided in Kufa, al-Abbas was also under his thoughtful care and wise education. By heredity, education, and environment, al-Abbas acquired all virtues, high moral standards, knowledge, and conversance.

After his father's demise, al-Abbas adhered closely to his two brothers; al-Hasan and al-Hussein (a). He returned with them to Medina and learnt from them the religious knowledge and fundamentals in addition to the nobilities of character. When Imam al-Hasan (a) was poisoned to death, al-Abbas adhered to his brother Imam al-Hussein and his nephew Imam Ali Zayn ul-Abidin (a). He kept himself with his brother in Medina, Mecca, and Iraq where he protected him as well as his harem until he lost his life for this sake. Thus, unlike the other sons of Imam Ali (a), al-Abbas had the characteristic of full adherence to his father, two brothers, and nephew. From that reason, he was a true copy of the Imams in knowledge and morality.


Epithet is a word or phrase expressing a quality or attribute regarded as characteristic of the person or thing mentioned.56 Epithets, then, show one's mental characteristics, whether good or bad.

To al-Abbas a number of lofty epithets expressing his kind mentality and high moral standards were addressed:


Like his father who was the door to the Prophet (s), al-Abbas is the actual and spiritual door to Imam al-Hussein (a). Because of the high moral standards and great faithfulness of al-Abbas, Imam al-Hussein used to choose him for every mission and depend upon him in every difficult situation. Likewise, al-Abbas dedicated himself to being at the disposal of his brother. He was the protector and defender of the Prophet's household. It is related that al-Abbas used to call his brother by 'Sir.' Only on one day and in one situation did al-Abbas call his brother by 'brother.' That was on the day of Ashura when he fell down from his horse after his two hands had been severed and he had been stricken on the head. In such an hour, a man longs for seeing the ones he loves for the last time. Only then he shouted as aloud as possible, 'O brother, reach your brother!'

As soon as the Imam heard that voice, he hurried towards its source. He rode off, put his brother's head in his lap, began to wipe out blood and dust from the face, and asked about his pains. Al-Abbas opened his sights in his brother's face, looked at him for the last time, and bid him farewell with a smile expressing all meanings of sincerity and loyalty.

As an answer, Imam al-Hussein (a) replied his brother's farewell not with words, but with tears that dropped on the face of al-Abbas while he was in his last sparks of life. Thus, al-Abbas emitted his last breaths while he was in the lap of his brother and has become the door to him. Hence, it is recommended for the pilgrims of the tomb of Imam al-Hussein (a) to begin first with visiting the tomb of al-Abbas. This is one of the confirmations of al-Abbas's being the door to his brother; chief of the martyrs.

The door intended here is the mental and spiritual. Al-Abbas, hence, is the spiritual door to Imam al-Hussein, and this meaning is very far from the familiar meaning of portership or secretariat. Al-Abbas is too far above such meanings and Imam al-Hussein (a) is, too, far above taking doorkeepers or secretaries since he is beyond all material limits.


Al-Abbas was so bright-faced and handsome. Hence, he was called 'Qamar Bani Hashim -Moon of the Hashemites.' He was also the moon of his family and the moon of Islam because he paved the path of martyrdom with light and shone upon the lives of Muslims. He was so bright-faced that the light of his countenance lit every darkness and everybody admired his handsomeness. When it happened that al-Abbas was accompanied by his nephew Ali al-Akbar who is known of his similarity to the Prophet physically and morally, people of Medina used to stop in lines watching their bright-facedness.57


During the battle of at-Taff and the few days preceding, Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad; the governor of Kufa, imposed a blockade on the sources of water so as to prevent Imam al-Hussein (a), his household, and army from having water. , al-Abbas, undertook the mission of fetching water to the camp and harem of his brother. He pushed himself among the large gatherings of that army and could reach the River Euphrates several times. On that account, he had the epithet 'as-Saqqaa -the provider of water.'


From his forefathers, al-Abbas inherited the mission of serving water. Other than the other Koreishite clans, the Hashemites exclusively undertook the mission of serving water for the unparalleled qualities of generosity, munificence, and honor that they enjoyed.

Historians have recorded that Qussay ibn Kelab was the foremost to serve water to the pilgrims of the Sacred House of God in Mecca. After him, his son Abd-Menaf inherited this mission and left it to his son Hashim who, too, left it to his son Abd-ul-Muttalib. The latter undertook this mission so perfectly that God conferred upon him with the bliss of the Well Zamzam. After Abd-ul-Muttalib, Abu-Talib undertook this mission then handed it over to his brother al-Abbas ibn Abd-ul-Muttalib.

On the day of the conquest of Mecca, al-Abbas offered this mission to the Prophet (s) who gave it back to him. Furthermore, history is full of narrations mentioning that the Prophet (s) served water to his companions in many occasions before and after prophesy.

Imam Ali Amir ul-Muminin, also, served the Muslim army with water at that night before the day of the Battle of Badr. On the day of the Hudaibiya Treaty, Imam Ali served the Prophet and Muslims with water. When Uthman ibn Affan was blockaded at his house, Imam Ali ordered his sons to send him water.

Finally, during the battle of Siffin Imam Ali allowed the other party to drink from the water which was under his control although Muawiya prevented Imam Ali's army from reaching the river when he, first, had controlled it. Like their father, Imams al-Hasan and al-Hussein supplicated to God for rain for people of Kufa when they were afflicted by draught. Because of the Imams' supplication, the city of Kufa was watered with heavy rain that regained life to it. After all, history have not forgotten the situation when Imam al-Hussein, after he had left Medina and Mecca and directed towards Kufa, served water to people of Iraq:

At the last hours of that night, Imam al-Hussein ordered his servants to fetch water as much as possible. They did although they did not know the reason. In their way, the caravan of the Imam met the army headed by al-Hurr ibn Yazid and they were intolerably thirsty under the heat of that sun and the iron of their military uniform. Only then did the servants of Imam al-Hussein know the reason why their master had asked them to take water as much as possible. Then, the Imam (a) ordered, "Serve them with water and give their horses some." Copying his fathers and two brothers, al-Abbas ibn Ali assumed to himself the mission of serving water and he was completely worthy of it. On every occasion and every opportunity he could seize, al-Abbas served the others with water. On the day of Ashura, more than ever, he also undertook this mission in many situations.

On the seventh of Muharram that year, Omar ibn Saad banned the army, household, harem, and children of Imam al-Hussein from reaching the river or taking a single drop of water. This blockade continued to the tenth of Muharram. This occurred in an area in the middle of Iraq which is known of its dry weather, and it was Summer. Besides, all the conditions of that situation were arising heat: heat of war, heat of swords and spears, and heat of breaths. To fetch water in such a situation is really a heroic deed that leaves a great effect on hearts. Hence, Abu'l-Fadhl al-Abbas won this location not only in the hearts of people but also in the sight of God Who conferred upon him with innumerable merits and excellences. Al-Abbas however carried out the mission so perfectly and appreciatively. He fetched water to the camp of Imam al-Hussein three times. The first time was on the seventh of Muharram, as we have already mentioned. The second time was on the ninth of Muharram:58 It was not a long distance between the camp of Imam al-Hussein and the River Euphrates when Shemr ibn Thi'l-Jawshan shouted at the camp of Imam al-Hussein: "You can see this water flow like reptiles.

We will never let you have a single drop from it until you join Hell." Just then al-Abbas turned his face towards his brother and asked, "We are the right party, are we not?" "Yes, by God, we are," answered Imam al-Hussein (a).

From this answer al-Abbas understood that his brother would permit him to fetch water for those moaning thirsty harem and children. He therefore attacked the troops who were guarding the riverbank and could force them to leave their positions. Thus, Imam al-Hussein and his companions could reach the river easily and supply themselves with water.

That was the second time of al-Abbas's watering. The third time was on the tenth of Muharram: When Imam al-Hussein's camp lost many of the individuals and seemed to be losing the battle, the Imam shouted, "Is there not any helper who may help us? Is there not any one who may guard the harem of Allah's Messenger?"

Hearing these words from his brother, al-Abbas approached to his brother, kissed him on the face, and asked for permission for fighting. The Imam did not permit him, but he ordered him to fetch some water for the harem and children. Carrying out his brother's orders, al-Abbas carried a skin of water and attacked the troops on the riverside. He could force them to leave their positions… etc.59 In some historical references60 it is mentioned that al-Abbas was conferred with this great epithet of 'as-Saqqaa' after he had undertaken the mission of serving water to the caravan of his brother Imam al-Hussein on the ten days of Muharram, AH60 .


Al-Alqami is the name of the river on whose bank was the last scene of the life of al-Abbas. This river was gathered around by big numbers of soldiers whose mission was to prevent the camp of Imam al-Hussein (a) from water. By his giant determination and unmatched heroism, al-Abbas could attack that army and occupy the river to carry water to the camp of his brother more than once. In the last time, he was martyred there. Hence, he was called 'Battal ul-Alqami -the hero of al-Alqami.'


The holding of standards in wars was the most significant position in armies. Standards are given exclusively to the soldiers who enjoy special military abilities. During the battle of at-Taff, the standard was in the hand of Abu'l-Fadhl al-Abbas who preserved and held it since the beginning of the tragic journey in Medina until the last spark of his life. He protected that standard so bravely and uniquely that he embraced it to his chest when his two hands were severed. In more than one situation, al-Abbas asked his brother Imam al-Hussein for permission for fighting, but the Imam used to say to him, "You are the standard-bearer of my army. If you are martyred, my troops will separate. It is also well known that standard-bearers are chosen according to special qualifications:

The standard-bearer must be accepted by everybody and must bear qualities such as courage, chivalry, and honor. The standard-bearers, too, must exert all efforts for sake of keeping the standard high. From this reason, al-Abbas exerted unique efforts for keeping the standard high. When his right hand was severed, he held the standard in the left, and when this one was also severed, he embraced the standard to his chest and kept it to the last breath of his life.

Historians have also recorded that when the Umayyad army raided at the camp of Imam al-Hussein -after his martyrdom-, they robbed everything including the standard, which was borne by al-Abbas. In Syria, Yazid's sight fell on that standard that amazed him. He noticed that it was completely stabbed except the place of its handle from which it was carried. He asked about the bearer of that standard, and he was answered that it was al-Abbas ibn Ali. Very astonished by the courage of al-Abbas, Yazid turned his face to the attendants and said: "Look at this standard! It is stabbed in every place except its handle. This clearly means that its bearer was so courage and chivalrous that he faced all stabs and strokes without letting that standard fall from his hand. This is the true loyalty to brothers!!"

Hence, al-Abbas was called 'Hamil ul-Liwaa -the standard-bearer.'

Kebsh Ul-Kateeba

This title is exclusively given to the higher commander whose mission is to protect and manage his troops. Hence, this title was conferred upon al-Abbas for his unique courage and bravery during the battle of at-Taff when he protected the camp of Imam al-Hussein (a) and guarded the harem. In fact, the Umayyad army, including their commanders, feared from al-Abbas; therefore, they offered many seductive offers, such as the general commandment of the army, provided that he would leave the wing of Imam al-Hussein and join theirs.

Thus, when al-Abbas was martyred, Imam al-Hussein became helpless. He declared: "My spine is now broken and I have lost every resolution and my enemies are rejoicing at my misfortune." In the same manner, by the martyrdom of al-Abbas, the eyes of his enemies, which could not see rest so long as he was there, became delighted, while the eyes of Imam al-Hussein's harem and children, which was tranquil and delighted so long as they could see al-Abbas protecting them, lost rest forever.


This title is also addressed to the lofty military personalities. It was conferred upon al-Abbas because he played the role of the support and commander of his brother's army.


Because he played an honorable role in guarding and defending the harem of the Prophet (s), al-Abbas was called 'Hami az-Zhaeena -the protector of the harem.' He was responsible of keeping watch over the harem and serving them during the journey from Medina to Karbala.


People believed that God will surely settle the needs of him who implores to Him by seeking the intercession of al-Abbas for the special rank that he enjoys in the sight of Almighty God and for dedicating himself to the obedience to Imam al-Hussein. Hence, al-Abbas is called 'Bab ul-Hawaaij -the door to the settlement of needs.'


Although this epithet, which means 'the martyr', is not very famous among the other epithets of al-Abbas, it is mentioned in the statements of Abu'l-Hasan al-Umari and Abu-Nasr al-Bukhari when they refer to the biography of al-Abbas ibn Ali. Abu-Nasr refers to a narration in which Imam as-Sadiq (a) calls al-Abbas as 'ash-Shahid':

Muawiya ibn Ammar al-Yazidi narrated:

I asked as-Sadiq (a) how they divided the donation of Fadak when it had been given back to them. He answered: "We gave the descendants of al-Abbas ash-Shahid -the martyr- a quarter and took the rest for ourselves."


Historians and biographers should have recorded the epithet of 'al-Abd us-Salih -The righteous servant (of God)' within the other epithets, because it refers to the highest rank one can attain. In the Special Ziyara of al-Abbas that Abu-Hamza ath-Themali related, Imam as-Sadiq (a) says: "Salaam be upon you, the righteous servant!" Prophets, however, enjoy this rank, because it denotes the close, firm relation between man and the Almighty Lord. In the Holy Quran, God describes His prophets, including Prophet Mohammed (s) as righteous servants.


Al-Abbas was also called 'al-Aabid -the worshipper, for his distinctive worship to the Lord. Undoubtedly, it is natural that al-Abbas, being brought up in the center of the genuine worship, which is the house of the chief of the worshippers; Imam Ali Amir ul-Mu'minin, acquires the quality of worshipfulness superiorly.

As-Saduq, in his Thawaab ul-A'maal, records that al-Abbas ibn Ali was described as having the sign of prostration on his forehead. Thus, he is included with those described by God as:

"Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves; you will see them bowing down, prostrating themselves, seeking grace from Allah and pleasure; their marks are in their faces because of the effect of prostration; that is their description in the Torah and their description in the Gospel; like as seed?produce that puts forth its sprout, then strengthens it, so it becomes stout and stands firmly on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the unbelievers on account of them; Allah has promised those among them who believe and do good, forgiveness and a great reward."61 Since obedience is attached to pure worship, al-Abbas was described by Imam as-Sadiq (a) as obedient. In the Ziyara authentically reported to be said by Imam as-Sadiq during his visit to the tomb of Abu'l-Fadhl al-Abbas, the following statement is addressed to al-Abbas:

"Salaam be upon you; the righteous servant (of God), the obedient to Allah, His Messenger, Amir ul-Mu'minin, al-Hasan, and al-Hussein, peace and greetings of Allah be upon them."


Al-Abbas ibn Ali was a whole world of virtues and merits. His personality included each and every lofty characteristic. It is however sufficient honor for him to be the son of Imam Ali Amir ul-Mu'minin (a); the model of human perfection. Thus, al-Abbas inherited all elements of human perfection from his father and became, in the sight of Muslims, the epitome of virtue and high moral standards. Let us now refer to some of these elements:


Since it denotes the soundness and perseverance of personality, courage is regarded as the highest characteristic of manhood. Abu'l-Fadhl al-Abbas came into this characteristic from his father who was the ever most courageous. Al-Abbas's maternal uncles, too, were characterized by this feature among all the Arabs. He was a perfect world of valor; fear had never been on his mind during battles in which he participated with his father.62 During the battle of at-Taff, al-Abbas gave the highest examples of heroism and courage. In fact, that battle is seen as the greatest conflict in the history of Islam. Facing the large gatherings of Yazid's army, al-Abbas manifested himself so bravely that he changed their courageous warriors into cowards and filled in the hearts of their troops with horror. Losing any means to face this great hero, they went on using deceptive ways-they promised they would give him the general commandment of their army if he would leave the camp of his brother, but al-Abbas put them down and their promise was no more than a factor that increased his perseverance on his principles and persistence on defending his beliefs.

Narrators have referred to the great casualties that Yazid's army suffered at the hands of al-Abbas ibn Ali who was, in the midst of that fighting, smiling. He did fill the fields of that battle with the bodies of their victims, did paint their horses with their blood, and did plant horror and terror in their hearts. His sword was a destroying thunderbolt that inflicted bereavement and fatality upon people of Kufa who were on the opposite party.

The courage of al-Abbas has astonished poets and authors who have gone on describing it in nonesuch styles, and given the best examples of heroism all over history. Since this courage was shown for defending the right and protecting the high values and principles of Islam, its significance has been increasing.


Faith was another major feature in the personality of al-Abbas. He was brought up in the laps of the true faith, centers of God-fearing, and faculties of obedience to God. His father; chief of the faithful and head of the pious, fed him with the essence of faith, and factuality of God's oneness. Hence, al-Abbas grew up on the cognizant faith and the true pondering over the secrets of creation. This giant, nonesuch faith interacted in the mentality of al-Abbas to change him into one of the great individuals of faith, piety, and sincerity. Out of his faith, al-Abbas offered his brothers, sons, and himself as pure sacrifices for the sake of God.

Bravely, al-Abbas fought for defending the religion of God and protecting the principles of Islam that were exposed to eradicative dangers during the reigns of the Umayyad ancestry. He aimed at nothing other than the satisfaction of God and the attainment of the eternal joy of the life to come.


Disdain and sense of honor painted the personality of al-Abbas so densely that he refused completely to live in humbleness under the shadows of the Umayyad rulers who usurped the wealth of God and treated people as slaves. Thus, he pushed himself in the fields of fighting, following his brother who raised the slogan of honor and dignity and declared that death would be no more than pleasure, while to live with the wrongdoers would be only humility.

During the battle of at-Taff, al-Abbas represented all the concepts of disdain and sense of honor when he rejected proudly the commandment of Yazid's army if he would leave the camp of his brother. As a result, he pushed himself sincerely in the fields of the battle, felling the warriors and harvesting his enemies' heads-all for defending his freedom, religion, and dignity.


On the day of Ashura, al-Abbas had to encounter unspeakable crises. Nevertheless, he did not show any item of intolerance or worry and did not utter any single word of resentment. On the contrary, he provided the whole matter to his Lord the Most High and copied his brother, al-Hussein (a), whose patience was as heavy as unshakable mountains.

Al-Abbas saw the companions of his brother melted by the sun on the dust of Karbala, heard the weeping of the children out of their thirst and heard the moaning of the harem who were mourning for their men, and saw the loneliness of his brother who were encircled by the meanest enemies, intending to kill him so as to 'win' the prize of the governor of Kufa. In the midst of all these crises, al-Abbas submitted to his Lord completely without showing any weakness.


Loyalty is the noblest characteristic one can have. Al-Abbas set a record in this field when he represented all features of loyalty distinguishably:


Al-Abbas was the most faithful and the best defender of his religion. When Islam had to encounter the eradicative danger of the Umayyad band who renounced Islam completely and declared war against it, al-Abbas dedicated himself to fighting on all fronts for defending his religion and raising the word of God on earth. For sake of the principles of his religion, his hands were cut and he was martyred.


As he noticed his nation sinking down under the gloomy nightmare of humility due to the absolute despotism of the Umayyad band who played in people's fates, al-Abbas understood that his mission was to proceed for saving them from this scathing fait accompli. Along with his brother, family members, and those glorious companions, they raised the slogan of freedom and declared that holy jihad63 ceaselessly until they were martyred for so. This in fact is the ever most elevated loyalty to the nation.


One of the Umayyad rulers, once, declared: "Iraq is no more than a garden possessed by Koreishites."64 Hence, they regarded the Islamic homeland as a garden at their disposal. On this account, poverty and misery were the two major characteristics of the Islamic homeland. Besides, the righteous and the free people were subjected to humility. Thus, al-Abbas, under the commandment of his brother, opposed this ruling regime and its authorities who, thanks to the self-sacrifices of al-Abbas and his party, collapsed. This was the true loyalty to the Islamic homeland.


It is incumbent upon each Muslim to swear allegiance to the Imam who lives in his time. Hence, al-Abbas gave the best example of being faithful to the allegiance to the Imam of his time-al-Hussein (a). All over history, you cannot find an item of loyalty more exalted than that of al-Abbas to his brother and leader. Hence, his loyalty has become the extremity that attracts every free, honest man.


Willpower is one of the characteristics of the great ones whose deeds have always been successful, since it is impossible for the weak to achieve any social aim or any political work.

Al-Abbas was full of determination; he joined the right camp and did not show any negligence or shortcoming. On the stage of history, he has shown himself as being that glorious leader who deserves pride and immortality.


Al-Abbas enjoyed the highest standards of morality. He was so kind and merciful with the underprivileged and the persecuted. In Karbala, when the troops of Yazid occupied the banks of the Euphrates and deprived the other party of water, al-Abbas showed the most clear-cut signs of kindness and mercy when he saw his brother's children, as well as others, pale-faced and dry-lipped because of thirst. Seeing this view, al-Abbas pushed himself towards the river and came back with water for those children. On the tenth of Muharram, he also heard the children crying because of thirst; therefore, his kindness and feelings of mercy prompted him to sate their thirst. He took the container and faced the enemies so bravely that he could take them away from the river. As he was about to have a drink, he remembered the thirst of his brother and his children. He therefore refused to drink before he would sate the thirst of those ones.

Has anyone ever seen, heard, or known of such feelings of mercy and kindness at any person other than al-Abbas who climbed to the highest summits of glory because of the characteristics of his unique personality?