Al-’Abbas in the Imams’ Sight
The Immaculate Imams are the representatives of God, the successors of His Prophet and the leaders that God has assigned for people so as to make distinction between the right and the wrong. They, peace be upon them, praised many persons and also condemned many others - each according to their deeds. On that account, they described Al-’Abbas, with the finest words of praise, appreciation, and commendation and showed their admiration for his heroic performance for defending Islam. He however, has occupied the hearts and feelings of the great personalities and has become melody of the free people all over history.
Let us now refer to some of the medals that the Immaculate Imams (a) conferred upon al-’Abbas:
We have already mentioned that Imam ‘Ali (a) foretold about the personality and future of al-’Abbas when he was one-day old.
In many other situations, Imam ‘Ali (a) foretold that his son would shoulder the responsibility of protecting the harem of his brother and would sacrifice himself for his religion and belief.
These predictions are regarded as commendations for al- ‘Abbas whose mission was divinely identified and prepared. He did not disappoint his father when he accomplished his mission as completely as possible to the last spark of his life.
Historians have narrated many reports showing the close, unique relation between al-’Abbas and his brother Imam al- Husayn (a), who addressed him so that the words showed great rank that al-’Abbas occupied in his brother’s mind:
In one of the many situations in Karbala, Imam al-Husayn said to his brother al-’Abbas:
“Ride on, may I be your sacrifice.”
When al-’Abbas breathed his last breaths while his head was on the knees of Imam al-Husayn (a), the latter declared in a deeply sad tone, “Now, my spine is broken and I have become helpless, and my enemies are rejoicing at my misfortune.”
These words express the real position that al-’Abbas was occupying for his brother.
Imam Zayn ul-Abidin is one of the founders of true piety and virtue in Islam. Historians have reported that he used to seek Allah’s mercy for his uncle al-’Abbas, and used to refer to him with the finest words of admiration and commendation. Listen to the following valuable words of the Imam (a):
“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 Ja’far ibn Abi-Talib. In the sight of Allah the Blessed, the Exalted, al-’Abbas enjoys a peculiar rank for which all the shahids will be hopeful for if they had its like on the day of Resurrection.”1
The previous statement of Imam Zayn ul-Abidin (a) includes the most significant sacrifices that al-’Abbas did towards his brother - Imam al-Husayn (a). For the sake of his brother, al-’Abbas sacrificed his two hands and went on resisting until he was felled.
For these great sacrifices, God will grant al-’Abbas an unparalleled rank that all martyrs will wish for if they had its like.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) used to praise his uncle al-’Abbas and pay tributes to his heroic situations during the battle of at-Taff:
“My uncle al-’Abbas was clear-sighted and steadfastly faithful. He fought along with his brother al-Husayn, did very well and was martyred.”2
Imam as-Sadiq in the previous statement refers to the noblest characteristics that al-’Abbas enjoyed.
Clear-sightedness originates from being well-advised and intellectually genuine. It is attached to self-purity and simple-hearted nature and is enjoyed only by those who are free from control of passions.
In the personality of al-’Abbas, this characteristic was very clear. It was the principal motive that incited him to support and follow Imam al-Husayn (a) in order to climb up to the summit of honor and glory. Hence, his great personality has lasted forever and shall remain so as long as man is submitted to the human values whose summits and climaxes have been attained by al-’Abbas.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) testified to the unmatched character of his uncle al-’Abbas when he attached the characteristic of steadfast faith to him. This steadfast faith provoked al-’Abbas to challenge the enemies in the fields of jihad and sacrifice himself for his religion.
The testimony of jihad is the best proof on the perfection of personality. Hence, Imam as-Sadiq (a) ascribes this great virtue to the personality of al-’Abbas because of the latter’s self-evident fighting for the sake of his brother, Imam al-Husayn (a).
After he had visited the tombs of Imam al-Husayn, his household, and the virtuous companions, Imam as-Sadiq (a) ran to visit the tomb of his uncle al-’Abbas. He stood on that tomb and recited the famous Ziyara.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) begins this Ziyara by seeking the greetings and salaams of God, His favorite angels, commissioned Prophets, righteous servants, and all martyrs and truthful ones to be on al- ‘Abbas.
He then goes on to testify his uncle for being submissive, believing, faithful, and sincere.
Al-’Abbas submitted completely to his brother and leader and followed him from top to bottom until he was martyred for his sake. This unmatched submission was the result of al-’Abbas’ full acquaintance with the Imamate of al-Husayn (a) that is incumbent upon every Muslim. Al-’Abbas practiced all matters stemming from the divine commandment of the submission to the Immaculate Imams (a).
Al-’Abbas believed in God and gave full credence to his brother. He surpassed all doubts in his belief of the equity of his issue. He believed he was the right while his enemies were wrong.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) testified that his uncle al-’Abbas accomplished his duties towards the pledge with God and the loyalty to the Imam of his time utterly. He supported the right party, stood steadfast with his brother in the most intensive circumstances, and did not leave him until he was martyred after he had lost his two hands.
Finally, al-’Abbas was created to be faithful; therefore his loyalty was a natural element of his personality and was also the fruit of the unparalleled loyalty of his parents.
Sincerity is another feature in the personality of al-’Abbas to which Imam as-Sadiq (a) testified. Al-’Abbas was sincere in his fighting against the wrong and opposing the wrongdoers. He played a great role in the jihad of his brother who took the leadership of struggling against the wrong.
In another paragraph of the Ziyara, Imam as-Sadiq (a) showed his great admiration for the great help and huge sacrifices that al-’Abbas made for Imam al-Husayn. He sacrificed himself, protected Imam with his dearest things, and tolerated steadfastly the crises and hardships - all for the sake of God. May God reward him so remarkably on behalf of Prophet Muhammad, Imam ‘Ali Amir ul- Muíminin, Fatima az-Zahraa, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn (a).
Imam as-Sadiq, in the same Ziyara, testified that his uncle al- ‘Abbas followed the same line of the martyrs of Islam whose blood raised the word of God highly. As he noticed the Umayyads’ attempts to eradicate Islam and take people to the pre-Islamic customs and traditions, al-’Abbas, under the leadership of his brother, revolted to keep the word of God high, to achieve victory for Islam, and to defeat its enemies and rivals.
In the last paragraphs of the Ziyara, we notice the great rank of al-’Abbas in the sight of Imam as-Sadiq (a) who testified for him that he did not show any shortcoming or retreat and did his best for sake of the religion. Hence, the Imam beseeches to God to confer al-’Abbas with eternal happiness, large place in Paradise, and companionship of the prophets, martyrs, and righteous ones.
The Great Reformist Imam al-Mahdi, God may hasten his return, said a great word about al-’Abbas:
“Salaam be upon Abu’l-Fadhl al-’Abbas, son of Amir ul- Mu’minin. He preferred his brother to himself, supplied himself with (opportunities of) today for (rewards of) tomorrow, sacrificed himself for his brother, protected him, hurried for fetching him water, and his two hands were cut off for this. May Allah curse his killers; Yazid ibn ar-Raqqad and Hukaim ibn at-Tuffail at-Taee…”3
In the previous statement, Imam al-Mahdi praises al-’Abbas for the noble characteristics that he enjoyed:
The Imam (a) commends al-’Abbas for:
* Preferring his brother, the chief of the martyrs, over himself,
* Supplying himself with the opportunities for this life and for the life to come. This is an indication to his piety, God-fearing nature and support for the ‘right’ and its people,
* Sacrificing his brothers, sons and himself for Imam al- Husayn (a),
* Protecting his brother with his soul, and
* His efforts to fetch water to his brother and his harem when the opposite party surrounded the Euphrates so as to prevent the party of Imam al-Husayn from having water even for their children and women.