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-Husayn (a), from whom al-’Abbas learnt the best lessons of morality and heroism. They are, as described by their grandfather Prophet Muhammad (S) - “chiefs of the youth of Paradise and two Imams whether they choose peace or choose fighting.”1
Their father took pride in them whenever he wanted to prove his precedence to the others.2 This fact is in itself enough to prove 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 to possess innumerable virtues and good points because of his brotherhood to the two Imams al- Hasan and al-Husayn (a).
Muhammad 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 Muhammad as his hand. Hence, the son was fighting bravely before his father.3
Abdullah, Ja’far, Uthman, Abu-Bakr, and Muhammad al-Awsat - all these brothers were martyred during the battle of at- Taff before al-’Abbas.4
Al-’Abbas was the brother of Zaynab al-Kubra, daughter of Fatima az-Zahra, daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S). She was older than al-’Abbas.
Like her mother, the lady chief of the women of this world, Zaynab was the best example of glory, honor, and perseverance to principles. Therefore, she was the type of virtuous woman who contributes strongly to 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.5 Like her father, she was very eloquent.
This lady had special attachment 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 best ever example of perseverance and steadfastness when she delivered that incomparable sermon before her enemies who tried, uselessly, to humiliate her.
It is now not surprising for al-’Abbas, to hold all such intellectual and spiritual virtues in his unparalleled personality, since his forefathers, father, mother, brothers, and sisters were all models of human perfection.