There could be no better example for sacrifice than the moon of Bani Hashim, His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A). I present to you an example of sacrifice from early Islam when there were not one but many heroes.
A person narrates: “I was passing by injured ones in one of the battles. I saw an injured person lying on the ground taking his final breaths. I knew that excessive blood loss makes a person feel very thirsty. Hence when that injured one looked at me and said something, I immediately thought that he was asking for water.
I fetched a glass of water for him but he pointed out that his brother was lying in the same state and asked me to give that water to him first. When I went to that person he pointed to another thirsty person to me and told me to give the water to him first.
I went near that person (some narrators have recorded the number of injured ones as three and others have recorded as ten). Before I could reach the last injured, he breathed his last. Then I turned towards the second-last only to find that he too had passed away. Similarly, when I reached the first, he was already dead.”
Thus, the narrator could not provide water to any of them because whenever he took water to an injured person, he used to ask him to go to the next one. This is called sacrifice, which is the best expression of man’s spiritual love.
Have you ever wondered why Surah Hal Ata was revealed? It has the verse:
وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا
And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive: (76:8).
إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنْكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلَا شُكُورًا
We only feed you for Allah's sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks. (76:9.)
(In fact this Surah was revealed to teach the importance of sacrifice).
It has been the duty of the Karbala tragedy to decorate and present human and Islamic spirit of sacrifice. It seems that the responsibility of making this feeling perfect was given to His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A).
O dear ones!
Al-Abbas (A) attacked fiercely and drove away four thousand soldiers guarding the Euphrates. Now the Euphrates was under Al-Abbas’s (A) possession. Al-Abbas went so deep in the river that water reached to the horse’s belly and he filled the water-bag without dismounting. After filling the water-bag, he took some water in his cupped hand and brought it near his mouth...The enemy watched from a distance.
They say that they saw him taking the water in his cupped hand and then throwing it away; but nobody knows why His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) did so. It is narrated that he must have remembered that Al-Husayn (A) was thirsty.1
He might have thought that Al-Husayn (A) would say: O Al-Abbas! It is not fair than Al-Husayn remains thirsty at the camp and you drink water. But when was this thought of Al-Abbas (A) recorded? It came to be known from the couplets recited by His Eminence, Abul Fadhl Al-Abbas (A)2 when he came out of the river. He recited a war poem, because of which people came to know why he did not drink that water.
Al-Abbas (A) addressed himself saying,
“O self of Al-Abbas! What remains in life after Al-Husayn? Do you want to drink water and stay alive? Do you want to drink cool water and let master Al-Husayn remain thirsty at the camp? By God, it is not the manner of a slave. It is not customary from a brother. It is not the custom of the followers of the Imam. It is not the style of loyalty.”
Indeed, His Eminence, Al-Abbas (A) was an embodiment of loyalty.
There is no power and might except by Allah the High and the Mighty
- 1. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 41; Mausuat al-Kalimat al-Imam al-Husayn, Pg. 472; Muntahai ul-Amaal, Vol. 1, Pg. 688 has the words: Then he remembered the thirst of Husayn (A) and his Ahl al-Bayt.
- 2. Yanabiul Mawaddah, Vol. 2, Pg. 408; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 41; Maqtal al- Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 268.