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Al-Abbas ibn Ali
ٱلْعَبَّاس ٱبْن عَلِيّ
Al-Abbas ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib's name in Arabic calligraphy
Born4 Shaban, 26 AH[1]:39–40
15 May 647
Died10 Muharram, 61 AH
10 October 680(680-10-10) (aged 33)
Cause of deathMartyred
Resting placeAl Abbas Mosque, Karbala, Iraq
NationalityArab Caliphate
Known forBattle of Karbala
Title
  • ʾAbū al-Fadhl
    (أَبُو ٱلْفَضْل)
    (Father of Virtue)
  • Qamar Banī Hāshim
    (قَمَر بَنِي هَاشِم)
    (Moon of the Hashimites)[1]:45–47
  • Bāb al-Ḥusayn
    (بَاب ٱلْحُسَيْن)
    (Door to Husayn)
  • Bāb al-Ḥawāʾij
    (بَاب ٱلْحَوَائِج)
    (Door to Proofs)[2][3]
  • Quwwat al-Ḥusayn
    (قُوَّة ٱلْحُسَيْن)
    (Strength of Husayn)
  • ʾAfdhal ash-Shuhadāʾ
    (أَفْضَل ٱلشُّهَدَاء)
    (The Best of the Martyrs)
  • as-Saqā
    (ٱلسَّقَىٰ)
    (The Provider of Water)[1]:45–47
  • ʾAbū Qirbah
    (أَبُو قِرْبَة)
    (Possessor of the Waterskin)
  • Shāhanshāh Wafā
    (شاهنشاہِ وفا)
    (King of Loyalty)
  • Alamdār
    (علمدار)
    (Flag-Bearer)
Opponent(s)Yazid I
Spouse(s)Lubaba bint Ubaydillah
Children
  • Ubaydullah ibn Abbas
  • Hasan ibn Abbas
  • Qasim ibn Abbas
  • Fadhl ibn Abbas
  • Muhammad ibn Abbas
Parent(s)Ali
Umm al-Banin
RelativesSayyida Ruqayya bint Ali (sister)[4]
Hasan ibn Ali (paternal half-brother)
Husayn ibn Ali (paternal half-brother)
Zaynab bint Ali (paternal half-sister)
Umm Kulthum bint Ali (paternal half-sister)
Muhsin ibn Ali (paternal half-brother)
Muhammad (Uncle)/(half-grandfather)
Fatimah bint Muhammad (half-mother)
FamilyBanu Hashim, Banu Kilab
Painting commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn at the Battle of Karbala; its focus is his half brother Abbas ibn Ali on a white horse.[5]
Painting commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn at the Battle of Karbala; its focus is his half brother Abbas ibn Ali on a white horse.[5]

Al-Abbas ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (Arabic: ٱلْعَبَّاس ٱبْن عَلِيّ ٱبْن أَبِي طَالِب‎, romanizedal-ʿAbbās ibn ʿAlīy ibn ʾAbī Ṭālib; born 15 May 647 – 10 October 680), also known as Abu al-Fadhl (Arabic: أَبُو ٱلْفَضْل‎) and Qamar Bani Hashim (Arabic: قَمَر بَنِي هَاشِم‎, lit.'Moon of Banu Hashim'),[6][7][8] was a son of Ali ( the fourth Rashidun caliph) and Fatima bint Hizam, commonly known as Umm al-Banin (Arabic: أُمّ ٱلْبَنِين‎, lit.'Mother of the Sons').

Abbas is highly revered in Islam for his loyalty to his brother Husayn ibn Ali and his role in the Battle of Karbala in which he was the standard-bearer for the Ahl al-Bayt. Abbas is buried in the Al Abbas Mosque in Karbala, Iraq, where he was killed during the Battle of Karbala on the day of Ashura.[9] He was praised for his handsome looks[10] and was also well known in the Arab community for his courage, bravery, strength and ferocity as a warrior. Ibn Manzur narrates in his al-Ayn that Al-Abbas was the lion that other lions feared as a testament to his accolades as a warrior.[11] Sheikh at-Turaihi describes Abbas's appearance as resembling an unshakable mountain, with his heart firmly rooted, due to his qualities as a unique horseman and a fearless hero.[11]

Birth and early life

Abbas was born in the month of Sha'ban in the year 26 AH (approximately May 647 CE) in the city of Medina to Ali and Umm al-Banin. Abbas had three full brothers, Abdullah ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, Jafar ibn Ali, and Uthman ibn Ali. Abbas married a distant cousin named Lubaba bint Ubaydillah. They had three sons named Fadl ibn Abbas, Muhammad ibn Abbas, and Ubaydullah ibn Abbas.[9] His mother would recite famous lines of poetry in supplication to ward off the evil of those who envied him.[11][12]

Battle of Siffin

Abbas debuted as a soldier in the Battle of Siffin, one of the main conflicts of the struggle between Abbas's father, Ali, and Muawiyah in 657. Wearing the clothes of his father, who was known to be a great warrior, Abbas killed many enemy soldiers. Muawiya's forces actually mistook him for Ali. Therefore, when Ali appeared on the battlefield, Muawiya's soldiers were astonished to see him and confused about the identity of the other soldier. Ali then introduced Abbas by saying:

He is Abbas, the moon of the Hashimites.[13][14]

Abbas was trained by his father and his elder brother Hassan in the art of battle, which may be one reason he resembled his father on the battlefield. When describing his fighting on the battlefield, many historians call him a furious lion because of his courage, fearlessness and strength as an attacker. Abbas then became the trainer of most of his elder brothers' sons in the art of battle. An example of this is the courage of Ali Akbar, son of Husayn.[11] He also taught Qasim, Aun and Mohammad.

Battle of Karbala

Entrance to the shrine of Abbas in Karbala, Iraq
Entrance to the shrine of Abbas in Karbala, Iraq

Abbas showed his loyalty to HUSSAIN at the Battle of Karbala. After succeeding his father Muawiya I as caliph, Yazid I demanded that Husayn pledge allegiance to him, but Husayn refused,[15] saying:

Yazid is a person who kills people without cause, and an individual like me doesn't pledge allegiance to someone like him...[16]

As Yazid's behaviours were (and still are) prohibited in Islam, if Husayn had pledged allegiance to Yazid, his act would have ruined the basics of Islam.[17] Husayn's elder brother Hassan had made a pact, that the Ahl al-Bayt would be responsible for religious decisions and would not interfere in other matters. Husayn wanted to do what had been agreed upon, but Yazid I wanted to take total control of diverse affairs.

With the help of Ubayd Allah, Yazid invited him to come to Kufa and guide them on the right path, an invitation that was accepted by Husayn. However, most historians state that the letters were actually sent by the people of Kufa who later betrayed him when the body of Muslim ibn Aqeel (Husayn's messenger to Kufa) was thrown from a building in the centre of Kufa by Yazid's army while the people of Kufa stood silent.

In 60 AH (680), Husayn left Medina for Mecca with a small group of companions and family members to travel to Kufa. He sent his cousin, Muslim ibn Aqeel, on ahead to he could make his decision to enter Kufa based on the advice of his cousin. But, by the time Husayn arrived near Kufa, his cousin had been killed.

On the way to Kufa, Husayn and his group were intercepted.[18] They were forced into a detour[19] and arrived in Karbala on the 2 Muharram, 61 AH.[20] Husayn's camp was surrounded and cut off from the Euphrates river. The camp ran out of water on the 7 Muharram.[21]

Death

Apart of being the "standard bearer" of Husayn ibn Ali's army, Abbas was asked by Husayn to provide some water for the thirsty children.[22] The Euphrates river was occupied by Yazid I's army to prevent the camp of Husayn from getting water. Abbas was only allowed to be defensive because his brother Husayn didn't want him to fight. He was only allowed to get water[23] (although there are also narrations which mention that he participated in battle, too).[24]

Eventually, Abbas went to the river to get water for the children in Husayn's camp.[23] He was struck with an arrow on his way back, and died on Friday, 10 Muharram, 61 AH, near the bank of the river Euphrates. Hence, he is called the "Hero of the Euphrates" (Arabic: بطل العلقمي). Shia Muslims mourn the deaths of all those who fell at the Battle of Karbala with Husayn in the Islamic month of Muharram, mainly in the first ten days of the month. Abbas' death is generally commemorated on the eighth night of Muharram. Fadl ibn Abbas and Qasim ibn Abbas also laid down their lives in Karbala. Ubaydullah ibn Abbas lived to continue the lineage of Abbas with five sons of his own.

Abbas was buried at the spot where he fell from his horse in Karbala, Iraq. The Al Abbas Mosque was built around his grave, at which millions of pilgrims pay homage every year.[25] The Albanian Bektashi community also maintain a shrine to Abbas on the summit of Mount Tomorr, where an annual pilgrimage is held every August.[26][27]

Descendants

Stencilled phrase Arabic: یا أبوالفضل‎, meaning O' Abol-Fazl (title of Abbas ibn Ali), made by stencil and cinnamon powder on the Iranian dessert, Sholeh-zard
Stencilled phrase Arabic: یا أبوالفضل‎, meaning O' Abol-Fazl (title of Abbas ibn Ali), made by stencil and cinnamon powder on the Iranian dessert, Sholeh-zard

Abbas ibn Ali had 5 sons: Ubaidullah, Fadhl, Hassan, Qasim and Muhammad; and also 2 daughters.[28] Ibn Shahrashub, a prominent historian, recorded that: "Muhammad ibn Abbas was martyred in Karbala with his father." The mother of Ubaidullah and Fadhl was Lubaba. Genealogists consider that the progeny of Al-Abbas came from his son Ubaidullah. Sheikh al-Futouni, however, mentioned that Hassan ibn Abbas also had sons and descendants. Ubaidullah ibn Abbas, who died in 155 AH, was a celebrated scholar known for his handsomeness, perfect morality and fine personality. He had three wives.[28]

Ali ibn Husayn, had great respect for his uncle Abbas. He often wept when his eyes fell on Ubaidullah, explaining that he reminded him of his father's heroic and tragic exploit on that day in Karbala.

Abdullah ibn al-Abbas is another son of Abbas ibn Ali whose name has been mentioned among the "martyrs of Karbala",[42] He was known for his virtue. The Abbasid caliph al-Ma'moun mentioned about him that: "All people are the same after your departure, son of al-Abbas!".[28]

Titles

Painting depiction of Hazrat Abbas ibn Ali at the Battle of Karbala
Painting depiction of Hazrat Abbas ibn Ali at the Battle of Karbala

Abbas is known as Abu al-Fazl (ابوالفضل), meaning the father of heavenly graces and/or the father of the graceful manner.[43][44][45] Abbas was a chivalrous and loyal companion to his half-brother Husayn.

Abbas ibn Ali is also known as-Qamar Banu Hashim, meaning the moon of the Hashim clan.

He is also known as Ghazi[46] (غازی), meaning "soldier who returns successfully from the battle". Although Abbas was killed at Karbala, he is known as Ghazi because, at that the flag bearer is knowns as Ghazi {alam}. Abbas was not given permission to carry a sword by his brother. To get the water for the children in the camps he was provided with a spear and a horse as his stepbrother Hussain the history narrates that Gazi cleared all the force of Yazid with just a spear and get to that river and filled the water in that small [mashkeza]. He then moved back to the camps, this time the army knew that they can't stop him face to face so they pointed arrows to gazi arm in which he was holding that mashkeza and when his one arm got detached by the arrow he switched mashkeza to the other arm; afterwards the arm was targeted .. then he held that mashkeeza in his teeth and moved onwards and then the pointed the arrows to that mashkeza when that mahskeza got attacked and the water got all leaked then they pointed arrows to abbas afterwards the history writes that the no of arrows were so hige that Gazi Abbas body did not landed on the ground instead it was all over on arrows- and when his brother Hussain came towards him he said i am sorry and ashamed for not fulfilling my promsise as he promised Hussain daughter he will get the water to her .. and imam Hussain with teary eyes and heavy heart say final good bye to his stepbrother Abbas [another name for loyalty and sincerity].

Horse of Abbas

Abbas was given a horse named "Uqab" (Eagle).[47] Shia sources say that this horse was used by Muhammad and Ali and that this horse was presented to Muhammad by the King of Yemen, Saif ibn Zee Yazni, through Abd al-Muttalib. The king considered the horse to be very important, and its superiority over other horses was evident by the fact that its genealogical tree was also maintained. It was initially named "Murtajiz", which comes from the Arabic name "Rijiz" meaning thunder (lightning).[47][48][49]

See also

Bibliography

References

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  3. ^ "شبكة رافــد للتنمية الثقافية". rafed.net. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
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  5. ^ "Brooklyn Museum: Arts of the Islamic World: Battle of Karbala". Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, New York. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
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  11. ^ a b c d Shahin, Badr (2001). Al-Abbas. Qum, Iran: Ansariyan Publications. p. 22. ISBN 978-1494329235.
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