SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- Abul Fazl Abbas was the most prominent young man of the Bani Hashim. He was the standard bearer of the Imam’s force. He is the epitome of loyalty and his name would signify devotion for all the days to come. His mother was Fatima, Ummul Baneen who was from a tribe famed for its valor and bravery.
This noble lady had four sons of whom Abbas was the eldest. On the day of Ashura they laid down their lives in such an exemplary manner that even today their blood is gushing with fervor on the sands of Karbala and their names are engraved in the history of Islam.
Abbas in the Arabic language means an awful lion. That is a lion, which commands intense awe. Thus he was true to his name in awe-inspiring demeanor. He had a very elegant countenance and a tall physique. When he mounted a horse his knees came very close to the ears of the animal. In addition to a well-built stature he possessed unsurpassed physical strength and great spirituality. He was considered second only to his brother Imam Hussain (A.S) among the youths of Bani Hashim.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (A.S) says, “My uncle, Abbas was a man of enlightened conscience whose faith was very strong. He performed Jihad in the way of Allah along with Abu Abdillah (Imam Hussein) and passed the divine test with flying colors.”
The fourth Imam has said, “May Allah have mercy on my uncle Abbas who sacrificed his life for the sake of his brother in such a manner that both his arms were severed. The Almighty Allah bestowed him with a pair of wings with the help of which he glides in Paradise with the angels in the same way as Allah bestowed Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib.
Abbas is a martyr at whom on the Day of Judgment the assembly of all the martyrs would vie that if only they all had been like him. Abbas had the honor of being trained under three Imams; that is his respected father, Amirul Momineen Ali (A.S) and his honorable brothers Imam Hassan and Imam Hussein (A.S). His countenance shone like a full moon and he had unsurpassed elegance. That is why; on the basis of his collective merits he was given the honorific of “Moon of the Hashimites” (Qamar-e-Bani Hashim).
In Karbala the age of Abbas was thirty-four years. On the basis of this he was the Chief of the Youths of Bani Hashim and according to the unanimity of all the writers and historians he was the most influential and remarkable personality of Karbala. That is why he was the center of attention of the Infallible Imam.
Abbas was the standard bearer of the battalion of Imam Hussein (A.S). When except for him none remained on the side of the Imam he sought permission for Jihad to display his martial feats also. However, instead of according him permission for Jihad, the Imam told him to arrange water for the holy family and the thirsty children who all were on the verge of death.
This ferocious warrior who was second only to Ali (A.S) in his martial expertise attacked the army of the enemies, which had surrounded the banks of Euphrates. There were hardened fighters among them, well versed with the techniques of swordsmanship and archery but Abbas launched a scathing attack on them dispersing the rows and rows of militia to clear his way to water. History records that he slew eighty foes and put his horse into the water. Then he filled the water skin and like a streak of lightning turned to head towards the Imam’s encampment.
Now he only concentrated on how he could convey this water to the camps. The thirst of Imam Hussein (A.S) and the parched throats of the young children and ladies had affected him so much that he took a handful of water and threw it back with distaste saying how could the slave drink when the master was thirsty? Can there be a better example of loyalty, devotion and manliness?
On his return the army that had fled also came back and surrounded him from all sides but the brave one continued to deflect their attacks and kept on racing his steed towards his destination. When the foes realized that attacking him from the front was of no use, some of them attacked from the right severing his right arm. However, the valiant warrior said, “By Allah! Even if my right hand is gone I will continue to fight for the sake of religion in this condition.” So saying he transferred the standard to his left hand.
Soon however a malicious attacker hit from the left and severed his left hand and the standard came to the ground. At that moment he said, “O life! Why to fear these infidels? Good news that the mercy of Allah awaits you! These oppressors have severed my left hand also. O Allah! Make these unjust people taste the fire of hell.” Just then an arrow pierced the water skin and all water spilled on the sands. When the water was gone, Abbas became broken hearted and did not wish that he should go to the camp anymore. Just then an oppressor hit his head with a mace, due to which he fell down from the horse.
Who can estimate the valor and courage of this valiant youth? For whom, when Imam Hussein reached his wounded brother, he sat near him and heaved a sigh of sorrow and said, “O my brother your grief has broken my back. Now I have also washed my hands off this world. It is the time when after you the enemies will attack us.” As he worded these statements a flood of tears flowed from his eyes. An Arabic poet has mentioned this in a beautiful way:
You must weep most on the young man on whom the Imam also wept.
It is that brother of Hussein (A.S) and the son of Imam Ali (A.S).
It is Abul Fazl Abbas bathed in his own blood. 
Taken from PORTRAITS OF YOUTHS in Qur’an and the History of Islam by Ayatullah Ali Dawani
Hazrat Abulfazl in Ahl-ul-Bayt’s Viewpoint
The great peacemaker, Imam of the Time, Hazrat Mahdi (AJ), Al-Qaim of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Household, describes his uncle, Abbas (A.S) as follows:
“Peace be unto Abulfazl, Abbas Ibn Amir Al-Mo’menan, the great sympathizer of his brother who sacrificed his life for him in the way of Allah; who selected tomorrow’s spiritual gains from the day before; who was a devotee to his brother and protected him; the great man whose hands were cut off when he tried to take water for his brother. May God damn his killers.”
Imam Mahdi (AJ) identifies and praises the characteristics of his uncle, Ghamar-e- Bani Hashem who was an honor for the Adnan. Some of the noble qualities having deep roots in his personality are as follows:
1. Sympathizing and accompanying his brother, Seyyed al-Shohada in the hardest and most difficult conditions; it was such that his empathy turned into a proverb throughout the history.
2.Thinking of the hereafter and taking provisions of virtue and self-restraint as well as helping the Imam of guidance and light for the hereafter.
3.Sacrificing his life, his brothers’ and children’s lives for the sake of Allah along with his brother Imam Hussein (A.S), and the master of youth in Heaven.
4. Protecting his immaculate brother by sacrificing his own life.
5. Making attempts to provide his brother and his household with water when the tyrant and cruel oppressors didn’t allow Prophet’s Household to have even one drop of drinking water.
I Imam Sadiq (A.S), the immaculate Imam and great scholar and unique figure of knowledge in the world, always appreciated his uncle, Hazrat Abbas (AS). He always remembered him by praising and admiring him. He was highly grateful to his heroic stances and sacrifices he made during the event of Ashura. In what follows, some of Imam Sadiq’s sayings about Hazrat Abbas also know as Ghamar-e-Bani Hashem are mentioned:
“My uncle, Abbas Ibn Ali (A.S), had a strong faith and profound insight. He fought for the sake of God along with his brother, Imam Hussein (A.S). He was able to successfully pass the test and was eventually martyred…”
Imam Sadiq (A.S) also names his uncle’s greatest characteristics which is an astonishing one as follows:
A. Acuity and sharp insight
Acuity is achieved due to firm determination and originality of thought which no one can get but after mental refinement, purity of intention, and driving away pride and sensual desires and self-control. Acuity was one of the most obvious characteristics of Abulfazl Al-Abbas (A.S). In fact, due to his acuity and profound insight, he followed Seyyed al-Shohada, Imam Hussein (A.S) and was able to reach the pinnacle of honor and dignity, which made him immortal and everlasting in the course of history. Thus, till human values do exist and are respected by human beings, the unique personality of Hazrat Abbas (A.S) who reached the peak of human perfection will be respectfully honored.
mam Sadiq (A.S), the immaculate Imam and great scholar and unique figure of knowledge in the world, always appreciated his uncle, Hazrat Abbas (A.S). He always remembered him by praising and admiring him. He was highly grateful to his heroic stances and sacrifices he made during the event of Ashura. In what follows, some of Imam Sadiq’s sayings about Hazrat Abbas also known as Ghamar-e-Bani Hashem are mentioned:
“My uncle, Abbas Ibn Ali (AS), had a strong faith and profound insight. He fought for the sake of God along with his brother, Imam Hussein (AS). He was able to successfully pass the test and was eventually martyred…”
Imam Sadiq (A.S) also names his uncle’s greatest characteristics which is an astonishing one as follows:
B. Strong Faith
One of the distinctive characteristics of Hazrat Abbas (A.S) was his strong and firm faith. One of the sings of his strong faith was his contribution to fight in the way of God alongside his brother, Imam Hussein (A.S).
In fact, Imam Hussein was the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s dear grandson; Hazrat Abbas accompanied his brother in order to win the almighty Allah’s pleasure and satisfaction. In his boasting on the day of Ashura, he said he didn’t have any material reason for his self-sacrifice which clearly represents his strong faith.
C. Jihad Alongside Imam Hussein (A.S)
Another virtue by which Imam Sadiq (AS) describes his uncle, Abbas (A.S), the hero of Karbala, was Jihad under the commandership of Lord of martyrs, grandson of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the head of youth in heaven. Fighting for the sake of God and his brother’s goal was the greatest virtue of Hazrat Abulfazl (A.S); he successfully passed the test and on the day of Ashura, he acted so heroically that was unique and incomparable in the arena of braveness and courage.
Hazrat Abulfazl and Politeness
Politeness is a trait which is highly recommended in Islam. There are many traditions on politeness in Islamic texts. There are also many figures who are considered as examples of politeness. But Hazrat Abbas is a unique figure in this regard. He is role-model for the youth. He was raised by his father the Commander of the Faithtul, Imam Ali (A.S).
Hazrat Abbas was martyred when he was only 34. During the 34 years of his life, Hazrat Abulfazl Al-Abbas (A.S) never called Imam Hussein (A.S) as brother. He always called him by words such as Seyyedi (my master), Ya Ibn Rasulullah (grandson of the Prophet), except in the last hour of his life, on the threshold of martyrdom when he called Imam Hussein as brother (he said: “O brother! Pay attention to your brother!).
This kind of addressing his brother was also interpreted as a form of politeness because in this way he was showing the fact that “your brother has fulfilled his fraternal duty in the best possible way; now, you, my brother, treat me with your brotherhood kindness!”. In Mostatref Al-Ahadith, it is also narrated: “one day, Imam Hussein (A.S) asked for water. Hazrat Abulfazl Al-Abbas (A.S), who was only a child at that time, quickly went out of the mosque without saying anything. After a few minutes, he respectfully gave a bowl full of water to his brother Imam Hussein (A.S). The other day, he was given a bunch of grapes. Although he was only a child, he quickly went out of the house. He was asked: ‘where are you going?’ he replied: ‘I’d like to offer this bunch of grapes to my master, Imam Hussein (A.S)’” (1).
It is narrated that Hazrat Abulfazl Al-Abbas (A.S) never sat next to Imam Hussein (A.S) without permission; he asked for permission and when he was allowed, he sat very politely. (1)
Hazrat Abulfazl Al-Abbas (A.S) sometimes worked with his father in farms, gardens and palm groves. Some time, he was teaching Islamic narrations and plans to people in mosques. He also helped poor and needy people. He highly respected his brothers and sisters and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them in order to enhance their knowledge and that of his people.
In other words, he was the powerful arm of his father, the insightful brain of Islam and obedient to his brothers, Imam Hassan (A.S) and Imam Hussein (A.S).
Hazrat Abbas always sought the permission of his brother in matters related to the leadership of the world of Islam. Abbas always considered Imam Hussein as the leader and Imam of his time and hence on the one hand accompanied and assisted him and on the other did not take any action without his permission.
In fact, he was raised by one of the greatest personalities of the world of Islam, who himself was raised by the holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam. He was raised by Imam Ali (A.S) who was raised by the holy Prophet (PBUH) since his childhood. Indeed, Imam Ali raised Abbas as a polite person. The Imam believed that: “no heritance is more valuable than politeness” (2). Therefore, he trained his children so righteously that they were the politest ones in their society. Hazrat Abulfazl Al-Abbas (A.S) was also trained in this bright school of thought. Accordingly, one of his brilliant traits all through his life, from childhood till the end of his life, was politeness.