Abbas ibn Ali

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Al-Abbas ibn Ali
ٱلْعَبَّاس ٱبْن عَلِيّ
Al-Abbas ibn Ali.png
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
  • 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
    (The Provider of Water)[1]:45–47
  • ʾAbū Qirbah
    (أَبُو قِرْبَة)
    (Possessor of the Waterskin)
  • Shāhanshāh Wafā
    (شاهنشاہِ وفا)
    (King of Loyalty)
  • Alamdār
Opponent(s)Yazid I
Spouse(s)Lubaba bint Ubaydillah
  • Ubaydullah ibn Abbas
  • Hasan ibn Abbas
  • Qasim ibn Abbas
  • Fadhl ibn Abbas
  • Muhammad ibn Abbas
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]

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[edit]

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]

Battle of Siffin[edit]

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.[12][13]

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[edit]

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,[14] saying:

Yazid is a person who kills people without cause, and an individual like me doesn't pledge allegiance to someone like him...[15]

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.[16] 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.[17] They were forced into a detour[18] and arrived in Karbala on the 2 Muharram, 61 AH.[19] Husayn's camp was surrounded and cut off from the Euphrates river. The camp ran out of water on the 7 Muharram.[20]


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.[21] 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[22] (although there are also narrations which mention that he participated in battle, too).[23]

Eventually, Abbas went to the river to get water for the children in Husayn's camp.[22] he was surrounded by hundreds of soldiers trying to stop him from taking water and they were attacking him from everywhere eventually someone pulled the water away from him so he got down from his horse to take it and started fighting to defend himself while he was fighting for his life a man came from behind a palm tree and cut his right arm off abbas then carried the water between his teeth and held his sword with his left hand and started fighting with it while his other arm was on the ground then his left arm got cut off in the same way so he started running towards the camp with the water between his teeth and everyone attacking him with arrows and rocks from every side until one of the arrows got in his eye still he didn't stop and kept going to deliver the water for the thirsty children eventually an arrow was thrown to the water container he was using and started pouring out and when that happened he started feeling deep sadness when suddenly a man with a metal pole hit him on the head to the point where his brain was showing and he fell on the ground until his brother imam Hussein stayed by his side until he passed away in the battlefield because he refused to go back to the camp because he felt embarrassed that he couldn't bring the water for the children after he promised them (please don't spread false information this is a very important battle in the Islamic history and every detail is valuable), 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.[24] The Albanian Bektashi community also maintain a shrine to Abbas on the summit of Mount Tomorr, where an annual pilgrimage is held every August.


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.[25] 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.[25]

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.

  • Al-Hassan, son of Ubaidullah, lived to age 67 and had five sons, Fadhl, Hamza, Ibrahim, Abbas, and Ubaidullah, all of whom became honourable, virtuous authors.
    • Ubaidullah - He was the governor/qadi of Mecca and Medina during the reign of al-Ma'moun.[25]
    • Al-Abbas - He was a well-known poet among the Hashemites. He visited Baghdad at the time of Harun ar-Rashid reign.[25]
    • Al-Fadhl - He was such an eloquent, religious and courageous personality that even caliphs respected him. He was named Ibn al-Hashimiyya (son of the Hashemite woman). He had three sons, Ja'far, al-Abbas al-Akbar, and Mohammad.
      • Abu'l-Abbas al-Fadhl ibn Mohammed - He was a grandson of Al-Fadhl and was an orator/poet, composed several poetic verses eulogizing his ancestor, Abbas ibn Ali.
    • Ibrahim Jardaqa - He was a jurist and writer who was well known for his ascetics (piety).[26]
      • Abdullah ibn Ali - He was a grandson of Jardaqa, wrote several books, including one titled al-Ja'fariyya. He died in Egypt in AH 312.
    • Hamza - He was like "Ali ibn Abu Talib" who was his ancestor.[26]
      • Abu't-Tayyib Mohammad - He was son of Hamza and was known for his good personality, his regard for his relatives and his virtue. Abu-Tayyib had properties in Jordan where he was killed in 291 AH .[27] His descendants were called "sons of the martyr".[25]
      • Abu-Ya'la al-Hamza - He was a descendant of Hamza and was a knowledgable man. He was great hadithist who instructed many scholars and wrote many books, such as "Kitab ut-Tawhid", "Kitab uz-Ziyaraatu wel-Menasik", and many others in different fields of knowledge, particularly in Ilm ur-Rijal and Ilm ul-Hadith. Many scholars described him with words of praise. In a village called al-Hamza in al-Jazira, central Iraq, between the Euphrates and the Tigris, is a handsome shrine built over his tomb that continues to be visited by many people.[28]

Abdullah ibn al-Abbas is another son of Abbas ibn Ali whose name has been mentioned among the "martyrs of Karbala",[39] 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!".[25]


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.[40][41][42] 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[43] (غازی), meaning "soldier who returns successfully from the battle". Although Abbas was killed at Karbala, he is known as Ghazi because, when he carried out the first strike against Yazid's army, his mission was to rescue the horse which was seized by Shimr during the battle of Siffin. This horse belonged to his other brother, Hasan ibn Ali. Abbas retained control over the horse and presented it to Husayn.

Horse of Abbas[edit]

Abbas was given a horse named "Uqab" (Eagle).[44] 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).[44][45][46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d at-Tabrizi, Abu Talib (2001). Ahmed Haneef (ed.). Al-Abbas Peace be Upon Him. Abdullah Al-Shahin. Qum: Ansariyan Publications.
  2. ^ Lalljee, Yousuf N. (2003). Know Your Islam. New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qurʼan. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-940368-02-6.
  3. ^ "شبكة رافــد للتنمية الثقافية". Retrieved 2006-07-30.
  4. ^ [File:Name plate Zarih Sayyida Ruqayya.jpg]
  5. ^ "Brooklyn Museum: Arts of the Islamic World: Battle of Karbala". Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, New York. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Biography of Hazrat Abbas (ibn Ali)". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Abbas martyrdom". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Al-'Abbas (a)". Archived from the original on 2016-05-19. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  9. ^ a b Calmard, J. (13 July 2011). "ʿABBĀS B. ʿALĪ B. ABŪ ṬĀLEB". Encyclopædia Iranica.
  10. ^ Bulookbashi, Ali A.; Negahban, Tr. Farzin (2008). Al- ʿAbbās b. ʿAlī. Brill. doi:10.1163/1875-9831_isla_COM_0009.
  11. ^ a b c d Shahin, Badr (2001). Al-Abbas. Qum, Iran: Ansariyan Publications. p. 22. ISBN 978-1494329235.
  12. ^ "Hazrat Abul Fazl Al Abbas". Archived from the original on 7 January 2006. Retrieved 2006-01-08.
  13. ^ Lalljee, Yousuf N. (2003). Know Your Islam. New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qurʼan. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-940368-02-6.
  14. ^ "Imam Hussain didn't pledge allegiance to Yazid". Tebyan. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Yazid demands allegiance of Husayn". Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  16. ^ "If Imam Hussain (a.s.) would pledge allegiance to Yazid ..." Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Who was Hurr?". Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Detour, from Kufa to Karbala". Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Muharram came". Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  20. ^ "The crisis of water". Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  21. ^ "Army standard bearer". Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  22. ^ a b "The Great Sacrifice". Archived from the original on February 13, 2007. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
  23. ^ "Didn't Imam Hussain allow Hazrat Abbas to fight? (And solely asked him to bring water)?". Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  24. ^ KaraÌraviÌ, NajmulhÌ£asan (January 1, 1974). Biography of Hazrat Abbas. Peermahomed Ebrahim Trust. ASIN B0007AIWQW.
  25. ^ a b c d e f "Descendants of Al-ʻAbbas". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  26. ^ a b "Qamar Bani Hashim". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  27. ^ "His sons/descendants. (Abbas)". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  28. ^ Al-Abbas by Badr Shahin Archived March 14, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ Al Hilli, Allamah. Kihalastah al-Nisab.
  30. ^ Arthur Rose, Horace (1911). A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province. 1st ed. was printed by Government Printing Press Lahore.
  31. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (2004). A History of Pakistan and Its Origins (Reprinted ed.). Anthem Press. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-84331-149-2.
  32. ^ Researched By Dr Muhammad Iqbal Awan and Jalhari Moazzam Shah
  33. ^ Manzoor Hussain Naqvi, Maulana Syed. "Naik Wiladat-e-Ghazi Abbas (A.S) [Different page no. in different editions]". Tohfat Al Awam.
  34. ^ History of Awan Lecture by Naseeruddin Naseer Gilani
  35. ^ Molana Abdul Tahyi Ansari Lakhnavi. Kitab Ul Bayah.
  36. ^ Gul Muhammad Madhwal of Khabeki. Shajra-e-Awan.
  37. ^ Sultan Hamid bin Sultan Bahu (Jan 2007). Munaqab-e-Sultani. Shabeer Brothers (Lahore).
  38. ^ Jürgen Wasim Frembgen (2006). The Friends of God: Sufi Saints in Islam, Popular Poster Art from Pakistan. Oxford University Press. p. 103. ISBN 9780195470062.
  39. ^ Khalkhali, "the bright face of Qamar-Babi-Hashim, Abul-Fazl al-Abbas", Vol. 1, P. 122
  40. ^ Amin, A'yan al-Shia, Vol. 7, P. 429
  41. ^ Qommi, Nafs al-Mahmoum, P. 285
  42. ^ "Who is Abbas?". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  43. ^ "Hazrat Ghazi Abbas". Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  44. ^ a b Tehrani, Allama Ahhsan. Zindagi-e-Abbas Lang. Urdu. p. 83.
  45. ^ Pinault, David (February 3, 2001). Horse of Karbala: Muslim Devotional Life in India. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-21637-5.
  46. ^ Naqvi, Allama Zamir Akhtar (2007). Imam aur Ummat. Markaz-e-Uloom-e-Islamia.

External links[edit]