Abbas ibn Ali

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al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Alī
العباس بن علي
Al Abbas Mosque, Shrine Karbala.jpg
The shrine of Abbas on November 28, 2010 in Karbala, Karbala Governorate, Iraq
Born Sha'ban 4, 26 AH[1]
(647-05-15)May 15, 647
Medina, Hejaz (now in Saudi Arabia)[1]
Died Muharram 10, 61 AH
October 10, 680(680-10-10) (aged 33)
Karbala, Umayyad Empire (now in Iraq)
Cause of death Killed during the Battle of Karbala by Yazid I's men while bringing some water from Euphrates river for the family of Muhammad
Resting place Shrine of Abbas, Karbalā, Iraq
Residence Medina, Hejaz (now in Saudi Arabia)
Ethnicity Hejazi Arab
Known for Battle of Karbala
Title أبو الفضل
(Arabic: Father of Virtue)
*قمر بني هاشم[2]
(Arabic: Moon of the Hashimites)
(Arabic: The provider of water‎)
(Persian: Flag/Standard bearer)
*شہنشاہِ وفا

(Arabic: Door to Hussein‎)
*باب الحوائج[3][4]
(Arabic: The door to fulfilling needs‎)
*افضل الشهداء
(Arabic: Most superior martyr‎)
*Abū Qurba
(Arabic: The owner of the skin of water‎)
*Strength of Hussein
Opponent(s) Yazid I
Spouse(s) Lubaba bint Ubaydillah
Children Ubaydullah ibn Abbas
Fadl ibn Abbas
Qasim ibn Abbas
Parent(s) Ali
Fatima (known as the mother of the sons)
Relatives Muhammad
The painting by 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]
Abbas ibn Ali at the Battle of Karbala

Al-‘Abbās ibn ‘Ali (Arabic: العباس بن علي‎, Persian: عباس فرزند علی‎‎) (born 4th Sha‘bān 26 AH – 10 Muharram 61 AH; approximately May 15, 647 – October 10, 680) was the son of Imam Ali (the first Imam of Shiite Muslims and the fourth Caliph of Sunni Muslims, and Fatima bint Hizam commonly known as 'أم البنين' - Mother of the Sons).

Abbas is revered by Shiite Muslims for his loyalty to his half-brother Hussein, his respect for the Households of Muhammad, and his role in the Battle of Karbala. Abbas is buried in the Shrine of Abbas in Karbala, Karbala Governorate, Iraq, where he was martyred during the Battle of Karbala.

Early life[edit]

Abbas was the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib and Ummul Banin. Abbas had three brothers, Abdullah ibn Ali, Jafar ibn Ali, and Imran ibn Ali. Narratives state that he did not open his eyes after he was born until his brother Hussein took him in his arms.

Abbas married a distant cousin, Lubaba. They had three sons, Fadl ibn Abbas, Qasim ibn Abbas, and Ubaydullah ibn Abbas.

Battle of Siffin[edit]

Abbas debuted as a soldier in the Battle of Siffin, one of the main conflicts of the 657 AD Muslim struggle between Abbas's father Ali and Muawiyah I, the governor of Syria. 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 himself 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 was trained by his father Ali in the art of battle, that is why he resembled his father in the battlefield.

Battle of Karbala[edit]

Entrance of the shrine of Abbas in Karbala, Iraq

Abbas showed his loyalty to Hussein at the Battle of Karbala. After succeeding his father Muawiya I as caliph, Yazid I required Hussein to pledge allegiance to him, but Hussein refused to do so, saying,

As above act of Yazid I were/are prohibited in Islam. If Hussein would have pledged allegiance to Yazid I his act would have ruined the basics of Islam. Hussein's elder brother Hassan has done a pact that they will be responsible for religious/Islamic decisions and will not interfere in other matters, Hussein wanted to followed the pact but, Yazid I wanted to take total control. Yazid I with the help of Ubayd Allah conspires to kill Hussein by sending letter to Hussein in the name of people of Kufa (Iraq) to come to Kufa and help them follow the right path and to guide them which was accepted by Hussein. In 60 AH (680 CE), Hussein left Medina for Mecca with a small group of his companions and family to travel to Kufa. Initially, he sent his cousin, Muslim, to make his decision after the advice of his cousin. But, by the time Hussein arrived near Kufa, his cousin had been killed. On the way, Hussein and his group were intercepted. They were forced into a detour and arrived in Karbala on the 2nd of Muharram, 61 AH. Hussein's camp was surrounded and cut off from the Euphrates river. The camp ran out of water on the 7th of Muharram.[citation needed]


The Euphrates river was occupied by Yazid I's army to prevent the camp of Hussein from getting water. Abbas, because of his skill and bravery, could have attacked Yazid I's army, occupied the river, and retrieved water for the camp alone. However, Abbas was not allowed to fight. He was only allowed to get water. Thus, he went to the river to get water for kids of Hussein's camp.[8] Sukayna was very attached to Abbas, who was her uncle. To her, Abbas was the only hope for getting water. Abbas could not see her thirsty and crying, Thy thirst!.[6] When Abbas entered the battlefield, he only had a spear, and a bag for water in his hands. He was also given the authority to hold the standard in the battle. Once he had made it to the river, he started filling the bag with water. Abbas's loyalty to Hussein was so great that Abbas drank no water, although he was very thirsty, because he could not bear the thought that Sukayna was thirsty. The essence of this event was to illustrate that Abbas conquered the Euphrates river, held it with his mighty hands, yet still did not drink. until this very day the water of the Euphrates circles the grave of Abbas. After gathering the water, Abbas rode back towards the camp. On his way back, he was struck from behind, and one of his arms was amputated. Then he was struck from behind again, amputating his other arm. Abbas continued, carrying the water-bag in his mouth. Yazid's army started shooting arrows at him. One arrow hit the bag and water poured out of it. Immediately after the bag of water was hit, the enemy shot an arrow at Abbas that hit his eye.[9] One of Yazid's men hit his head with a mace and Abbas fell off his horse without the support of his arms. As he was falling, he called, "Oh brother!", calling for Hussein. Abbas fell on his face before he let the standard fall.

He was killed on Friday, Muharram 10, 61 AH, near the bank of the river Euphrates. Hence he is called the Hero of the Euphrates. His death is generally commemorated by the Shiite Muslims on the night of Muharram 8. Muslims, particularly Shiites, mourn the death of all the martyrs who fell at the Battle of Karbala with Hussein in the Islamic month of Muharram, mainly in the first ten days. 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 that ground where he fell from his horse in Karbala, Iraq. The Shrine of Abbas was built around his grave, to which millions of pilgrims pay homage every year.[10] The Albanian Bektashi community also maintain a shrine to Abbas on the summit of Mount Tomorr, where an annual pilgrimage is held every August.


Al-Abbas had five sons; Ubaidullah, Fadhl, Hassan, Qasim, and Muhammad, and two daughters. Ibn Shahrashub, the famous historian recorded that Muhammad was martyred in Karbala with his father. The mother of Ubaidullah and Fadhl was Lubaba. Genealogists have agreed unanimously that the progeny of Al-Abbas came from his son Ubaidullah. Sheikh al-Futouni, however, added that Hassan ibn Abbas had sons and descendants too. Ubaidullah ibn Abbas who died in 155 AH, was one of the celebrated scholars. Handsomeness, perfect morality, and personality were ascribed to him. He married three ladies.

Ali (son of Hussein), respected Ubaidullah greatly. He, very frequently, wept when his sight fell on Ubaidullah, excusing that this man reminded him of his father's unique situations on that day in Karbala.

Al-Hassan; son of Ubaidullah lived for sixty-seven years and had five sons; Fadhl, Hamza, Ibrahim, Abbas, and Ubaidullah. All these were honorable, virtuous authors.

Al-Fadhl was such an eloquent, religious, and courageous personality that caliphs respected him. He was named 'Ibn al-Hashimiyya -son of the Hashemite lady-'. He had three sons; Ja'far, al-Abbas al-Akbar, and Mohammad.

Abu'l-Abbas al-Fadhl ibn Mohammed ibn al-Fadhl ibn al-Hasan ibn Ubaidullah ibn al-Abbas was a famous orator and poet. He composed some poetic verses eulogizing his forefather; a-Abbas. Hamza ibn al-Hasan ibn Ubaidullah ibn al-Abbas copied his forefather; Amir ul-Mu'minin. His grandson Mohammed ibn Ali-the famous poet resided in Basra and died in AH 286.97

Ibrahim Jardaqa was another descendant of al-Abbas. He was jurisprudent, man of letters, and well known of his ascetics. Abdullah ibn Ali ibn Ibrahim wrote some books, such as the book titled al-Ja'fariyya. He died in Egypt in AH 312. Al-Abbas ibn al-Hasan ibn Ubaidullah ibn al-Abbas was a great celebrity among the Hashemites. He visited Baghdad during the reign of Harun ar-Rashid. He was one of the most celebrated poets. 98

Abdullah ibn al-Abbas was also a famous personality for his virtue and celebrity. When he was informed about Abdullah's death, al-Ma'moun- the Abbasid caliph said: "All people are the same after your departure, son of al-Abbas!" 99 Abu't-Tayyib Mohammed ibn Hamza enjoyed a good personality. He was also well known of his regard of relatives and virtue. He had big fortunes in Jordan where he was killed in AH 291. His descendants were called 'sons of the martyr.' Ubaidullah ibn al-Hasan was the governor and qadi of Mecca and Medina during the reign of al-Ma'moun. Abu-Ya'la al-Hamza ibn al-Qasim ibn Ali ibn Hamza ibn al-Hasan ibn Ubaidullah ibn al-Abbas ibn Ali was one of the most celebrated men of knowledge. He was great hadithist who instructed many famed scholars and wrote many books, such as Kitab ut-Tawhid, Kitab uz-Ziyaraatu wel-Menasik, and many others in various fields of knowledge, especially in Ilm ur-Rijal and Ilm ul-Hadith. Many scholars described him with remarkable words of praise. In a village called 'al-Hamza' and lying in al-Jazira, central Iraq, between the Euphrates and the Tigris, 102 there lies that handsome shrine which was built on the tomb of al-Hamza and has been incessantly visited by people.[11]


Ghazi, or Gha'Z (غازی), means "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 battle of Siffin. This horse belonged to his other brother Hasan ibn Ali. Abbas retained control over the horse and presented it to Husayn. [1] He's also known as Abu Fazl (ابوالفضل), mean the father of heavenly graces and/or the father of graceful manner. Abbas (as) is the king of chivalry and the most loyal companion to his brother Imam Hussain (as). Abbas ibn Ali is also known as Qamar Bani Hashim, meaning the moon of the Hashemites.

Horse of Abbas[edit]

Abbas was given a horse named "Uqab" (Eagle).[12] 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 Abdul 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 as "Murtajiz". The name "Murtajiz" comes from Arabic name "Rijiz" which means thunder (lightning).[12][13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b at-Tabrizi, Abu Talib (2001). Ahmed Haneef, ed. Al-Abbas Peace be Upon Him. Abdullah Al-Shahin. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. pp. 39–40. 
  2. ^ a b at-Tabrizi, Abu Talib (2001). Ahmed Haneef, ed. Al-Abbas Peace be Upon Him. Abdullah Al-Shahin. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. pp. 45–47. 
  3. ^ Lalljee, Yousuf N. (2003). Know Your Islam. New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an. p. 160. ISBN 0-940368-02-1. 
  4. ^ "Al-Abbas". Retrieved 2006-07-30. 
  5. ^ "Brooklyn Museum: Arts of the Islamic World: Battle of Karbala". Brooklyn, New York: Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Hazrat Abul Fazl Al Abbas". Archived from the original on 7 January 2006. Retrieved 2006-01-08. 
  7. ^ Lalljee, Yousuf N. (2003). Know Your Islam. New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an. p. 161. ISBN 0-940368-02-1. 
  8. ^ "The Great Sacrifice". Retrieved 2006-07-30. [dead link]
  9. ^
  10. ^ KaraÌraviÌ, NajmulhÌ£asan (January 1, 1974). Biography of Hazrat Abbas. Peermahomed Ebrahim Trust. ASIN B0007AIWQW. 
  11. ^ Al-Abbas by Badr Shahin.
  12. ^ a b Tehrani, Allama Ahhsan. Zindagi-e-Abbas Lang. Urdu. p. 83. 
  13. ^ Pinault, David (February 3, 2001). Horse of Karbala: Muslim Devotional Life in India. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-21637-8. 
  14. ^ Naqvi, Allama Zamir Akhtar (2007). Imam aur Ummat. Markaz-e-Uloom-e-Islamia. 

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