Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and the Imam of the time


Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and the Imam of the time

On reflecting over the time of Prophet Adam’s (a.s.) creation and the times that followed, a fact that comes to light very evidently is that Allah the Almighty has formulated a system in which one is obeyed while the others obey; one is followed, the other followed one and one the intended, the other the intender. In other words, there are a few outstanding individuals, who should be obeyed and followed by the others. Anybody who defies this system devised by the Almighty is driven away from His court and is labeled as a rebel, dissenter and deviated. He deserves condemnation and censure. On the Day of Judgment, he will be thrown on his face in the hellfire. On the other hand, whoever submits to this regulation and obeys the commands of the Almighty will attain success in this world as well as the hereafter.

This system is as prevalent today as it was yesterday and will continue to exist till the canopy of this globe is folded. There were people who scaled such heights of obedience and submission to their leaders that till the Day of Judgment, their names will top the list.

Limits of Obedience

For success and triumph in this world and the hereafter, to believe in Allah, His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and the successors (Imams) of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) is a prerequisite, while the prerequisite of belief is obedience.

Obedience of Allah’s Prophets (s.a.) and their successors implies giving preference to them over one’s own self. It is quite easy for the Shias of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) to comprehend this concept because on the day of Ghadeer, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) presented this very test before the people when he (s.a.w.a.) asked them,

“Am I not having more authority upon you than you yourselves?”

(Al-Ghadeer, Allama Amini, vol.1, pg.8)

They all replied in one voice,

“By Allah! Yes. “

History is replete with testimonials that for the sake of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), people have not cared for their lives. They regarded his existence as more superior and important than their own and laid down their lives to safeguard his.

In this regard, Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) preceded all and sundry. None obeyed the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) more than him. He (a.s.) loved the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) more than his own self. In the Battle of Ohad, he (a.s.) was moving around the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) like a moth around a lamp. Everything that the enemy could hurl at the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.)- lances or spears, arrows or stones, was taken by him to safeguard the life and limb of his beloved (s.a.w.a.). For three years in the Sheb-e-Abi Taalib (a.s.), he (a.s.) was responsible for the protection of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). In the night of migration, without caring for his life, he (a.s.) slept in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) bed and bought the swords of the enemies in exchange for shielding the life of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). 

Such example of obedience and submission cannot be presented by anybody in the annals of mankind, neither in the past nor in the future. But of course! Only, and only, from the house of Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) can one witness another such person, who became the embodiment of selfless devotion and obedience.

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) trained his children Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyyah, Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and Zaid Ibne Ali (whom he called as his son) on the same plane of safeguarding the Divine Proof which he (a.s.) had attained. Thus, we see him (a.s.) loving the children of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a.s.), more than his own children- the aforementioned three illustrious personas. He (a.s.) was always willing to sacrifice his sons for the sons of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a.s.).

In this article, we intend to discuss those great feats of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) in which he gave preference to the life and desires of Imam Husain (a.s.) over his own. He did not like his soul for itself but for the soul of the Imam of the time, Husain Ibne  Ali (a.s.).  Here, we are presenting a few incidents that will indicate as to how high an esteem he held the position of the Imam of the time.

Rejection of the Amnesty Offer

Ibne  Ziyaad, the accursed governor of Kufa, sent a message to Umar Ibne  Sa’d- his commander in chief- giving him two options: kill Husain (a.s.) or hand over the charge of the chief commander to the ruthless Shimr Ibne  Zil Jaushan. Cunningly, this memo was communicated to Umar Ibne  Sa’d through Shimr himself. When Shimr was being dictated this communiqué, the nephew (brother’s son) of Umm al-Baneen (Hazrat Abbas’ mother), Abdullah Ibne  Abi al-Mahall Ibne  al-Harraam was present. On hearing the dictation of Ibne  Ziyaad, Abdullah stood up and pleaded, ‘O Ameer! My cousins Abbas, Abdullah, Ja’far and Usman are also accompanying Husain (a.s.). If you so desire, please write an amnesty offer for them.”  Ibne  Ziyaad accepted the suggestion.

Strange! Abdullah, the cousin of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) thought that by seeking amnesty from Ibne Ziyaad, he is doing a great service to them. But will they accept the offer and forsake their brother, their master and Imam, Husain (a.s.) just to save their skins? 

When Abdullah’s slave reached Karbala with the amnesty offer, he must have thought that they would heave a sigh of relief. But these were sons of Ameerul Mo’meneen Ali Ibne Abi Taalib (a.s.). They all replied to him in one voice,

“Give our salutations to our cousin. Inform him that we are not in need of Ibne  Ziyaad’s amnesty offer. The amnesty of Allah is far better than that of the son of Sumayyah.”

This is obedience. That is, to give preference to the life and limb of Imam (a.s.) over one’s own. This is the highest level of belief and faith .

Candid Riposte to Shimr the accursed

When Shimr reached Karbala and handed over the letter of Ibne  Ziyaad to Umar Ibne  Sa’d, the latter succumbed to the ultimatum of the governor. Shimr, who was related to Umm al-Baneen, {he belonged to the same tribe as hers. It is customary amongst the Arabs that the farthest of relatives of one’s tribe as called as nephews (sister’s son). Umm al-Baneen was not the real sister of Shimr. Rather, she belonged to the same tribe}, came to the tent of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and his brothers and called out,

“Where are the sons of my sister? Where are Abdullah, Ja’far, Abbas and Usman?”

Imam Husain (a.s.) advised Hazrat Abbas (a.s.),

“Although Shimr is a transgressor, nevertheless, you answer him.”

Obeying the command of their master, Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and his brothers asked Shimr,

“What do you want?”

Shimr, the accursed, retorted,

“My nephews! You are safe. So, don’t kill yourself along with your brother Husain and obey the command of the chief of the faithful Yazeed.”

This was the moment of intense examination. Please read the reply of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and ponder!

“May your hands be paralyzed! How bad an amnesty you have offered, O enemy of Allah! Are you ordering us to forsake our brother and our master, Husain, the son of Fatemah, and enter into the obedience of the accursed and the children of the accursed?”

On hearing this reply, Shimr returned to his army, fuming and fretting .

Shimr exhorted them not to destroy their lives for the sake of their brother. Abbas (a.s.) immediately pointed out that Husain (a.s.) was not only his brother but also his master and Imam. I am willing to sacrifice my life for the sake of his obedience. I am living only for him and will attain martyrdom in his obedience.

Support to the Imam of the Time:

When the right arm of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) was severed, he recited a poem expressing his support and help to the Imam of his time, which went as follows:

By Allah! Even if you have cut off my right arm

I will eternally support my religion

And the Certainly True Imam

The son of the Prophet, the Pure, the Trustworthy

And when his left hand was severed, he said,

O my soul! Don’t fear from the disbelievers

Receive glad tidings of Allah’s mercy

With the Prophet, the Chief, the Chosen One,

Along with all the Chiefs, the Pure Ones

Due to their rebellion, these (sinners) have sliced my left arm

Then O my Lord! Sent them to the heat of the hellfire

Kindly pay attention to the other example. When Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) reached to the shores of the Euphrates and captured it, he took some water in his palms, with the intention of quenching his parched throat. But on remembering the thirst of the womenfolk and the children back in the tents, he threw the water back and said,

O my soul! After Husain, there is naught for you but disgrace

After him, you should not continue to exist

There is Husain, near the river, yet thirsty,

While you are drinking cold and sweet water

By Allah! This is not my religion

Deliberating on these incidents will help us realize the position and greatness of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.), his obedience and submission before the Imam of his time, his laying down his life for the Imam and giving preference to the Imam over his own self.

Therefore, one can see the manner in which the following infallible Imams (a.s.) have send salutations on Hazrat Abbas (a.s.).

“Peace be on you, O the righteous slave! The one who is obedient to Allah, His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)…..”

O Allah! For the sake of Hazrat Abbas, grant us such faith and belief that will give us the strength and power to support, help and assist the Imam of our time. Aameen!

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