Hadhrat Abbas was born in Medina on either 7th Rajab or 4th Shabaan 26 AH (645 AD). When the news of his birth reached Imam Ali, he prostrated himself on the ground as a token of his humble thanks to God. Imam Hussain took the baby in his arms and recited the Adhan and Iqama (Calls for Prayers) in his right and left ears respectively. Then the new born baby opened his eyes to see the beloved face of Imam Hussain. On the seventh day of his birth the ceremony of Aqeeqa (which is one of the emphasised traditions) was performed and Imam Ali named the child ‘Abbas’.
A similar incident took place at the time of the birth of Imam Ali (A). He only opened his eyes when the Holy Prophet took him in his arms.
It was the desire of Imam Ali that this son whom he named ‘Abbas’ (Meaning a Dauntless Lion) would accomplish the same deeds of valour and who would follow his teachings without fear of life and death. It was also his wish that Abbas would be a constant companion of Imam Hussain and be his Standard Bearer at Kerbala.
Imam Ali who himself was known as ‘The Lion of God’ and the ‘Gateway of Knowledge’ brought up Hadhrat Abbas and ably guided him till he was fourteen years old. The next ten years were spent under the careful eye of Imam Hasan and the last ten years with Imam Hussain. Thus it was not surprising that Hadhrat Abbas acquired near perfection in so many spheres of life. His gallantry, boldness, courageous outlook, and the art of combat and soldiery were inherited from Hazrat Ali, and this he proved very well in the battles of Jamal, Siffin and Nahrwan. Imam Hasan taught him patience and tolerance. His Lion-hearted loyalty and self-sacrificing nature were the result of his association with Imam Hussain and Sayyida Zainab. Physically, mentally, morally and spiritually he was fully developed, besides, being an accomplished scholar.
He helped the poor and needy, and discharged his duties towards his fellow-beings according to the precepts of Islam. He was pure in his thoughts, words and deeds, lest any of these should displease God. He lived strictly in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran and the sayings of the Holy Prophet.
Just as Ali was taught and trained by the Holy Prophet, so was Abbas taught and trained by Imam Ali. Imam fully knew the mysteries of life and death, and Abbas had fully imbibed the true spirit of Islam. A man who was brought up, educated and trained by Imam Ali could on no account be attached to this worldly life nor fear death, and Abbas fully justified this by his actions.
Hadhrat Abbas married Lubaba, daughter of Obaidullah Ibne Abbas Ibne Abdul Muttalib, and had two sons, Fazl and Muhammad. Some sources say that Lubaba was present at Kerbala and their son Muhammad was martyred there.
At the death bed of Imam Ali (A)
When Imam Ali was mortally wounded and lying on his deathbed, he sent for his entire family. Save Hadhrat Abbas, he entrusted all to the care of his eldest son Imam Hasan. Then he heard Hazrat Abbas, hardly 12 years old, sobbing. Imam Ali asked him to come near him and gave his hand to his second son, Imam Hussain, saying “Hussain, this child I am entrusting to you. He will represent me on the Day of your supreme sacrifice and will lay down his life in defending you and your dear ones“.
And turning to Hazrat Abbas, he had said: “Abbas, my child, I know your unbounded love for Hussain. Though you are too young to be told about it, when that day dawns, consider no sacrifice too great for Hussain and his children“.
This was in 657 AD. The occasion for the supreme sacrifice came on the battlefield of Kerbala in 680 AD when Hussain was poised against Yazid’s forces. It was a battle of good against evil and right against wrong. And in the history of Islam, the battle of Kerbala has become an important landmark of supreme sacrifice, great courage and dedication to a just cause.
In the battle of Kerbala, Hadhrat Abbas was Imam Hussain’s commander-in-chief. He fought the evil forces of Yazid gallantly, remembering his father’s last words. The story of the sacrifice of his life in trying to procure water for Imam Hussain’s children on the battlefield is the most touching and significant in Islamic history.
The life of Hadhrat Abbas is an example of unflinching loyalty and love for a brother. It is also the story of a warrior who sacrificed his life for the cause of Islam, which, according to Hazrat Abbas, was a just cause.
The warrior at Siffin
Imam Ali’s desire was to ensure that Hadhrat Abbas preached the religion of Islam and served the Prophet’s family. Hazrat Abbas saw his first battle when only eleven. This was the battle of Siffin. One day he appeared fully disguised, masked and armoured, on the battlefield. When Ibn-e-Shasa, a brave and famous Syrian fighter saw this masked person, he asked one of his seven sons to slay him. Instead, the son was quickly put down. Similarly, the other six sons tried to fight this masked warrior, but they all met the same fate. Finally lbn-e-Shasa himself came forward and the manner in which he was also beaten, made all the other people stare in disbelief. They then thought this masked fighter to be Imam Ali, and no one dared to come forward to fight. But, when Hadhrat Abbas removed the mask, people were surprised to note that he was not Hazrat Ali, but instead, Abbas, the inheritor of Imam Ali’s gallantry.
Hadhrat Abbas devotion, respect and affection for Imam Hussain was so deep, that he used to worship the very ground he walked on. In fact, it is said that he used to apply to his eyes, the dust from Imam Hussain’s feet. He resented anyone taking precedence in serving Imam Hussain. It is said that once Imam Hussain, while present with his Holy father Hazrat Ali in the mosque of Kufa, felt thirsty and asked for water from his servant Qumber. The child Abbas leapt to his feet, and brushing aside the faithful servant, rushed to bring the water for his master himself. In the hurry to carry the water as quickly as possible, he spilt it on his own clothes. His illustrious father stopped in his speech and tears rolled down his cheeks.
When asked by his faithful followers the reason for his tears, Hazrat Ali uttered those prophetic words which came true some twenty years later: “Abbas who has today wetted his clothes with water in his zeal to quench the thirst of his brother Hussain, will one day soak his very body in his on blood in attempting to quench the thirst of Imam Hussain’s children”.
Pilgrimage to his Mausoleum
It is almost fourteen hundred years since this tragedy occured at Kerbala, and still tens of thousands of pilgrims keep going there year after year, from all parts of the Muslim world to pay their respects to the gallant Abul Fazl Abbas (Moon of the Hashimites) at his magnificent Mausoleum.
They offer salutations and pray to Allah for their needs, seeking his intercession, for this is a place where so many vows have been fulfilled and where so many miracles have taken place.
Many a devotee has willed that he be buried in this holy place and so often one sees the sight of a coffin being carried a few times round the tomb of Hadhrat Abbas and taken to the alloted place of burial in Kerbala at this wonderful shrine.
The Holy Qur’an Says: “And if you are slain in the way of Allah or you die, certainly forgiveness from Allah and mercy is better than what they amass.” (3:157)
The Alam and its significance
During the time of the Moharram Majlises, usually on the 8th, it has become a sort of custom to recite the events leading to the martyrdom of Hadhrat Abbas. And when the Alams (replica of the Banner or Standard of the Holy Prophet and the Holy Imams) are taken out, accompanied to the beating of breasts and heads by the mourners, one will notice a Mashk (a leather water-bag), usually made of metal in remembrance of Hazrat Abbas, who sacrificed his life trying to get water for the children of Imam Hussain, who were dying of thirst.
When Hadhrat Abbas rolled down from his horse after a mortal blow on his head, the Alam and the Mashk stayed linked together and never got separated. Hence one sees an Alam with a Maslik attached to it, and sometimes one also sees an arrow alongside it.
A Towering personality
Hadhrat Abbas was a towering and handsome personality. His dauntless courage, supreme confidence and unflinching loyalty earned him many titles. He was called, “Qamar-e-Bani Hashim” (Moon of the Hashimites), because of his imposing appearance. His remarkable horsemanship made him “Syed-ul-Forosan” (the chief of horsemen). His ability to lead people resulted in his being called “Rais-ul-Shujan” (the leader of the valiant), and the manner in which he sacrificed his life earned him the title of “Afzal-ul-Shohada” (the choicest of the martyrs) and “Saqqa” (water carrier), because he sacrificed his life in an effort to procure water for Imam Hussain’s children in the tragic battle a Kerbala. He fully lived up to his name Abbas, which in Arabic stands for Lion.
It was Friday 13th of Rajab 30 Amulfeel. Hazrat Fatima binte Asad, the wife of Hazrat Abu Talib entered the precincts of the Kaaba and prayed to Allah saying ‘O my protector ease my pain.’ All of a sudden the wall of the Kaaba opened up and she, as if by some unseen force went inside the Kaaba and the wall closed. Ali (AS) the youngest son of Abu Talib was born inside the Holy Kaaba. She stayed inside for three days. On the 3rd day she came out through the door and Muhammad was waiting outside. She told Muhammad (SA) that the boy had not taken any milk. Muhammad gave him the first feed from his mouth and afterwards asked his uncle Abu Talib that he wished to adopt the baby. Ali entered the house of Muhammad from the very first day of his birth. Ali’s mother Fatima binte Assad Also lived there who looked after his own son as well as Muhammad(SA) so much so that later the Holy Prophet used to say that she was like his own mother.
Selection of saying by Imam Ali (A)
During civil disturbance adopt such an attitude that people do not attach any importance to you – they neither burden you with complicated affairs, nor try to derive any advantage out of you.
Whoever wants to be a leader should educate himself before educating others. Before preaching to others he should first practice himself. Whoever educates himself and improves his own morals is superior to the man who tries to teach and train others.
Truthfulness is honour, and lying is humiliation; and whoever is known for his truthfulness will have his lying overlooked, and whoever is known for his lying will not have his truthfulness accepted.
He who is greedy is disgraced; he who discloses his hardship will always be humiliated; he who has no control over his tongue will often have to face discomfort.
Beware of befriending a liar, for surely he will make what is far away seem near, and he will make what is near seem far away.
Unfortunate is he who cannot gain a few sincere friends during his life and more unfortunate is the one who has gained them and then lost them (through his deeds).
Often your utterances and expressions of your face leak out the secrets of your hidden thoughts.
The Holy prophet (saw) says that if a person recites 4 unit namaaz on the night of 7th rajab, (such that in each unit after Surah al Hamd recites Surat at Tawheed thrice, Surah alFalaq once, Surah an Naas once. After finishing namaaz recites 10 Salwaat & 10 times Tasbeehate Arba’) Allah will offer him shelter under the Arsh, & give him reward of a person fasting in the month of Ramdhan. Till the time he finishes the prayers, the angels pray for his forgiveness. Allah will ease the pangs of death on him & save him from the squeeze in the grave. He will not die unless he sees his place in Paradise, & will be safe from the hardships of Qiyamat.
Tasbihate Arba- All glory be to Allah; all praise be to Allah; there is no god save Allah; and Allah is the Greatest
Imam Ali (as) was surprised to find that his dear wife, Fatima Zehra (sa) had left her bed and had started doing the housework; he asked her about it and she replied: “This is the last day of my life. I wanted to wash my children’s hair and clothes, because they will soon be orphans, without a mother!”
Imam Ali (as) then asked her about the source of knowledge of this news (the day of her departure). Fatima Zehra (sa) told him that she had seen the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (saw) in her dream and he had told her that she was going to join him that night. She then asked Imam Ali (as) to execute her will.
Imam Ali (as) said: “Instruct me to do anything you wish, daughter of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).” Imam Ali (as) then asked everyone to leave the house and he sat next to her.
Fatima Zehra (sa) started: “Cousin, my dear husband, you know very well why I did all that. Please excuse my fussiness; they have suffered so much with me and during my illness that I want to see them happy on the last day of my life. I am happy and also I am sad. Happy I am that my troubles will shortly be over and I shall meet my father and sorry I have to part with you.”
Fatima Zehra (sa) continued: “Cousin, my dear husband, you are not accustomed to me being a False teller, not devoted, or have I disobeyed you since I have become your companion?”
Imam Ali (as) said: “Allah (SWT) forbids! You are more knowing of Allah (SWT), more devoted, more pious, more honorable and more fearing of Allah (SWT) than (to give me a reason) to reprimand you for disobeying me. Surely it is very painful for me to be separated from you and to lose you; but it is an inevitable destination. By Allah (SWT), you have renewed the sorrow I have just encountered with the death of Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (saw); surely your death and departure will be a great calamity, but to Allah we belong, and to Him is our return. (Noble Qur’an, 2:156)
What a painful, bitter and sad calamity. Surely this is a calamity for which there is no console and a disaster for which there is no compensation.”
Then they both cried and Imam Ali (as) embraced her head and said: “Instruct me to do anything you wish; you certainly will find me devoted and I will execute everything that you command me to do. I shall also put your matters over mine.”
Fatima Zehra (sa) said: “May Allah (SWT) reward you with the best of goodness. Cousin, firstly I ask you to marry anybody you like after my death, but you must marry my niece Umamah; surely she will be to my children as I was. Besides, men cannot do without women. She loves my children and Hussain is very much attached to her. Let Fizza remain with you even after her marriage, if she so desires, she was more than a mere servant to me. I loved her like my daughter.”
Fatima Zehra (sa) then added: “I ask you not to let anyone who did injustice to me to witness my funeral, for they certainly are enemies of mine, and the enemy of Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (saw). Also don’t give them the chance to pray over me, nor to any of their followers. I want you to wash me at night, put the shroud on me, perform the prayer upon my body, and bury me at night when eyes are rested and sight is put to sleep. And after my burial, sit beside my grave and recite Noble Qur’an for me.”
Let my death do not dishearten you, you have to serve Islam and humanity for a long time to come. Let not my sufferings embitter your life, promise me cousin, my dear husband.” Imam Ali (as) said, “yes Fatima, I promise” “Cousin, my dear husband”, she continued, “I know how you love my children but be careful of Hussain. He loves me dearly and will miss me sadly, be a mother unto him. Till my recent illness he used to sleep on my chest, he is already missing it.” Imam Ali (as) was caressing the broken hand, his hot and big tears dropped on her hand. She looked up and said, “Do not weep cousin, my dear husband; I know with a rough outward appearance what a tender heart you possess. You already have borne too much and will have to bear more.
Fatimah Zehra (sa) was ready to meet her Lord. She bathed, than lay down in her garment. She then instructed Asma bint Umays to wait awhile and then to call her name; if there was no answer, this would mean that Fatimah Zehra (sa) had departed towards her Lord.
Asma bint Umays waited awhile, then called Fatima’s name, but there was no answer; Asma bint Umays repeated the call: “O daughter of the chosen Muhammad! O daughter of the most honorable of them whom women bore! O daughter of the best of those who have walked on gravel! O daughter of him who ‘was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer.'” (Noble Qur’an, 53:9)
There is no answer, silence overwhelms the house, Asma bint Umays then proceeds towards Fatima Zehra (sa) and finds her dead, the soul had departed to join her Father, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) in the realm of Grace, Mercy and Might.
At that point, Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Hussain (as) entered and asked Asma bint Umays: “Where is our mother?” “Our Mother did not used to sleep at this time of the day!”
Asma bint Umays replied: “O sons of the Messenger of Allah! Your mother is not sleeping, she has passed away!”
While Imam Hassan (as) heard such words, he fell on the body of his mother and kissed her face and addressed her: “Dear mother! Please talk to me before I pass away.”
Imam Hussain (as) came near and kissed her mother’s feet and said: “Dear mother! I am your son Hussain, talk to me before I pass away.”
Then, Imam Hussain (as) turned towards Imam Hassan (as) and said: “May Allah console you for our Mother!”
Rather, man should make his own self so strong and powerful, that it becomes his advisor. The ‘self’ of man should exhort him towards all obligatory acts and refrain him from committing all prohibited acts. Today, so much time is being wasted in backbiting, accusing others, watching television and committing other sins. Man must realise that everything will be accounted for.
The way you trained your children, the way you spent your money, whether you have usurped any one’s right, even if it is a material right, to the extent that even if you have done good or evil of the size of a mustard seed, it will be accounted for. The Day of Judgment is also referred to as ‘The Day of Reckoning or ‘The Day of Lamenting’. As Allah mentions in Holy Quran: ‘And whatever is in your heart-whether you conceal it or manifest it-Allah will most sorely account you for it’.
It is for this very reason that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w.) has narrated, ‘Take account (of your deeds) yourself before you are taken account of (by Allah)’. (Beharul Anwar, 70/ 73)
Take account of yourself before the weighing scale is established. And be prepared for a great accounting.
Just as man carries a watch in order to keep track of time, in the same manner, he should assign a watch for himself that will keep a track of his daily activities. He should check everyday the actions that are beneficial to him and the actions that harm him. Every night when we lie down on the bed, we should analyse our entire day and scrutinize each and every of our actions. ‘What did we eat?’ ‘What did we earn?’ ‘Did we commit any sin?’ At the same time we should also remember about the Day of Qiyamat. If we find that we have performed good actions, then we should thank and praise Allah and if we find that we have performed bad actions, then we should seek forgiveness from Him and resolve not to repeat them.
It was asked from Hazrat Ali (a.s.): ‘How should a person take account of himself?’ He (a.s) replied: ‘When a person ends his day, then he should turn towards himself and say: 1. ‘O self! This day that has passed will not return. Allah will ask you about how you wasted your day. 2. He will ask you about the actions you performed, 3. Whether you remembered Him and praised Him? 4. Whether you fulfilled a right of your fellow believer? 5. Did you remove a difficulty that befell upon a believer? 6. Did you protect his children in his absence? 7. Did you safeguard his rights after his death? 8. Did you – on account of your position – prevent anyone from backbiting your believing brother? 9. Did you help any Muslim throughout the day?’
Thus every man should ponder over his actions that he has performed during the day. If he finds that he has done good actions, then he should praise Allah for giving him the opportunity (taufeeq). But if he finds that he has committed sins, then he should seek forgiveness from Allah and make a firm intention that he shall not repeat that act again.
Then let us be strict with ourselves every time we account for ourselves, just as a master is strict with his slave. Or as a partner takes account of another partner. So account of yourself before your account is taken which will be so severe that there shall be no scope for rectification.
On this auspicious occasion let us ponder over these golden words of our Ma’sumeen a.s. and make them part and parcel of our life.
We are going to meet our Lord sooner than we think – let us meet Him with a slate clean from all sins and full of good actions.
O Children of Israel! Surely, I am the messenger of Allah to you, verifying that which is before me of the Torah and giving the good news of a Messenger who will come after me whose name will be Ahmed. (Qur’an, 61:6)
‘Abdullah, father of the Prophet, died a few month before (or two months after) his birth, and his grandfather ‘AbdulMuttalib took over the care and upbringing of the child. After a few months, according to the age-long custom of the Arabs, the child was entrusted to a bedouin woman Halimah by name, of the tribe of Bani-Sa’d, for his upbringing.
When he was only six years old, he lost his mother as well; so, the doubly-orphaned child was brought up by ‘Abdul-Muttalib with the most tender care. It was the will of God that the Prophet to-be should undergo all the sufferings, pains and privations incidental to human life in order that he might learn to bear them with becoming fortitude and raise his stature in human perfection. Not two years had passed before ‘Abdul-Muttalib also expired.
‘Abdul-Muttalib died at the age of 82, leaving the care and custody of the orphaned Muhammad (s.a.w) to Abu Talib. Abu Talib and his wife, Fatimah Bint Asad, loved Muhammad more than their own children. As the Holy Prophet himself said, Fatima Bint Asad was his “mother” who kept her own children waiting while she fed the Holy Prophet, kept her own children cold while she gave him warm clothes. Abu Talib always kept the child with him day and night.
Abu Talib had succeeded ‘Abdul-Muttalib in Siqayah and Rifadah and was an active participant in the trade caravans. When Muhammad (s.a.w) was 12 years old, Abu Talib bade farewell to his family to go to Syria. Muhammad (s.a.w) clung to him and cried. Abu Talib was so moved that he took the child with him. When the caravan reached Busra in Syria they, as usual, stayed near the monastery of a monk, Buhayra. It is not possible to give here the full account of that visit. Suffice it to say that the monk, seeing some of the signs, which he knew from the old books, was convinced that the orphan child was the last Prophet-to-be. To make sure, he started a conversation with him, and at one point said: “I give you oath of Lat and Uzza to tell me…” The child cried out: “Don’t take the names of Lat and Uzza before me! I hate them!” Buhayra was now convinced. He advised Abu Talib not to proceed to Damascus “because if the Jews found out what I have seen, I am afraid they will try to harm him. For sure, this child is to have a great eminence.”
Abu Talib, acting on this advice, sold all his merchandise for cheaper prices then and there, returning at once to Mecca.
Muhammad (s.a.w) marries Khadijah
Now, Muhammad (s.a.w) was old enough to go with the trade caravans. But Abu Talib’s financial position had become very weak because of the expenses of Rifadah and Siqayah, and it was no longer possible for him to equip Muhammad (s.a.w) with the merchandise on his own. He, therefore, advised him to act as agent for a noble lady, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, who was the wealthiest person in Quraish. It is written that in the trade caravans, her merchandise usually equaled the merchandise of the whole tribe put together.
Her genealogy joins with that of the Holy Prophet at Qusayi. She was Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid ibn Asad ibn ‘Abdul-‘Uzza ibn Qusayi.
The reputation which Muhammad (s.a.w) enjoyed for his honesty and integrity, led Khadijah to willingly entrust her goods to him for sale in Syria. He traded in such a way that the goods earned more profit than expected, and yet he was praised for his integrity, honesty and generosity. Khadijah was very much impressed. Only two months after his return to Mecca, he was married to Khadijah. He was twenty-five years of age and Khadijah was forty and a widow.
Reconstruction of the Ka’bah
In about 605 A.D., when the Holy Prophet was 35 years old, a flood swept Mecca and the building of the Ka’bah was badly damaged. The Quraish decided to rebuild it. When the walls reached a certain height, a dispute arose between various clans as to whom should the honor of placing the Black Stone (Hajar Aswad) in its place go. This dispute threatened to assume serious proportions but, at last, it was agreed upon that the first person to enter the precincts of the Ka’bah the next morning should arbitrate this issue.
It so happened, that first person was none other than Muhammad (s.a.w). The Quraish were pleased with the turn of the events because Muhammad was well recognized as the Truthful and Trust-worthy personality.
Muhammad (s.a.w) put his own robe on the ground and put the Black Stone on it. He told the disputing clans to send one representative each to hold the corners of the robe and to raise it. When the robe was raised to the required level, he took hold of the Stone and put it in its place. This was a judgement, which settled the dispute to the satisfaction of all the parties.
At this time, he had entered into several business partnerships and always acted with great integrity in his dealings with his partners. ‘Abdullah, son of Abu Hamza, narrates that he had entered into a transaction with Muhammad (s.a.w). Its details had yet to be finalized when he had suddenly to leave promising that he would return soon. When, after three days, he went again to the spot, he found Muhammad (s.a.w) waiting for him. Muhammad (s.a.w) did not remonstrate with him. He just said that he had been there for all those three days waiting for him. Saib and Qays, who also had business transactions with him, testify to his exemplary dealings. People were so impressed by his uprightness and integrity, by the purity of his life, his unflinching fidelity, and his strict sense of duty that they called him “al-Amin,” the trusted one.
Source: The Life of Muhammad The Prophet by Syed Saeed Akhtar Rizvi
There were many elephants in his army; he himself rode a huge elephant. It was an animal which the Arabs had not seen before, thus the year came to be known as ‘Amul-Fil (the year of the elephant), and it started an era for reckoning the years in Arabia. This remained in use until the days of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab when, on the advice of Hazrat ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, he replaced it with the era of Hijra.
When news of the advance of Abraha’s army came, the Arabian tribes of Quraish, Kinanah, Khuza’ah and Hudhayl joined together to defend the Ka’bah. Abraha sent a small contingent towards Mecca to capture the camels and young people. The contingent captured many animals, including two hundred of ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s.
Meanwhile, a man from the tribe of Himyar was sent by Abraha to Quraish to advise them that Abraha had not come to fight them: his only aim was to demolish the Ka’bah. But if the Quraish resisted, they would be crushed. Then followed a frightening description of his huge army, which, admittedly, was much larger and better equipped than all the tribes put together.
‘Abdul-Muttalib replied to this ultimatum in these words: “By Allah, we do not want to fight him. So far as this House (the Ka’bah) is concerned, it is the House of Allah; if Allah wants to save His House, He will save it, and if He leaves it unprotected, no one can save it.”
Then ‘Abdul-Muttalib, with ‘Amr ibn Lu’aba and some other prominent leaders, went to see Abraha. Abraha was informed before hand of the prestige and position of ‘Abdul-Muttalib. Also the personality of ‘Abdul-Muttalib was very impressive and aweinspiring. When he entered Abraha’s tent, the latter rose from his throne, warmly welcomed him, and seated him beside him on the carpet. During the conversation, ‘Abdul-Muttalib requested him to release his camels. Abraha was astonished. He said: “When my eyes fell upon you, I was so impressed by you that had you requested me to withdraw my army and go back to Yemen, I would have granted that request. But now, I have no respect for you. Why? Here I have come to demolish the House which is the religious center of yours and of your forefathers and the foundation of your prestige and respect in Arabia, and you say nothing to save it; instead, you ask me to return your few camels back to you?!”
‘Abdul-Muttalib said: “I am the owner of the camels, (therefore, I tried to save them), and this House has its own Owner Who will surely protect it.” Abraha was stunned by this reply. He ordered the camels to be released, and the deputation of Quraish returned.
On the second day, Abraha issued orders to his army to enter Mecca. ‘Abdul-Muttalib told the Meccans to leave the city and to seek refuge in the surrounding hills. But he, together with some leading members of Quraish, remained within the precincts of the Ka’bah. Abraha sent someone to warn them to vacate the building. When the messenger came, he asked the people who their leader was. All fingers pointed towards ‘Abdul-Muttalib. He was again invited to go to Abraha where he had a talk with him. When he came out, he was heard saying: “The Owner of this House is its Defender, and I am sure He will save it from the attack of the adversaries and will not dishonor the servants of His House.”
‘Abdul-Muttalib then took hold of the door of the Ka’bah and, crying to Allah, prayed in the following words (of poetry):
(O Allah! Surely a man defends his own home, therefore, Thou shouldst protect Thy Own House. Their cross and their wrath can never overcome Thy wrath. O Allah, help Thy Own people against the fellows of the cross and its worshippers).
Then he, too, went to the summit of the hill, Abu Qubays. Abraha advanced with his army. Seeing the walls of the Ka’bah, he ordered its demolition. No sooner had the army reached near the Ka’bah than an army of Allah appeared from the western side. A dark cloud of small birds (known in Arabic as Ababil) overshadowed the entire army of Abraha. Each bird had three pebbles: two in its claws and one in its beak. A rain of the pebbles poured down from the birds, and in a few minutes, the whole army was destroyed. Abraha himself was seriously wounded; he fled towards Yemen but died on the way.
It is to this important event that Allah refers in Chapter 105:
Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the companions of the Elephant? Did He not make their treacherous plan go astray? And He sent against them birds in flocks, striking them with stones of baked clay, so He rendered them like straw eaten up. (Qu’ran, 105)
Some historians have tried to minimize the impact of the Divine intervention by suggesting that the army perished because of an epidemic of smallpox. But such an explanation creates more puzzles than it solves. How was it that the whole army was seized by that epidemic just when it was advancing on the Ka’bah? How was it that not a single soldier survived that epidemic? Why was it that no Meccan caught that contagious epidemic? Moreover, if there was no epidemic in Mecca before or after that sudden burst of the plague, where did the epidemic come from?
This epoch-making episode happened in 570 A.D. It was in the same year that the Holy Prophet of Islam was born to `Abdullah and Amina.
Source: The Life of Muhammad The Prophet by Syed Saeed Akhtar Rizvi
The day also marks the first time that the 4th Imam smiled and rejoiced after the events of Kerbala in which he saw his entire family and friends killed by Ibne Ziyaad, Umar ibne Sa’d, Yazid ibne Mu’awiyah and others. It was on 9 Rabi’ul Awwal the year 67 A.H. when Mukhtar sent the head of Ubaydallah Ziyad to Imam Zainul Abedeen who was in Makkah at the time.
Muhammad himself was seen smiling and ‘celebrating’ on this day while in the presence of Imams Ali, Hasan and Husain and said, “It is on this day that Allah will destroy your enemies and the enemies of your grandfather and it is on this day when Allah will accept the actions of your Shi’a and those who love you. This is the day when the words of Allah came true where He said (in the Qur‘an): ‘So those are the houses fallen down because they were unjust.’ (27:52) And this is the day when the Pharaoh (Firawn) of the time of the Ahlul Bayt was destroyed.
His only son is Mohammad Mehdi (Mehdi, the promised one) who will upon his advent; fill up the world with equity, justice, and fairness.
Islam, because of the severe control and restraint in the age of Imam Askari (A), had lost its influence and dissemination. The power helms particularly, Muttawil the Abbasade caliph, endeavored to keep Imam (A) out of the reach of people.
Since they had learnt that the twelveth Imam (A) will come into existence from Imam Askari (A) and he is the one who will disappear from the sights and acquire the leadership of the Islamic Ummah and establish a single Universal government, they were strictly vigilant about the affairs of the Imam (A).
But the God, who had saved and defended Musa (Moses) (A) from the governmental machinery of Pharos, could bring the future leader of the Islamic Ummah too into existence, away from the sights of people.
Special features of Imam’s (A) morality
Imam Hassan Askari (A) was a gracious personality and an unmatched exigest of Quran. More than a hundred well-known wise men remained continuously present in his assembly. During a period of sixteen years, when he lived in Iraq, the territories from Syria up to Madina, particularly Iran was under his influence. Imam’s (A) spiritual and knowledge’s influence went to the extent that it overwhelmed the court of “Almotaz” and all the wise men busy in his government missionary got enamored enticed, and fascinated by Imam (A). When Imam (A) traveled to Iran and crossed over the Lawasan via Qum and Rai, the people captivated and fascinated by the school of Ahl al-Bayth (A), gathered all around him and expressed their warm feelings and sentiments for him. He made a speech before the people of Lawasan and ordered them to build a mosque and declare it as their base.
This command of Imam (A) proved so effective that they got busy in building seventy mosques on a single day.
One of the courtiers of Abbasade government named “Ahmed bin Khaqan”, who was an enemy of the Prophet’s family, said one day “I have not seen anybody in Samarra, among the Bani Hashim family, more pious, virtuous and chaste than Imam Hassan Askari (A). If the caliphate goes out of the Bani Abbasade’s hands then no one except “Hassan Askari (A)” will be capable and fit for it. Then he said, “one day I was present with my father when Hassan Askari (A) arrived there, although he was the enemy of the Prophet’s family, yet he got up from his place, kissed his hand and made him seated upon his own place and sat before him like a pupil in front of a teacher and lent ears to his wards.
Abu Yousuf says about the charity and generosity of Imam (A), I got down and out, and could not support my children any longer. We were all hungry, sad and desperate. I went to the court of Abbasades many a times so that I may seek their help, for, I was related to them. But they were so very enticed and lost in their lives that they would not attend to my agony and painful heart. One day, I paid a visit to Imam Hassan Askari (A) and described before him my implications. He had four hundred dinnars available with him and he gave all of them to me and said, “Go and get your family freed from distress.”
One day, he sent two thousand dinnars for “Ali bin Jaffar” so that he may distribute those among his afflicted and poor friends.
He was in prison for six years and in-spite of all his difficulties, problems and pains he met the people with smiling face.
Although the most wicked and evil character person were deputed in the prison to torture him, yet they were so enchanted and enticed by the piety and prayers of Imam (A) that when the chief of the prison objected upon them saying “I have learnt that you have a fair dealing with Imam (A).”
They said, “He is a man, who is always busy offering secret prayers to his God and keeping fast at the day time and busy in offering the prayers at the night time. Whenever he looks at us our bodies tremble how is it, that you wish us to harm and torture this man?”
Although Abdullah Khaqan the minister of Mutawakkil, was very proud and indifferent, yet whenever he would see the Imam (A) he got up from his place, and while riding a horse he would get down from it.
He said about Imam (A), “Imam Askari (A) was a person who remained busy in his supplications and prayers to God at night, and in the days he would fast. He was so kind hearted that he even prayed to God for his enemies. Whenever a distressed, or afflicted came his way, he would give him whatever he had.”
Once the caliph handed him over to an ill natured wicked man named “Tahreer” to deal with him very strictly and tease and harm him. They, upon the behest of the caliph, threw him to the beasts so that they may tear and eat him up. All of the beasts gathered around him and rubbed and caressed their bodies against him. When the caliph saw this scene he freed him and put in efforts to honor him.
There was a monastery in Samarra whose patron was considered to be one of the chieftains and holy men of the Christians and was respected by them. Once he visited Imam (A) and embraced Islam. He was asked as to why he became a Muslim. He replied, “I observed those signs in this man (Imam) which were only passed by the Christ (A).
Imam’s (A) Wisdom
Imam (A) was like a roaring river of wisdom, which quenched the thirst of those thirsty for it. As per “Khawarzamis” statement eighteen thousand men, thirsty for knowledge, benefited from his assembly. The first one out of the Abbasade caliph Almotaz’s court, who took an oath of allegiance for him was the famous Iranian genius and talented person named “Mohammad bin Masood Shirazi.”
It is narrated that such was his wisdom that even Kindi the teacher of “Abu Nasr Farabi” was defeated and failed in discussion with him, and burnt down his book which he had written against Islam.
The Christian scholars had become so enticed and enchanted by his knowledge and wisdom that they called him the Christ.
Once, when Imam (A.S.) faced the questions of those men who had come from different countries of the world for this purpose, he answered their question in their own various languages. All of them got amazed and surprised at it.
Revealing of Imam (A.S.)
A draught took shape in one of the years in Samarra. “Motamid” the Abbasade caliph ordered people to proceed to the desert and pray (for rain).
People did go to the desert for three days consecutively but rain did not fall. The next day, the Christians along with their scholars went to offer prayer and it rained.
This event, brought into effect a great zeal, fervor and excitement among the Muslim masses. The hearts of the Muslim got attracted towards the Christians. Motamid, the Abbasade caliph was very much perturbed, dismayed, and desperate over it. He sent a word for “Imam Askari (A.S.)” in the prison, and summoned him to his court and asked him about the solution to that problem.
Imam Said, “Tell them to go to the desert tomorrow for the sake of rain. They did so and Imam (A.S.) followed them with a great mob of people, following him to disclose and unveil the fact out of this matter. The Christians raised their hands towards the sky and prayed to God for rain. Not very long had passed that a cloud appeared and it started raining. Imam (A.S.) ordered that the hand of one of the Christians, which was raised up, be held and whatever was concealed among his finger folds be taken out. They observed a black bone and took it out of his fingers. They presented that bone to Imam (A.S.). He wrapped it in a piece of cloth and then told him to pray after that, for rain to fall.
As soon as the Christian raised his hands all the clouds scattered and the sun appeared shinning. All the people were surprised and astonished at it. The caliph asked Imam (A.S.) what was the secret of that affair. Imam (A.S.) replied, “This is a piece of bone of one of the Prophets of God which they have picked up from his grave.” They swear to God and ask him for the sake of this bone. God grants their desire and prayer and makes the rainfall and whosoever will hold this bone the same thing will occur. After a test of it in the presence of people, what Imam (A.S.) said proved evidently correct and all of them praised the Imam (A.S.).
The training method of Imam (A.S.)
Abul Hassan who was one of the descendents of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) and lived in Qum was a bad character man. One day he happened to visit the house of “Ahmed bin lshaq Ashaari,” who was the representative and delegate of Imam (A.S.), for some work. He asked for permission to see him, which was rejected by him due to his misdeeds.
He returned back to his home and appeared to be very sad, uncomfortable, and agonized due to the disrespect being shown to him. In the same year, Ahmed bin Ishaq Ashaari went to Mecca and on his way back he visited the house of Imam Askari (A.S.). Imam (A.S.) did not welcome and give him permission to meet himself. After weeping and expressing grief (when he was permitted). He asked the Imam (A.S.) as to what was the reason of it. Imam (A.S.) said, “I gave the same treatment which you gave to our cousin.” Then Imam (A.S.) said, “Although you are one of our Shias and helpers but this was a wrong thing that you did.”
He said, “Oh the son of Prophet (P.B.U.H.), I did that because he was a sinner and I wanted to reprimand and stop him from doing that bad work.”
He said, “This was not a correct thing to do.” In Islam they do not do such a thing with those gone astray rather they are to be guided and led.
When Ahmed returned to Qum, all the notables and dignitaries came to see him. Abul Hasan, the descendent of Imam Sadiq (A.S.), was also present among them. As soon as Ahmed saw him he got up from his seat and showed great respect to him and seated him upon his own place. Abul Hasan was surprised at his conduct and asked him to let him know about the reason of the difference of his conduct from that previously shown by him.
Ahmed explained to him all that matter which he had come across. He (Abul Hasan) was so ashamed of himself that when he returned from that congregation to his home, he decided that he would abandon his bad activities and acquires piety. Thus he turned into one of the pious and chaste men.
Imam’s (A.S.) connection with the unseen World
Although many amazing stories of Imam (A) have been narrated in the books but we point to two of them as a specimen.
1. Jaffar Jurjani: says, “I went for Hajj and visited Imam Askari (A) I had the money for Imam (A), which his friends had sent to him. I wanted to ask the Imam (A) to whom I might surrender that. When I visited him before my saying something he said, Handover the money, which you have with you, to my servant “Mubarrak”.
I handed the money over to him and told Imam (A) that his friends in Gurgan conveyed their regards and salutation to him. He said, “God may bless them with reward.” You will return to Gurgan and God will give you a son. Name him Sharif. He will become one of our friends and companions. God will give a son to Ibrahim, tell him to name him Ahmed, he also will be one of our friends. I bade farewell to Imam (A) and returned back and what Imam (A) had said, did take place.
2. Shablanji: Who is one of the Sunni scholars quotes Abu Hashim saying, he said, “I and four of the friends of Imam (A) were in the prison.” Imam (A) visited us and we surrounded him and talked to him. There was a person among us who considered himself to be one of the descendent of Ali (A). Imam Ali (A) gave him a gesture to go out. When he went out Imam (A) said, “This man tells a lie, he is not one of us, he is the spy of the caliph and has written and provided a report with respect to you, which he has concealed in his dress, to give it to him (caliph).
We brought him and investigated and as Imam (A) told us he had procured a report regarding us, which if he had given to the caliph, all of us would have been killed and slain by him. We tore off and destroyed the report and thereafter got careful and vigilant about ourselves.
3. Ibrahim: He says, “A news reached me and my brother that our father was lost and traveled to a far flung place. We proceeded together from Madina towards Iraq.”
I had decided to visit Imam Askari (A) and request him to help us in finding my father. Because, only he was the one who could tell me the location of my father from the knowledge of Imamate.
I traveled a long way till I reached his house. I waited there for a while so that someone comes out of the house and inform him about the reason, which brought me there. While I was busy and immersed in my own ideas and was pondering and contemplating about my future course, the door of the house suddenly opened and the servant of Imam (A) came out and shouted, “which one of you is ‘Ibrahim’, who has come from Madina to see Imam (A).”
I rose up merrily and said, “Yes I am the one (you want) and have been waiting here from a certain time.” He gave me a glance and then handed me over a sack saying Imam (A) said, “This is a sack which contains your travel expenditure, take that and continue your journey and not very long from now, you will find your father.” I took the sack happily and said to myself, “I did not see the Imam (A) and did not inform him about my affair.” How is it that he knew what was in my mind. I wanted to tell the servant to show me in to see Imam (A) so that I question him about the location of my father. But suddenly I got aware that the servant had told me to continue my journey from the other direction.
A potential and complicated unseen power was pushing me towards “Tabristan” and forcing me to travel to that destination. I, without being conscious, undertook my journey towards Tabristan. When I reached there I kept wondering for a certain time till I met my father.
I rushed towards him and hugged him and was much happy to find him. I described all the matter to him. Both of us became await that Imam (A) knew all the secrets of our interior. I was much more astonished when I observed that only one dirham out of the money which Imam (A) sent for me as a travel expenditure was left over, exactly the amount necessary to get me to my destination.
4. Ismail: He says, “I was sitting on the way of Imam Hassan Askari (A) so that I may detain him, while he passes that way, and ask him for help.” Prior to that, I had hidden two hundred golden coins with me as a future provision for myself. Suddenly, when I was lost in my ideas, Imam Hassan Askari (A) passed by me. I rushed after him, stopped him and told him about my poverty and misery and swear that I had nothing from the material sources. He was very much annoyed with my swearing. He told his servant to give me what was available with him. The servant put band in his pocket and brought out a sack of gold and gave it to me. Then Imam (A) addressing me said, “We do not deprive anybody from our help but you took a false oath and made the God angry. You must never do that again and not deny the blessings of God in future and depend upon God and have hope from him, make use and benefit of the boon which. He has given to you.
You have concealed two hundred golden coins in a corner so that it may be of use and benefit to you on your rainy day. But beware, you will not have an approach and lay your hands upon them, while you need them.”
The man says, Imam (A) made me aware and conscious about my fault by his words. What he had said did occur. One day when I extremely needed those coins, I rushed towards the place I had buried them. But when I dug the place I was surprised to see that there was no sign of the coins. I came to know that my son got informed about them and did an ugly act by picking them up without my permission and running away. Exactly the way Imam (A) said, that I would not lay my hand upon them at the time of need.
There after, I decided to control myself and put a restraint upon my faults and be a chaste and pious person before God.
Imam’s (A) letter to one of his friends
Imam (A) used to write letters to his friends and companions. One of the letters written to “Ali bin Babuya Qumi” who is one of the dignitaries and great Shia men. The translation of some parts of it says:
After the praise, eulogy, panegyric of God I recommend to you, who is one of our friends, to be pious, forgive the fruits of people, and subdue your anger and look after your relatives and near ones and fulfill the needs of the distressed ones, have a clear and exact insight and perception about your religion, get to know, (be familiar to) your Quran, and be vigilant (alert and cautious) about your prayers and worshiping. Always practice upon my orders and make my Shias practice upon that.
The Martyrdom of Imam (A)
Imam (A) was four years of age, when he was exiled to Samarra along with his father. He was placed under the caliph’s observation at a point, which was the center of the armed forces. Pertinent to the same, he became famous and known by the byname of Askar.
Following the death of his father, the Abbasade caliph “Motamid” imprisoned him. The piety, and chastity of Imam (A) attracted the attention of all the prisoners towards him, and made them all enticed and enchanted. The officials and agents of the caliph daily reported to the caliph as to his condition.
Eventually, he was martyred on the 8th of Rabi ul Awwal 260 Hijrah and was buried at Samarra near the grave of his father.
After his martyrdom his brother “Jaffar Kazzad”, who was a gone astray man and was counted as one of the helpers of the caliph, stood up to offer the funeral prayer upon the body of Imam (A). But all of a sudden, the son of the Imam (A), who was a minor, came forward and pushed his uncle back and stood upon his uncle’s place and offered the funeral prayer upon his father’s body. Thereafter, the short absenteeism and occultation period started. Only a segment of special Shias could meet him.
But following the activities of the Abbasade caliphs to search his hiding place, the long occultation and absenteeism period set in, so that no one could reach him. He will remain hidden from the sights till such day that the ground for his revolution is available.
Brief Sayings of Imam (A)
1. Lead a simple life and avoid spending lavishly and with immoderation.
2. Reach whomsoever, solute him and when you arrive an assembly, sit at a low place became, this is from the humbleness.
3. Avoid telling lie, as it is the key to the evils.
4. Whosoever is not a friend of Ahl al-Bayth (A) is a hypocrite.
5. Whosoever has faith in the resurrection day and hereafter, fulfills his commitments (promises).