HAZRAT ABBAS Raziallah ta'aala anuh
(Dr. Mustafa Kalhoro Taagrraai, Karachi)
Hazrat Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib (566 – 653 AD) was a paternal uncle and Sahabi (companion) of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him). He married Umm al-Fadl Lubaba and is the father of Abdullah ibn Hazrat Abbas and Fadl ibn Hazrat Abbas. He was only born a few years before his nephew Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him), and was one of Muhammad (Peace be upon him)'s father's youngest brothers.
He was present in the negotiations at al-Aqbah previous to the migration to Medina.
Hazrat Abbas embraced Islam and remained firm and strong in his faith in Islam. He could sacrifice anything and take any risk to earn the pleasure of Allah. He proved his loyalty to Islam by his words and deeds, putting his resources and his life at stake to serve the cause of Islam.
Though Hazrat Abbas was an uncle of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him), he was only about two and a half years older than Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him). He had a great love for his nephew. Wherever they worked together, Hazrat Abbas never allowed Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to undergo any hard work. Once the Ka’aba was under repairs, everybody from Quraish, young or old took part in this sacred project. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) and his uncle, Hazrat Abbas were bringing stones along with other children. While working, Muhammad (Peace be upon him)'s shoulder was bruised. His uncle Hazrat Abbas was upset and without any hesitation he took off his own loin-cloth and put it on the shoulders of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) as a pad to protect him from bruises.
His love for Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) developed more and more with the age. Even before embracing Islam he supported Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in every matter. When he embraced Islam he devoted himself whole-heartedly to the mission of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) conveyed the message of Islam to the people in Makkah and invited them to submit before Allah. Hazrat Abbas did not concede apparently but he was fully aware of the impact and implications of the message of Islam and had all his sympathies with it. Thus, when 70 Medinities approached Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) in the valley of Mina, during the Hajj session, and requested him to migrate to Medina, Hazrat Abbas was also present at the secret meeting. The speech which he made on that occasion not only showed his vast experience and sincerity of purpose, but also revealed that he understood fully the difficulties in the way of Islamic movement. He said: “You know that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) is highly respected and revered in our family. We have always protected him against the enemies. Now he wants to accompany you. If you can stand by his side till death, I do not object; otherwise you should not take the risk?
The Ansars gave assurance of their sincere and wholesale support. Hazrat Abbas was satisfied, and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) migrated to Medina after a few days. Hazrat Abbas stayed in Makkah, but his heart was with Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him). At Medina, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) conquered Khyber, a stronghold of Jewish peoples. Somebody in Makkah spread the rumour that the Muslims have suffered a smashing defeat in Khyber and that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) has been taken prisoner and a number of his followers have been killed.
The Makkahns were jubilant at the news, but there was mourning and wailing at the house of Hazrat Abbas. Hazrat Abbas could not believe it and sought confirmation of the news from his sources. Soon he came to know that the news was entirely false and that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) had gained a decisive victory over the enemies. Then the joy of Hazrat Abbas knew no bounds. He changed his dress took hold of his walking stick, and arriving at Ka’aba began to make rounds of the sacred house in a blissful mood. People taunted him saying: “By Allah! Such a great calamity and such a show of resignation!” Hazrat Abbas retorted, “By the same Allah, of whom you have sworn, what you say is quite incorrect. You must know that Khyber has been conquered, and every inch of its land is in the possession of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) and his followers” When the Makkahns made enquiries, they found that the information of Hazrat Abbas was correct. They felt small and humiliated and licked their wounds.
Not only did ‘Hazrat Abbas share the sorrows and joys of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) but he conveyed important news of Makkah to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him), though he was still out of the pale of Islam. He also helped the poor Muslims who could not migrate to Medina for lack of resources. Whenever ‘Hazrat Abbas thought of migrating to Medina, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) stopped him and said: “It is better, if you stay in Makkah. Just as I am the last of the line of Prophets, you shall be the last person to migrate from Makkah?
The Quraish of Makkah thought that Hazrat Abbas was attached to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) only with the relation of blood but he did not contribute to the faith of Islam. On this assumption they compelled him to fight against the Muslims in the battle of Badar. Hazrat Abbas had to go, along with them to the battlefield. But Muhammad (Peace be upon him) knew fully well the position of Hazrat Abbas and had issued instructions to his companions saying: “Do not kill Hazrat Abbas, if you happen to meet him in battle, since he has been brought into the battlefield by force.”
In the battle of Badar, Allah bestowed success upon the Muslims. Hazrat Abbas was taken prisoner. He was tied with ropes which hurt him, thus he groaned with pain. Knowing him in distress, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) could not sleep. As soon as the good companions came to know of it, they loosened the bonds of Hazrat Abbas. Such was the love and affection between Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his uncle Hazrat Abbas. But in the matter of justice and principles no love and affection did count. When the question of releasing the captives on payment of ransom arose, Hazrat Abbas was asked to pay a heavy sum of money. In reply, Hazrat Abbas argued that he was a Muslim by heart but could not dare to disclose it because of the situation obtaining in Makkah. The infidels forced him to take part in the battle of Badar. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “Allah alone knows what is there in one’s heart. If you speak the truth, Allah will reward you. But no concession can be given to you? Hazrat Abbas said that he was a poor man. This Plea was not accepted too. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said “I know you have deposited a big amount of money with your wife,” Hazrat Abbas was awestricken. He said, “By Allah, no one else knew about that money beside me and my wife. No doubt you are the Prophet of Allah”. Then he paid a large sum of money in ransom. This brought release to him and two other captives, his nephew Aqeel and Naufal bin Haris.
Hazrat Abbas stayed in Makkah for a considerable time without publicizing his views. He got permission to migrate to Medina shortly before the conquest of Makkah. So he took his wife and children with him and reached Medina. There he publicly proclaimed that he had embraced Islam. This sent a wave of joy and happiness among the Muslims.
Prophet (Pbuh) made Nofal bin Harith his brother to strengthen the brotherhood between the emigrants and Ansar.
The Prophet (Pbuh) granted him a piece of land on the south side of the Prophet’s Mosque. Abbas built a house on it. After completion of his house Abbas (RU) recited the following poem.
I built this home with unbaked bricks, stones and pieces of wood. The birds may sit on it and fly over it. O Allah, shower your blessings on the residents of this house.
The Prophet (Pbuh) made the following supplications
O Allah, please shower Your blessing on this home. The Prophet (Pbuh) personally installed the spout for the discharge of water from the roof of this house while standing on the shoulder of Abbas.
According to the historical narration, Abbas’ house was located between the fifth column from the pulpit and the second column from Bab-us-Salam. This house was divided into three parts. First part was included in the extension of the Mosque by Omar. Second part was included in the extension of the Mosque by Osman. After this about 6½ meters was left in which Abbas used to keep his cattle. Marvan bin Hakam included it into his house. When Omar bin Abdul Aziz extended the Prophet’s Mosque, he removed it from Marvan’s house and included it also in the Mosque.
Hazrat Abbas was very wealthy before embracing Islam. After the death of his father, he inherited Amara (i.e. the custodial services of Kabah) and Siqaya (i.e. the eating and water drinking facilities for the pilgrims). After the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet (Pubh) reassigned these honorable positions to Abbas.
He performed this duty very efficiently till his migration to Medina. His source of income was trade. He lent money on interest. After the conquest of Makkah in 10 A.H. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) delivered a farewell sermon on the occasion of his last Hajj in which he declared that usury was prohibited (haram) by Allah, He said: Henceforth the business of lending money on interest is forbidden. And the first interest, I forego, is that of Hazrat Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib.?
After this proclamation all the income of Hazrat Abbas from interest stopped. The business in Makkah has already closed at the time of his migration to Medina. So Muhammad (Peace be upon him) helped him with the property seized in battles and also gave him some portion of the income from Fidak, a garden which was owned by Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Hazrat Abbas spent this money very generously. He was a very effective. During the caliphate of Hazrat Umar, once there were no rains and the country faced a dreadful famine. Hazrat Umar requested Hazrat Abbas to pray for Allah’s mercy. As soon as ‘Hazrat Abbas raised his hands in prayer the clear sky was covered with dense clouds and it rained so heavily that there was plenty of water for a good harvest.
Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had a great regard and respect for Hazrat Abbas on account of his extreme love and affection as well as his great qualities and character. If any one put him to grief, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was displeased and used to say; Hazrat Abbas is the uncle of the Prophet of Allah and an uncle is equal in status to the father?
Sometimes He (Peace be upon him) would say: ‘Hazrat Abbas is the uncle of the Prophet of Allah. He is the most generous among the Quraish and has great regard of his relations.” Once Muhammad (Peace be upon him) addressed Hazrat Abbas thus: “By Allah Who is my Creator, whosoever does not love you for the sake of Allah and his Prophet, will be devoid of faith. My uncle is just like my father to me.” When Muhammad (Peace be upon him) passed away, people went to ‘Hazrat Abbas to offer their condolences.
Hazrat Abbas had a powerful voice. In the battle field when nothing could be audible in the noise of the clash of weapons and the shouts of soldiers, ‘Hazrat Abbas’s voice could be easily heard. Once he said: “In the battle of Hunain, I was holding the reins of the horse of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) and was running by its side. At the height of the battle, the enemy made such a wild attack that the Muslims were dispersed. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) cried, Hazrat Abbas! call the spearmen. I had a loud voice, so I shouted, “O you people with spears! Where are you?” The retreating warriors heard the call and turned towards the enemy and made them retreat. Thus a lost battle was won?
Thus in the pursuit of seeking pleasure of Allah, Hazrat Abbas died in Madina during 32H. He lost his eyesight in his old age. He lived 89 years.
He is buried at the Jannat al-Baqi graveyard in Medina. Among his children Abdullah bin Hazrat Abbas was a renowned companion of Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
An Interesting Event:
1. A simple story is related here about ‘Hazrat Abbas which contains many a lessons for those who wish to seek the pleasure of Allah. The story is like this: “During the days of Hazrat Umar Farooq, some people complained that the water outlet of the roof of Hazrat Abbas opened towards the holy mosque. When ever it rains the water collected on his roof falls in the courtyard of the mosque and the people offering prayers are put to great difficulty. The Caliph ordered the water outlet to be closed. ‘Hazrat Abbas filed a suit against the Caliph. In his petition he argued that the water outlet was in the same position even during the days of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him), and that it has been closed without his permission. The Qazi (Judge) heard the case. He called witnesses and then gave the verdict in favor of Hazrat Abbas. Hazrat Abbas opened the water outlet in the presence of Umar Farooq. When it was done, the uncle of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) said: “O, leader of the faithful. Had I forsaken my claim, the people might have suspected that I had done so because of your fear and to gain your favour. Now that I have won the case, I donate this house for the sake of Allah. Now you may use this house as you wish?
2. Omar purchased several houses for the extension of the Prophet’s Mosque. Abbas’ house was adjacent to the Mosque. Hence Omar said to Abbas, “Abu Fadhl, the Mosque needs extension. Please sell your house for it and I shall pay you for your house generously from the government treasury.” Abbas refused to sell his house. Omar asked him to pick one of the following three choices. Sell your house and I shall pay for it fully. Secondly, I am willing to build a house for you in Madina at a site of your choice. Thirdly, donate your property for the benefit of the Muslims. Abbas refused to accept any of the above options. Omar suggested to him to pick an arbitrator between them to solve this problem. Abbas nominated Obai bin Kaab who used to write the revelations for the Prophet (Pbuh). Omar said, “We have both appointed you our arbitrator. We both will accept your judgment.”
Obai bin Kaab said to Abbas, “Please relate your side of the story.” Abbas said, “The land on which I built my house, was granted to me by the Prophet (Pbuh). Even the Prophet (Pbuh) took part in construction of the house. He fixed this spout with his own hands.” After this Omar narrated his side of the story. Obai bin Kaab said to both of them, “Permit me to relate to you a Hadith of the Prophet (Pbuh).” Both eagerly agreed. Obai bin Kaab said to them that I personally heard that the Prophet (SAS) saying, “Allah ordered Dawud (AS) to build a house where people may do worship. A site was also earmarked for it that happened to be where Masjid Aqsa is. This piece of land was not a perfect square. There was a house of an Israelite on one corner of it. Dawud (AS) requested this owner to sell his house in order to build a house for the worship of Allah. The owner flatly refused. Dawud (AS) said to him, “I shall take this corner of the house by force to achieve the noble task.” Allah said to Dawud (AS), “O Dawud, I only asked you to build a house for the worshippers. You wish to use force for it. This is not appropriate for My Highness. Consequently you better give up the intention of building the mosque for the worshippers.”
On hearing this Omar said, “You have related something even more stringent than my intention to extend the Mosque.” Omar brought them to the Mosque where they saw a few companions sitting together as a group. Obai bin Kaab said to the participants of this group meeting. “Did anyone of you hear the Hadith about Dawud (AS) pertaining to the construction of Masjid Aqsa from the Prophet (Pbuh)?” Abu Dhur Gaffari promptly said, “I heard this Hadith from the Prophet (Pbuh).” Another companion said, “I heard it too.” Now Obai bin Kaab said to Omar. “You blamed me about the authenticity of this Hadith.” Omar said, “O Abu Mundhar, I did not mean to blame you. I only wanted that the Hadith become more clear to us.” Omar now said to Abbas, “You may go. I shall never say to you anything concerning your house.” At this Abbas said, “I willingly donate my house for the extension of the Mosque without any compensation for it. If however you try to seize it by force, I shall not let you have it.” Omar got a house built for Abbas at another site in Madina from the government treasury and part of Abbas’ house was included in the extension of the Prophet’s Mosque.
There are several lessons for us in this event as mentioned in Tabkat Ibn Saad and in Vafa-ul- Vafa.
1. In mutual dealings we should use tolerance and forgiveness.
2. In disputes, we should follow the law of Nature. For example Obai bin Kaab’s (RU) decision was based on the fact that the owner has the full right on his property and it should not be seized from him by force.
3. We should have keen interest in projects for the public service.
4. Choose an arbitrator who has sound knowledge of the religion.
5. The arbitrator should treat both sides fairly and not lean to one side.
6. The arbitrator should listen to both sides without any prejudice.
7. Decision should be based on the strength of the matter and not the strength of the person.
8. We should check the authenticity of every Hadith. After proof of authenticity, we should fully submit ourselves to it.
9. There is no difference in the values and codes of ethics of earlier Sharias and the present one. For example, to lie, thieving, usurping others rights, fornication were all detestable and are even now.
10. We should try to please the owner.
11. The owner has the full right over his property.
There are many more similar reminders for us in this event.
Note:- This article is written by Dr. Mustafa Husain Kalhoro, Taagrraai of Ripri who is the 1st history writer of Ripri. There are his 08 published books and several unpublished. His most popular books are “HISTORY OF RIPRI & RAAT JI REHANN”.