Martyrdom of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and his Brothers
Martyrdom of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and his Brothers
When Abbas saw the death toll mounting amongst members of his family, he said to his brothers, Abdullah, Othman and Ja’far, “O Sons of my mother! Go forth to meet the enemy so that I may bear witness that you kept your covenant with Allah and His Apostle”. He turned to Abdullah who was older than Othman and said to him, “Come forward, brother, so that I may witness your killing and thus be considered (by God)”. So, they all fought in the presence of their brother, Al-Abbas till they were killed.
Al-Abbas reached the tether of his patience not to follow in the footsteps of his brethren and companions, especially when he could see that “The proof of the Time”, Imam Hussain is getting increasingly beleaguered, his supply root cut, the screams of women and the crying of children, who were thirsty, filled his ears. He, therefore, asked his brother to allow him to meet the enemy in combat. Since Abbas was the most valued asset Hussain cherished because the enemy are wary of his attack and fearful of his courage, and the women feel safe and secure so long as they saw the standard hoisted, Imam Hussain did not wish to part company with him and said, “O Brother! You are the bearer of my flag”.
“Hussain placated Abbas, with calm:
Amity’s balm seeks; hurt Islam
Restrain your wrath, my brother brave,
A battle, to precipitate, we don’t crave,
‘Tis prudent, now to peer ahead,
Don’t let them act in haste – instead.
Intellect, sound, they have none
Antagonism, to them is a thrilling fun
Nothing is worse than want of zeal
Its lack can a nation’s fortune seal
But aimless zeal is folly’s trap
In wisdom’s fort ’tis a mighty gap
Their show of passion is not zeal
This pseudo-zeal only varlets feel.
Peoples sans vision were destroyed
The prudent, e’er, vision employed
Canting spivs they all are,
Despicable insensates can’t look far.
We hope our “passive defence” does work,
A “defence offensive” till last we shirk.
My cool appraisal of this mess,
Is a genuine effort to forestall distress.
The stakes are dreadfully high,
Staggering results it will imply.
Erupt will battle – will get worse,
They crave and yearn for the divine curse.
Abbas replied, “I am sick and tired of these hypocrites, and I want to exact my revenge on them”. Hussain ordered him. to ask them for water for the children. Abbas approached the enemy, preached and warned them of the wrath of the Almighty but to no avail! He shouted as high as he could, “O son of Sa’ad! This is Hussain the son of the daughter of the Prophet. You have killed members of his family and companions.”
“All what is left are his womenfolk and children who are thirsty. Quench their thirst with water for they may die of it”. He, nevertheless, was pleading with them to let Imam Hussain and what was left of his household to leave Hijaz for the land of the Romans or the Indians. His words found sympathy with some of the crowd so much so that they cried. But ash-Shimr shouted, “O son of Abu Turab (one of Imam Ali’s titles)! Even if the whole of the earth’s surface were awash and we were in control, we would have never allowed you access to it, unless you pledge allegiance to Yazid.”
Left my bank my honoured guests
Swamped was I by the swarm of pests.
Shorn of the honour; I was robbed
Wept through waves, through swells I sobbed.
Lamented my ripples, my flow did wail,
Inherit I did, thus, a dolorous tale.
Water, my guests were refused, en bloc,
Agonised I was, distraught, with shock.
This torrid zone and simmering land,
None (sans water) could stand
Capture me if not they did
To counter the foe’s obnoxious bid
if access to me they didn’t attempt
Die of thirst they will, it meant.”
Abbas returned to his brother Hussain to advise him how the enemy were adamant not to give them water. In the meantime, he heard the children crying of thirst. He could not take it any more; his Hashimite ardour left him no room for manoeuver nor more forbearance, He took the skin water container with the intention of bringing water. He was surrounded by some 4,000 troops who shot at him with their arrows. He did not fear their multitudes. The standard hoisted over his head, He started attacking them causing them to flee in front of him. His gallantry used to remind them of his father, Imam Ali who used to annihilate brave and formidable foes in the battlefield. Thus, they did not stand their ground in the face of his determined and ferocious attacks. He managed to reach the waterline of the River Euphrates with fortitude.
He took a handful of water to drink whereupon he remembered the thirst of Imam Hussain and those who were with him. He threw the water away choosing not to drink out of empathy with his kinship.
Abbas – the Lion Roars
Abbas, his brother; fearless, grand,
Thundered, with rage, took a bold stand:
Proximity of water, deny you can’t
your witting Caliph’s obnoxious flaunt
!n sheer buffoonery, arrant nonsense
Convey to him scorn, intense.
Pompous pride I abhor, detest,
Like the prismatic glass ’tis just a jest.
His faith is dimmed by the lure of gold,
And conscience, to rapacity he has sold.
Drained off is his fount of sense,
And creed abandoned to vain aberrance.
Padlocked his brains, and mind is packed,
Deposed his prudence, judgement sacked.
An egregious scamp, pretentious fool,
Egoism’s caricature, asininity’s toot
The River recaptured (by Abbas)
The river he saw at paces few
(The horizon scanned – had none in view)
With the flag held high, he forward pressed,
The dauntless cham his command stressed.
Advanced; across the terrain he swept,
Enlarged the territorial gain (and kept)
The capture of the rill was underway,
(A feat stupendous – least to say)
The rill capture he did, with ease,
(The “squatters” aberrant “lease” did cease)
The stream, repossessed, he firmly held,
(Thus showed how right at might excelled)
His “post-repossession” earnest stance,
His eminence (further) did enhance.
(The priorities, apt, his balanced move
His sound judgement amply prove)
The rill captured (and the sway restored)
With a firm resolve own drought ignored
Serenely he waded in the water – at will
A leathern container, with water did fill
Leisurely emerged in a triumphant way
His mighty sword kept the foe at bay.
Exult did not at the blessed gain,
Zealously adhered to his purpose – main.
“Water must reach the camp inmates”
(Elevated sense such resolve dictates)
Enshrined in mind was “a camp inmate”
He knew, his return his niece did wait.
Shunned he did even a glimpse of peace,
Unless the water did reach his niece.
His mettle the apostates could not match
The container, from him couldn’t snatch.
The fortunate ones who death escaped,
Froze with terror, transfixed – gaped.
Petrified, ventured not impede him,
(Cocksure, their prospects were slim)
As the abject terror played its role,
The dragon of scare swallowed them – whole:”
He filled in the skin container with water, mounted his horse, and aimed towards the camp. Enemy soldiers cut him off, upon which he engaged them; he managed to fend them off and gained a leeway.
Zaid bin ar-Raqqad al-Juhui was laying in wait for him behind a tree. Helped by Hakim bin at-Tufail as-Sanbasi, he hit him on the arm and severed it. He was indifferent about his right arm, forging ahead to deliver the water to Hussain’s children and household. Hakim in the meantime was still laying in wait for him behind a tree. When Abbas got passed him, Hakim dealt him a sword blow on his left arm and severed it. Taking advantage of his weakened state, the rest of the troops took heart and swooped down upon him. They rained him with arrows from every direction; one arrow hit the water container and punctured it, spilling its contents; another hit him in the chest. A man hit him with a pole on the head, crushing his skull. Thereupon he fell to the ground calling, “O Aba Abdillah! Farewell”. Hussain rushed to him only to find him aimless, his forehead ruptured, an arrow embedded into the eye, the brain strewn on the shoulders, the colours and water container beside him. Hussain face showed signs of despondency Throwing himself down upon him, sobbing and saying, “Now is the time my backbone broke; I can see no way out, and my enemy is rejoicing at my misfortune”.
Stealthily, a furtive foe appeared
The arms of the valiant, brave, severed.
The renegades’ treacherous act did work
They this cowardice, did not shirk
The angel’s saintly wings were clipped,
The flag, he held high, lurched and dipped.
The standard with his blood was red
Its bearer brave lay cold and dead
Stifled my waves, was shocked, alas!
With grief I froze – it was Abbas.”
Despondent, sorrowful, weeping, wiping his tears with hit shin sleeves, Imam Hussain returned to his camp only to see that the enemy soldiers had already invaded it. He appealed to the crowd, “Is there not one from amongst you who can respond to our cry for help? Who can grant us a safe haven?.. Is there not a seeker of right who can lend support to us? Is there not one, who is wary of hell fire, who can protect us?” Sukaina approached and asked him about her uncle.
He told her that he had been killed! Zainab overheard him and screamed, “O Our Abbas! What a loss!”. The women started crying and Hussain joined them saying, “We are at a loss after your demise!”.