Abbas(عليه السلام), undoubtedly was the most valiant companion of Imam al-Husayn. On the 10th of Muharram, on the grounds of Karbala he did not take part in the actual battle with the Army of Yazid(La) yet he fought the greatest battle of all. His battle was with himself, Jihad with his nafs, described in our books as being the best of the three forms of Jihad.
The mother of Abbas (عليه السلام) Fatima binte Hizam,popularly known as Umm al Baneen, came from a tribe by the name of al-Kulābīyya that was known for bravery and war skills. Imam Ali(عليه السلام) had asked his brother Aqeel(عليه السلام) to find a woman from such a tribe. He father Imam Ali (عليه السلام) wanted a son that would be a warrior like no other, a companion for Imam al-Husayn(عليه السلام) on the 10th of Muharram. Ummal Baneen brought him up giving him lessons on loyalty and faithfulness to Husayn(عليه السلام). So even before Abbas(عليه السلام) was born he had been marked to be a warrior,a companion of Hussain(عليه السلام).All his life he never left Husayn(عليه السلام) side. His whole life was protecting, defending and fighting for his master Husayn(عليه السلام).
On the night of 10th of Muharram Shimr bin dhil jawashan(curse upon him) ,the man who would behead Imam Husayn(عليه السلام) on the day on 10th of Muharram and who’s also the cousin of Ummal Baneen, made an offer to Hazrat Abbas(عليه السلام), ‘leave Hussain, join us, you will be given wealth and a high position’ What did Abbas do? He tore up the letter, ‘this world and its attractions cannot entice me’. Does he even need a second to think? No.
When we have to make a choice between our life, wealth, power, position on one hand and loyalty to the Imam of time on the other hand, what do we choose? A person like Abbas(عليه السلام) chooses his Imam(عليه السلام). May Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) make us choose the same when our time comes.
So what happened on the day of 10th of Muharram. The water supply had been cut off for three days. The children in camps of Husayn were crying out ‘Al Attash, Al Attash.’ Abbas asked for permission from Imam al Husayn(عليه السلام) to go out and fight but Imam(عليه السلام) refused. As the day passed he repeated his request, Imam(عليه السلام) did not allow him to go. The bravest warrior in army of Husayn(عليه السلام) kept on asking permission to fight, his beloved master kept on refusing.
Finally, when Imam Husayn(عليه السلام) did allow him to go in the battlefield it was to fetch water for the children from Furaat, with the instructions ‘Do not fight’!
Here is the man who has the bravery of Imam Ali(عليه السلام) and the war skills of al-Kulābīyya in his blood, the man who had been brought into the world to be a companion to Husayn(عليه السلام),the man who had been brought up all his life being told that he has to protect Husayn from the enemies,the son of the man who protected Prophet Muhammad(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) from the Kuffar of Makkah whilst he was still a boy,the man who has been trained in war skills by none other than Haider,the conqueror of Khaybar,the man who had been named Abbas -'the lion other lions feared', the man who had fought alongside Imam Ali(عليه السلام) when he was only twelve- and now that Imam Husayn(عليه السلام) is alone in the ground of Karbala surrounded by the most ruthless,merciless of enemies, he has been told ‘Do not fight’??
A person like you and me would respond by saying ‘what do you mean not fight, I am the best warrior in the Army’ ‘they would be attacking me and I can kill so many of them’ ‘this is a battlefield, what else a person does if not use swords and arrows’. But this was Abbas(عليه السلام) who was a master not only in combat on the battlefield but also in combat with the nafs,hence he submitted without question to what Imam(عليه السلام) had ordered.
This was Abbas(as)’s real test. Just take a moment to think what an order like this would do to the soul of a person, a person whose whole life right from the time he was born revolved around defending Husayn(عليه السلام), a person whose is known for his courage, a person whose name alone evoked fear in the heart of his enemies. He has been ordered not to fight at such a critical time in Imam Hussain(as)'s life even though he is being sent in the battlefield surrounded by enemies who will attack him. But when the Imam (عليه السلام) of our time orders us something, we don't ask questions, when? why? how come? We just SUBMIT.
Hazrat Abbas(عليه السلام) went out in the battlefield, the soldiers of Yazid(LA) attacked him from all sides,he scattered and repelled the ones who came in his way, reached Furaat, filled the bag with water. He has been thirsty for three days, his tongue is dry and he is exhausted because of being dehydrated. His hands are touching the water. He can take a sip or two before he rides his horse again? Does he? No. He cannot think of drinking water while Husayn(عليه السلام) and the children are thirsty in the camps. Water right in front of Abbas(عليه السلام),the burning plains of Karbala, three days of thirst vs loyalty and servitude to Imam Husayn(عليه السلام). Who wins? Abbas(عليه السلام) wins. He defeated his nafs again.
On 10th of Muhrram, Abbas(عليه السلام) fought the battle and won like no other.
What does this tell us? Even when you are Abbas(عليه السلام) and the army you are facing is one like Yazid’s,even then your greatest battle is with yourself.
Felicitations and greetings to the Imam(عليه السلام) of our time and to all brothers and sisters on the birth of Qamar Bani Hashim.