In the name of Allah
The All Compassionate, the All Merciful
8 Muharram 1439 (29 September 2017)
Islamic Universal Association
20 Penzance Place, Holland Park
London, W11 4 PG
Sins in Islam- Part 6
Having discussed ‘Allah (s.w.t)’s invitation to Pharaoh through Moses’, I quote below Ayahs 18-29 of Surah Al-Shu′ara relating to ‘Pharaoh’s rejection of the invitation’ which I will explain in detail during my forthcoming session:
“He (Pharaoh) said: “Did we not cherish you as a child and did you not dwell amongst us for years
Until you did what you did? You are ungrateful.”
He (Moses) said: “I did it when I did not receive guidance.
So I fled from you when I feared you; then my Lord granted me authority and made me a messenger.
And is it a favour of which you remind me, that you have enslaved the children of Israel?”
Pharaoh said: “What is this Lord of the world?”
He (Moses) said: “The Lord of the heavens and the earth, and what is between them both, if you can rest assured.”
Pharaoh said to those around: “Do you not hear this?”
He (Moses) said: “He is your Lord and the Lord of your fathers of old!”
Pharaoh said: “Verily, the ‘messenger’ sent to you is insane!”
He (Moses) said: “He is the Lord of the east and the west, and what is between them both, if only you understand.”
Pharaoh said: “Should you take a god other than me, I will certainly imprison you.”
Hazrat Abbas (a.s)
Today is the 8th of Muharram and I would like to dedicate this session to Hazrat Abbas; the half-brother of Hussain (a.s) whose dauntless courage, supreme confidence and unflinching loyalty earned him many titles. He was called ‘Qamaré Bani-Hashim’ (the moon of the Hashemites) because of his imposing and towering personality. His ability to lead people earned him the title of ‘Raisul Shujan’ (the leader of the valiant), and he was called ‘Afzalul Shohada’ (the choicest of the martyrs) for the manner in which he sacrificed his life. He was also given the title of ‘Saqqa’ (water carrier), because he sacrificed his life in an effort to procure water for the children in the tragic battle of Karbala. He fully lived up to his name ‘Abbas’, which in Arabic means lion.
He was born on the 4th of Shabaan, 26 Hijri, and as we all know he was the son of Ali ibne Abi Talib, and Fatimah binte Hizam, known as Ummul Bani (mother of 4 sons). He learnt the art of war from his father who was the most courageous warrior of all times. Fifty years after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a) Hussain (a.s) stood up against Yazid which led to his martyrdom along with some of his family members and companions. He was given the choice of pledging allegiance to Yazid or to face death and he chose an honourable death over a disgraceful life under a tyrant like Yazid. It was in this historical event that Abbas was the commander-in-chief and the flag-bearer of his army.
Abbas became a legend of loyalty and brotherhood due to his supreme sacrifice. The concept of brotherhood in Islam has two different levels; physical and spiritual and spiritual brotherhood takes precedence over the physical one. The devotion of Abbas to Hussain (a.s) was not just based on a physical level but it was also based on a spiritual level. On the other side of the spectrum, the Holy Quran has given two negative examples of brotherhood; Qabil (Cain) who murdered his brother Habil (Abel) and the brothers of Yusuf (Joseph) who conspired to get rid of him.
It has been reported that when Abbas was born he did not open his eyes until Hussain (a.s) took him in his arms. He never considered himself equal in rank or stature to Hussain (a.s) and on the contrary, he considered Hussain (a.s) to be his master. This is also reflected in his statement to Shimr bin Dhil Jawshan, one of the commanders of Yazid’s army, who was a relative of Abbas through his mother. Shimr offered Abbas and his brothers an assurance of protection or amnesty, but Abbas looked at him with contempt and retorted: “May Allah curse you and your proposition. You give assurance of protection to us, but the son of the Holy Prophet’s daughter has no amnesty! How dare you counsel us to desert our master, Hussain, and affiliate ourselves with Yazid, the corrupt and misguided?” The level of closeness between Abbas and Hussain (a.s), is also symbolised in the words of Hussain (a.s) when he heard Abbas calling for help in Karbala, “Now my back has been broken, and my options are few.” Abbas’s loyalty had become proverbial in Karbala. On the eve of Ashura, when Hussain (a.s) asked his friends and family members to leave him, since the enemies were only after his blood, the first person to stand up and express his loyalty was Abbas, who said: “Why should we abandon you? So that we may live after you! May Allah never show us that day.”
On the day of Ashura, when Hussain (a.s) asked Abbas to get water for the children, he succeeded in gaining access to the river and filling the water-carrier. He had been thirsty for three days and legally as well as morally nothing could have prevented him from quenching his thirst, but it was his sense of loyalty to Hussain (a.s) and the love for Hussain’s children that restrained him from doing so. Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s) has said: “May Allah shower His blessings on my Uncle Abbas. The manner in which he laid down his life for his brother, Hussain, displayed supreme self-sacrifice. He fought valiantly to protect my father and it was only after he lost both his arms that he fell. Allah will compensate him in heaven by conferring upon him with wings to fly. Verily, his place before Allah is so high, that all martyrs will envy him on the Day of Resurrection.” Moreover, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) has said: “I bear witness, O’ Abbas, that you have reached the zenith of perfection in the matter of self-resignation, loyalty and obedience.”