Abdullah Ibn Abbas

eBook: Companions of The Prophet



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In spite of his rich knowledge and effective argument, he never considered his discussion and conversation a battle of intellects in which he could be proud of his vast knowledge and victory over his opponents. On the contrary he considered it a straightforward path to visualize and realize truth.

For a long time his fair and sharp logic had been a source of alarm to the Khawaarij. Once Imam `Aliy (May Allah be pleased with him) sent him to a large group of the Khawaarij. They had a wonderful discussion, in which he was in control of the talk, arguing in a very admirable way. The following is an extract of that long conversation:

Ibn `Abbaas asked them, `What do you have against `Aliy?"

They said, "We are discontent with three matters. First, he let men judge in Allah's religion, whereas Allah said, ". . surely judging is only for GOD" (6:57).

Second, he is a murderer. However, he didn't take any captives or war booty. If they had been disbelievers, then their wealth would have been permissible, and if they had been Muslims, then their murder would have been prohibited.

Third, during the arbitration, he agreed to give up the title `Commander of the Faithful' in response to his enemies. If he isn't Commander of the Faithful, then he must be Commander of the Disbelievers."

Ibn Abbaas began to refute their claims. "As for letting men judge in Allah's religion, what's wrong with that? Allah said, " O you who believe! Do not kill animals of the hunt while you are on the Pilgrimage, and whoever of you kills it intentionally, he shall make recompense the equal of what he has killed from the cattle, which shall be judged by two just men among you" (5: 95). Tell me, by Allah, is letting men judge in sparing the Muslim blood not worthier than letting them judge in the case of compensating a killed rabbit that is worth a quarter of a dirham?"

Their leaders stammered in speech under the pressure of that sarcastic but decisive logic. Then he continued his talk. "As for your claim that he is a murderer who didn't take prisoners or war booty, did you expect him to take Aa'ishah, the Prophet's wife and Mother of the Faithful, a prisoner and her belongings as booty?" At that moment their faces went blank out of shame and they tried to cover them with their hands.

Ibn `Abbaas went on to the third claim. "As for your claim that he agreed to give up the title `Commander of the Faithful' to give arbitration a chance, let me tell you what the Prophet (PBUH) did on the Day of Hudaibiyah. While he was dictating the agreement between him and the Quraish, he said to the scribe, `Write, This is what the Messenger of Allah agreed upon.' The representative of the Quraish said, `By Allah, if we believed that you were the Messenger of Allah, we wouldn't have hindered you from entering the Sacred House or fought against you.' The Prophet (PBUH) then said, `Then write, This is what Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah has agreed upon. By Allah, I'm the Messenger of Allah even if you deny that. Write whatever you like."'

The discussion between lbn `Abbaas and the khawaarij went on in such a miraculous, magnificent way. The discussion had hardly ended when some 20,000 of the Khawaarij announced their conviction in what was said and announced the end of their oppositon to Aliy's imamate.

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lbn `Abbaas not only possessed a great fortune of knowledge but also a greater fortune of manners of knowledge and the knowledgeable. He was a great figure in his generosity. He spent his wealth abundantly for the people's sake with the same willingness with which he shared his knowledge. His contemporaries said, We've never seen a house more filled with food, drinks, fruits, and knowledge than Ibn `Abbaas's house."

He possessed a pure soul that never carried any spite. He never tired of wishing all the good for people, those whom he knew and those whom he did not. He said about himself, "Whenever I recited a verse, I wished that all people had acquired the knowledge I've acquired. Whenever I heard about a just ruler ruling fairly, I was filled with delight and prayed for him, although I did not need him! Whenever I heard about rain falling on Muslim land, I was filled with delight although I did not own any livestock grazing on that land."

He was a devoted repenting worshiper, praying at night and often fasting. No one could miss the stream of tears on his cheek. That is because he cried so much whenever he prayed or recited the Qur'aan. Whenever he read a scolding or threatening verse, or the mention of death and resurrection, his wail and laments grew louder and louder.

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In addition, he was honest, brave, and eloquent. He had his own viewpoint and opinions about the dispute between lmam `Aliy and Mu`aawiyah, which proved his capacity for stratagem.

He preferred peace to war, kindness to violence, logic to compulsion.

When Al-Hussain (May Allah be pleased with him) intended to go to Iraq to fight Ziyaad and Yaziid, Ibn `Abbaas did everything he could to prevent him. Afterwards, he was informed about his martyrdom. He felt deep grief and kept indoors.

Whenever a dispute between two Muslims arose, he could always be seen carrying the banner of peace, forgiveness, and tenderness.

It is true that he himself was involved in the battle between `Aliy and Mu'aawiyah when he fought on `Aliy's side. But he did that because, at the beginning, the war represented a necessary eradication of a movement which was causing a terrible split within the Islamic community, threatening the unity of the faith and of the believers.

* * *

As long as he lived he filled the whole world with knowledge and wisdom, spreading among people his scent of piety.

When he reached the age of 71, he was invited to meet Allah. The city of At-Taa'if witnessed a great scene for a believer who had been promised Paradise. While his body settled safely in its grave, the horizon was shaken by the echo of the truthful divine promise: "O soul at peace. Return to your Lord, well pleased and well pleasing. Enter you among My servants. And enter into My Paradise!" (89:27-30).