Both Allah SWT and Rasulullah SAW reciprocated the companions love and devotion.
"… God is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever." (Quran 9:100)
Rasulullah SAW said, "The best of my nation is my generation then those who follow them and then those who follow them."
An Admonition by Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas
Admonition by Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas
bin Munabbah says: "Abdullah bin Abbas lost his eyesight in his
old age. I once led him to the Haram in Makkah, where he heard a
group of people exchanging hot words
among themselves. He asked me to lead him to them. He greeted them
with 'Assalamu Alaikum.' They requested him to sit down, but he
refused and said: 'May I tell you about people whom Allah holds in
Abdullah ibn Abbas RA - Mosque in Taif
are those whom His fear has driven to absolute silence, even though
they are neither helpless nor dumb. Rather they are possessors of
eloquent speech and have power to speak and sense to understand. But
constant glorification of Allah's name has so over-powered their wits
that their hearts are overawed and their lips sealed. When they get
established in this state, they hasten towards righteousness. Where
have you people deviated from this course? After this reprimand, I
never saw an assembly of even two persons in the Haram."
is said that Hadhrat Ibne Abbas used to weep so much with Allah's
fear that the tears streaming down his cheeks had left permanent
marks on them. In this story, Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas has
prescribed a very easy way to righteousness. This is to meditate over
the greatness of Allah (. If this is done, it becomes very easy to
all other acts of righteousness with full sincerity. Is it so very
difficult to devote a few minutes, out of the twenty four hours of a
day at one's disposal, to spiritual meditation?
ibn Abbas RA - Background
was the son of Abbas (may Allah have mercy upon them), an uncle of
the noble Prophet. He was born just three years before the Hijrah.
When the Prophet died, Abdullah was thus only thirteen years old. When
he was born, his mother took him to the blessed Prophet (peace be
upon him) who put some of his saliva on the babe's tongue even before
he began to suckle. This was the beginning of the close and intimate
tie between Abdullah and the Prophet that was to be part of a
life-long love and distinguished devotion.
when Abdullah reached the age of discretion, he attached himself to
the service of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He would run to fetch
water for him when he wanted to make wudu. During Salat, he would
stand behind the Prophet in prayer and when the Prophet went on
journeys or expeditions, he would follow next in line to him.
Abdullah thus became like the shadow of the Prophet, constantly in
The learned Abdullah ibn Abbas RA
all these situations, he was attentive and alert to whatever the
Prophet did and said. His heart was enthusiastic and his young mind
was pure and uncluttered, committing the Prophet's words to memory
with the capacity and accuracy of a recording instrument.
this way and through his constant researches later, as we shall see,
Abdullah became one of the most learned companions of the Prophet,
preserving on behalf of later generations of Muslims, the priceless
words of the Messenger of God. It
is said that he committed to memory about one thousand, six hundred
and sixty sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which are
recorded and authenticated in the collections of Al-Bukhari and
Prophet would often draw Abdullah as a child close to him, pat him on
the shoulder and pray:
Lord, make him acquire a deep understanding of the religion of Islam
and give him the wisdom to know the meaning and interpretation of
things." (Al-Bukhari, 3756)
were many occasions thereafter when the blessed Prophet (peace be
upon him) would repeat this dua or
prayer for his cousin and before long Abdullah ibn Abbas realized
that his life was to be devoted to the pursuit of learning and
Prophet moreover prayed that he be granted not just knowledge and
understanding but wisdom. Abdullah related the following incident
the Prophet, peace be upon him, was on the point of performing wudu.
I hurried to get water ready for him. He was pleased with what I was
doing. As he was about to begin Salat, he indicated that I should
stand at his side.
I stood behind him. When the Salat was finished, he turned to me and
said: 'What prevented you from being at my side, O Abdullah?' 'You
are too illustrious and too great in my eyes for me to stand side by
side with you,' I replied.
his hands to the heavens, the Prophet then prayed:
Lord, grant him wisdom."
Prophet's prayer undoubtedly was granted for the young Abdullah was
to prove time and again that he possessed a wisdom beyond his years.
But it was a wisdom that came only with devotion and the dogged
pursuit of knowledge both during the Prophet's lifetime and after his
the lifetime of the Prophet, Abdullah would not miss any of his
assemblies and he would commit to memory whatever he said. After the
Prophet passed away, he would take care to go to as many companions
as possible especially those who knew the Prophet longer and learn
from them what the Prophet had taught them.
he heard that someone knew a hadith of
the Prophet which he did not know he would go quickly to him and
record it. He would subject whatever he heard to close scrutiny and
check it against other reports. He would go to as many as thirty
companions to verify a single matter. Abdullah
described what he once did on hearing that a companion of the Prophet
knew a hadith unknown
went to him during the time of the afternoon siesta and spread my
cloak in front of his door. The wind blew dust on me (as I sat
waiting for him). If I wished I could have sought his permission to
enter and he would certainly have given me permission. But I
preferred to wait on him so that he could be completely refreshed.
out of his house and seeing me in that condition he said: 'O cousin
of the Prophet! What's the matter with you? If you had sent for me I
would have come to you.' 'I am the one who should come to you, for
knowledge is sought, it does not just come,' I said. I asked him
about the hadith and learnt from him." In
this way, the dedicated Abdullah would ask, and ask, and go on
asking. And he would sift and scrutinize the information he had
collected with his keen and meticulous mind.
was not only in the collection of hadith that
Abdullah specialized. He devoted himself to acquiring knowledge in a
wide variety of fields. He had a special admiration for persons like
Zayd ibn Thabit, the recorder of the revelation, the leading judge
and jurist consult in Madinah, an expert in the laws of inheritance
and in reading the Quran.
Zayd intended to go on a trip, the young Abdullah would stand humbly
at his side and taking hold of the reins of his mount would adopt the
attitude of a humble servant in the presence of his master. Zayd
would say to him:
O cousin of the Prophet."
we were commanded to treat the learned ones among us," Abdullah
would say. And Zayd would say to him in turn: "Let
me see your hand." Abdullah would stretch out his hand. Zayd,
taking it, would kiss it and say: "Thus
we were commanded to treat the ahl
of the household of the Prophet."
Abdullah's knowledge grew, he grew in stature. Masruq ibn al Ajda
said of him:
I saw Ibn Abbas, I would say: He is the most handsome of men. When he
spoke, I would say: He is the most eloquent of men. And when he held
a conversation, I would say: He is the most knowledgeable of men." The
Khalifah Umar ibn al-Khattab often sought his advice on important
matters of state and described him as "the young man of
ibn abi Waqqas described him with these words:
have never seen someone who was quicker in understanding, who had
more knowledge and greater wisdom than Ibn Abbas. I have seen Umar
summon him to discuss difficult problems in the presence of veterans
of Badr from among the Muhajirin and Ansar. Ibn Abbas would speak and
Umar would not disregard what he had to say." It
is these qualities which resulted in Abdullah ibn Abbas being known
as "the learned man of this Ummah".
ibn Abbas was not content to accumulate knowledge. He felt he had a
duty to the ummah to educate those in search of knowledge and the
general masses of the Muslim community. He turned to teaching and his
house became a university - yes, a university in the full sense of
the word, a university with specialized teaching but with the
difference that there was only one teacher Abdullah ibn Abbas.
was an enthusiastic response to Abdullah's classes. One of his
companions described a typical scene in front of his house: "I
saw people converging on the roads leading to his house until there
was hardly any room in front of his house. I went in and told him
about the crowds of people at his door and he said: 'Get me water for
performed wudu and, seating himself, said: 'Go out and say to them:
Whoever wants to ask about the Quran and its letters (pronunciation)
let him enter. This
I did and people entered until the house was filled. Whatever he was
asked, Abdullah was able to elucidate and even provide additional
information to what was asked. Then (to his students) he said: 'Make
way for your brothers.'
to me he said: 'Go out and say: Who wants to ask about the Quran and
its interpretation, let him enter'. Again
the house was filled and Abdullah elucidated and provided more
information than what was requested." And
so it continued with groups of people coming in to discuss fiqh
haram (the lawful and the prohibited in Islam), inheritance laws,
Arabic language, poetry and etymology.
avoid congestion with many groups of people coming to discuss various
subjects on a single day, Abdullah decided to devote one day
exclusively for a particular discipline. On one day, only the
exegesis of the Quran would be taught while on another day only fiqh
(jurisprudence). The maghazi or
campaigns of the Prophet, poetry, Arab history before Islam were each
given a special day.
ibn Abbas brought to his teaching a powerful memory and a formidable
intellect. His explanations were precise, clear and logical. His
arguments were persuasive and supported by pertinent textual evidence
and historical facts. One
occasion when his formidable powers of persuasion was used during the
caliphate of Ali. A large number of supporters of Ali in his stand
against Muawiyah had just deserted him. Abdullah ibn Abbas went to
Ali and requested permission to speak to them. Ali hesitated fearing
that Abdullah would be in danger at their hands but eventually gave
way on Abdullah's optimism that nothing untoward would happen.
went over to the group. They were absorbed in worship. Some were not
willing to let him speak but others were prepared to give him a
me," asked Abdullah, "what grievances have you against the
cousin of the Prophet, the husband of his daughter and the first of
those who believed in him?"
men proceeded to relate three main complaints against Ali. First,
that he appointed men to pass judgment in matters pertaining to the
religion of God - meaning that Ali had agreed to accept the
arbitration of Abu Musa al-Ashari and Amr ibn al-As in the dispute
that he fought and did not take booty nor prisoners of war. Thirdly,
that he did not insist on the title of Amir
of the Believers) during the arbitration process although the Muslims
had pledged allegiance to him and he was their legitimate Amir. To
them this was obviously a sign of weakness and a sign that Ali was
prepared to bring his legitimate position as Amir
reply, Abdullah asked them that should he cite verses from the Quran
and sayings of the Prophet to which they had no objection and which
related to their criticisms, would they be prepared to change their
position. They replied that they would and Abdullah proceeded:
your statement that Ali has appointed men to pass judgment in matters
pertaining to Allah's religion, Allah Glorified and Exalted is He,
you who believe! Kill not game while in the sacred precincts or in
pilgrim garb. If any of you do so intentionally, the compensation is
an offering, of a domestic animal equivalent to the one he killed and
adjudged by two just men among.} (5:95)
adjure you, by God! Is the adjudication by men in matters pertaining
to the preservation of their blood and their lives and making peace
between them more deserving of attention than adjudication over a
rabbit whose value is only a quarter of a dirham?"
reply was of course that arbitration was more important in the case
of preserving Muslim lives and making peace among them than over the
killing of game in the sacred precincts for which Allah sanctioned
arbitration by men.
we then finished with this point?" asked Abdullah and their
O Lord, yes!"
for your statement that Ali fought and did not take prisoners of war
as the Prophet did, do you really desire to take your "mother"
Aishah as a captive and treat her as fair game in the way that
captives are treated? If your answer is "Yes", then you
have fallen into kufr (disbelief).
And if you say that she is not your "mother", you would
also have fallen into a state of kufr for
Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, has said:
Prophet is closer to the believers than their ownselves, and his
wives are their mothers.”entitled to respect and
for yourself what you want," said Abdullah and then he asked:
"Have we then finished with this point?" and this time too
their reply was: "Allahumma,
O Lord, yes!"
for your statement that Ali has surrendered the title of Amir
(remember) that the Prophet himself, (peace be with him), at the time
of Hudaybiyyah, demanded that the mushrikin write
in the truce which he concluded with them:
is what the Messenger of God has agreed...' and they retorted: 'If we
believed that you were the Messenger of God we would not have blocked
your way to the Kaabah nor would we have fought you. Write instead:
'Muhammad the son of Abdullah.'
Prophet conceded their demand while saying:
God, I am the Messenger of God even if they reject me." At this
point Abdullah ibn Abbas asked the dissidents: "Have
we then finished with this point? and their reply was once again:
O Lord, yes!"
of the fruits of this verbal challenge in which Abdullah displayed
his intimate knowledge of the Quran and the sirah of the Prophet as
well as his remarkable powers of argument and persuasion, was that
the majority, about twenty thousand men, returned to the ranks of
Ali. About four thousand however remained obdurate. These latter came
to be known as Kharijites.
this and other occasions, the courageous Abdullah showed that he
preferred peace above war, and logic against force and violence.
However, he was not only known for his courage, his perceptive
thought and his vast knowledge. He was also known for his great
generosity and hospitality. Some of his contemporaries said of his
have not seen a house which has more food or drink or fruit or
knowledge than the house of Ibn Abbas."
had a genuine and abiding concern for people. He was thoughtful and
caring. He once said: "When I realize the importance of a verse
of God's Book, I would wish that all people should know what I know. "When
I hear of a Muslim ruler who deals equitably and rules justly, I am
happy on his account and I pray for him... " When I hear of
rains which fail on the land of Muslims, that fills me with
ibn Abbas was constant in his devotions. He kept voluntary fasts
regularly and often stayed up at night in Prayer. He would weep while
praying and reading the Quran. And when reciting verses dealing with
death, resurrection and the life hereafter his voice would be heavy
from deep sobbing. He
passed away at the age of seventy one in the mountainous city