Thirst for Knowledge - Abdullah ibn Abas RA

 Abdullah bin Abbas RA says: "After the passing away of Nabi SAW, I said to an Ansaari friend of mine, 'Nabi SAW is not with us now, but a large number of Sahabah are still amongst us. Let us go to them and acquire knowledge of the Islamic. practices'. He said, 'Who is going to approach you for learning a regulation in the presence of these famous Sahabah ?' I was not discouraged. I kept up my search for knowledge and approached every person who was thought to have heard something from Nabi SAW. I managed to gather ample information from the Ansaar. If, on my visit to one of the Sahabah , I found him asleep, I spread my shawl at the gate and sat waiting. Sometimes my face and body would get covered with dust, but I kept sitting till they woke up and I was able to contact them. Some of them said: 'Abdullah you are the cousin of Nabi SAW, you could have sent for us. Why did you take the trouble of coming to our places?' I said to them:

'I must come to you, for I am a student and you are my teachers.' Some people for whom I had waited said: 'Since when have you been waiting for us?' I informed them that I had been sitting there for a pretty long time. They said: 'What a pity, you could have awakened us from our sleep.' I said: 'I did not like to disturb you for my own sake.' I thus carried on my search till there came a time when people began to flock to me for learning. My Ansaari friend realised this at that time and remarked, 'This boy has surely proven himself more sensible than us."

It was this devotion to knowledge, which caused Abdullah bin Abbas RA to be known as Hibr-ul-Ummat (the most learned man of Islam) and Bahrul Ulum (ocean of knowledge) in his time. At the time of his death, he was in Taif. Muhammad bin Ali RA led the funeral service and said: "Today we have lost our saintly leader."

Abdullah bin Umar RA says: "Abdullah bin Abbas RA is noted for his knowledge regarding the occasions when various verses of the Qur’aan were revealed." According to Umar RA , Ibni Abbas is one of the most eminent Ulama of Islam. This is all due to his hard effort in acquiring knowledge. He could not have attained this position if he had considered himself a member of Nabi's SAW family and as such demanded respect from the people instead of going to them for knowledge.

Nabi SAW has said: "Be most humble and respectful to persons from whom you receive knowledge."
Mujahid says: "A proud or shy student cannot gain much." Saidina Ali RA says: "I am a slave to the person who has taught me even a single word. He may sell me or set me free." Yahya bin Kathir (Rahmatullahi alaih) says: "Knowledge and easy living cannot go hand in hand." Imam Shaf'i (Rahmatullah alaih) says: "A student who learns half-heartedly and ungratefully can never succeed. A student who is humble and hard-living often reaches his goal." Mughirah says: "We feared our teacher Ibrahim (Rahmatullah alaih) more than even the kings of our times."
Al Imam Bukhari (Rahmatullah alaih) writes about Yahya bin Ma'een, the famous Mohaddith: "I have never seen a person more respectful to the Muhadthin than Yahya." Imam Abu Yusuf (Rahmatullah alaih) says: "I have heard from famous people that a student who does not respect his teacher is never successful." This story shows that Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas s was very humble and respectful to those from whom he learnt Islam. It also shows his devotion to knowledge. He did not mind any amount of effort or difficulty in going to persons who had some knowledge of Hadith. In fact, nothing can be achieved without hardship. As the Arabic proverb goes

"A person who wishes to exceed others must burn the midnight oil."

It is said about Hadhrat Harith bin Yazid, Hadhrat Ibn Shu- brumah, Hadhrat Qa'qaa, and Hadhrat Mughirah (Rahmatullahi alaihim) that they held discussions over Deeni matters among themselves after Isha and would not disperse before the Azaan of Fajr. Hadhrat Laith bin Sa'eed (Rahmatullah alaih) says: "Imam Zuhri (Rahmatullah alaih) sat after Isha Salaah with Wudhu and continued his discussion on Hadith until it was time for Fajr Salaah."

Darawardi says: "I saw Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik in Nabi's j Musjid after Isha, discussing some religious point very calmly and without offending each other. They returned only after performing Fajr Salaah." On his death, Ibn Furat Baghdadi (Rahmatullah alaih) a Muhaddith, left eighteen boxes full of books. Most of these books were written in his own hand. He is famous
amongst the Muhaddithin for his reliable and systematic record.

Ibn Jauzi (Rahmatullah alaih) is another famous Mu- haddith. He was brought up as an orphan, as he lost his father when he was only three. He was so scholarly that he would not leave his house except for Jum'uah Salaah. He once declared from the pulpit, pointing to his fingers: "With these fingers I have written or copied no less than two thousand books." He, himself was the author of more than two hundred and fifty books. It is said that he never remained idle. He used to write four parts of a book daily. His lessons were so popular that as many as 100 000 students at a time listened to him. The kings, their ministers and chiefs would also attend his lectures.

He himself says: "As many as 100 000 followers have pledged devotion to me and not less than 20 000
disbelievers have accepted Islam at my hands." He also suffered a great deal at the hands of Shiahs, who were in power those days. He preserved the chips while mending his reed pen and at the time of his death, expressed the desire that those chips be used for warming the water for washing his dead body. It is said that not only the preserved stock was enough for warming the water, but a part was still left unused.

Yahya bin Ma'een (Rahmatullah alaih) is a famous Sheikh of Hadith. He says: "I have written one million Ahaadith with my own hand". Ibn Jarir Tabari (Rahmatullah alaih) is a famous historian.
He is an authority on the history of the Sahaabah ( and Tabieen. For forty years, he wrote eighty pages daily. After his death, it was calculated that his written work (since his maturity) had come to 28 pages daily. The book on history written by him, which is generally available, is very famous and popular. When he planned to write this book, he said to the people around him: "You will be pleased to learn that I intend writing a book on world history."

They inquired: "How big will that book be?"
He replied: "About 30 000 leaves."
They remarked: "Who will live to finish this book?"
He said: "Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raaji-oon. People do not have any aspiration."

He then decided to reduce the material, which still covered 6000 pages. The same story is reported about his book on the meaning and commentary of the Qu'raan. This is also a very famous and popular book. Daaraqutni (Rahmatullah alaih) is a famous writer on Hadith. He travelled to Baghdad, Basra, Koofah, Wasit, Egypt and Syria for learning Hadith. Once, while attending the class of his teacher, he was seen copying from a certain book.

One of the fellow students cautioned him saying: "How can you listen to the Sheikh while doing that work?" He replied: "There is a difference in my listening and yours. Tell me how many Ahaadith has the Sheikh recited so far?" The student began to think.

Daaraqutni (Rahmatullah alaih) said: "Now let me tell you. The Sheikh has so far recited eighteen Ahaadith and these are . . . " He then repeated all the eighteen Ahaadith that the Sheikh had recited in the same order, quoting the chain of narra- tion in each case. Hafiz Athram (Rahmatullah alaih) is a Muhaddith. He had a wonderful ability for memorising Ahaadith. Once, when he was in Makkah for Hajj, two reputed Sheikhs from Khurasan were holding their lectures on Hadith in the Haram separately and a large number of people were listening to each Sheikh. He sat between the two groups and noted down the lectures of both the Sheikhs at one and the same time.

Abdullah bin Mubarak (Rahmatullah alaih) is a Muhaddith of great fame. His hard work and effort in
collecting Ahaadith are well known to everybody. He says: "I have learnt Hadith from four thousand teachers." Ali bin Hasan (Rahmatullah alaih) says: "It was a very cold night when Ibn Mubarak and I stepped out from the musjid after Isha Salaah. We continued our discussion on a Hadith while standing there, till we heard the Azaan for Fajr." Humaidi (Rahmatullah alaih) is a Muhaddith, who has combined Bukhari and Muslim in one compilation. It is said that he wrote throughout the night. When it was very hot, he would write while sitting in a tub of water.

He also wrote poetry. The following verses have been written by him:

"Mixing with people does not benefit beyond waste of time in gossip.
Don't go to the people, except For acquiring knowledge and piety."

Imam Tabrani (Rahmatullah alaih) is a famous Muhaddith and author of many books. Somebody asked: "How could you write so many books, Sheikh?"
He replied: "I have been on my mat for thirty years."
Abul Abbas Shirazi (Rahmatullah alaih) says: "I have learnt 300 000 Ahaadith from Tabrani."

Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullah alaih) worked very hard in going into depths of those Ahaadith which contradict others. Kufah was the centre of Islamic learning in those days. He had collected Hadith from all the Muhaddithin of that place. Whenever a Muhaddith from outside came to Koofah, he sent his students to him to find out if he knew any such Hadith that was not known to him. The Imam had a well-known circle where scholars of Hadith, Fiqah, and Philology gathered together. They had discussions on regulations concerning Islamic practices. Sometimes the discussions continued for one month before a point was agreed upon, and written in the book of regulations for the people of his school of thought.

Imam Tirmizi (Rahmatullah alaih) is known to one and all. He was unique in his ability for memorizing and remembering Ahaadith. His memory was excellent. Some Muhaddithin once tested his memory. They recited before him forty-one Ahaadith. Imam Tirmizi (Rahmatullah alaih) immediately repeated all of them. He himself writes: "On my way to Makkah, I copied two parts from the collections of Hadith by a Sheikh. I happened to come across that Sheikh personally. I said to him, 'I have copied two parts of your collections. I wish to compare those Ahaadith by listening to them directly from you.' The Sheikh agreed. While going to his place, I took a blank book by mistake instead of the note book in which I had copied the Ahaadith. The Sheikh started reciting the Ahaadith, while I held the blank book in my hand. When he noticed it, he was very angry with me. I explained to him how that had happened, and said, 'Sheikh, your time is not wasted. I remember everything that you have said.' He did not believe me and asked me to repeat all that he had recited. I repeated all the Ahaadith. He thought I had memorised them before I came to him. I said, 'You may recite some other Ahaadith.' He recited forty new Ahaadith. I repeated all of them without any error."

It is very difficult to sacrifice as hard as these Muhaddithin did in collecting, memorizing and propagating Hadith. It is difficult even to cover all such stories. Qartamah (Rahmatullah alaih) is a Muhaddith who is not very famous.One of his students, Daud, says: "People speak about the memory of Abu Hatim (Rahmatullah alaih). I have never seen a person with better memory than Qartamah.

Once he said to me, 'Pick any of the books from my library. I shall recite it from my memory. 'I picked up 'Kitabul-Ashribah.' He recited the whole book in the reverse order i.e., reading from the end to the beginning of each chapter." Abu Zur'ah (Rahmatullahi alaih) says: "Imam Ahmad bin Hambal (Rahmatullah alaih) remembered one million Ahaadith by heart. I have collected 100 000 Ahaadith and I know 30 000 of them by heart." Khafaf (Rahmatullah alaih) says: "Ishaq (Rahmatulla alaih) once read out to us 11 000 Ahaadith from his memory. He then repeated all of them in the same order, without any mistake."

Abu Sa'd Isbahani, (Rahmatullah alaih) was only sixteen when he left from Baghdad to learn Hadith from Abu Nasr (Rahmatullah alaih). He heard about Abu Nasr’s (Rahmatullah alaih) death on the way. He cried bitterly like a child and would say: "How shall I know the chain of narrators of this Hadith?"  Such crying is not possible without love and devotion. He knew the 'Muslim' collection of Ahaadith by heart and taught the book to his pupils from memory.Abu Umar Dharir (Rahmatullah alaih) who was blind from birth, is counted among the Huffaaz of Hadith. He was an expert in History, Fiqah, Law of inheritance and mathematics.

Abul Husain Isfahani (Rahmatullah alaih) remembered both the Bukhari and Muslim compilations by heart. Bukhari was so deeply fixed in his memory that he would give the chain of narrators for any text or vice versa. Sheikh Taqi-ud-Din Ba'albakki (Rahmatullah alaih) memorised the 'Muslim shareef' in four months. He was also Hafiz of Ahaadith which were common in Muslim and Bukhari's compilations. He was a saint and many miracles are attributed him. He had also memorized the Qur’aan. It is said that Soorah Al-An'aam was memorised by him in one day.

Ibnus-Sunni (Rahmatullah alaih) is a famous pupil of Imam Nasai (Rahmatullah alaih). He was writing Hadith even up to the last moments of his life. His son says: "While my father was writing Hadith, he put aside the pen, raised his hands in prayer and breathed his last."

Allamah Saaji (Rahmatullah alaih) mastered Fiqah (Islamic laws) in his teens. Then he began to acquire knowledge about Hadith. He stayed in Herat for ten years and wrote the whole of Tirmizi six times during that stay. His teacherIbn Mandah (Rahmatullah alaih) died while teaching him ‘Gharaib Sho'bah’ after Isha.

Abu-Umar Khafaf (Rahmatullah alaih) remembered 100 000 Ahaadith by heart. More than 100 000 persons attended the lectures of Asim bin Ali (Rahmatullah alaih), Sheikh of Imam Bukhari (Rahmatullah alaih), when he was in Baghdad. One day, during his lecture, an audience of 120 000 was estimated. The words uttered by him were relayed a number of times, before these could be heard by all the people. The words "Al-Laith (Rahmatullah alaih) reported to-me," once uttered by him, had to be relayed fourteen times. On reaching Baghdad, Abu Muslim Basri (Rahmatullah alaih) took his class to a big ground. Seven hundred men were relaying his lecture and 40 000 ink pots for taking down his lecture were counted. There were many more people who simply listened. In the lectures by Faryabi

(Rahmatullah alaih), there used to be 316 persons who would relay his words to enable people to write these down. It was this sacrifice and devotion which has caused the sacred knowledge to live up to our time. Imam Bukhari (Rahmatullah alaih) says: "I compiled my collection of 7 275 Ahaadith by selection from 600 000 Ahaadith. I have been saying Salaah of two rakaats before writing each Hadith".When Imaam Bukhari (Rahmatullah alaih) came to Baghdad, the Muhaddithin tested his knowledge. Ten persons were chosen for the test. Each of these persons selected ten Ahaadith of his choice and after making some changes in the wording, recited each Hadith before Imam Bukhari (Rahmatullah alaih). On each recital, he would say: "I do not know such a Hadith." When all had finished, he addressed each man saying:

"Brother, the first Hadith you recited as such (reciting as the man had done), but actually it is such (reciting the correct wording) and so on."

He repeated all the hundred Ahaadith first in the form in which those men had recited, and again in the correct form in that very order. Imam Muslim (Rahmatullah alaih) started learning Hadith when he was fourteen, and remained engaged in it till his death.

He says: "I have gathered my book of 12 000 Ahaadith after selecting from 300 000 Ahaadith."
Abu Daud (Rahmatullah alaih) says: "I had collected 500 000 Ahaadith, but I selected only 4 800 for inclusion in my book."

Yusuf Muzi (Rahmatullah alaih) is a famous Muhaddith. He is an Imam in the science of Asmaa-ur Rijaal (classification of narrators of Hadith). After learning Fiqh and Hadith from the teachers in his own town, he went to Makkah, Madinah,Halb, Hamat, Ba'albak etc, in search of further knowledge. He is the writer of many books. 'Tahzib-ul-Kamal' is in 200 parts and 'Kitab-ul-Atraaf' has more than 80 parts. He often kept quiet and spoke very little. Most of the time he was engaged in reading or writing. He suffered at the hands of his enemies, who were jealous of him, but he never took revenge. It is really very difficult to cover all the stories of other famous people regarding their service to knowledge. The details of their hard work cannot be covered even in several volumes. What has been written above is only meant to give a few glimpses of the pains that our elders in Islam have taken in the development of knowledge about Hadith and leaving it to us in such an expert form.

Let those people who profess to seek knowledge see for themselves what sacrifices they are really making in this field. It is useless to hope that the knowledge about Nabi (, which has thus reached us, will be spread and brought into practice while we remain engaged in our luxuries, comforts, pleasures and other worldly engagements.

Bio of Abdullah ibn Abbas

Abdullah was the son of Abbas, 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 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 Abbas and the Prophet that was to be part of a life-long love and devotion.

When Abdullah reached the age of discretion, he attached himself to the service of the Prophet. 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 his company.

In 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. In 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 which are recorded and authenticated in the collections of al-Bukhari and Muslim.

The Prophet would often draw Abdullah as a child close to him, pat him on the shoulder and pray: "O Lord, make him acquire a deep understanding of the religion of Islam and instruct him in the meaning and interpretation of things."
There were many occasions thereafter when the blessed Prophet SAW would repeat this dua or prayer for his cousin and before long Abdullah ibn Abbas RA realized that his life was to be devoted to the pursuit of learning and knowledge.

The Prophet SAW moreover prayed that he be granted not just knowledge and understanding but wisdom. Abdullah related the following incident about himself: "Once 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. However, 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. Raising his hands to the heavens, the Prophet then prayed: 'O Lord, grant him wisdom." The Prophet's prayer undoubtedly was granted for the young Abdullah RA 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 death.

During 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. Whenever 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 RA described what he once did on hearing that a companion of the Prophet SAW  knew a hadith unknown to him: "I 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. Coming out of his house and seeing me in that condition he said: 'O cousin of the Prophet SAW! 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 RA 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. It was not only in the collection of hadith that Abdullah RA  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. When Zayd RA  intended to go on a trip, the young Abdullah RA 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 RA would say to him: "Don't, O cousin of the Prophet."

"Thus we were commanded to treat the learned ones among us," Abdullah RA would say. "And Zayd would say to him in turn: "Let me see your hand." Abdullah RA would stretch out his hand. Zayd RA, taking it, would kiss it and say: "Thus we were commanded to treat the ahl al-bayt members of the household of the Prophet."

As Abdullah's knowledge grew, he grew in stature. Masruq ibn al Ajda RA said of him: "Whenever 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 RA often sought his advice on important matters of state and described him as "the young man of maturity".

Sad ibn abi Waqqas RA described him with these words: "I have never seen someone who was quicker in understanding, who had more knowledge and greater wisdom than Ibn Abbas. I have seen Umar RA 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 RA would not disregard what he had to say."

It is these qualities which resulted in Abdullah ibn Abbas RA being known as "the learned man of this Ummah".
Abdullah ibn Abbas RA 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 RA.

There 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 wudu.'

He 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 RA was able to elucidate and even provide additional information to what was asked. Then (to his students) he said: 'Make way for your brothers.'
Then 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 RA elucidated and provided more information than what was requested."
And so it continued with groups of people coming in to discuss fiqh (jurisprudence), halal and haram (the lawful and the prohibited in Islam), inheritance laws, Arabic language, poetry and etymology.

To avoid congestion with many groups of people coming to discuss various subjects on a single day, Abdullah RA 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 SAW , poetry, Arab history before Islam were each allocated a special day.

Abdullah ibn Abbas RA 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 was during the caliphate of Ali RA. A large number of supporters of Ali in his stand against Muawiyah RA had just deserted him. Abdullah ibn Abbas RA went to Ali RA and requested permission to speak to them. Ali hesitated fearing that Abdullah RA would be in danger at their hands but eventually gave way on Abdullah's optimism that nothing untoward would happen.

Abdullah RA 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 hearing.

"Tell me" asked Abdullah RA, "what grievances have you against the cousin of the Prophet SAW, the husband of his daughter and the first of those who believed in him?"

"The men proceeded to relate three main complaints against Ali RA. 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-Asbari RA  and Amr ibn al-As RA in the dispute with Muawiyah. Secondly, that he fought and did not take booty nor prisoners of war. 

Thirdly, that he did not insist on the title of Amir al-Muminin 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 al-Muminin into disrepute.

In reply, Abdullah asked them that should he cite verses from the Quran and sayings of the Prophet SAW 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 RA proceeded: "Regarding your statement that Ali has appointed men to pass judgment in matters pertaining to Allah's religion, Allah Glorified and Exalted is He, says: 'O 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." "I 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?"

Their 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 SWT sanctioned arbitration by men:
"Have we then finished with this point?" asked Abdullah RA and their reply was: "Allahumma, naam - O Lord, yes!" Abdullah RA went on: "As for your statement that Ali RA fought and did not take prisoners of war as the Prophet SAW did, do you really desire to take your "mother" Aishah RA 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: "The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves and his wives are their mothers (entitled to respect and consideration)" (The Quran, Surah al-Ahzab, 34:6).

"Choose for yourself what you want," said Abdullah RA and then he asked: "Have we then finished with this point?" and this time too their reply was: "Allahumma, naam - O Lord, yes!" Abdullah RA went on: "As for your statement that Ali  RA  has surrendered the title of Amir al-Muminin, (remember) that the Prophet SAW himself, peace and blessings of God be on him, at the time of Hudaybiyyah, demanded that the mushrikin write in the truce which he concluded with them: 'This 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 Kabah nor would we have fought you. 

Write instead: 'Muhammad the son of Abdullah RA.' The Prophet SAW conceded their demand while saying: 'By God, I am the Messenger of God even if they reject me." At this point Abdullah ibn Abbas RA asked the dissidents: "Have we then finished with this point? and their reply was once again:
"Allahumma, naam - O Lord, yes!"

One of the fruits of this verbal challenge in which Abdullah RA displayed his intimate knowledge of the Quran and the sirah of the Prophet SAW as well as his remarkable powers of argument and persuasion, was that the majority, about twenty thousand men, returned to the ranks of Ali RA. About four thousand however remained obdurate. These latter came to be known as Kharijites.

On this and other occasions, the courageous Abdullah RA 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 household: "We have not seen a house which has more food or drink or fruit or knowledge than the house of Ibn Abbas."

He 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 happiness..."

Abdullah ibn Abbas RA 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 of Taif.

Advising Umar

narration attributed to Abd Allah ibn Abbas Sahih reports
Umar used to make me sit with the elderly men who had fought in the battle of Badr. Some of th(Abd-al-Rahman ibn Awf  felt it (did not like that) and said to Umar: "Why do you bring in this boy to sit with us, while we have sons like him?"
Umar replied "Because of what you know of his position" (i.e. his religious knowledge).
One day Umar called me and made me sit in the gathering of those people, and I think that he called me just to show them (my religious knowledge). 'Umar then asked them in my presence: 'What do you say about the interpretation of the statement of Allah'.
When comes help of God, and the conquest...
Some of them said: "We are ordered to praise God and ask for His forgiveness, when God's help and the conquest comes to us". Some others kept quiet and did not say anything. On that Umar asked me: "Do you say the same, O Ibn Abbas?" I replied: "No". He said: "What do you say then?" I replied: "That is the sign of the death of Prophet Muhammad, which God informed him of. God said:
(O Muhammad) when comes the help of God (to you against your enemies) and the conquest (which is the sign of your death) – you should celebrate the praises of your Lord and ask for His forgiveness, and He is the One who accepts the repentance and forgives". On that Umar said: "I do not know anything about it other than what you have said"
The Sahaba Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas said:
I 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.

656–661: Caliphate Ali's RA era

Battle of Siffin

Ibn Abbas remained a staunch supporter of the final Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, during Ali's war with Muawiyah, including at the Battle of Siffin. He had also been given the position of governor of Basra during Ali's reign as Caliph.
A large group of Ali's army were discontented with the conclusion of that arbitration, and broke off into a separate group. Ibn Abbas played a key role in convincing a large number of them to return to Ali; 20,000 of 24,000 according to some sources. He did so using his knowledge of Muhammad's biography, in particular, the events of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah

680–683: Yazid's era

Sunnis believe that ibn Abbas was in favour of the unity of the Muslims and hence did not revolt against rulers. He advised Husayn ibn Ali against his proposed expedition to Kufa that ended at Karbala. Shias contend that due to coercion and duress he gave an oath of allegiance to Yazid, using Taqiyya (Deception)

Wives and Children

By a Yemenite princess named Zahra bint Mishrah, Ibn Abbas had seven children.

1. Al-Abbas, the first born, who was childless.
2. Ali ibn Abdullah (died 736 CE), who was the grandfather of the first two Abbasid caliphs, who replaced the Umayyads in 750 CE.
3. Muhammad, who was childless.
4. Ubaydullah, who was childless.
5. Al-Fadl, who was childless.
6. Saad had two children
7. Lubaba, who married Ali ibn Abdullah ibn Jaafar and had descendants.
By a concubine, he had another daughter, Asma, who married her cousin Abdullah ibn Ubaydullah ibn Abbas and had two sons.

Hadith transmitted by him

Ibn Abbas narrated that Muhammad said, "Two favours are treated unjustly by most people: health and free time." from Sahih Bukhari, at-Tirmidhi, ibn Majah and Al-Nasa'i
Ibn Abbas reported: Muhammad said, "He who does not memorize any part from the Qur'an, he is like the ruined house. from Tirmidhi
On the authority of Ibn Abbas, who said, "One day I was behind (i.e. riding behind him on the same mount) the Prophet and he said to me: 'Young man, I shall teach you some words (of advice). Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek help, seek help of Allah. Know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.from Tirmidhi
Al Hakim records on the authority of ibn Abbas that Muhammad advanced, carrying upon his back Hassan ibn Ali, and a man met him and said, 'an excellent steed thou ridest, lad!'. Muhammad replied, 'and he is an excellent rider.'
Ali ibn Husam Adin (commonly known as al-Mutaki al-Hindi) records that ibn Abbas narrated that Muhammad said the following about his deceased aunt Fatima, the mother of Ali: "I (Muhammad) put on her my shirt that she may wear the clothes of heaven, and I lay with her in her coffin that I may lessen the pressure of the grave. She was the best of Allah’s creatures to me after Abu Talib".


As ʿAbd-Allah's knowledge grew, he grew in stature. Masruq ibn al Ajda said of him:
Whenever 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." 
Ibn Abbas is highly respected by both Shia and Sunnis.