Sacrifice and Courage of Hadrat Abbas (A.S.)
Imam Sadiq (A.S.) said:
"Our uncle Abbas the son of Ali had a penetrating insight and a firm faith." (A'yan al-Shia, vol. 7, p. 430)
Those familiar with the tragedy of Karbala have to an extent recognized the role, status, sacrifice, and courage of Abbas ibn Ali (A.S.), also referred to as Ab al-Fadl.
However, is it possible to fully grasp and understand his status? Amidst the preparations of war, Abbas ibn Ali (A.S.) and his brothers were offered a letter from Ubaydullah, commander in chief of Yazids army, insuring their safety. Abbas ibn Ali (A.S.) firmly replied: We are in no need of your protection. The safety Allah has provided us with is better than that of the son of Sumayyah's". He then turned towards Shimr, who was carrying the letter, and said: "May Allah curse you and the letter you have brought. Are you offering us safety while the son of the Messenger of Allah is not safe?" With those words he sent them back into their own army.
Or is it possible to recognize his magnificence and status at the time when Imam Hussain (A.S.) bid farewell to those who were willing to give up before the battle? I have given permission for all of you to leave. You are free (to go), said Imam Hussain (A.S.). Leave and you no longer need to remain true to your allegiance with me. It was Ab al-Fadl al-Abbas (A.S.) who broke the silence and said: "Why should we do such an act? To live after you, never! May Allah (SWT) forbid such a day!"
What degree of faith lies within him, which causes him to recite epic verses while his right hand has been cut off by the army of Yazid? In a situation all else would fail to handle, Abbas (A.S.) said the following:
"By Allah (SWT), if you cut my right hand, I will never stand back, and I will protect my religion; and I will support the Imam who stands firm in his belief, and is the grandson of the pure and truthful Prophet."
Ab al-Fadl al-Abbas (A.S.) is that same person whom when Imam Hussain (A.S.) hurried to his martyred body, made a statement that he had never before: a statement, which is another proof for the status of Abbas (A.S.). In losing his brother, Imam Hussain (A.S.) said: "(and) now my back has broken!"
Imam Sajjad (A.S.) has said about his uncle: "May Allah bless Abbas the son of Ali, who dedicated (his life), was examined by calamity, and lost his life for his brother to the extent that his two hands were cut off. Verily Abbas has a status in the presence of Allah that all the martyrs will envy on the Day of Judgment"
In the Ziyarat of Nahiya, Imam Mahdi (A.S.) addresses him as the following:"Peace be upon Ab al-Fadl al-Abbas, son of the commander of the believers, the one who protected his brother with his own life, and collected provisions from his past for his future. It is he who sacrificed himself for his brother, made his own life a shield, and made sufficient effort for his sake"
Thus, we too would like to say: "Infinite peace and blessings be upon you and your righteous and enlightening behavior, O Ab al-Fadl! Peace be upon you as you reached your high status and courageously accomplished the path you faced. Peace be upon you as you are among the greatest, most shining, and most sacrificial martyrs in the presence of Allah (SWT)."
(Selection taken from "The Life of Imam Hussain (A.S.)", by Sayyed Hashim Rasouli Mahallati)