Omm al-Banin, the Mother of Hazrat Abbas (A.S.)
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
13th of Jamadi al-Akher is the is the anniversary of passing away of Omm al-Banin (SA), the mother of the valiant standard bearer of Karbala, Hazrat Abbas (AS), as the Day of Mothers of Martyrs.
This noble lady whose name was Fatema, and who was the daughter of Hazam bin Khaled al-Kilabiyya, whom the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), had married several years after the martyrdom of his beloved wife, Prophet Mohammad’s (SAWA) Immaculate Daughter, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA).
She was born in 5 AH. Some years after the martyrdom of Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA), Imam Ali (AS) expressed his desire to his brother Aqeel ibn Abi Taleb (AS) to marry a women from a clan noted for its bravery and loyalty. Aqeel was very knowledgeable in tribe genealogy and he immediately proposed the al-Kilabiyya tribe, and they agreed to give their daughter to the Imam.
Much earlier in 8 AH, Imam Ali (AS) had been foretold by Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) of the birth of a brave son to him through a noble woman, saying this son of yours will be martyred while defending my grandson, Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala on the Day of Ashura. Ever since then, Imam Ali (AS) had been waiting for the birth of that son which came in the person of Hazrat Abbas (AS).
Hazrat Omm al-Banin came to the house of Imam Ali (AS) knowing very well that before her this was the house of the Leader of the Ladies of Paradise, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA). She served Imam Ali (AS) in the same manner as Hazrat Umm-e-Salama had served Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) after the passing away of the Mother of all True Believers, Omm al-Momenin, Hazrat Khadija (SA).
On stepping into the house, Omm al-Banin vowed to act as a slave of the children of Hazrat Fatema (SA). Her sincerity was much respected by the Prophet’s grandchildren – Imam Hasan (AS), Imam Husain (AS), Hazrat Zainab (SA) and Omm Kolsoum (SA) – and they always gave her a high status and respect.
She was an accomplished and cultured lady, and bore Imam Ali (AS) four sons, that is, Hazrat Abbas (AS), Abdullah, Ja'far and Usman. The meaning of 'Omm al- Banin' is 'Mother of Sons'. All of her sons were martyred in the defence of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala. After their martyrdom, she requested people not to call her Omm al-Banin ever again.
On 10th Muharram 61 AH, the day of martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) and his 72 faithful companions on the battlefield of Karbala when the Prophet’s wife, Hazrat Omm-e Salama (SA) witnessed that the soil in a vial given to her by the Prophet had turned into blood, she raised the cry of "Ya Husain, Ya Husain" and declared that Imam Husain (AS) has been martyred, as per the prophecy of the Prophet.
Then Omm al-Banin gathered the women of Medina in her house and all lamented and wailed on the martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS).This was the first ever Majlis-e Aza conducted after the tragedy of Karbala.
Omm al-Banin had such sincerity toward the progeny of Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA) that she loved Imam Husain (AS) more than her own children, a feeling which was from the bottom of her heart. It was to the extent that when she received the news of the martyrdom of her four children, she said: "Tell me about Husain (AS)," and when she was informed of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (A.S.), she said: "All of the arteries of my heart are torn. May all of your children and whatever that exists under this azure heaven be sacrificed for the sake of Imam Husain (AS).
On her departure from the mortal world, she was laid to eternal rest in the Jannat al-Baqie Cemetery of Medina beside the graves of Ateka and Safiyya, the two aunts of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).