SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - The shifting sand dunes of Karbala were smeared with blood. Near one of wash dunes, on the bank of Alkoma, lay the prostrate figure of a youth with blood gushing out from innumerable wounds. The crimson life-tide was ebbing fast. Even so, it seemed as if he was anxiously expecting somebody to come to him, to be near him before he breathed his last. Through his starched throat he was feebly calling somebody. Yes, Abbas was anxiously expecting his master to come to him before he parted with his life, as he had come to the side of all his devoted friends who had laid down their dear lives for him and in espousing his cause.
It is said that before a man's death al the past event of his life pass before his mind's eye in a flash-back. In his last moments Abbas was experiencing this. He was seeing himself as a child in Medina following Hussein with a devotion which was considered unique even for a brother.
He was seeing the events of that hot and sultry day in Kufa when his illustrious father Ali was addressing a congregation in the mosque and he, as a child, with his characteristic devotion, was looking at the face of his beloved brother watching him intently so that he could attend to his wishes on an instant command. Seeing from the parched lips of Hussein that he was feeling extremely thirsty, how he had darted out from the mosque and returned with a tumbler full of cool, refreshing water and in the hurry to carry the water as quickly as possible to quench the consuming thirst of his dearest brother, how he had spilled water on his own clothes. He was recalling how this incident had made his illustrious father stop in the midst of his speech, with tears rolling down his cheeks at the sight of his young son all wet with water. He was remembering his father's reply to the queries from his faithful followers as to what had brought tears in his eyes, that Abbas who had wetted his body with water in the process of quenching Hussein's thirst would in the not too distant future wet his body with his own blood in attempting to quench the thirst of his young children. He was vividly seeing the scene on the 21st Ramazan, way back in 40 Hijra, when his father mortally wounded, was lying on his death-bed and entrusting his children and dependents to the care of the his eldest brother, Hasan - all except him. Seeing that his father had commended all but him to the care of Hasan - how he, a child of 12, had burst out into uncontrollable tears. His father, on hearing him sobbing, had called him to his side and given his hand in Hussein's hand with the words:
Hussein, this child I am entrusting to you. He will represent
me on the day of your supreme sacrifice and lay down his life
in defending you and your dear ones, much as I would have done
if alive on that day.
How his father had turned to him and affectionately told him:
Abbas, my child, I know your unbounded love for Hussein.
Though you are too young to be told about it, when that
day dawns, consider no sacrifice too great for Hussein and
He saw before his mind's eye that parting with his aged mother Fatima in Medina. How she had affectionately embraced him and reminded him of the dying desire of his father to lay down his life in the defense of Hussein and his dear ones.
A faint smile of satisfaction flickered for a brief moment on his parched lips a smile of satisfaction that he had fulfilled his father's wish; that he had performed his duty for which he was brought up. It just flitted for a moment and vanished as other scenes came before his mind's eye. He was re- living the events of the night before. He was seeing Shimr stealthily coming to him; and talking to him about his ties of relationship; about the protection he had been promised for Abbas by the Commander of Yazid's forces, only if he would leave Hussein and go over to Yazid's camp; about the promises of riches and rewards that he would get; how he had spurned the suggestion of Shimr with the utmost disdain to the chagrin of that servile minion who had sold his soul for a mess of pottage. How he had scared away that coward by his scathing rage saying:
You worshipper of Mammon, do not think that Abbas will be
lured by your tempting offer of power and pelf. If I die in
fending my master, Hussein, I shall consider myself the luckiest
person. O coward, remember that valiants die but once. Nobody
is born to live eternally. By betraying my master, you have
betrayed the Prophet, whose religion you profess to follow.
On the Day of Judgement you will be doomed to eternal perdition.
I am ashamed to own any relationship with you. Had it not been
for the fact that you have come here unarmed, I would have given
you the chastisement you deserve for your impudence in asking me
to become a turncoat.