بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Salāmun ʿalaykum, may Allah bless you, your families, and all the communities around the world.
One of the many people we remember during the month of Muḥarram is Ḥaḍrat ʿAbbās. Today we will talk a little about how important he was, and one of his great qualities. Ḥaḍrat ʿAbbās was Imām Ḥusayn’s half brother. His father was Imām ʿAlī (ʿa), and his mother was Ummul Banīn. She was known as a very respectable woman, who was very loving and respectful to Sayyidah Fāṭimah (ʿa). Her family was known to be a very courageous family, and she had three other sons in addition to Ḥaḍrat ʿAbbās.
We have a ḥadīth from Imām as-Sajjād (ʿa) that says, “Indeed, the status of ʿAbbās will be so high compared to all the shuhadāh that people will just be in an awe of him.” Imām Ḥusayn (ʿa) sent ḤaḍratʿAbbās to the enemies to ask for one more day, as they wanted to spend the night in prayer and in remembrance of Allah (swt). Imām (ʿa) spoke to him and said, “O my brother, bi nafsī, may I be sacrificed for you! Please, you must go do this.”
When someone says bi nafsī, it means “You may have everything that I own — it’s yours.” So, when Imām Ḥusayn (ʿa) said this, it is a very big deal because it is coming from an Imām (ʿa).
Additionally, a man said that he saw Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (ʿa) stand before the grave of Ḥaḍrat ʿAbbās, throw himself on the grave and said, “I bear witness and I know and I testify that you are someone who surrendered to the will of Allah, someone who was truthful and honest, someone who wanted all the goodness for the grandson of the Prophet (ṣ).”
It has also been narrated from Imām Mahdī (ʿaj) that he would say, “My salāms and peace be upon Abul Fadhl ʿAbbās, the son of Amīr al-Muʾminīn, the one who sacrificed his life for Imām Ḥusayn, so he could help save the future of Islam. He was the one who sacrificed himself and was like a shield for the Imām of his time.”
Being praised by the Imāms is a great indicator as to what kind of a person Ḥaḍrat ʿAbbās was. This lets us know how very special he is!
This brings us to understanding the great characteristics that Ḥaḍrat ʿAbbās had. Many of the companions of Imām Ḥusayn (ʿa) had these great characteristics. However, one that was very evident in Ḥaḍrat ʿAbbās was his steadfastness. The dictionary defines steadfastness as, “firm in purpose, resolution, faith, and adherence.” In other words, someone who is dedicated to reaching their goal or purpose.
We must understand that steadfastness comes from a person who has a strong understanding of his faith. A steadfast person is someone who practices and struggles, and is always doing what will make Allah (swt) happy. We should always make duʿāʾ that Allah (swt) give us this quality of steadfastness. You see, many people who are very religious and very good people may not always be able to stay on task, or they may slip up from time to time. This is because they don’t have this characteristic of steadfastness.
During the time of the Prophet (ṣ), there was a man named ʿUbaidullah Abu Jaʿfar. He became a Muslim in Mecca and then went all the way to a country named Abyssinia, in Africa, to be protected from all the non-Muslims who were hurting the Muslims. When he reached Abyssinia, he saw people performing many different types of sins, and sadly, because he had not held steadfast to his religion, he began making very bad choices, slipping into doing evil things, and eventually became a person who was known to be a sinner.
There was another person who was known for reciting beautiful poetry about Imām ʿAlī (ʿa) at the event of Eid al-Ghadīr, but since his faith was not steadfast, he began to make very bad choices. Pretty soon, he began reciting poems against the Imām, because he had become friends with the evil rulers of that time. So, you see, because he was not steadfast, his bad choices led him to the wrong side!
There is an āyah in the Qurʾān that states:
يُثَبِّتُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِالْقَوْلِ الثَّابِتِ فِ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِ الْآخِرَةِ ي
Allah keeps firm those who believe with the firm word, in this world and in the Hereafter. (14:27)
If we try our best to stick to the message of Islam and follow the truth — that is, remain steadfast in our religion — then Allah (swt) will help us remain firm.
Additionally, in Sūrāh al-Anfāl, Allah says:
إِذْ يُوحِى رَبُّكَ إِلَى ٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ أَنِّى مَعَكُمْ فَثَبِّتُوا۟ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ سَأُلْقِى فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ ٱلرُّعْبَ فَٱضْرِبُوا۟ فَوْقَ ٱلْأَعْنَاقِ وَٱضْرِبُوا۟ مِنْهُمْ كُلَّ بَنَانٍ
[Remember] when your Lord inspired the angels, “I am with you, so strengthen those who believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved..." (8:12)
Here, Allah (swt) helps us understand that He is always there for us, and that He even sends angels to support us. However, He will put fear in the hearts of the non-believers; therefore, if we are steadfast and rely on Allah (swt), we will always have His support and that of the angels.
Therefore, we have to always look at our choices. At times, this can be very hard. We live in a time and place where the people who surround us are not practicing Islam, and who may not always have the best lifestyles. Still, we have to stay steadfast to overcome those choices. With the support of Allah (swt) and help that he gives us through various channels including the angels, we can bring about good change, and be a person who helps others do good deeds and follow the religion of Allah (swt). InshāʾAllāh, with Allah’s mercy, they may come to understand the religion of Islam — all because of your good choices and steadfastness.
We have another beautiful duʿāʾ in the Qurʾān from Sūrah al-Baqarah:
وَلَمَّا بَرَزُوا۟ لِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِۦ قَالُوا۟ رَبَّنَآ أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنَا صَبْرًا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وَٱنصُرْنَا عَلَى ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلْكَٰفِرِينَ
O our Lord, make us steadfast and plant our feet so that we are successful against the disbelieving people. (2:250)
Allah (swt) describes the people who are steadfast very beautifully in the Qurʾān. He mentions that they are like trees who are rooted in their faith and that they keep true to what brings them closer to Allah (swt). He further describes that a believer can be known by the way they walk, the way they talk, and how they live. Basically, everything about them reminds people about Allah (swt).
As we mentioned earlier, this isn’t always easy, but Allah (swt) is always there helping us. He reminds us that if we take one step towards Him, He will take ten steps towards us. We have to believe that He will help us. We have to pray that our steadfastness will allow us to be like the people on the Day of Judgment who will pass through the bridge of Ṣirāt so quickly that they won’t even realize how quickly they got there!
Lastly, Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (ʿa) says that, “There are two paths: the path in this world and the path in the next world. The path in the world is that we follow and obey the Imāms (ʿa) and completely surrender to the rules and guidelines provided by them.”
We have to remember that the Imāms were appointed by Allah (swt). During the time of Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (ʿa), there was a man by the name of Kulayb who would always ask and do as the Imām would say, and he was given the name Kulayb “Taslīm” — the one who surrenders to the command of the Imām. When, his companions came to tell Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (ʿa) about him, the Imām (ʿa) said, “He is someone who believes and does good deeds. He is mukhbat.” This word means a believer who is at a very high status and whose heart is filled with love of Allah (swt) and obedience and humility towards Him.
We have so many examples of people who are steadfast. The Qurʾān mentions pious ladies, like Ḥaḍrat Maryam, who was steadfast with the people, and Āsiya, who was the pious and patient wife of the Pharaoh. Allah states that Āsiya used to pray, “O my Lord, please make me strong and steadfast against the Pharaoh, and please provide me a home close to You in Jannah.”
In the event of Karbala, we also have another companion who was also very steadfast and was the shield for our Imām Ḥusayn (ʿa). His name was Saʿīd ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥanafī. Everywhere the Imām (ʿa) went, he was there. One of the times when he was shielding the Imām (ʿa), the arrows were so many that he was dying. The Imām (ʿa) came to him, and the man did not say, “O, I am in pain.” No. He said, “O, the son of Rasūlullāh, did I do my duty to you? Was I loyal?”
Even on the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ, the companions of the Imām (ʿa) remained steadfast, and we especially see this in Ḥaḍrat ʿAbbās. At the time when he was the most thirsty and had water in his hand, he was steadfast and said, “How can I drink water, when my Imām is thirsty?” Thus, being steadfast is something that we have to develop over time. We have to be good friends and help each other. We need to encourage each other to always make the right decision! And most importantly, we need to keep praying to Allah (swt) to help us become steadfast, inshāʾAllāh.
Authored under the guidance of Moulana Nabi R. Mir (Abidi)
Download the related Muḥarram Project Booklet with lessons and crafts.
View the Kisa Kids Crafts for this lesson (on Kisa Kids YouTube Channel)