Epithet is a word or phrase expressing a quality or attribute regarded as characteristic of the person or thing mentioned. Epithets, then, show one's mental characteristics, whether good or bad.
To Abbas a number of lofty epithets expressing his kind mentality and high moral standards were addressed:QAMAR BANI HASHIMBATTAL UL-ALQAMIKEBSH UL-KATEEBABAB UL-HAWAAIJABD US-SALIH
Like his father who was the door to the Prophet, Abbas is the actual and spiritual door to Imam Hosein. Because of the high moral standards and great faithfulness of Abbas, Imam Hosein used to choose him for every mission and depend upon him in every difficult situation. Likewise, Abbas dedicated himself to being at the disposal of his brother. He was the protector and defender of the Prophet's household.
It is related that Abbasused to call his brother by 'Sir.'
Only on one day and in one situation did Abbas call his brother by'brother
.' That was on the day of Ashura when he fell down from his horse after his two hands had been severed and he had been stricken on the head. In such an hour, a man longs for seeing the ones he loves for the last time. Only then he shouted as aloud as possible,'O brother, reach your brother!'
As soon as the Imam heard that voice, he hurried towards its source. He rode off, put his brother's head in his lap, began to wipe out blood and dust from the face, and asked about his pains. Abbas opened his sights in his brother's face, looked at him for the last time, and bid him farewell with a smile expressing all meanings of sincerity and loyalty.
As an answer, Imam Hosein replied his brother's farewell not with words, but with tears that dropped on the face of Abbas while he was in his last sparks of life. Thus, Abbas emitted his last breaths while he was in the lap of his brother and has become the door to him.
Door of Abbas
Hence, it is recommended for the pilgrims of the tomb of Imam Hosein to begin first with visiting the tomb of Abbas
. This is one of the confirmations of Abbas's being the door to his brother; chief of the martyrs.
The door intended here is the mental and spiritual. Abbas, hence, is the spiritual door to Imam al-Hussein, and this meaning is very far from the familiar meaning of portership or secretariat. Abbas is too far above such meanings and Imam Hosein (a) is, too, far above taking doorkeepers or secretaries since he is beyond all material limits.QAMAR BANI HASHIM
Abbas was so bright-faced and handsome. Hence, he was called'Qamar Bani Hashim -Moon of the Hashemites.'
He was also the moon of his family and the moon of Islam because he paved the path of martyrdom with light and shone upon the lives of Muslims.
He was so bright-faced that the light of his countenance lit every darkness and everybody admired his handsomeness. When it happened that Abbas was accompanied by his nephew Ali Akbar who is known of his similarity to the Prophet physically and morally, people ofMedina used to stop in lines watching their bright-facedness.
During the battle of Taff and the few days preceding, Ubaidullah bin Ziyad; the governor of Kufa, imposed a blockade on the sources of water so as to prevent Imam Hosein, his household, and army from having water. Abbas undertook the mission of fetching water to the camp and harem of his brother. He pushed himself among the large gatherings of that army and could reach the River Euphrates several times. On that account, he had the epithet'Saqqaa -the provider of water.'Alqami
is the name of the river on whose bank was the last scene of the life of Abbas. This river was gathered around by big numbers of soldiers whose mission was to prevent the camp of Imam Hosein from water. By his giant determination and unmatched heroism, Abbas could attack that army and occupy the river to carry water to the camp of his brother more than once. In the last time, he was martyred there. Hence, he was called'Battal ul-Alqami -the hero of Alqami.'
The holding of standards in wars was the most significant position in armies. Standards are given exclusively to the soldiers who enjoy special military abilities. During the battle of Taff, the standard was in the hand of Abu'l-Fadhl Abbas who preserved and held it since the beginning of the tragic journey inMedina until the last spark of his life. He protected that standard so bravely and uniquely that he embraced it to his chest when his two hands were severed. In more than one situation, Abbas asked his brother Imam Hosein for permission for fighting, but the Imam used to say to him, "You are the standard-bearer of my army. If you are martyred, my troops will separate.
It is also well known that standard-bearers are chosen according to special qualifications:
The standard-bearer must be accepted by everybody and must bear qualities such as courage, chivalry, and honor.
The standard-bearers, too, must exert all efforts for sake of keeping the standard high. From this reason, Abbas exerted unique efforts for keeping the standard high. When his right hand was severed, he held the standard in the left, and when this one was also severed, he embraced the standard to his chest and kept it to the last breath of his life.
Historians have also recorded that when the Umayyad army raided at the camp of Imam Hosein -after his martyrdom-, theyrobbed everything
including the standard, which was borne by Abbas. In Syria, Yazid's sight fell on that standard that amazed him. He noticed that it was completely stabbed except the place of its handle from which it was carried. He asked about the bearer of that standard, and he was answered that it was Abbas bin Ali. Very astonished by the courage of Abbas, Yazid turned his face to the attendants and said: "Look at this standard! It is stabbed in every place except its handle. This clearly means that its bearer was so courage and chivalrous that he faced all stabs and strokes without letting that standard fall from his hand. This is the true loyalty to brothers!!"
Hence, Abbas was called'Hamil ul-Liwaa -the standard-bearer.'
This title is exclusively given tothe higher commander whose mission is to protect and manage his troops
. Hence, this title was conferred upon Abbas for his unique courage and bravery during the battle of Taff when he protected the camp of Imam Hosein and guarded the harem. In fact, the Umayyad army, including their commanders, feared from Abbas; therefore, they offered many seductive offers, such as the general commandment of the army, provided that he would leave the wing of Imam Hosein and join theirs.
Thus,when Abbas was martyred, Imam Hosein became helpless
. He declared: "My spine is now broken and I have lost every resolution and my enemies are rejoicing at my misfortune."
In the same manner, by the martyrdom of Abbas, the eyes of his enemies, which could not see rest so long as he was there, became delighted, while the eyes of Imam al-Hussein's harem and children, which was tranquil and delighted so long as they could see Abbas protecting them, lost rest forever.
This title is also addressed to the lofty military personalities. It was conferred upon Abbas because he played the role of the support and commander of his brother's army.
People believed that God will surely settle the needs of him who implores to Him by seeking the intercession of Abbas for the special rank that he enjoys in the sight of Almighty God and for dedicating himself to the obedience to Imam al-Hussein. Hence, Abbas is called'Bab ul-Hawaaij -the door to the settlement of needs.'
Although this epithet, which means'the martyr'
, is not very famous among the other epithets of Abbas, it is mentioned in the statements of Abu'l-Hasan al-Umari and Abu-Nasr al-Bukhari when they refer to the biography of Abbas ibn Ali. Abu-Nasr refers to a narration in which Imam Sadiq calls Abbas as 'Shahid':
Muawiya bin Ammar Yazidi narrated:
I asked Sadiq how they divided the donation of Fadak when it had been given back to them. He answered: "We gave the descendants of Abbas the Shahid -the martyr- a quarter and took the rest for ourselves."ABD US-SALIH
Historians and biographers should have recorded the epithet of'Abd us-Salih -The righteous servant of God'
within the other epithets, because it refers to the highest rank one can attain. In the Special Ziyara of Abbas that Abu-Hamza Thomali related, Imam Sadiq says:
"Salaam be upon you, the righteous servant!"
Prophets, however, enjoy this rank, because it denotes the close, firm relation between man and the Almighty Lord. In the Holy Quran, God describes His prophets, including Prophet Mohammed (s) as righteous servants.
Abbas was also called'Aabid -the worshipper'
, for his distinctive worship to the Lord. Undoubtedly, it is natural that Abbas, being brought up in the center of the genuine worship, which is the house of the chief of the worshippers; Imam Ali acquires the quality of worshipfulness superiorly.
Saduq, in his Thawaab ul-A'maal, records that Abbas bin Ali was described as having the sign of prostration on his forehead. Thus, he is included with those described by God as:
"Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves; you will see them bowing down, prostrating themselves, seeking grace from Allah and pleasure; their marks are in their faces because of the effect of prostration; that is their description in the Torah and their description in the Gospel; like as seeds produce that puts forth its sprout, then strengthens it, so it becomes stout and stands firmly on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the unbelievers on account of them; Allah has promised those among them who believe and do good, forgiveness and a great reward."
Since obedience is attached to pure worship, Abbas was described by Imam Sadiq as obedient. In the Ziyara authentically reported to be said by Imam Sadiq during his visit to the tomb of Abu'l-Fadhl Abbas, the following statement is addressed to Abbas:
"Salaam be upon you; the righteous servant (of God), the obedient to Allah, His Messenger, Amir ul-Mu'minin, al-Hasan, and al-Hussein, peace and greetings of Allah be upon them."