Human nature is driven towards beauty. Human attraction to beauty is innate, and an appreciation of beauty is intertwined with his nature. Beauty can be divided into two types: the beauty in outer and the beauty in inner aspects/moralities. Complete and comprehensive beauty as considered by man is a combination of outer (appearance) and innate (soul) beauty. Although natural beauty and adornments beautify the appearance, knowledge and morality retain the utmost beauty in man, giving him spiritual beauty.   

Historical sources portray Abbas ibn Ali (PBUT) as an attractive man with obvious beauty. His face resembled a shine as that of the moon, and among the Bani Hashem – all of whom were famous for their beauty – he was referred as the “Moon of Bani Hashem”(1). He was tall, strong. When he sat on horse, his feet would touch the earth(2). When he placed his feet in the horse pedal his knee would align the horse ears.

But one should not suffice to his outer beauty, since his virtues built the rest of Abbas ibn Ali (PBUT) beauty. He was beautiful both in spirit and in character. He was strong in piety, faith, and commitment on the one hand, and considered among the heroes of Islam. Furthermore he owned great knowledge.

Abbas ibn Ali (PBUT) was steadfast to his faith in Allah (SWT). He had a bright intelligence and a strong belief. Monotheism and Allah’s (SWT) love was deeply rooted in his heart. Sheikh Saduq has narrated the marks of prostration on his forhead(3). He was familiar with midnight worship and his face witnessed his worship and absolute humility towards Allah (SWT).

Abbas ibn Ali (PBUT) was exceptional in both ritual worship and when it came to the battlefields. He had his father’s bravery. These two attributes rarely are found in one person. Abbas (PBUH) had combined courage and loyalty for truth, and devoted himself to the path of the infallible Imams (PBUT). His courage and loyalty was so well known that the Shia Imams had continuously praised him as a man of high virtue and morality.

One day Imam Sajjad (PBUH) looked at “Ubaidallah” the son of Abbas ibn Ali and cried… in remembrance of Abbas (PBUH), Imam said: “May Allah (SWT) bless my uncle Abbas who sacrificed himself for the cause of his brother and devoted his life. He sacrificed such that his both hands were cut off. In place of the two cut off hands Allah blessed him with two wings in the heaven to fly with the angels, similar to Ja’far ibn Abi Talib.”

Abbas ibn Ali’s (PBUT) courage has given him a high status such that, Imam Sajjad (PBUH) elaborates further about his uncle: “Abbas has such high position with Allah that all martyrs will envy him on the Day of Judgment.”(4)

He was not only a courageous and pious man, but also his depth of knowledge benefited from the fountain of knowledge (of his father) from childhood. The statement: “He has fully tasted the knowledge”(5) has been used on some narrations which points to knowledge he received in early age.

His Jurisprudence level was very high and he was among the most trusted narrators of his time. Some of the scholars have the following statement about him: “Abbas (PBUH) was among the learned scholar of the Imams’ children who was just, trusted and pious”(6) or “Abbas (PBUH) was among the intellectuals and scholars of Ahl al-Bait (PBUT)”(7).

What was mentioned was only a little of the moral virtues of Abbas (PBUH). In brief he had the beauty in face and character together. These valuable characteristics has made Abbas ibn Ali (PBUT) outstanding and eternal in the history of Islam.

(The above is a selection from “Abbas Ibn Ali (PBUH)”, by Scholar Jawad Muhaddithi (with some additions))

Footnotes:

1. Manaqib Ibn Shahr Ashoob, vol. 4, p. 108

2. Maqatil al-Taalebin, p. 90 – Bihar al-Anwaar, vol. 45, p. 39

3. Thawaab al-‘Amaal wa Iqaab al-‘Amaal, p. 219

4. Imam Sajjad (PBUH) first recalls the battle of Uhud and incident of Karbala; he said the following about Hamza Sayyed al-Shohada and his uncle Abbas Ibn Ali (PBUH): “There was not day harder than the battle of Uhud. In that day his uncle Hamzah who was a courageous man fighting for cause of Allah and the Prophet was martyred. Also, there was no day harder than the day of Ashura for Hossain Ibn Ali (PBUT) (when battle of Karbala took place), where he was surrounded by thirty thousand enemy soldiers; their thought was to get closer to Allah (SWT) by killing the grandson of the Prophet. At the very end they killed him after ignoring all the advice received from Hossuin ibn Ali (PBUT)”. Imam Sajjad (PBUH) then continued to elaborate on his uncle’s sacrifice on the day of Ashura. (Amali Sheikh Saduq, p. 432).

5. The great scholar, Abd al-Razzaq writes in his book Al-Abbas (p. 163) that the infallible Imam said: “Abbas ibn Ali (PBUT) has comprehended the knowledge completely.” The word used in this narration means that Abbas (PBUH) had the ability to receive knowledge.

6. Tanqih al-Maqaal, vol. 2, p. 128

7. Qayeni has used this term for Abbas ibn Ali.

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