When Abbas saw the loneliness of his brother Imam Hussain (PBUH), he asked permission to enter the battle. Upon his request, Imam Hussain (PBUH) shed into tears and said, “Brother! You are the flag bearer of my army and the cause of our union.
Abbas (PBUH) said, “dearest brother, may my life be sacrificed for you, my heart cannot tolerate this life any further. I want to retaliate from these hypocrites.”
Imam Hussain (PBUH) said, “Now that you will be entering the battlefield, first bring some water for the children.”
The moment Imam Hussain (PBUH) allowed his brother Abbas (PBUH) to enter the battlefield, Abbas (PBUH) stood proud and firm, for he was a courageous warrior and had great skills in his work with spears and swordsmanship in battle.
Abbas (PBUH) went to get water from the Euphrates River. But since the enemies had surrounded the river so that Imam Hussain’s friends and families could not drink water, he had to first fight the men arming the river. He was able to scatter the enemies, and reach the river. Some historians have recorded that Abbas (PBUH) had to deal with the enemies six times, disallowing him from collecting water for the family. But he finally succeeded and managed to distance the enemies from the river. He quickly filled the large leathern bottle he had brought with him and prepared to return back to their tents. He chose the shortest distance for return.
It was there that the enemies began to attack. Abbas (PBUH) was attacked by arrows. His entire body was covered with arrows. He however, did not surrender. He fought back, even though he had been injured. Abu Mikhnaf narrates that Abbas (PBUH) was successful in killing 180 of his attackers. He would say,
“I do not fear death; I want my body to fall on the ground beside the other courageous men. May my life be sacrificed for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). I am Abbas, and my duty is quenching the thirst of the thirsty. And I do not fear death in battle with the enemy.”
Zaid ibn Warqa and another person had hidden behind a palm tree. They attacked Abbas (PBUH) with their swords and cut off his right hand. Carrying the leathern bottle on his back, Abbas (PBUH) caught his sword with his left hand and continued to defend himself. As he fought he sang:
“By Allah if you cut off my right hand I will not stop protecting my religion. I will defend the Imam who is on the correct and right path and is the grandson of the pure and trustworthy Prophet.”
He fought so hard until he could not bear the thirst and the numerous wounds on his body any longer. He was weakened with the loss of blood and hand. Yet, he continued to fight bravely and continued his path until he was attacked by Hakim ibn al-Tufayl al-Ta’i who had hidden behind another palm tree. Hakim then cut off Abbas’ (PBUH) left hand. At this point he changed his tone and said,
“O’ self, do not fear the infidels. The mercy of Allah and His Prophet is upon you. The enemies cut off my left hand unfairly. O Allah punish them in the burning hell.”
Then an arrow was thrown at the bottle, and all the water poured on the ground. He had lost both his hands. It was here that the enemies poured over him. Abbas (PBUH) was grief stricken, for he had no water to return back to the tents, and no hands to fight back the enemies. And his pride prevented him from running away. Amidst these matters, the enemies sent an arrow to his heart. According to another narration, Hakim ibn Tufayl from behind hits Abbas (PBUH) on the head with a metal pillar.
Thus, his head was broken, felt down and shed in his own blood like a red fish and said,
“My greetings to you O Aba Abdillah, and may the wrath of Allah be on the oppressors.”
(Reference: Selection taken from “Khasaais al-‘Abbasiyyah” by Ayatullah Muhammad Ibrahim Kalbasi Najafi, translated to Persian by Muhammad Iskandari (with minor changes))
Condolences to all on the remembrance day of Ab al-Fazl al-Abbas (PBUH) and may Allah’s (SWT) peace be upon the son of Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH), the manifestation of loyalty and courage.