.:. Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra)- written for Children .:.
Abdullah ibn Abbas
Abdullah was the son of Abbas, an uncle of the blessed Prophet. He was born three years before the Hijrah. When the Prophet died, he was thirteen years old.
When he was born, his mother took him to the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam). The Prophet put a drop of his saliva on the baby’s tongue. So the first thing that went into his stomach was the blessed and pure saliva of the Prophet.
At the age of seven, Abdullah began serving Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam). He carried water for the Prophet’s wudu. During salah he stood behind the Prophet. On journeys Abdullah followed behind him. He was like the Prophet’s shadow.
Abdullah was attentive and alert to whatever the Prophet did and said. He became one of the most learned of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam)’s companions. He memorized around one thousand six hundred and sixty sayings of the Prophet!.
One day, the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) patted him on the shoulder and prayed,
"O Lord, make him acquire a deep understanding of Islam. Instruct him in the meaning and interpretation of things".
Abdullah told this story about his time spent with the Prophet:
Once the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) wanted to perform wudu. I hurried and prepared water for him. He was pleased with me. He was beginning salah, and he told me to stand beside him. I stood behind him.
After salah he turned to me and said, 'Abdullah, why didn’t you stand at my side?'
I said, ‘You are too great in my eyes for me to stand beside you.’
The Prophet raised his hands to heaven and prayed, ‘O Lord, grant him wisdom.’
During the lifetime of the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), Abdullah did not miss any of his meetings. He memorized whatever the Prophet said.
After the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam)’s death he visited as many companions as possible. He learned from them what Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) had taught. Whenever he heard that someone knew a hadith, Abdullah went quickly to them and recorded it.
Once he heard about a hadith that he didn’t know. Abdullah went to the companion’s house. He waited for the man to wake up from his afternoon nap. When the companion came out and saw Abdullah he said, "Cousin of the Prophet, why didn’t you call me? I would have come to your house".
Abdullah replied, "It’s better for me to come. One must go to the foot of knowledge. Knowledge doesn’t come to one’s foot."
Abdullah had great admiration for learned men like Zaid bin Thabit (radiAllahu anhu). Zaid was a recorder of revelation, a judge and a man of great knowledge. He was an expert on the laws of inheritance.
One day Zaid was setting off on a trip. Abdullah stood at his side and held the reins like a servant.
Zaid said, "Cousin of the Prophet, don’t do that".
Abdullah replied, "This is how we should treat learned men".
"Show me your hand," Zaid said to Abdullah. Abdullah stretched out his hand. Zaid took his hand and kissed it.
"This is how we should treat members of the Prophet’s family".
People had nothing but praise for Abdullah. Masruk bin Ajda said about Abdullah:
"When I saw him, he was the most handsome of men. When I heard him, he was the most eloquent of men. When I listened to him, he was the most knowledgeable of men".
Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiAllahu anhu) often asked his advice on important matters of state. He described Abdullah as a ‘mature young man’.
Abu Waqqas said," I have never seen anyone quicker in understanding, more knowledgeable or wiser than Abdullah".
Abdullah educated the Muslim community. His house was like a university, but with only one teacher. This is how one of Abdullah’s companions described the scene in front of his house like this:
"I saw people waiting on the roads leading to his house. The roads were very crowded. I went into his house to tell him about the waiting people.
Abdullah asked me to bring him water for wudu. He made wudu and sat down. Then he said, "Go out and tell whoever wants to ask about the Qur’an and its letters to come in." I did this.
People entered until the house was full. He answered all their questions and gave some more information. Those people left.
Then he said to me, "Tell whoever wants to learn about the Qur’an and its interpretation to enter." I did as he said.
Again the house was full of people. He answered their questions and passed on his knowledge. This continued all day long.
Abdullah answered questions about Islamic law, halal and haram, inheritance laws, the Arabic language and poetry.
The crowds continued to gather in front of Abdullah’s house. He decided to discuss a different subject each day. He spoke about the Qur’an, law, battles of the Prophet, poetry and Arab history all on different days. His explanations were clear, precise and logical".
During the caliphate of Ali ibn Abu Talib (radiAllahu anhu) there was a problem between Ali and Mu'awiya. A group of supporters left Ali.
Abdullah went to Ali (radiAllahu anhu) and asked for permission to speak to them. At first Ali was afraid they would harm Abdullah. But finally he gave permission.
Abdullah went to the group. Some didn’t want to listen to him. But others did. "Tell me", said Abdullah, "why are you angry with the cousin of the Prophet, the husband of the Prophet’s daughter and one of the first Muslims?"
"For three reasons", they replied.
"What are they?" asked Abdullah.
"First, he appointed men as judges in God’s religion", they said. "Second, he fought with A'isha and Mu'awiya but he didn’t take booty or prisoners of war. Third, he did not use the title of Commander of the Believers even though Muslims made him commander".
Abdullah asked them, "If I prove that Ali is right from the Qur’an and hadiths, will you change your minds?"
"Yes, we will", they said.
"Let’s look at your first complaint. Ali has appointed men as judges in God’s religion. God says in the Qur’an:
‘O you who believe! Do not kill game while you are dressed as a pilgrim. If any of you do so on purpose, you must sacrifice a similar animal as judged by two just men.’
Now answer me. Which is more important? The life of a rabbit or the lives of Muslims?"
"You are right", they said. "The lives of Muslims are more important".
Abdullah went on. "You say Ali fought and did not take prisoners of war. Do you really want to take your mother A'isha as a prisoner of war? If your answer is yes, then you have fallen into disbelief. If you say that she is not your mother, you have also fallen into disbelief. God says in the Qur’an:
‘The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves. His wives are their mothers.’
Have we finished with this point?"
"Yes", they said.
"Thirdly, you say Ali didn’t use the title Commander of the Believers.
Remember, at the truce of Hudaybiah the Prophet wanted the pagans to write ‘this is what the Messenger of God agreed to.’ But the pagans refused. They didn’t believe Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) was God’s Messenger.
The Prophet said, ‘Even if you don’t believe it, I am the Messenger of God.’ Then he agreed not to write it in the truce. Have we finished with this point, too?"
"Yes", they said. Then because of Abdullah’s great knowledge and good arguments, two thousand men returned to Ali. Four thousand men still refused.
Abdullah preferred peace over war and logic over violence. He was also very generous and hospitable. Others said about him, 'We have not seen a house which has more food, drink or knowledge than the house of Abdullah bin Abbas'.
Abdullah once said, "When I hear of a Muslim ruler who deals fairly, I am happy for him and I pray for him". He also said, “When I hear of rains that fall on Muslim lands, I am filled with happiness".
Abdullah fasted regularly and often spent the night in prayer. He cried when he prayed and read the Qur’an. When Abdullah read verses about death and the next life, he wept.
Abdullah passed away at the age of seventy in the city of Taif.
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