Abbas - The Standard Bearer of Husain
The shifting sand dunes of Karbala were smeared with blood. Near one of wash dunes, on the bank of Alkoma, lay the prostrate figure of a youth with blood gushing out from innumerable wounds. The crimson life-tide was ebbing fast. Even so, it seemed as if he was anxiously expecting somebody to come to him, to be near him before he breathed his last. Through his starched throat he was feebly calling somebody. Yes, Abbas was anxiously expecting his master to come to him before he parted with his life, as he had come to the side of all his devoted friends who had laid down their dear lives for him and in espousing his cause.
It is said that before a man's death al the past event of his life pass before his mind's eye in a flash-back. In his last moments Abbas was experiencing this. He was seeing himself as a child in Medina following Husain with a devotion which was considered unique even for a brother. He was seeing the events of that hot and sultry day in Kufa when his illustrious father Ali was addressing a congregation in the mosque and he, as a child, with his characteristic devotion, was looking at the face of his beloved brother watching him intently so that he could attend to his wishes on an instant command. Seeing from the parched lips of Husain that he was feeling extremely thirsty, how he had darted out from the mosque and returned with a tumbler full of cool, refreshing water and in the hurry to carry the water as quickly as possible to quench the consuming thirst of his dearest brother, how he had spilled water on his own clothes. He was recalling how this incident had made his illustrious father stop in the midst of his speech, with tears rolling down his cheeks at the sight of his young son all wet with water. He was remembering his father's reply to the queries from his faithful followers as to what had brought tears in his eyes, that Abbas who had wetted his body with water in the process of quenching Husain's thirst would in the not too distant future wet his body with his own blood in attempting to quench the thirst of his young children. He was vividly seeing the scene on the 21st Ramazan, way back in 40 Hijra, when his father mortally wounded, was lying on his death-bed and entrusting his children and dependents to the care of the his eldest brother, Hasan - all except him. Seeing that his father had commended all but him to the care of Hasan - how he, a child of 12, had burst out into uncontrollable tears. His father, on hearing him sobbing, had called him to his side and given his hand in Husain's hand with the words:
Husain, this child I am entrusting to you. He will represent me on the
day of your supreme sacrifice and lay down his life
in defending you and your dear ones, much as I would have done
if alive on that day.
How his father had turned to him and affectionately told him:
Abbas, my child, I know your unbounded love for Husain.
Though you are too young to be told about it, when that
day dawns, consider no sacrifice too great for Husain and