14 Nov Abdullah bin Abbas (r.a.)
It was three years before the Migration of the Prophet to Madinah… There was a celebration in the house of his uncle, Hz. Abbas. A boy was born. They took the child to the Messenger of Allah. He gave the boy the name “Abdullah”. He put some palm paste in his mouth and said a prayer.
Little Abdullah was a member of the family of the Prophet. His aunt Hz. Maymuna was one of the wives of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). For this reason, Hz. Abdullah often went to the Prophet’s house and learned from him. He worshipped with the Messenger of Allah at night and served him. He won the affection of the Prophet with his hard work, practical intelligence and honesty.
Hz. Prophet wanted Abdullah to grow up as a scholar and a perfect Companion; he taught and educated him on every occasion. Once, Hz. Abdullah stopped a little away from the Prophet while praying. He thought that praying in the same line as the Prophet would be disrespect to him. The Prophet (pbuh) held his head lightly and moved him to his right. He told Abdullah that when there was one person in congregation, he had to stand on the right of the imam.
Ibn Abbas was constantly with the Messenger of Allah. Once, they were together again. He was riding pillion behind the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) said to him, “Young man! I will teach you something:
Obey the commands and prohibitions of Allah so that you will always find His help with you. When you ask for something, ask from Allah. When you ask for help, ask help from Allah. And know it very well that if everybody come together to help you regarding an issue, they cannot help you more than what Allah allows. If they all come together to harm you, and they cannot harm you more than Allah allows. The pens were removed and pages dried. [Everything that will happen was decreed and predestinated beforehand.]
When the Messenger of Allah died, Hz. Abdullah was a young man aged 14-15. However, thanks to the lessons he took from the Messenger of Allah and the Quran, he became an expert in the science of hadith. The following prayer uttered by the Prophet when he embraced Abdullah had a great share in it: “O Allah! Teach him the Book, the interpretation of the book and wisdom. O Allah! Give him a fine understanding in religion.” On the other hand, after the death of the Prophet, Abdullah received lessons from the scholars of Companions. He made great efforts regarding the issue persistently. Consequently, Ibn Abbas reached the highest level in religious knowledge. Despite his young age, he participated in big lessons of ilm and settled the most difficult issues. Among the Companions, he was called “the Translator of the Quran,” and “the Sea of Hadith”.
The teaching circle of Abdullah bin Abbas was famous. His talks were rich and blessed. Everybody, young and old, took part in them and learned from Abdullah’s knowledge. There were two characteristics of his talk: deep knowledge and taqwa. These two characteristics united in Abdullah’s teaching circles. He spoke sincerely and in a way that anyone could understand. Everyone listened to him very carefully.
Everyone admired Abdullah’s knowledge. He said, “It is Allah who gave me this boon. The Messenger of Allah asked Allah knowledge and wisdom for me; and Allah Almighty bestowed it.” He never acted conceitedly. He always showed respect to older Companions. On one occasion, while Zayd bin Thabit was mounting his horse, Abdullah held the stirrup of the horse. Hz. Zayd said,
“O cousin of the Messenger of Allah! Please do not do this! You are embarrassing me.” Hz. Abdullah said,
“We were commanded to show respect to our scholars.” Hz. Zayd could not help kissing Hz. Abdullah’s hands and said,
“We were also commanded to show respect to Ahl al-Bayt.”
After the death of the Messenger of Allah, he acted as the religious consultant of Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Umar. Hz Umar, referred the religious questions that he was asked to Abdullah and said,
“Only you can settle this.” Once, a Yemeni person, who could not receive a satisfactory answer from anyone, received a satisfactory answer from Abdullah. Upon this, Hz. Umar became very happy and said,
“I witness that Abdullah was raised in the house of the Prophet.” For this reason, he said about the difficult issues that he was asked, “Abdullah knows these issues better.”
Hz. Abdullah participated in the conquest of Africa with Abdullah bin Sharh in 27 H. He met Jarjir, the king of Africa. Jarjir asked him a lot of questions, Hz. Abdullah answered all of them. That is why the king called him “the Arab genius”.
Afterwards, Hz. Abdullah became the governor of Basra. He continued his religious talks there too. He always worked in order to be beneficial to Muslims. It is even narrated that Hz. Abdullah gave lessons at night in Ramadan. The people who attended his lessons in Ramadan became people with a good knowledge of religion and fiqh at the end of Ramadan.
There are many scholars who mentioned Abdullah’s virtue and his deep knowledge. Abul-Lays said,
“I saw with my own eyes that Abdullah bin Abbas settled a question that 70 Companions expressed their views but could not settle.”
Ubeydullah bin Abdullah stated the following related to the knowledge of Ibn Abbas:
“Some of the attributes of the Ibn Abbas were superior to the other Companions. He knew the past well. He made ijtihad about the issues that people asked him. He was lenient and generous. I have not seen anyone who knew the hadiths of the Messenger of Allah better than him. I have not seen anyone who knew the decrees made by Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman better than him. I do not know anyone more accurate than him in giving decrees. Everyone admired his profound knowledge of tafsir and fiqh. He talked about fiqh one day and tafsir the next day. One day he narrated wars in the past, the next day, he talked about Arab history. His knowledge never ended. I have not seen any scholars who met him and who did not accept his superiority in ilm.”
He always encouraged Muslims to earn halal money. He said,
“Fulfill the things that Allah rendered fard. Do not neglect the right of Allah. Allah gave sustenance to everybody from halal earnings. If believers show patience, their sustenance will come to them. If a person does not content himself with halal sustenance, halal sustenance will not be enough for him and he will fall into haram.
Ibn Abbas states the following about ilm and scholars:
“If scholars learned ilm (knowledge) truly and acted in accordance with their knowledge, Allah, angels and righteous people would love them. People would respect them. However, scholars used their knowledge to gain worldly benefits. Therefore, Allah sent their wrath on them. And they were humiliated in the eye of people.”
Hz. Abdullah was the fifth of the seven companions who narrated the most hadiths from the Prophet with 1660 hadiths. Some of the hadiths he narrated are as follows:
“Do not argue with your brother. Do not make excessive jokes. Do not make promises that you cannot keep.”
“The right way, good manners and economy are among the 25 attributes of prophethood.”
“Allah Almighty will not accept the deeds and worshipping of a person of bid’ah until he abandons his bid’ah.”
“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was the most generous man among people in terms of charity. The month in which he was the most generous was Ramadan. Gabriel (Jibril) met the Messenger of Allah in Ramadan every year, and the Messenger of Allah read him the whole Quran until the end of the month. When the Messenger of Allah met Jibril, he was more generous than the blowing wind in terms of charity.”
“On the Day of Judgment, one of the people who will regret the most will be someone who did not learn ilm though he had the opportunity. The other one will be a person who learned ilm but everyone except him benefited from it.”
The incident that distressed Hz. Abdullah toward the end of his life was the Incident of Karbala. The horrible things done to the grandson of the Prophet depressed Hz. Abdullah very much. His old heart became very sorry. He shed sincere tears. Afterwards, lost his eyesight. Abdullah thanked Allah for it. He said, “Allah took the light from my eyes, but my heart and my tongue were not left without light.”
Hz. Abdullah died in 68 H. He rejoined his Lord and the beloved Prophet.
He repeated the following prayer frequently:
“O Allah! Make me contented. Make what You give to me good for me. Give me from the things that I do not know the good ones!”