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'Abd Allah b. al-'Abbas

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Sahaba
'Abd Allah b. al-'Abbas
Personal Information
Kunya Abu l-'Abbas
Epithet Hibr al-Umma, al-Bahr
Well Known As Ibn 'Abbas
Lineage Quraysh
Well-Known Relatives Al-'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, the Prophet (s), Imam 'Ali (a),
Birth 3 years before Hijra/619-620
Place of Birth Mecca
Muhajir/Ansar Muhajir
Place(s) of Residence Mecca, Medina, Basra
Death/Martyrdom 68?/687-8
Burial Place Ta'if
Religious Information
Migration to Medina
Known for Transmitting Hadith, Exegesis
Notable Roles Governor of Basra
Works Tafsir Ibn 'Abbas

ʿAbd Allah b. ʿAbbās (Arabic: عبد اللّه بن عباس), (b. 3 BH/619-20 - d. 68/687-8), commonly known as Ibn ʿAbbās, was the Prophet (s) and Imam 'Ali's (a) cousin and one of the companions to the Prophet (s), Imam Ali (a), Imam al-Hasan (a), and Imam al-Husayn (a).

Although Ibn 'Abbas believed that Imam 'Ali (a) was the rightful caliph after the Prophet (s), he cooperated with the Three Caliphs. He was in Imam 'Ali's army during the Battles of Jamal, Siffin, and Nahrawan. He was appointed as the governor of Basra by Imam 'Ali (a). After Imam 'Ali's (a) martyrdom, he supported Imam al-Hasan (a). In Imam al-Hasan's (a) funeral, he stopped Banu Hashim and Banu Umayya from having fight.

He warned Imam al-Husayn (a) about traveling to Karbala, and did not accompanied him in that trip.

Many hadiths have been narrated from him in both Shi'a and Sunni sources. An exegesis of Qur'an, attributed to him, have been published many times. He is the ancestor of the Abbasid Caliphs.

Birth and Lineage

His name was 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas b. 'Adb al-Muttalib b. Hashim b. 'Abd Manaf b. Qusay and his kunya was Abu l-'Abbas. He was titled as "Hibr al-Umma" (the scholar of the Muslim nation) and "al-Bahr" (the sea [of knowledge]).[1] 'Abd Allah was cousin of the Prophet (s) and Imam 'Ali (a).

His father -al-'Abbas, the Prophet's paternal uncle and one of the chiefs of Quraysh- was responsible for providing water for hajj pilgrims (siqaya) and maintenance of Masjid al-Haram in Ignorance Era, which was an important and honorable position.

His mother, Lubaba al-Kubra, was the daughter of al-Harith b. Hazn al-Hilali and sister of Maymuna, the Prophet's (a) wife, and her kunya was Umm al-Fadl. The Prophet (s) always respected her. She was the first women embraced Islam in Mecca after Khadija (a). She suckled Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a); thus 'Abd Allah and his brother, Qutham,[2] were foster-brothers of Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a). Ibn 'Abbas was also the cousin of Khalid b. Walid (Khalid was the son of his mother's sister).[3]

It is commonly reported, that he was born 3 years before Hijra/619 in Shi'b Abi Talib (the valley of Abu Talib) (in Mecca).[4] According to another account, he was born 5 years before Hijra/617.

His Life

During the Prophet's Life

After that he was born, the Prophet (s) rubbed his saliva on his palate and prayed for him.[5] According to different reports he was between 10 to 15 years old when the Prophet (s) passed away.[6]

During the Three Caliphs' Reign

The Three Caliph respected and honored Ibn 'Abbas. He occupied the position of issuing fatwa during their reign. He was one of whom the second and the third Caliphs would consult for solving problems.[7] In 35/655, while 'Uthman was under siege, he performed hajj on his behalf.[8]

During Imam 'Ali's Reign

Ibn 'Abbas participated in the Battles of Jamal, Siffin, and Nahrawan.[9] He was one of the commanders in Imam 'Ali (a)'s army.[10] In the event of Hakamiyya, Imam (a) suggested him as the hakam (his approved judge) but Khawarij rejected him.

Most of his political activities refers to period of Imam 'Ali (a)'s Caliphate. He was appointed as the governor of Basra, Iraq,[11] and Imam 'Ali (a) wrote letters to him (two of which have been mentioned in Nahj al-balagha: the letters number 18 and 66).[12]

According to some historical accounts, in the late of Imam 'Ali (a)'s Caliphate, he was accused of stealing form bayt al-mal (government treasury) so he left Basra and went to Mecca.[13] However, many scholars believed that these reports are dubious.[14]

During Imam al-Hasan and al-Husayn's Imamate

After martyrdom of Imam 'Ali (a), he encouraged people to pledge allegiance to Imam al-Hasan (a). When Imam al-Hasan (a) finished his sermon in Masjid al-Kufa, he stood up and said:

"O, people! this is the son of your Prophet and the successor of your Imam, pledge allegiance to him …"[15]

In Imam al-Hasan's (a) funeral, when Banu Umayya did not let Imam al-Hasan's (a) body to be buried next to the Prophet's (s) grave, Ibn 'Abbas talked with Marwan b. al-Hakam and stopped Banu Umayyah and Banu Hashim to have a fight.[16]

Although he did not pledge allegiance to Yazid during Mu'awiya's life,[17] he did that afterward.[18] He did not pledge allegiance to 'Abd Allah b. Zubayr after Yazid's death.[19]

He was one of the companions of Imam al-Husayn (a). When Imam al-Husayn (a) wanted to leave Mecca toward Iraq, he met Imam al-Husayn (a) twice and warned him from traveling to Iraq, but he didn't accompany Imam al-Husayn (a) in his last voyage.

Knowledge

Ibn 'Abbas was the most famous commentator of the Qur'an in the 1st/7th century. Lots of hadiths have been narrated from him in exegeses of the Qur'an and hadith collections. It has been narrated in some hadiths, that the Prophet (s) prayed for him and asked God to give him the knowledge of interpretation of Qur'an.[20]

His hadiths and opinions are also very important in fiqh (jurisprudence) and hadith studies.

Descendants

  • Al-'Abbas; whose mother was Habiba bt. al-Zubayr.
  • Asma'
  • Al-Fadl
  • Muhammad
  • 'Ubayd Allah
  • Lubaba
  • 'Ali;

'Ali was his most famous son. According to his father's advice, 'Ali supported 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan in his argument with Ibn al-Zubayr over the caliphate. He had warm relationship with the 'Abd al-Malik[21] although 'Abd al-Malik felt offended by his action, later.[22] Thus, Walid avenged him by accusing 'Ali b. 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas of killing a child of a slave woman.[23] All the 'Abbasid Caliphs are his Descendants.[24]

Narration

According to al-Dhahabi and al-Zirkili's report, he has narrated 1,660 hadiths[25] from which al-Bukhari narrated 120 and Mulsim b. al-Hajjaj 9 hadiths.

Most hadiths, foretelling the Caliphate of Abbasid dynasty, is attributed to him.[26]

Ibn 'Abbas has narrated hadiths from the Prophet (s), Imam 'Ali (a), 'Umar b. al-Khattab, Mu'adh b. Jabal, and Abu Dhar.

Lots of narrators have quoted his hadiths, including:

Works

Main article: Tafsir Ibn 'Abbas

Although his hadiths are found amply in various exegesis of the Qur'an, it is highly doubted that he had written a book in this field. However, it can be concluded from what have been reported about his pupils, they have compiled the hadiths that he had narrated and his interpretations after him.

The following works are attributed to him:

In some historical accounts, it has been attributed to him that he established a new school in Qur'an's commentary whose famous students were:

From Orientalists' Views

Some orientalists such as Ignaz Goldziher argued that quoted hadiths from Ibn 'Abbas are not reliable.[28] The book Khawarshinasan wa Ibn Abbas (orientalists and Ibn 'Abbas) has analyzed orientalists' opinion about Ibn 'Abbas critically.[29]

Demise

Ibn 'Abbas went blind at the end of his life.[30] He settled in Mecca during this period. During the argument of 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr with 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan over the caliphate, Ibn al-Zubayr asked him for allegiance, but he refused. Thus, Ibn al-Zubayr exiled him to Ta'if. Most historical reports say that he passed away in 68/687-8 at the age of 70 in Ta'if. Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya performed Salat al-Mayyit on his body and he was buried there. Another historical account says he passed away in 69/688-9 at the age of 71.[31]

Notes

  1. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.186-187; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa l-nihaya, vol.8 p.295
  2. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.4 p.85; Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, vol.2 p.811
  3. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.186-187
  4. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.186-187; Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.4 p.27
  5. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.4 p.28
  6. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.190
  7. Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol.6 p.72
  8. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.190
  9. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.188; Al-Zirikli, al-A'lam, vol.4 p.95
  10. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.188
  11. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.188; Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.4 p.39; Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol.4 p.543
  12. Al-Sharif al-Radi, Nahj al-balagha, letters no. 18 and 66
  13. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.4 p.39
  14. Al-Tustari, Qamus al-rijal, vol.6 p.441; Al-Khoei, Mu'jam rijal al-hadith, vol.10 p.238
  15. Al-Khoei, Mu'jam rijal al-hadith, vol.10 p.234
  16. Al-Mufid, al-Irshad, vol.2 p.18
  17. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol.5 p.303
  18. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol.5 p.343
  19. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, vol.5 p.384; Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.4 p.70-71
  20. Muqaddamatan fi 'ulum al-Qur'an, p.53-54
  21. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.4 p.70
  22. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.4 p.101-102
  23. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.4 p.103
  24. Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat al-kubra, vol.5 p.241
  25. Al-Zirikli, al-A'lam, vol.4 p.95
  26. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.4 p.63
  27. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.188.
  28. Nafisi, Mustashriqan wa hadith, p. 173
  29. Nilsaz, Khawarshinasan wa Ibn 'Abbas
  30. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.190
  31. Ibn Ahtir, Usd al-ghaba, vol.3 p.190

References

  • Baladhuri, Ahmad b. Yahya al-. Jumal min ansab al-ashraf. Beirut: Suhayl Zakar wa Riyad Zirkili, 1417 AH.
  • Ibn 'Abd al-Barr. Al-Isti'ab fi ma'rifat al-ashab. Beirut: Muhammad 'Ali al-Bajawi, 1412/1992.
  • Ibn al-Jawzi, 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Ali. Al-Muntazam fi tarikh al-umam wa l-muluk. Ed. Muhammad 'Abd al-Qadir al-'Ata and Mustafa 'Abd al-Qadir al-'Ata. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 1412/1992.
  • Ibn Athir, 'Ali b. Muhammad. Usd al-ghaba fi ma'rifat al-Sahaba. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1409/1989.
  • Ibn Kathir, Isam'il b. 'Umar. Al-Bidaya wa l-nihaya. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1407/1986
  • Khoei, Abu l-Qasim al-. Mu'jam rijal al-hadith. Qom, Marakaz-i Nashr-i Athar-i Shi'a, 1410 AH.
  • Mufid al-. Al-Irshad fi ma'rifat hujaj Allah 'ala l-'ibad. Qom, Kungira-yi Shaykh Mufid, 1413 AH.
  • Nafisi, Shadi. Mustashriqan wa hadith. Qom, Danishgah-i Qur'an wa Hadith.
  • Nilsaz, Nusrat. Khawarshinasan wa Ibn 'Abbas. Tehran, 'Ilmi wa Farhangi, 1393 Sh.
  • Tabari, Muhammad b. Jarir al-. Al-Tarikh. Ed. Muhammad Abu l-Fadl Ibrahim. Beirut: Dar al-Turath, 1967.
  • Sahib al-Mabani and Ibn 'Atiyya. Muqaddamatan fi 'Ulum al-Quran, Ed. Arthur Jeffery. Cairo, 1407/1986.
  • Sharif al-Radi al-. Nahj al-balagha.
  • Zirikli, Khayr al-Din al-. Al-A'lam. Beirut: Dar al-'Ilm li-l-malayin, 1989.