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					Hazrat Abbas (a.s.): The Man, the Myth, the Legend

                                Maryam Moradmand
                                First year law student at
                                Chapman University School of Law
       Every year during the month of Moharam, and specially the days Tasua and

Ashoora, Hazart Abbas's (as) tales of chivalry, courage and faith are discussed; the Shiite

community mourns him, laminates in his hour, and praises his character. What is left out

of the discussion is his effect after Ashoora. His character as the commander of the war is

highly praised and honored but the essence of his message, his wrongfully amputated

arm, is that it serves as the flag of peace, honor, and utmost faith in God. Every year we

see the pictures, drawings and art works of his hand rose with five fingers spread as the

symbol of his devotion and courage, but what is left out is the effect that hand has had

throughout history after the day of Ashoora. If Hazart Abbas(as) had succeeded in brining

water to the women and children in the tents and afterwards had gone to the battlefield

and fought to become a martyr of Islam, the history would have changed, the generations

to come would have lost an irreplaceable role model and savoir, he sacrificed his life for

Islam to create the perfect man for the humanity.

       Hazrat Abbas (as), son of Imam Ali and Ummul Banin played a continuous role as

a safeguard for Islam and the Ahlul Bayt. On the day of Ashoora not only he sacrificed hi

own being he's two sons were also present and martyred. He is referred to as moon of the

Bani Hashem family, the leader of youth in heaven, and the commander of faith at

Karbala. The fact that he stood by his brother courageously is of no secret to anyone, but

his kindness, he's fairness and notion of justice runs much deeper than the battle ground. It

is a general and widely held belief that power and physical superiority make fair play a

myth, however, Haarat Abbas (a.s.) is a flawless equilibrium of power,

kindness, and fairness. His courage does not override his notion of substantial human

justice; and his kindness does not prevent him from his duty. It is the balance that makes

a complete faith; it is this equilibrium that he is teaching the humanity.
       Many people pray to him at the time of difficulty, he's known not to turn back a

sincere prayer. There is a great paradigm hi this notion. At the time of difficulty when he

fell to the ground during the battle of Ashoora, he called for his brother Imam Hussain,

and Imam Hussain rushed to his side during his last moments. Hazarat Abbas's biggest

grief in his last moments was that he was not able to get the water to the children.

However, after his martyrdom, for generations he is a strong link between God and

people working miracles and strengthening faith. His image as the respected and highly

feared figure plays a fundamental role in complementing Imam Hussain's leadership and

virtues during and after Ashoora.

       Today even after 1400 years Hazrat Abbas (a.s.), while not being an Imam is

regarded as highly as our twelve Imams. In first glance he is viewed as a symbol of

devotion and leadership in war, however, the true essence of his virtues are the message

of stability that can be retracted from his character. Although from a different mother

than Imam Hussain, he is dearly loved by the Ahlul Bayt, yet he still holds himself to a

higher standard to be able to be regarded on the same plane field as Imam Hussain,

meanwhile he never crosses boundaries of respect. Within his character he creates this

powerful equilibrium of stability. This equilibrium of stability is created by Iman and

practice. In an abstract manner he has existed throughout history, his soul and essence of

being are what creates a true man, a man of peace, war, duty, respect, and love. He

embodies these characters to perfection. The myth of the perfect man exists in all cultures

and religions form Greek mythology of Hercules to Chinese spirituality and the Buddha,

man kind has always been in search of this perfect notion of man yet Hazrat Abbas (a.s.)

perfected this notion with utmost precision. Thus in many folk tales his story and life is
told almost as a legend, a myth, too great to be true. However, what gives reality to his

myth aside from its physical reality is its sincerity, faith in God, and true belief. Hero's

are depicted to be immortal, yet none are, However, Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) has proven to be

immortal in many aspect. From granting miracles, to curing the sick, to physical presence

in his shrine he has brought to life the legend of the eternal and perfect man, he has

perfected the idea and ended the search of humanity for generations to come.

       Aside form his mystic presence in daily life, his moral presence is still felt after

centuries. Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) is regarded highly in both Shiite and Sunni traditions. The

values that he upheld throughout his life and on the day of Ashoora are noble standards for

humanity. If followed correctly his way of life can lead to strong and noble society

practicing the true Islam.

       In a world where Islam is misrepresented and misunderstood, it is vital that we

introduce pivotal figures such as Hazrat Abbas to demonstrate the true meaning and

power of Islam. Our youth in the Muslim community need role models to follow and if

these role models are conveyed to them through unoriginal sources it can do more harm

than good. Our responsibility as Shiat Muslims in United States is not to lead a life of

righteousness in seclusion but rather to introduce our values and religion to the world

through figures such as Hazrat Abbas (a.s.). Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) is an invaluable blessing

that should serve as a guide to properly educate the world about Islam.

       It is only upon great reflection at such figures that the shortcomings of the modern

international conflicts appear obsolete. Global politics and major international issues are
highly complex and politicized yet they are all condensed in the same category of human

issues that were present during the time of Hazrat Abbas (as) and Ashoora. Thomas

Hobbs, a prominent Western philosopher, defines man's nature as selfish and animalistic

with high tendencies towards absolute dominion, and John Lock, another highly regarded

Western philosopher, feels the need for man to delineate his autonomy to a higher power

or government in return for stability. The Hobbsean man in a Locksean world is the man

kind's search for stability and balance yet preservation of his rights; it is the quest for the

eternally perfect nature of man.

        It is the Hobbsean man that takes dominion over property, life, and liberty of

others in the name of betterment of the world by enforcing unjust and irrational pursuits

at the expense of others. From the time of Ashoora, to the war in Iraq it is the battle of

unjust power and material possession that has doomed the man kind to live in a world of

immorality and lack of spirituality. Hazrat Abbas (as) is the reverse ideology, he is the

Locksean man in a Hobbsean world, therefore he has mastered the spectrum and molded

the eternally perfect nature of what man should be in a world that is not fair, perfect or

just. His highly complex yet essentially simple in nature character embodies the

definition of perfection, simply absolute. Perfection in mankind is the quest towards

resemblance to the eternal perfection of God, which is the infinite perfection, and simply

absolute is the closest parallel to infinite perfection; Therefore, Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and

other Ahlul Bayt have solved philosophy's biggest riddle by presenting the perfect human

being in an imperfect world.
       Islam presents to the world not only perfect human beings as role models, but also

delegates them as guides on reaching such heights. It is only by following the path of

such figures as Hazrat Abbas (as) that the Muslim communities around the globe can find

glimpses of hope of passing on the true values of humanity and the real depth and

meaning of Islam to the younger generations. Mourning Hazrat Abbas (as) at Tasoua and

Ashoora are necessary yet insufficient to achieve this purpose. Mourning has to be

supplemented by reflection on the true meaning of their actions, and moreover by

practicing their way of life in our daily lives to reach its intended effect. Knowledge

about their approach to mundane matters of daily life can be as illuminating as their

manner in handling big crisis such as Ashoora. Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) was not made in

Ashoora; he completed his mission at Ashoora. Lessons of Ashoora and Hazrat Abbas are

not limited to the battlefield and his great sacrifices for Imam Hussain and Islam. The

true gem is the ideology behind why he acted in such manner, and how he became the

man who sacrificed everything yet again all that is humanly possible. He lived Islam; he

practiced Islam, and died a Muslim. The real goal is achieving these three principles, the

real greatness is that he achieved them all, and the real lesson is to follow the path of

Hazrat Abbas, the man, the myth, the legend who is real.