During the Battle of Siffeen, a young warrior from Maulana Ali’s AS army had Mauwiya’s troops on the run. So worried was Muawiya that he called his greatest warrior, a skilled fighter who could fight 10,000 warriors at a time.
“Kill this young warrior at all costs!” Muawaiyah bellowed.
“You know who I am!” the great warrior replied, “You want me to fight this juvenile!”
“Then what should we do!” Muawiyah asked.
“I have seven sons.” The warrior replied, “Each one of them is an established warrior. They will take care of him.”
He sent his sons to fight the young warrior, but, they were no match for his skill. One by one they were slayed. Enraged, the renowned warrior charged into battle himself. A fierce battle ensued between the two. The young warrior swung his sword with such force he cut the experienced fighter into two.
The troops on both sides were in awe of the young warrior’s valor and skill. Who was this armored soldier who had single-handedly defeated such a great warrior and his sons? Who, besides Maulana Ali AS possessed such courage and strength?
Maulana Ali AS summoned the young warrior to him. He came and bowed his head before him and removed his helmet. “It is the Qamar of Bani Hashim! It is Abbas bin Ali!” everyone exclaimed.
Maulana Ali AS kissed his son’s forehead, “Leave the battlefield my son!” he said, “I fear the enemy’s eyes on you.”
That day in Siffeen, Maulana Ali AS ensured that Maulana Abbas AS would be present with Imam Husain AS in Karbala. He had seen his son’s prowess in battle and wanted him to serve Imam Husain AS when the fateful battle would commence on the day of Ashura.
Thus, Maulana Abbas AS remained by Imam Husain’s SA side ever since he embarked on his journey to Karbala. He had helped him set up camp in Karbala. He had been the pillar of strength for the haram. He was the source of motivation and courage for the small army of 72. With Maulana Abbas AS leading the charge, Imam Husain AS had nothing to worry.
But today Maulana Abbas AS was worried. His young nephews and brothers had fallen in the battlefield. The small children were crying with thirst. The six-month old Maulana Aliasger’s AS thirsty bawls were breaking his heart. Maulana Abbas AS wanted to quench their thirst. The thousands of enemies didn’t worry him. They were inconsequential for the son of Maulana Ali SA. But the words of his brother Imam Husain SA were echoing in his ears: “O Abbas! Will you leave your brother, Husain alone and depart? You are the son of Ali. You are the greatest warrior on this battlefield. You are my support, my strength.”
How could he go now? He could not leave Imam Husain SA alone. Maulana Ali SA had saved him for this day. He was the backbone of the army. But he could not bear the sight of the children writhing in thirst. What good were his battle skills if he couldn’t get water for Imam Husain’s SA children? No enemy could stop him from reaching the water. The enemies trembled at the sight of him. But how could he face Imam Husain SA and ask for permission now?
Imam Husain SA was looking at the radiant face of his brother. They called him Qamar e Bani Hashim (the moon of the Hashimite clan). His beauty and his bravery were renowned. Even in the face of such a fearsome onslaught, having him by his side put Imam Husain at ease. But now Maulana Abbas AS was asking permission to get water. Imam Husain SA thought about the outcome of this conquest and couldn’t hold back his tears. How could he let him go? He is the commander of his army. Without him there is no army. No, Abbas had to stay.
The brothers stood in silence.
Just then, a young Maulatona Sakina AS walked up to Maulana Abbas AS, “O Uncle Abbas!” she cried, “I cannot endure the thirst anymore. I know you would never let your beloved niece remain thirsty!”
Maulana Abbas AS looked up at Imam Husain SA with renewed enthusiasm, “O Maula Husain!” he beseeched, “Allow me to get water for your children!”
Imam Husain SA agreed, but with tears cascading down his cheeks. “Go, O brother, Abbas!” he permitted, “But before you go, embrace me one last time.”
Both brothers hugged each other and cried for a long time. Finally, Maulana Abbas AS took Sakina’s water bag and headed towards the Furaat. Imam Husain SA knew what was about to happen. Tears kept flowing as he watched Maulana Abbas AS leave.
As Maulana Abbas AS rode into the battlefield, the enemies scurried for cover. No one had the courage to face him. The sight of this great warrior riding towards them sent shivers down their spines. The few who dared to face him were cast aside with a single swipe of his sword. In the blink of an eye Maulana Abbas AS was on the banks of the river Furaat. He filled up Maulatona Sakina’s water bag.
Instinctively, he cupped some water in the palms of his hands. He was about to drink his first sip of water in 3 days. They had spent 3 days in the relentless heat of Karbala. He had to fight his way back to the camp. But, he couldn’t bring himself to drink the water. He could not drink while the little children were still crying with thirst. He could not drink while young Sakina was still waiting for her uncle to get water for her. He could not drink while Imam Husain AS was waiting for his brother to return.
Maulana Abbas AS threw away the water and mounted his horse. He turned back to the khaimah eager to get back to Maulatona Sakina AS. The water bag was secured in his right hand while he urged his horse to hurry back with the left.
The enemies were hiding behind the palms. No one wanted to face the charging Abbas bin Ali. But, they knew they had to stop him. If Imam Husain’s 72 warriors could fight with such determination and valor when they were without water for 3 days, what would they do if they got water? From behind the trees they attacked Abbas with spears and arrows.
An enemy arrow cut off Maulana Abbas’s AS right hand. Abbas secured the water bag in his left hand and kept going without missing a stride. Another enemy arrow cut off his left hand. Abbas secured the water bag in his mouth. Nothing mattered to him but the water and the thought of young Sakina waiting for his return. He charged on with the single goal of getting the water back to the khaimah. An enemy arrow hit the water bag. As the water spilled out so did his determination. With the water lost his goal was destroyed. He fell to the ground and called out to Imam Husain AS.
Imam Husain AS reached Maulana Abbas AS in the blink of an eye. He was devastated to see Maulana Abbas AS fallen in the battlefield, drenched in blood. His hands had been cut off. The pierced water bag was lying beside him. With the last breaths of Maulana Abbas AS, Imam Husain AS felt his own strength being sapped away from him. The loss of Abbas would embolden the enemy. Imam Husain AS had lost his standard-bearer. Now there was no one left to fear.