`ABDULLAAH IBN `ABBAAS -radiyallaahu `anhumaa
(Abridged from ‘Siyar A`laamin Nubalaa·’ of Imaam adh-Dhahabee)
Translated by Abu Talha Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah
“`Abdullaah ibn `Abbaas ibn `Abdul-Muttalib -radiyallaahu `anhumaa- the Imaam, the ocean of knowledge, the great scholar (habr) of the Ummah, and the Imaam of Tafseer.
Abul-`Abbaas, al-Haashimee, the son of the paternal uncle of Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم), and the father of the khulafaa· [i.e. the later `Abbaasid caliphs.]
He was born in the mountain pass of Banoo Haashim, three years before the Hijrah. He accompanied the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) for about thirty months, and Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) died when he was thirteen years old. The Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) supplicated for him that Allaah should grant him knowledge and understanding of the Religion, and should teach him explanation of the Book.
Khaalid al-Hadhdhaa· said: from `Ikrimah: from Ibn `Abbaas who said:
“The Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) stroked my head and supplicated for wisdom for me.”
-Aboo `Aasim: Shabeeb ibn Bishr related to us: `Ikrimah related to us: from Ibn `Abbaas who said:
“Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) went to relieve himself, then he moved away and found a covered pot (of water), so he said: << Who brought this? >> So `Abdullaah (ibn `Abbaas) said: “It was I”, so he said: << O Allaah teach him explanation of the Qur·aan. >> [Saheeh: ‘Sharhut-Tahaawiyyah’ (no. 180), ‘as-Saheehah’ (no. 2589)]
-al-A`mash: from `Abud-Duhaa: from Masrooq who said: Ibn Mas`ood said:
“What a fine explainer of the Qur·aan is Ibn `Abbaas! If he had reached our age, then none of us would have attained a tenth of his knowledge.”
-al-A`mash: from Aboo Waa·il:
“`Alee placed Ibn `Abbaas in charge of the Hajj, so he gave a khutbah that day which was such that if it had been heard by the Turks and the Romans they would have accepted Islaam. Then he recited Sooratun-Noor to them and began explaining it.”
He narrated a good number of narrations from the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم), and from `Umar. `Alee, Mu`aadh, his father al-`Abbaas, `Abdur-Rahmaan ibn `Awf, Aboo Sufyaan Sakhr ibn Harb, Aboo Dharr, Ubayy ibn Ka`b, Zayd ibn Thaabit, and a large number of others.
He recited Qur·aan with Ubayy (ibn Ka`b) and Zayd (ibn Thaabit). Mujaahid, Sa`eed ibn Jubayr, and a group took the recitation from him.
Those who narrated from him are: his son `Alee, the son of his brother `Abdullaah ibn Ma`bad, and his freed slaves: `Ikrimah, Miqsam, and Aboo Ma`bad Naafidh; and Anas ibn Maalik, Abut-Tufayl, Aboo Umaamah ibn Sahl, and his brother Katheer ibn `Abbaas; and `Urwah ibn az-Zubayr, `Ubaydullaah ibn `Umar, Taawoos, Abush-Sha`thaa· Jaabir, `Alee ibn al- Husayn, Sa`eed ibn Jubayr, Mujaahid ibn Jabr, al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad, Aboo Saalih as-Sammaan, Aboo Rajaa· al-`Utaaridee, Abul-`Aaliyah, `Ubayd ibn `Umayr and his son `Abdullaah `Ataa· ibn Yasaar, Ibraaheem ibn `Abdullaah ibn Ma`bad, and Arbadah at-Tameemee – the companion of the ‘Tafseer’, and Aboo Saalih Baadhaam, Taleeq ibn Qays al-Hanafee, `Ataa· ibn Abee Rabaah, ash-Sha`bee, al-Hasan, Ibn Seereen, Muhammad ibn Ka`b al-Qurazee, Shahr ibn Hawshab, Ibn Mulaykah, `Amr ibn Deenaar, `Ubaydullaah ibn Abee Yazeed, Aboo Jamrah Nasr ibn `Imraan ad-Duba`ee ad-Dahhaak ibn Muzaahim, Abuz-Zubayr al-Makkee, Bakr ibn `Abdullaah al-Muzanee, Habeeb ibn Abee Thaabit, Sa`eed ibn Abil-Hasan, Ismaa`eel as-Suddee, and many others besides them.
And ‘at-Tahdheeb’ mentions a hundred and ninety seven people who narrated from him.
-al-Madaa·inee: from Nu`aym ibn Hafs: that Aboo Bakr said:
“Ibn `Abbaas came to us in Basrah, and there was not anyone the like of him amongst the `Arabs in his body, his knowledge, his explanation , his handsomeness and his completeness.”
-`Abdur-Razzaaq: from Ma`mar who said:
“The greater part of the knowledge of Ibn `Abbaas was taken from three men: `Umar, `Alee and Ubayy ibn Ka`b –radiyallaahu `anhum.
-Aboo Bakr ibn `Ayyaash: from Muhammad ibn `Amr: from Aboo Salamah: from Ibn `Abbaas who said:
“I used to hear that a man would have a hadeeth, so I would go to him and sit until he came out. So then I would ask him; and if I had wished I could have got him to come out to me.”
-Zaa·idah: `Abdur-Rahmaan ibn `Abdullaah ibn al-Asbahaanee related to us: that `Abdullaah ibn Shaddaad, will you not be amazed? A boy came to me after I had laid down to take the noon siesta, and said: ‘There is a man at the door requesting permission to enter.’ So I said: “He must have come for some need, so grant him permission to enter.” He said: So he entered and said: ‘Will you not inform me about that man.’ So I said: “Which man?” So he said: ‘`Alee ibn Abee Taalib: when will he be returned to life?’ So I said: “Subhaan Allaah! (I declare Allaah free of all imperfections!) When everybody in the graves is resurrected.” So he said: ‘I do not see except that you are saying the same as those stupid people.’ So I said: “Get him out or I will beat him.”
-Ma`mar: from Qataadah: from Mutarrif who said: “I heard Ibn `Abbaas say:
“Revising knowledge for an hour is better than spending the whole night awake (in Prayer).”
His mother was Ummul-Fadl Lubaabah bint al-Haarith ibn Huzn ibn Bujayr al-Hilaaliyyah, descended from Hilaal ibn `Aamir.
He had a group of children; the eldest being al `Abbaas -after whom he took his kunyah; and `Alee -the father of the khulafaa· and he was the youngest of them, and al-Fadl, and Muhammad, and `Ubaydullaah, and Lubaabah and Asmaa·.
He was a person who was pleasant-looking and handsome, tall in stature, imposing, complete intellect, quick in understanding, a man complete in his characteristics.
His children al-Fadl, Muhammad and `Ubaydullaah died without offspring; whereas Lubaabah produced children and descendants from her husband `Alee ibn `Abdullaah ibn Ja`far ibn Abee Taalib; and his other daughter Asmaa·, who was married to her paternal cousin `Abdullaah ibn `Ubaydullaah ibn al-`Abbaas, gave birth to Hasan and Husayn.
Ibn `Abbaas went with his parents to the place of Hijrah [al-Madeenah] in the year of the Conquest, having accepted Islaam before that. So it is established from him that he said: “I and my mother were from the weak ones (who were excused from migrating): I was a child and my mother from the women.”
Khaalid al-Hadhdhaa·: from `Ikrimah: from Ibn `Abbaas that he said:
“The Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) wiped my head and supplicated for wisdom for me.
[[al- Bukhaaree’s narration (no. 75) is: “Once the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) embraced me and said: << O Allaah bestow upon him knowledge of the Book >>.]]
Ibn Shihaab narrated: from `Ubaydullaah: from Ibn `Abbaas who said:
“I came riding an ass, and I was close to puberty, and Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) was leading the people in Prayer in Minaa.” [[al-Bukhaaree: no. 492]…
Aboo Sa`eed ibn Yoonus said: Ibn `Abbaas went on military expedition to Africa with Ibn Abee Sarh; and fifteen of the people of Egypt narrated from him.”
Aboo `Abdillaah ibn Mandah said:
“His mother was Ummul-Fadl, the sister of Ummul-Mu·mineen Maymoonah, and he was born two years before the Hijrah.”
He was light-skinned and tall; his complexion was tinged with yellow. He was stout and he was handsome, fair of face, and he had hair up to the ears. He dyed with henna, and the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) supplicated for wisdom for him.
I say: He was the maternal cousin of Khaalid ibn al-Waleed al- Makhzoomee.
Sa`eed ibn Saalim narrated: Ibn Jurayj narrated to us, saying: we were sitting with `Ataa· in al-Masjidul-Haraam and were speaking about Ibn `Abbaas. So `Ataa· said:
“I never see the moon on the fourteenth night [[i.e. when full and bright]] except that it reminds me of the face of Ibn `Abbaas.”
Ibraaheem ibn al-Hakam ibn Abaan narrated: from his father: from `Ikrimah who said:
“When Ibn `Abbaas passed along a path-way the women in the walled gardens would say: ‘Is it musk that has gone by, or was it Ibn `Abbaas?’.”…
Hammaad ibn Salamah and others narrate: from `Abdullaah ibn `Uthmaan ibn Khuthaym: from Sa`eed ibn Jubayr: from `Abdullaah [Ibn `Abbaas who said:
“I spent the night in the house of my maternal aunt Maymoonah and I placed some water for the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) to take a bath, so he said: << Who has placed this? >> So they said: ‘`Abdullaah’, so he said: << O Allaah grant him knowledge of explanation, and grant him understanding of the Religion. >> [[Saheeh: Ahmad, at-Tabaraanee…]]
Aboo Zur`ah ad-Dimashqee reports in his ‘Taareekh’ from Ibn `Umar that he said:
“He [i.e. Ibn `Abbaas] is the most knowledgeable of the people regarding that which Allaah sent down to Muhammad.”
Aboo Nu`aym reports in ‘al-Hilyah’ from Shaqeeq who said:
“Ibn `Abbaas delivered a khutbah to us whilst he was in charge of the Hajj. So he started reciting Sooratul-Baqarah. So he would recite and then explain. So I began saying to myself: I have never seen or heard the speech of a man the like of it; if the Persians and the Romans were to hear it they would enter into Islaam. ….
Saalih ibn Rustum al-Khazzaaz narrated: from Ibn Abee Mulaykah: I accompanied Ibn `Abbaas from Makkah to al-Madeenah. So when he camped at a place he would spend half of the night standing in Prayer. So Ayyoob asked him: ‘How had his recitation used to be?’ He said: He recited:
وَجَاءَتْ سَكْرَةُ الْمَوْتِ بِالْحَقِّ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ مَا كُنتَ مِنْهُ تَحِيدُ
[[Meaning: And the stupor of death will come in truth: this is what you sought to flee from]]. [Soorah Qaaf (50): 19]
So he would recite it slowly and carefully, and be sobbing a great deal.”
Ibn Jurayj narrated: from Ibn Abee Mulaykah: that Ibn `Abbaas said: “The people have passed away and the apes remain.” It was said: ‘What are the ‘apes’?’ So he replied: “Those who resemble the people but are not people.”
Ibn Taawoos narrated: from his father: from Ibn `Abbaas:
“Mu`aawiyah said to me: ‘Are you upon the way of `Alee?!’ So I replied: ‘No, nor upon the way of `Uthmaan. I am upon the way of Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم).”
From Taawoos who said:
“I did not see anyone greater in the respect they showed to Allaah’s prohibitions than Ibn `Abbaas [and whenever I remember him I wished I would weep].
Jareer ibn Haazim narrated: from Ya`laa ibn Hakeem: from `Ikrimah: from Ibn `Abbaas who said:
“When Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) passed away, I said to a man from the Ansaar: “Come let us ask questions of the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) because they are many at this time.” So he said: ‘How surprising of you, O Ibn `Abbaas! Do you think that the people will come to need you, when there are amongst the people the Companions of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) those whom you see?!’ So he left that ,and I began asking. So whenever I heard that a man had a hadeeth I would go to him whilst he was taking the noon siesta. So I would place my cloak as a pillow at his door, and the wind would blow dust over me. Then the man would come out and see me and say: “O cousin of Allaah’s Messenger! Why didn’t you send a message so that I should come to you?’ So I would say: “It is more fitting that I should come to you and ask you.” So the man [of the Ansaar] remained until he found the people gathering around me, so he said ‘This youth was more intelligent than me.’”
`Abdul-Malik ibn Abee Sulaymaan narrated from Sa`eed ibn Jubayr who said:
“Some men of the Muhaajiroon felt that they had a grievance with `Umar because of the fact that he brought Ibn `Abbaas close to him [in gatherings] and did not do so with them; and he used to question him. So `Umar said: “Today I will show you something that will cause you to recognize his excellence.” So he asked them about this Soorah:
إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ
[When comes the Help of Allah (to you, O Muhammad (Peace be upon him) against your enemies) and the conquest (of Makkah)] [Sooratun-Nasr (110)]
So some of them said: ‘It is a command from Allaah for His Prophet that when he saw them entering into Allaah’s Religion in crowds he was to praise Him and seek His forgiveness.’
So `Umar said: ‘O Ibn `Abbaas! Speak!’ So he said: “He informed him when he was going to die. Meaning: It will be a sign for the approach of your death, so praise your Lord and seek His forgiveness.” [[So `Umar said: I do not know about it except what you have said.]]
Yazeed ibn Ibraaheem narrated: from Sulaymaan al-Ahwal: from Taawoos: from Ibn `Abbaas that he said:
“Concerning a single matter I would ask thirty of the Companions of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم).”
[Its chain of narration is ‘Saheeh’…]
From `Ikrimah: I heard Mu`aawiyah say to me:
“Your master [i.e. Ibn `Abbaas], by Allaah, is the most knowledgeable one of those who have died and those who are alive.”
And it is related from `Aa·ishah that she said:
“The most knowledgeable person about the Hajj who remains is Ibn `Abbaas.”
I say: And he used to hold Hajj Tamattu` as being what is essential.
..Ibn Jurayj narrated: from Taawoos who said:
“I did not see anyone with more piety than Ibn `Umar, nor anyone more knowledgeable than Ibn `Abbaas.”
“I never saw anyone the like of Ibn `Abbaas; and he was, at the time he died, the great scholar of this Ummaah.”
al-A`mash narrated: from Mujaahid who said:
“Ibn `Abbaas used to be called ‘the ocean’ (al-Bahr) because of his extensive knowledge.”…
Masrooq narrated, saying:
“When I would see Ibn `Abbaas I would say: ‘He is the most handsome of the people’, and when he uttered something I would say: ‘He is the most eloquent of the people’, and when he talked I would say: ‘He is the most knowledgeable of the people.’
al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad said: “I never saw anything futile in the gathering of Ibn `Abbaas.”…
Aboo `Awaanah narrated: from Abul-Juwayriyah who said:
‘I saw the Izaar of Ibn `Abbaas half way down his shins, or above that and he had a roman cloak upon him and he was praying.’…
Ibn Hazm said in his book ‘al-Ihkaam’: Aboo Bakr Muhammad ibn Moosaa ibn Ya`qoob ibn al-Ma·moon, one of the imaams of Islaam, gathered together the verdicts of Ibn `Abbaas in twenty volumes.
The debate of Ibn `Abbaas -radiyallaahu `anhumaa- with the Khawaarijee which resulted in the majority of them returning from their innovation to the truth:
AT-TABARAANEE reported in ‘al-Mu`jamul Kabeer’ (no. 10598): “Ishaaq ibn Ibraaheem ad-Dabaree narrated to us: from `Abdur-Razzaaq. Further Isnaad: And `Alee ibn `Abdil-`Azeez narrated to us: Aboo Hudhayfah Moosaa ibn Mas`ood narrated to us: both of them from `Ikrimah ibn `Ammaar that Aboo Zameel al-Hanafee narrated to us: that `Abdullaah ibn `Abbaas narrated to us, saying:
“When the (Khawaarij) separated themselves off in Haarooraa and gathered themselves together in some abode. So I said to `Alee: “O Ameerul Mu·mineen pray the Prayer in its earliest time so that I can then go and speak to those people.” So he said: ‘I fear for you from them.’ So I dressed in the best clothes I could and wore this Yemeni cloak. So I went to them and entered upon them whilst they were resting at the time of the start of the afternoon heat. So I entered upon a people who were such that I have never seen a people who strove harder in worship than them. Their hands were like the knees of camels, and their faces were scarred with the traces of prostration. So when I entered they said: ‘Welcome, O Ibn `Abbaas, what has brought you here?’ So he said: “I came to narrate to you from the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم): the Revelation came down and they know best about its explanation.” So some of them said: ‘Don’t speak with him’ and others said: ‘Rather we will speak with him.’ He said: I said: “Tell me the criticism you have of the son of the uncle of Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم), his son in law, and the first of those who believed in him; and the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) are along with him.” They said: ‘We criticize him for three things.’ I said: “What are they?”
They said: ‘The first of them is that he caused men to pass judgement in Allaah’s Religion, whereas Allaah said:
إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ
[[Meaning: Judgement is only for Allaah]].’ [Soorah Yoosuf (12): 40]
He said: “And what else?”
So they said: ‘He fought but did not take any females captured as slaves girls, nor did he seize war-booty. So if the enemy were Disbelievers, then their property was lawful for us; and if they were Believers, then it was forbidden for us to shed their blood.’
He said: I said: “And what else?”
They said: ‘He erased his title ‘Ameerul-Mu·mineen’ (chief of the Believers), so if he is not the chief of the Believers, then he must be the chief of the Disbelievers.’
He said: I said: “What do you think if I recite to you from the decisive Book of Allaah, and I narrate to you from the Sunnah of your Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) that which you cannot deny, will you turn back?” They said: ‘Yes’. He said: So I said:
“As for your saying that he caused men to judge in Allaah’s Religion, then He says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقْتُلُوا الصَّيْدَ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ ۚ وَمَن قَتَلَهُ مِنكُم مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاءٌ مِّثْلُ مَا قَتَلَ مِنَ النَّعَمِ
up to His Saying:
يَحْكُمُ بِهِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ
[[Meaning: O you who believe, do not kill game whilst in a state of ihraam; and whoever of you does that intentionally, then the penalty is a sacrifice equal to the animal killed, as adjudged by two just men among you.]] [Sooratul-Maa·idah (5): Aayah 95]
And said, with regard to a woman and her husband:
وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِّنْ أَهْلِهَا
[[Meaning: If you fear a breach between the husband and wife then send an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family]] [Sooratun-Nisaa· (4): 35]
I adjure you by Allaah; does the judgement of men for the sparing of their blood and their persons and rectification of relations between them have more right, or their judgement with regard to a rabbit whose price is a quarter of a dirham?” They said: ‘O Allaah: For sparing their blood and rectifying between them.’ He said: “Have you abandoned this criticism?” They said: ‘O Allaah, yes.’
Then as for your saying that they fought but did not take captured females as slave-girls and did not take war-booty: then would you take your mother as a slave-girl and make lawful from her that which you make lawful regarding other then her, for in that case you would be Disbelievers; and if you claim that she [i.e. `Aa·ishah-radiyallaahu `anhaa] is not your mother, then you are Disbelievers and have left Islaam because Allaah -the Mighty and Majestic-says:
النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَأَزْوَاجُهُ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ
[[Meaning: The Prophet has more right upon the Believers than their own selves, and his wives are as their mothers]] [Sooratul-Ahzaab (33): 6]
so you are between two deviations and may choose whichever of them you please. Do you abandon this argument?” They said: ‘O Allaah, yes.’
He said: “As for your saying that he erased his title of ‘Ameerul- Mu·mineen’, then Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) called, on the day of Hudaybiyyah to write an agreement between him and them. So he said: << Write: This is the judgement agreed to by Muhammad, the Messenger of Allaah. >> So they said: ‘By Allaah, if we knew you to be Allaah’s Messenger we would not prevent you from the House, nor would we have fought against you. But rather write: Muhammad the son of `Abdullaah.’ So he said: << By Allaah I am the Messenger of Allaah even if you reject me. Write, O `Alee: Muhammad the son of `Abdullaah. >> So Allaah’s Messenger (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) was more excellent than `Alee. So do you abandon this criticism?” They said: ‘O Allaah, yes.’
So twenty thousand of them returned and four thousand remained and were killed.”
[Hasan: ‘as-Saheehul-Musnad min Fadaa·ilis-Sahaabah’ of Mustafaa al- `Adawee (pp. 427-428)].
Ibn `Abbaas died in Taa·if in the year 68 H, and Muhammad ibn al- Hanafiyyah [the son of `Alee ibn Abee Taalib and Khawlah bint al- Hanafiyyah] lead the funeral prayer over him, and said: “Today the wise scholar (rabbaanee) of this Ummah has died.” -radiyallaahu `anhumaa.
Posted from the Appendix of :
Tafseer Soorat-in-Naba’- from the works of numerous mufassireen.
Compiled and translated by Abu Talhah Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah