Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RadiyAllahu Anhu)

Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RadiyAllahu Anhu)

Abdullah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) was the son of Abbas (RadiAllahu Anhu), an uncle of the noble Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). He was born just three years before the Hijrah. When the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) died, Abdullah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) was thus only thirteen years old. When he was born, his mother took him to the blessed Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) who put some of his saliva on the babe’s tongue even before he began to suckle. This was the beginning of the close and intimate tie between Abbas (RadiyAllahu Anhu) and the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) that was to be part of a life-long love and devotion.

When Abdullah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) reached the age of discretion, he attached himself to the service of the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). He would run to fetch water for him when he wanted to make wudu. During Salat, he would stand behind the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) in prayer and when the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) went on journeys or expeditions, he would follow next in line to him. Abdullah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) thus became like the shadow of the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), constantly in his company. In all these situations he was attentive and alert to whatever the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) did and said. His heart was enthusiastic and his young mind was pure and uncluttered, committing the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)’s words to memory with the capacity and accuracy of a recording instrument. In this way and through his constant researches later, as we shall see, Abdullah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) became one of the most learned companions of the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), preserving on behalf of later generations of Muslims, the priceless words of the Messenger of God. It is said that he committed to memory about one thousand, six hundred and sixty sayings of the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) which are recorded and authenticated in the collections of al-Bukhari and Muslim. The Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) would often draw Abdullah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) as a child close to him, pat him on the shoulder and pray: “O Lord, make him acquire a deep understanding of the religion of Islam and instruct him in the meaning and interpretation of things.”

There were many occasions thereafter when the blessed Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) would repeat this dua or prayer for his cousin and before long Abdullah ibn Abbas realized that his life was to be devoted to the pursuit of learning and knowledge. The Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) moreover prayed that he be granted not just knowledge and understanding but wisdom. Abdullah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) related the following incident about himself: “Once the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), was on the point of performing wudu. I hurried to get water ready for him. He was pleased with what I was doing. As he was about to begin Salat, he indicated that I should stand at his side. However, I stood behind him. When the Salat was finished, he turned to me and said: ‘What prevented you from being at my side, O Abdullah?’ ‘You are too illustrious and too great in my eyes for me to stand side by side with you,’ I replied. Raising his hands to the heavens, the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) then prayed: ‘O Lord, grant him wisdom.” The Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)’s prayer undoubtedly was granted for the young Abdullah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) was to prove time and again that he possessed a wisdom beyond his years. But it was a wisdom that came only with devotion and the dogged pursuit of knowledge both during the Prophet (Sallellahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)’s lifetime and after his death

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