Abdullah Ibn Abbas

Abdullah ibn Abbas
Arabic: عبد الله ابن عباس
Title: Hibr-ul-Ummah
Birthplace Mecca, Hejaz (618–619 CE)[1]
Ethnicity Arab
Known For Being a loyal companion of Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali
Influences Allah, Prophet Muhammad, Imam Ali, and the Ahl al-Bayt
Died 687[2]
Father Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib
Wives Zahra bint Mishrah and a concubine

Sons: al-Abbas, Ali ibn Abdullah, Muhammad, Ubaydullah, and al-Fadl

Daughters: Lubaba and Asma (mother was the concubine)
Religion Islam
Political Party Shia of Ali
Opponents Enemies of Allah, Islam, Prophet Muhammad, and the Ahl al-Bayt
Influenced Umar [1]
Ata ibn Abi Rabah[3]
Wahb ibn Munabbih [4]
Tawus ibn Kaysan [5]
Al-Rabi ibn Khuthaym [6]
Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr[7]
Era Islamic golden age
Main Interests Qur'an and Sunnah, Hadith and Tafsir[1]

Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Arabic: عبد الله ابن عباس‎) was a paternal cousin of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He is revered by Muslims for his knowledge and was an expert in Tafsir (exegesis of the Qur'an), as well as an authority on the Islamic Sunnah.

Part of a series on the
Muslim scholars

– a sub-group of Muslims

1st millennium AH
  • 2nd century AH: (719 – 816 CE)
  • 3rd century AH: (816 – 913 CE)
  • 4th century AH: (913 – 1010 CE)
  • 5th century AH: (1010 – 1107 CE)
  • 6th century AH: (1107 – 1204 CE)
  • 7th century AH: (1204 – 1301 CE)
  • 8th century AH: (1301 – 1398 CE)
  • 9th century AH: (1398 – 1495 CE)
  • 10th century AH: (1495 – 1592 CE)
2nd millennium AH



He was the second son of a wealthy merchant, ʿAbbas ibn ʿAbd al-Muttalib, thus he was called "Ibn Abbas", "the son of Abbas". The mother of Ibn Abbas was Umm al-Fadl Lubaba, who prided herself with being the second woman who converted to Islam, on the same day as her close friend Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Muhammad's wife.[8]

The father of Ibn Abbas and the father of Muhammad were both the sons of the same person, Shaiba ibn Hashim, better known as ‘Abdu’l-Muṭṭalib. That persons father was Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, the progenitor of the Banu Hashim clan of the distinguished Quraish tribe in Mecca.

619–632: Muhammad's era

Ibn Abbas was born in 3 BH (619–620 CE) and his mother took him to Muhammad before he had begun to suckle. Muhammad put some of his saliva on the newborn's tongue, and that was the beginning of the close relationship between those two.[1]

While growing up, he was by Muhammad's side doing different services like fetching water for ablution (Arabic: wudu‎). He would pray (Arabic: salat‎) with Muhammad and follow him on his assemblies, journeys and expeditions. Muhammad would often draw him close, pat him on the shoulder and pray, "O God! Teach him (the knowledge of) the Book ",[9] and Ibn Abbas devoted his life to the pursuit of learning and knowledge. The Prophet had also supplicated for him to attain discernment in religion.[10] Ibn Abbas kept following Muhammad, memorizing and learning his teaching.[1]

Muhammad's statement

In AH 10 (631/632), Muhammad fell into his last illness. During this period, the Hadith of the pen and paper was reported, with Ibn Abbas as the first level narrator, at that time being ten to fifteen years old.[11] Ibn Abbas used to say, "No doubt, it was a great disaster that Allah's Apostle was prevented from writing for them that writing because of their differences and noise." [12] Days after that, Ibn Abbas and Ali supported Muhammad's weight on their shoulder, as Muhammad was too weak to walk around on his own accord.[13]

632–634: Abu Bakr's era

Inheritance from Muhammad

Ibn 'Abbas was thirteen years old when the Prophet Muhammad died.[14] After Abu Bakr came into power, Ibn Abbas and his father were among them who unsuccessfully requested their part of Muhammad's inheritance, since Abu Bakr said that he heard Muhammad say that prophets do not leave inheritance.

Continued education

After Muhammad's era, he continued to collect and learn Muhammad's teaching from Muhammad's companions (Arabic: Sahaba‎), specially those who knew him the longest. He would consult multiple Sahaba to confirm narrations, and would go to as many as thirty Companions to verify a single matter.[1] Once he heard that a Sahaba knew a hadith unknown to him.

Ibn Abbas was not content just to accumulate knowledge, but due to a sense of duty to the ummah, he educated those in search knowledge and the general masses of his community. He turned to teaching and his house became the equivalent of a university in the full sense of the word, with specialized teaching and with him as the only teacher.[1]

One of his companions described a typical scene in front of his house:

I saw people converging on the roads leading to his house until there was hardly any room in front of his house. I went in and told him about the crowds of people at his door and he said: 'Get me water for wudu.'

He performed wudu and, seating himself, said: 'Go out and say to them: Whoever wants to ask about the Quran and its letters (pronunciation) let him enter.'

This I did and people entered until the house was filled. Whatever he was asked, Abdullah was able to elucidate and even provide additional information to what was asked. Then (to his students) he said: 'Make way for your brothers.'

Then to me he said: 'Go out and say: Who wants to ask about the Quran and its interpretation, let him enter'.

Again the house was filled and Abdullah elucidated and provided more information than what was requested.[1]

He held classes on one single subject each day, classes on issues such as tafsir, fiqh, halal and Haraam, ghazawa, poetry, Arab history before Islam, inheritance laws, Arabic language and etymology.[1]

634–644: Umar's era

Advising Umar

Umar often sought the advice Ibn Abbas on important matters of state and described him as a "young man of maturity":[1]

The Sahaba Saʿad ibn Abi Waqqas said:

I have never seen someone who was quicker in understanding, who had more knowledge and greater wisdom than Ibn Abbas. I have seen Umar summon him to discuss difficult problems in the presence of veterans of Badr from among the Muhajirin and Ansar. Ibn Abbas would speak and Umar would not disregard what he had to say.[1]

656–661: Ali's era

Battle of Siffin

Main article: Battle of Siffin

Ibn Abbas remained a staunch supporter of the final Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, during Ali's war with Muawiyah, including at the Battle of Siffin. He had also been given the position of governor of Basra during Ali's reign as Caliph.[14]

A large group of Ali's armies were discontent with the conclusion of that arbitration, and broke off into a separate group. Ibn Abbas played a key role in convincing a large number of them to return to Ali, 20,000 of 24,000 according to some sources. He did so using his knowledge of Muhammed's biography, in particular, the events of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah.[1]

680–683: Yazid's era

Sunnis believe that ibn Abbas was for the unity of the Muslims and hence did not revolt against rulers. He advised Husayn ibn Ali against his proposed expedition to Kufa that ended at Karbala. Shias contend that due to coercion and duress he gave an oath of allegiance to Yazid, using Taqiyya.

683–684: Muawiya II's era

684–685: Marwan's era

685–688: Abd al-Malik's era

Wives and Children

By a Yemenite princess named Zahra bint Mishrah, Ibn Abbas had six children.

1. Al-Abbas, the firstborn, who was childless.

2. Ali ibn Abdullah (died 736 CE), who was the grandfather of the first two Abbasid caliphs, who replaced the Umayyads in 750 CE.

3. Muhammad, who was childless.

4. Ubaydullah, who was childless.

5. Al-Fadl, who was childless.

6. Lubaba, who married Ali ibn Abdullah ibn Jaafar and had descendants.

By a concubine, he had another daughter.

7. Asma, who married her cousin Abdullah ibn Ubaydullah ibn Abbas and had two sons.[15]

Hadith transmitted by him

Ibn Abbas narrated that Mohammed said, "Two favors are treated unjustly by most people: health and free time." from Sahih Bukhari, at-Tirmidhi, ibn Majah and Al-Nasa'i

Ibn Abbas reported: Mohammed said, "He who does not memorize any part from the Qur'an he is like the ruined house. from Tirmidhi

On the authority of Ibn Abbas, who said, "One day I was behind (i.e. riding behind him on the same mount) the Prophet and he said to me: 'Young man, I shall teach you some words (of advice). Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek help, seek help of Allah. Know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you. Then pens have been lifted and the pages have dried. from Tirmidhi, who said it was a good and sound hadith

Al Hakim records on the authority of ibn Abbas that Mohammed advanced, carrying upon his neck Hassan ibn Ali, and a man met him and said, 'an excellent steed thou ridest, lad!'. The Mohammed replied, 'and he is an excellent rider.'


As ʿAbd-Allah's knowledge grew, he grew in stature. Masruq ibn al Ajda said of him:

Whenever I saw Ibn Abbas, I would say: He is the most handsome of men. When he spoke, I would say: He is the most eloquent of men. And when he held a conversation, I would say: He is the most knowledgeable of men." [1]

Ibn Abbas is highly respected by both Shia and Sunnis, even though Shia suffered severe persecution during the Abbasid Dynasty.


Ibn Abbas viewed that Tafsir can be divided in four categories:[16]

  • The category the Arabs knew because of its language
  • Those of ignorance, of which no one will be excused
  • Those the scholars know
  • Those no one knows except God (Arabic: الله Allāh)


Students and intellectual heirs

Among his students were:

Sunni view

Sunni view him as the most knowledgeable of the Companions in tafsir.[2] A book entitled Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas is tafsir, all explanations of which may go back to Ibn Abbas.[1] Of all narrations transmitted by Ibn Abbas, 1660 were considered authentic (Arabic: Sahih‎) by the authors of the two Sahihs.[1][17]

Regarding Ibn Abbas giving verdicts (Arabic: fatwa‎) in favor of Nikah Mut'ah, most Sunnis view that Ali corrected him on the matter, while other view that "Ibn Abbas position on the permissibility of Mut'ah until his last day is proven" per the Hadith of Ibn al-Zubayr and Mut'ah.[18]

Sunnis describe thus:

... the courageous Abdullah showed that he preferred peace above war, and logic against force and violence. However, he was not only known for his courage, his perceptive thought and his vast knowledge. He was also known for his great generosity and hospitality. Some of his contemporaries said of his household: "We have not seen a house with more food or drink or fruit or knowledge than the house of Ibn Abbas."

He had a genuine and abiding concern for people. He was thoughtful and caring. He once said: "When I realize the importance of a verse of God's Book, I would wish that all people should know what I know.

"When I hear of a Muslim ruler who deals equitably and rules justly, I am happy on his account and I pray for him...

"When I hear of rains that fall on the land of Muslims, that fills me with happiness..."

Abdullah ibn Abbas was constant in his devotions. He kept voluntary fasts regularly and often stayed up at night in Prayer. He would weep while praying and reading the Quran. And when reciting verses dealing with death, resurrection and the life hereafter his voice would be heavy from deep sobbing.[1]

See also


External links

  • http://www.youngmuslims.ca/online_library/books/ulum_al_quran/Ch6S1s7s4.htm
  • view hadith by Abdullah Ibn Abbas Collected By Bukhari
  • Ibn Abbas (Abd Allah) - This-is-Islam.co.uk
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