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Published on 28th Ramadhan, 1423.

The Water Bearer

By Shaykh Ali Abu-Thalib Son of Abdunnur


When Abbas saw that the end was quite near,
He called on his brothers to go forth with no fear.
These saintly young men, who had the same mother;
Loved Imam Husayn, their older half brother.

Abbas said, “Oh sons of my mother!
“It is time to go forth for the cause of our Master.
“Let me see you stay true, to Allah, and his cause
“And The Prophet Muhammad with no fear, and no pause.”

Abdullah, Ja’far, and Uthman came forth to fight
With grown, hardened men who were opposing the right.
Each lad was cut down by a man twice his age.
And went on to glory to receive their just wage.

Most of the males with Husayn were immature boys;
But they faced death, pain, and slaughter for the hereafter’s joys.
These Foolish Tools of Satan weren’t out just to Murder Imam Husayn.
They inflicted ordeals on the whole household to cause everyone pain.

Why else did they bar the whole party from the Great Euphrates’ water?
Why didn’t they spare the weak, instead of bringing to them slaughter?

As the afternoon waned, the wee children were so hurt from lack of water,
That tiny little Sakina, Imam Husayn’s little daughter,
Led forty wee children to petition for just a few drops of water.
They approached their Uncle Abbas and in one voice they pled,
“We Thirst!  We Thirst!  If this thirst gets much worse, we soon will be dead.”

Sakina stepped up to speak to Abbas,  
“Oh Uncle isn't there something you can do?
“There’s no moisture anywhere, not even any dew.
“If just one leather canteen for us you could fill,
“We could all wet our throats, If it be Allah’s Will.”

Abbas was a champion warrior;  but the sight of these innocent babies begging
for water
Hurt him worse than their young heroes one by one tasting slaughter.
So he picked up Sakina’s water bag,
His saber, and Prophet’s battle flag,

And with the Imam’s sacred permission,
Charged straight for the river, with just one ambition;
To quench his favourite nieces’,  and the other children’s thirst;
To fill that canteen before their thirst got much worse.

Now, those sick, semi-mushricks could barely stand with the Hashimite Youth.
They were mowed down like grass by That Great Champion of Truth.

Abbas put a horrible hurt on those expendable pawns.
They panicked and scattered, wanting just to be gone.
They were falling so fast, chaos swept through their ranks.
In fear they deserted that cool river’s banks;
That very same river they had guarded for days;
In fear of one man, and the skill he displayed.

Abbas filled his canteen. 
He was so keenly intent on quickly returning to the tents
After hearing those children’s pitiful laments,
And observing from their features that their deaths were imminent;
That he would not relent to ease his own thirst’s torment
With one drop of water from the the Euphrates’ swift running torrent.

He simply filled his canteen, jumped on his horse, aimed him at Sakina’s tent,
And spurred his charger to gallop at a flat out sprint.
This caused real concern to those impotent pawns of Yazeed’s illegal
government.
Those pitifully incompetent pawns couldn’t efficiently deal with Husayn’s
heroic contingent

When they were deprived of water and nourishment by these defenders of
tyrannical devilment.
What would it be like to cross swords with these “suicidal zealots”, if
Abbas’ daring experiment
Actually did succeed,  and they were freed from thirst by one lone combatant;

One lone combatant who managed to fetch water from a river that was blockaded
by an entire mounted, well armed regiment? 
If Abbas was allowed to achieve that super human accomplishment,
It would be an empowering encouragement that would supplement

The steel that was already a part of their most excellent warrior temperament.
That illegal government’s paid cowards never thought that the water was for
the children’s nourishment.
So they swooped down to prevent this bold experiment from becoming a
very dangerous embarrassment.

This time they fought harder, with more determination, but still they
were entirely too incompetent
To stand up to this Hashimite prince; and once again a whole regiment
Fled from one man to escape his sword’s terrible punishment.

They fell back in fear and humiliating embarrassment; 
Then sent for the archers to prevent this embarrassing development
From turning into a rallying point that would make Husayn’s men even more belligerent.

Arrows came at Abbas from every direction.
He turned and dashed towards the tent using his body as the canteen’s protection.
He was seriously wounded, but he was intent on reaching the tents with the
contents of that water bag intact.
But when the tyrant’s pawns saw Abbas’ condition, they closed in and attacked.

They surrounded Abbas like a wolf pack surrounding a crippled old stag.
They cut deep into his flesh, and cut off the hand that held the Prophet’s war flag.
He saved the standard by trapping it between his body and the horse,
And once again he tried to manoeuvre to get back on his original course.

But his mission of mercy was becoming harder to bring to reality.
He was bleeding profusely, from scores of wounds inflicted by the enemy.

One hand was cut off already, and before he could compose himself,
One of Yazeed’s minions, who was short on bravery, but not cunning and stealth,
Had concealed himself behind a sand dune.

So when Abbas broke free from the wolves, in a dazed semi-swoon;
This master of treachery, suddenly appeared and cut off his other hand.
The sword, and the hand, lay in the hot desert sand.
But the man still tried to finish the-mission-impossible that he gallantly began.

With the water bag, and The Prophet’s Flag, pressed between his body and the horse,
He fought to remain conscious, and to get back on course.
But they surrounded him again, this time with impunity.
A man with no hands guaranteed their immunity.

They cut at him viciously, but he still tried to get free.
To get that bag to the children, with that life saving liquid energy.
But it wasn’t just his blood that he heard spilling on to the sand.
His canteen was pierced by one of the arrows shot by this mercenary band.

So out flowed the hopes of the children, and his bold daring plan;
The blood, and the water, the life of the man.

Abbas was now helpless, hopeless, and trapped.
Both hands were cut off, all his energy sapped.

Arrows protruded from all over his body including an eye. 
It was clear to Abbas, that soon he would die.

Then one of his enemies delivered a crushing blow with a mace to his head.
They left him writhing in pain and calling for Husayn;  for they knew, that
in a few, Mighty Abbas would be dead.

Husayn heard his half brother’s cry.
And rushed to arrive before he did die.
There he lay, blood flowing from cuts everywhere,
Writhing in pain, and gasping for air.

Both hands cut off, and an arrow in his eye;
Calling for God and Husayn, and preparing to die.

Husayn dropped to his knees, and sat,
He cradled Abbas’s bleeding head on his lap.
Abbas could barely speak. 
Not only was he in excruciating pain and terribly weak;
His breathing was laboured and considerably faster.
He managed to say, “Thank God you came, Oh my Master.”

And then with a great effort, he lifted his head off the lap of the man,
And laid it back down on the hot desert sand.

He said, “Oh Master!  You will suffer much worse before this day ends.
“And there will be no lap to lend comfort to you; not one of your friends.
“It is better that Abbas share with you this pillow of hot, dusty earth.
“Furthermore, you are my master, this pitiful slave is not worth
“The luxury of such an esteemed head rest.
“This is good enough for Abbas, for me this is best.”

In between sobs and tears Husayn made his last request
From his brother, his champion, the best of the best.

He said, “Oh my most loyal friend.
“I am not just your master, I’m your very close kin.
“You have called me master since you were a boy.
“Now it would please me, and bring my heart joy
“If you would please call me brother, just once ‘fore we part.”
Abbas whispered, “My brother, my brother,” with the last beats of his heart;

Then he passed.

Thus ended the life of this great personality.
Abbas ibn Ali; a mythical hero that lived in reality.
The Epitome of chivalry; humility, and bravery,
The enemy of tyrants and governmental slavery

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Last Updated Monday, 28 July 2008