ʿAbdullāh b. ʿAbbās

Respect for Scholars and Ahl Al-Bayt

It is reported from Al-Sha’bī that he said:

Zayd b. Thābit – Allāh be pleased with him – once mounted [his horse or camel] to ride it, so Ibn ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with them – took hold of the reins [to serve him by leading his ride]. When he did this, Zayd said (out of respect for him), “Don’t do this o cousin of Allāh’s Messenger – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him.” Ibn ‘Abbās said, “This is what we have been told to do with our scholars (i.e. respect them and serve them).” Zayd said, “Show me your hand.” Ibn ‘Abbās held out his hand, and Zayd kissed it and said, “And this is what we have been told to do with the Ahl Al-Bayt (Family) of our Prophet – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him.”

Abū Bakr Al-Daynūrī, Al-Mujālasah wa Jawaāhir Al-‘Ilm 4:146, et al

The Recommendation for Men to Smell Pleasant [wearing perfume]

It is reported from Abī Qilābah that when Ibn ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with him – went out to the masjid, the neighbors knew that he had passed due the pleasant scent [of perfume] that came from him.

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh [Ibn Masʿūd] used to use perfume that had musk in it.

It is reported that ‘Uthmān b. ‘Ubaydillāh – the freedman of Sa’d b. Abī Waqqās – said:

I used to see Ibn ‘Umar, Abū Hurayrah, Abū Qatādah and Abū Usayd Al-Sā’idī – Allāh be pleased with them – passing by us when we were still in school, and we could smell the scent of amber from them.

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh [Ibn Masʿūd] could be recognized by the smell of his perfume as he approached.

It is reported from Nufay’ the freedman of ‘Abdullāh [Ibn Masʿūd] that he said:

‘Abdullāh was one of the most pleasant scented people and wore the cleanest whitest thowb (garment).

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh b. Ja’far – Allāh have mercy on him – used to crush musk and apply it in his hair.

It is reported that Umm Razīn said:

I used to gift perfume to Ibn ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with him. He said: “There is nothing the Quraysh like more.” She added, “And he would give us Al-Wars (a plant whose leaves are used to dye fabric).”

Ibn Abī Shaybah, Kitāb Al-Adab, articles 92 – 99.

The Trick of the Eyes

يَعْلَمُ خَآئِنَةَ ٱلْأَعْيُنِ وَمَا تُخْفِى ٱلصُّدُورُ

Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal [Quran, Ghāfir (40):19]

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh b. ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with him – said, explaining this verse:

A man is with a group of people when a woman passes. He shows them that he has lowered his gaze from looking at her. But when he sees they are not paying attention, he looks at her. If he fears they will notice, he lowers his gaze, but Allāh has seen in his heart that he wishes he could see her body (private areas).

Hunād b. Al-Sarī, Al-Zuhd article 1428.

Don’t ask the Polytheists

Abdullāh b. ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with them – said:

O Muslims, how can you ask the People of the Book [about their scripture] when the Book of Allāh that was revealed to your Prophet – Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him – is the most recent news of Allāh; you recite it complete and unaltered? Allāh has informed you that they replaced what Allāh wrote and changed the Book with their hands and said ‘This is from Allāh,’ to purchase with it a measly price (Quran 2:79). Does not the knowledge that has come to you forbid you from asking them? By Allāh, we have not seen a single man among them asking you about what was revealed to you.

Al-Bukhārī, Al-Ṣaḥīḥ hadith 2685, Chapter on not asking the Polytheists for testimonies or anything else. He also records it in other chapters.

Wasted knowledge and rhyming prayers

Ibn ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with him – said, “Address the people once a week, and if you must do so more often, then twice; and if you have to do even more, then three times; and do not make people tired or bored with the Quran. Let me not find you coming to the people to exhort them and tell them stories while they are speaking amongst themselves, thus interrupting their conversation and tiring them. Instead, listen, and when they tell you, address them when they desire to listen to your speech. And beware of making your supplications rhyme, stay away from this, for I found Allāh’s Messenger – peace and praise of Allāh be upon him – and his Companions doing nothing but [staying away from this].”

Al-Bukhārī, Al-Ṣaḥīḥ ‘What is hated about making supplications rhyme.’

Notes

In this narration, the illustrious Companion ʿAbdullāh b. ‘Abbās gives some guidelines about being wise and aware of people’s condition when teaching them and calling them to Allāh. He advised that a person should not address the people and give talks to them too often, lest they become bored or fed up of hearing the Quran. This consideration is taken from the Sunnah of the Prophet – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him – as related by Ibn Mas’ūd.

This tradition also expresses the dislike of trying to disseminate knowledge in a way that might be detrimental to its purpose. We are discouraged from spreading knowledge to those who do not desire it or those who are not enthusiastic to receive it and interrupting people while they are speaking. We are encouraged to teach knowledge to those who express their desire for it, because all this means it is more likely that the recipient will benefit from this knowledge.

The narration also warns against the practice of trying to make du’ā (supplication) rhyme. This is because occupying oneself with putting together rhyming prayers conflicts with the state of being humble and imploring Allāh, which is how a person should be when supplicating. There is no contradiction between this disliked behavior and the fact that some of the Prophetic supplications and statements rhyme, because the Prophet never used to have to try and make them rhyme, but was effortlessly eloquent and at the same time fully humbled in front of Allāh.

Adapted from Ibn Ḥajr, Fatḥ Al-Bārī.