Birth & Early Life
Abbas ibn Ali (as)** was born on Shaban 4, 26 after Hijra (A.H.). He was the son of Ali Ibn Abu Talib (as) the fourth Caliph, ( the first Imam) and Fatima bint Hizam. Abbas had three brothers, Abdullah Ibn Ali, Ja’far Ibn Ali, and Usman Ibn Ali. Abbas lived 34 years. It is said that he did not open his eyes after he was born until his half-brother Husayn Ibn Ali (as) took him in his arms. Abbas (as) learned the art of war from his father Imam Ali (as) who was the best and the most brave warrior of all times. 
Hazrat Abbas (as) never considered himself equal in rank or stature to his half-brother Husayn (as). On the contrary, Abbas (as) considered his half-brother Husayn (as) to be his master. Most of the times ,Hazrat Abbas (as) was the one who was working for Imam Husayn (as). This devotion can be gauged by the following event: At the Mosque of Kufa, Ali Ibn Abu Talib (as), Husayn (as), Qanbar (a companion of Ali (as)), and Abbas (as) were sitting. Husayn (as) asked Qanbar to bring water because he was thirsty. Hazrat Abbas(as) who was then a very young child, asked Qamber to stop, saying that he would himself bring the water for his master.  
It has been recorded that that the Angel Gabriel informed the prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) what would happen to his grandson Husayn Ibn Ali (as) at Karbala. Muhammad, Fatima Zahra, and Ali (pbut) were saddened by this, so Imam Ali (as) wished for a son to help Husayn Ibn Ali (as) at Karbala. He asked his brother, Aqeel Ibn Abu Talib, to search for a wife from courageous descent. Aqeel pointed out Fatima Kelabiya better known as Ummal Baneen, who was descended from the honored lineage of Hezam Ibn Khalid Ibn Rabi’e Ibn Amer Kalbi.  Ali Ibn Abu Talib did not marry Ummal Baneen (sa)*** (or any other woman) during the lifetime of Fatima Zahra (sa)***. 
Hazrat Abbas(as) was a towering and handsome personality. His dauntless courage, supreme confidence and unflinching loyalty earned him many titles. He was called “Qamar-e-Bani Hashim” (the moon of the Hashemites), because of his imposing and very beautiful appearance.
Hazrat Abbas (as) was a towering and handsome personality. His dauntless courage, supreme confidence and unflinching loyalty earned him many titles. He was called “Qamar-e-Bani Hashim” (the moon of the Hashemites), because of his imposing appearance.
His remarkable horsemanship made him “Syed-ul-Forosan” (the chief of horseman). His ability to lead people resulted in his being called “ashja’-ul-nas” (the leader of the valiant), and the manner in which he sacrificed his life earned him the title “Afzal-ul-Shohada” (the choicest of the martyrs) and “Saqqa” (water carrier-giver), because he sacrificed his life in an effort to procure water for Imam Husayn’s (as) children in the tragic battle of Karbala.
He also known as:
A man of forgiveness
A man of manners
Role model of manhood
The most brave
Imam Ali(as), who himself was known as the “Lion of God”, brought up Hazrat Abbas(as) and ably guided him until he was fourteen years old. The next ten years of Hazrat Abbas’s(as) life were spent under the careful eye of Imam Hasan(as), and the last ten years with Imam Husayn(as). Thus it was no small wonder that Hazrat Abbas(as) acquired near perfection in so many aspects of life. His gallantry, boldness and courageous outlook were inherited from Imam Ali(as). Imam Hasan (as) taught him patience and tolerance. His lion-hearted loyalty and self-sacrificing nature were the results of his association with Imam Hussain(as).
Imam Jafer Sadiq (as) has said: “I bear witness, O Abbas(as), that you have reached the zenith of perfection in the matter of self-resignation, loyalty and obedience.
Imam Zain-ul-Abedeen (as) has said: “May Allah shower His blessings on my uncle Abbas (as). The manner in which he laid down his life for his brother, Imam Hussain(as), showed supreme self-sacrifice. He fought valiantly to protect Imam Husayn(as), and it was only after he lost both his arms that he fell. Allah re compensated him by conferring upon him in heaven, two wings to fly with. Verily, the place of Hazrat Abbas(as) before Allah is so high, that all the martyrs will envy him on dooms-day”
Imam Ali’s (as) desire was to ensure that Hazrat Abbas (as) preached the religion of Islam and served the prophet’s family. Hazrat Abbas (as) saw his first battle when only eleven. This was the battle of Siffen. One day he appeared fully disguised, masked and armoured, on the battle-field. When Ibn-e-Shasa, a brave and famous Syrian fighter saw the masked person, he asked one of his seven sons to slay him. Instead, the son was quickly put down. Similarly, the other six sons tried to fight this masked warrior, but they all met the same fate. Finally, Ibn-e-Shasa himself came forward and the manner in which he was also beaten, made all the other people stare in disbelief. Then they thought his masked fighter to be Imam Ali(as), and no one dared to come forward and fight. But when Hazrat Abbas(as) removed the mask, people were surprised to note that he was not Imam Ali(as), but instead, the inheritor of Imam Ali’s (as) gallantry.
Battle of Siffin
Abbas’s(as) debut as a soldier was in the battle of Siffin. In 657 CE, Imam Ali (as)– defender of Islam and Muawiya Ibn Abi Sufyan, governor of Syria & enemy of Islam, were locked in a struggle for Islam. One of the main battles of this conflict was at Siffin – a place near the Euphrates River. During the course of the battle, Abbas(as) entered the battlefield wearing the clothes of his father, who was known to be a deadly skilled warrior. Abbas killed many soldiers on the other side with his lightning swordship. For this reason, Muawiya’s soldiers mistook him for Ali(as) because of his similar deadly art of war. However, Ali (as) himself soon appeared on the battlefield. Muawiya’s soldiers were astonished to saw him, and were confused about who the other person was. After that, Imam Ali(as) introduced Abbas by saying, “He is Abbas, moon of the Hashemites”. 
Battle of Karbala
Abbas showed his loyalty to Imam Husayn (as) at the Battle of Karbala. After succeeding father Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan as Caliph, Yazid Ibn Muawiyah required Imam Husayn (as) to pledge allegiance to him. Imam Husayn (as) refused to do so. In 60 A.H. (680 CE), Imam Husayn (as) left Medina, with a small group of his companions and family, to travel to Kufa. The people of Kufa said that they would support Imam Husayn (as) if he claimed the Caliphate. On the way, Imam Hossain (as) and his group were intercepted. They were forced into a detour and arrived in Karbala on the 2nd of Muharram, 61 A.H. Imam Husayn (as)’s camp was surrounded and cut off from the Euphrates River. The camp ran out of water on the 7th of Muharram. 
At length the battle started and the companions of Imam Hussain(as), heavily outnumbered by the enemy, began to fall. The three brothers of Hazrat Abbas(as): Abdullah, Jafar and Uthman, as well as Hazrat Abbas’s sons, Fazl and Qasim, fought with rare gallantry before became martyr.
The Euphrates river was occupied by Yazid’s Army to prevent the camp of Imam Husayn (as) from getting water. Shias believe that Abbas(as), because of his skill and bravery, could have; attacked Yazid’s army, occupied the river, and retrieved water for the camp alone. However, Abbas(as) was not allowed to fight. He was only allowed to get water. Thus, he went to the river to get water for Hussain’s 4 year old daughter Sakina bint Hussain. Sakina was very attached to Abbas(as), who was her uncle. To her, Abbas(as) was the only hope for getting water.
The cries of water raised by the children in Imam Husayn’s (as) camp on the day of Ashura, deeply grieved Hazrat Abbas(as). Abbas could not see her thirsty and crying “Al-Atash” ( o the thirst)  . After taking permission from Imam Husayn (as), he took the empty water-bay of Sakina, the daughter of Imam Husayn (as), and rode towards the river Euphrates. On the 10th of Muharram, Abbas(as) was ordered by Imam Husayn (as) to bring water from the Euphrates river for the small thirsty children. . Cutting through the rank and file of Yazid’s army, he rushed to the bank of the river, Once he had made it to the river, he started filling the bag with water. Abbas’s (as)loyalty to Imam Husayn (as) was so great, that Abbas did not drink any water because he could not bear the thought that others were thirsty.
The manners became sorry, O man of manners.
After gathering the water, Abbas(as) rode back towards the camp. Yazid’s army encircled the gallant Hazrat Abbas(as). He kept the water-bag in one hand and started fighting with the other. When both his hands were severed, he gripped the water-bag strap with his teeth. The army of Yazid ibn Muawiyah started shooting arrows at him. One arrow hit the water-skin and water poured out of it. At that moment, Abbas lost all hope. One of Yazid’s men hit his head with a mace and Abbas fell off his horse without the support of his arms. As he was falling, he called, “Ya Akkha adrek akkha” (Oh brother come to help your brother).
Shia historians say that this was the first time in his life that he called Husayn (as) his brother.. Imam Husayn (as) reached him with great difficulty, and placed his head on his lap. Hazrat Abbas(as) then opened his eyes to cast a last look on the Holy Imam’s face and breathed his last.
Then Imam Husayn (as) said this verse for him(surah 89-Al-Fajr (The Dawn)- verse 27-30):
[To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul,
Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him],
And enter among My [righteous] servants
And enter My Paradise.
On the martyrdom of Abbas(as), Imam Husayn (as) was in tears forever. The small children never asked for water after the death of Abbas and remained thirsty and silent until they were martyr or enslaved by the enemies of Islam. ( yazid and his cruel force). Imam Husayn (as) declared him “Saqqa” (One who fetches water).
After the battle of Karbala ended, the dead bodies of the slain warriors were lying about without heads. The enemy forces decided to run their horses over the bodies. They did this in order to give maximum possible damages to the households of prophet Muhammad (pbuh)* and Imam Ali(as).
His holly shrine
Abbas(as) was buried at that ground where he fell from his horse in Karbala, Iraq. Millions of pilgrims visit the shrine and pay homage to it every year. Environmental effects have caused the Euphrates river’s direction to change. Nearly 1400 years after the battle of Karbala, the river is flowing across the grave of Abbas, making a circle around it. It is said that the Euphrates has come to Abbas now. 
* it means:peace be up on him (p.b.u.h)
** it means:peace-health be up on him (AS)
*** it means peace-health be up on her (Sa)
1 a b c d e Hazrat Abul Fazl Al Abbas. Retrieved on 2006-01-08.
2 a b Lalljee, Yousuf N. (2003). Know Your Islam. New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, p.160. ISBN 0-940368-02-1.
3 Lalljee, Yousuf N. (2003). Know Your Islam. New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, p.125. ISBN 0-940368-02-1.
4 The Martydom of Imam Husain (RA). Retrieved on 2006-06-30.
5 a b Lalljee, Yousuf N. (2003). Know Your Islam. New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, p.161. ISBN 0-940368-02-1.
6 Wikipedia: Battle of Siffin. Retrieved on 2006-01-08.
7 Wikipedia: Battle of Kerbala. Retrieved on 2006-07-30.
8 Hasan, Moulana Syed Najamul. Zikr-ul Abbas Chapter 32, p.174.
9 a b The Great Sacrifice. Retrieved on 2006-07-30.
10 Zakir. Tears and Tributes, p.51-52. ASIN B000EEP7NC.
11 KaraÌraviÌ, NajmulhÌ£asan (January 1, 1974). Biography of Hazrat Abbas. Peermahomed Ebrahim Trust. ASIN B0007AIWQW.