Though Abbas was an uncle of Muhammad, he was only about two and a half years older than Muhammad. He had a great love for his nephew. Wherever they worked together, Abbas never allowed Muhammad to undergo any hard work. Once the Ka’aba was under repairs, everybody from Quraish, young or old took part in this sacred project. Muhammad and his uncle, Abbas were bringing stones along with other children. While working, Muhammad's shoulder was bruised. His uncle Abbas was upset and without any hesitation he took off his own loin-cloth and put it on the shoulders of Muhammad as a pad to protect him from bruises.
The Ansars gave assurance of their sincere and wholesale support. Abbas was satisfied, and Muhammad migrated to Medina after a few days. Abbas stayed in Mecca, but his heart was with Muhammad. At Medina, Muhammad conquered Khyber, a stronghold of Jewish peoples. Somebody in Mecca spread the rumour that the Muslims have suffered a smashing defeat in Khyber and that Muhammad has been taken prisoner and a number of his followers have been killed.
The Meccans were jubilant at the news, but there was mourning and wailing at the house of Abbas. Abbas could not believe it and sought confirmation of the news from his sources. Soon he came to know that the news was entirely false and that Muhammad had gained a decisive victory over the enemies. Then the joy of Abbas knew no bounds. He changed his dress took hold of his walking stick, and arriving at Ka’aba began to make rounds of the sacred house in a blissful mood. People taunted him saying: “By Allah! Such a great calamity, and such a show of resignation!” Abbas retorted, “By the same Allah, of whom you have sworn, what you say is quite incorrect. You must know that Khyber has been conquered, and every inch of its land is in the possession of Muhammad and his followers.”When the Meccans made enquiries, they found that the information of Abbas was correct. They felt small and humiliated and licked their wounds.
Not only did ‘Abbas share the sorrows and joys of Muhammad but he conveyed important news of Mecca to Muhammad though he was still out of the pale of Islam. He also helped the poor Muslims who could not migrate to Medina for lack of resources. Whenever ‘Abbas thought of migrating to Medina, Muhammad stopped him and said: “It is better, if you stay in Mecca. Just as I am the last of the line of Prophets, you shall be the last person to migrate from Mecca.”
In the battle of Badar, Allah bestowed success upon the Muslims. ‘Abbas was taken prisoner. He was tied with ropes which hurt him, thus he groaned with pain. Knowing him in distress, Muhammad could not sleep. As soon as the good companions came to know of it, they loosened the bonds of Abbas. Such was the love and affection between Muhammad and his uncle Abbas. But in the matter of justice and principles no love and affection did count. When the question of releasing the captives on payment of ransom, arose, Abbas was asked to pay a heavy sum of money. In reply, Abbas argued that he was a Muslim by heart but could not dare to disclose it because of the situation obtaining in Mecca. The infidels forced him to take part in the battle of Badar. Muhammad said: “Allah alone knows what is there in one’s heart. If you speak the truth, Allah will reward you. But no concession can be given to you.” Abbas said that he was a poor man. This Plea, too, was not accepted. Muhammad said “I know you have deposited a big amount of money with your wife,” Abbas was awestricken. He said, “By Allah, no one else knew about that money beside myself and my wife. No doubt you are the Prophet of Allah”. Then he paid a large sum of money in ransom. This brought release to him and two other captives, his nephew Aqeel and Naufal bin Haris.
After this proclamation all the income of ‘Abbas from interest stopped. The business in Mecca has already closed at the time of his migration to Medina. So Muhammad helped him with the property seized in battles and also gave him some portion of the income from Fidak, a garden which was owned by Muhammad. ‘Abbas spent this money very generously. He was a very effective. During the caliphate of ‘Umar, once there were no rains and the country faced a dreadful famine. ‘Umar requested Abbas to pray for Allah’s mercy. As soon as ‘Abbas raised his hands in prayer the clear sky was covered with dense clouds and it rained so heavily that there was plenty of water for a good harvest.
Sometimes he would say: ‘Abbas is the uncle of the Prophet of Allah. He is the most generous among the Quraish and has great regard of his relations.” Once Muhammad addressed ‘Abbas thus: “By Allah Who is my Creator, whosoever does not love you for the sake of Allah and his Prophet, will be devoid of faith. My uncle is just like my father to me.” When Muhammad passed away, people went to ‘Abbas to offer their condolences.
‘Abbas had a powerful voice. In the battle field when nothing could be audible in the noise of the clash of weapons and the shouts of soldiers, ‘Abbas’s voice could be easily heard. Once he said: “In the battle of Hunain, I was holding the reins of the horse of the Holy Prophet and was running by its side. At the height of the battle, the enemy made such a wild attack that the Muslims were dispersed. Muhammad cried, ‘Abbas ! call the spearmen. I had a loud voice, so I shouted, “O you people with spears! Where are you?” The retreating warriors heard the call and turned towards the enemy and made them retreat. Thus a lost battle was won.”
Thus in the pursuit of seeking pleasure of Allah, ‘Abbas died at the age of 88 and was buried in Jannatul Baqee' cemetery, Madinah, Saudi Arabia. Among his children ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas was a renowned companion of Muhammad.