A few incidents of these luminaries are presented ahead. These incidents clearly inform us of the respect and the acknowledgement of the merits of one another that they exuded. The substantiation of this very aspect is the theme of this entire book and is the confirmation of the verse of the Qur’an, Ruhama’ Baynahum (compassionate amongst themselves):
عن ابن عباس قال كان النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم اذا جلس جلس ابو بكر عن يمينه فابصر ابو بكر العباس بن عبد المطلب يوما مقبلا فتنحي له عن مكانه ولم يره النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم فقال النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم ما نحاك يا ابا بكر؟فقال هذا عمك يا رسول الله فسر بذالك النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم حتي يري ذالك في وجهه.
Ibn ‘Abbas narrates, “Abu Bakr would always sit to the right hand side of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. On one occasion Abu Bakr saw ‘Abbas the uncle of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam coming. He thus moved from his place for him and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had not realised why he had done so.
So he asked, “Why did you shift from your place, O Abu Bakr?”
He said, “Here comes your uncle O Rasulullah.”
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam became so elated that the joy could be seen on his blessed countenance.”
عن جعفر بن محمد عن ابيه عن جده قال كان النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم اذا جلس جلس ابو بكر عن يمينه و عمر عن يساره و عثمان بين يديه و كان كاتب سر رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم فاذا جاء العباس بن عبد المطلب تنحي ابو بكر و جلس العباس مكانه.
Whenever Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would sit Abu Bakr would sit to his right, ‘Umar to his left and ‘Uthman in front of him (‘Uthman was a scribe of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When ‘Abbas would join the gathering Abu Bakr would vacate his space for him.
In the books of the Shia we find a narration of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma wherein he commends Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This narration is worth studying and will thus be presented ahead. However, prior to that I wish to establish his reliability according to Shia standards:
1. Sheikh al Ta’ifah, Abu Jafar al Tusi, has cited the coming narration of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma in his Amali:
فعلم النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم من الله وعلم علي من النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم وعلمي من علم علي.
Ibn ‘Abbas says, “The knowledge of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, the knowledge of ‘Ali is from Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and my knowledge is from ‘Ali.”
2. The author of Majalis al Mu’minin, Qadi Nur Allah Shustari, has also abundantly praised Ibn ‘Abbas and has penned a very detailed biography regarding him after the mention of his father, ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib. He states:
عبد اللہ ابن عباس ازعالم صحابہ پیغمبر وافضل اولاد عباس ومرید وتلمیذ حضرت امیر المومنین علیہ السلام بودہ ودر رکاب آں حضرت ہمیشہ با مخالفاں مجاہدہ نمودہ علو درجہ او در علم تفسیر وفقہ وحدیث مشہور ومستغنی از ایراد تفاصیل۔۔۔۔
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas was from amongst the learned companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was the best of the offspring of ‘Abbas, and was a student of Amir al Mu’minin ‘alayh al Salam. He always strove alongside Amir al Mu’minin even in times of conflict. His expertise is the fields of Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh are well known and do not need further elucidation.
3. ‘Abdullah al Mamaqani and ‘Abbas al Qummi have likewise lavishly praised ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas in their books Tanqih al Maqal and Muntaha al Amal respectively. Hence, he was regarded — unanimously — as a great personality according to both the Shia and the Ahl al Sunnah.
Having establishing his reliability, the author of Nasikh al Tawarikh, Mirza Muhammad Taqi who was also known as Lisan al Mulk has cited a narration of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu with reference to Mas’udi, a Shia historian. The narration reads as follows:
مسعودی در مروج الذہب می نویسد کہ عبد اللہ ابن عبد اللہ ابن عباس بر معاویہ در آمد ودر مجلس او جماعتی از بزرگان قریش حاضر بودند۔ معاویہ رو بابن عباس کرد وگفت ہمی مسالہ چند از تو پرسش کنم وپاسخ بشنوم فرمود از ہر چہ خواہی بہ پرس گفت چہ میگوئ در ابوبکر قال ابن عباس في أبي بكر رحم الله أبابكر كان والله للقرأن تاليا وعن المنكر ناهيا وبدينه عارفا ومن الله خائفا عن المنهيات زاجرا وبالمعروف أمرا وبالليل قائما وبالنهار صائما وفاق أصحابه ورعا وكفافا وسادهم زاهدا وعفافا فغضب الله من ينقصه ويطعن عليه.
Mas’udi has written in his book Muruj al Dhahab that one day Ibn ‘Abbas visited Muawiyah and many of the notable people of the Quraysh were present. Muawiyah faced Ibn ‘Abbas and said, “I am going to pose a few questions to you the answers of which I wish to hear from you.”
He said, “Ask whatever you desire.”
He thus enquired, “What do you say about Abu Bakr?”
Ibn ‘Abbas replied, “He was by Allah a reciter of the Qur’an, a preventer from evil, one who was well acquainted with his din, who feared Allah, who reprimanded upon vice, who enjoined good, who would stand by night in the worship of Allah and would fast during the day. He had surpassed his companions in piety and asceticism just as he had taken the lead in disinclination and abstinence from this world. Hence, may the wrath of Allah descend upon the person who denigrates him and criticises him.”
Note:- If any of the readers are speculating as to whether Mas’udi was a Shia or not, then he should refer to Rijal al Mamaqani, also known as Tanqih al Maqal, of ‘Abdullah al Mamaqani. The affirmation of him being a Shia can be found there. Al Mamaqani went into great detail with regards to Mas’udi’s biography and has dispelled all the misconceptions of some people who doubted him being a Shia. I have avoided touching on this issue so as to circumvent the elongation of the discussion.
He is also reported to have lavishly praised Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The narration appears in Mustadrak al Hakim and al Isti’ab of Ibn ‘Abdul Barr:
…يحي بن سليم عن جعفر بن محمد عن أبيه عن عبد الله بن جعفر رضي الله عنهما قال ولينا أبو بكر فكان خير خليفة الله و أرحمه بنا وأحناه علينا.
‘Abdullah ibn Jafar is reported to have said, “Abu Bakr took charge of us and was the best khalīfah of Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala, and he was the most compassionate and the most caring towards us.”
The scholars are well aware that Imam al Dhahabi has abridged the Mustadrak and has classed each hadith that appears therein in terms of its reliability or unauthenticity. He has classed the above cited hadith as authentic.
 Kanz al ‘Ummal 7/67.
 Kanz al ‘Ummal 7/70.
 Amali Sheikh al Ta’ifah 1/11.
 Tarikh al Mas’udi 3/60.
 Al Mustadrak 3/79; al Isti’ab 2/243.