He is the eldest child of Sayyidah Fatimah bint Hussain rahimaha Llah.
Agnomen: His agnomen was Abu Muhammad. It has also been said that it was Abu Jafar.
Title: His title was Mahd (pure), due to both his mother and father being Hashimi, first cousins from the progeny of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha.
‘Abdullah al Mahd was from the knowledgeable, Allah fearing, and pious scholars.
Hadith: He narrated from his mother, Fatimah bint Hussain, Abu Bakr ibn Hazm, ‘Abdur Rahman ibn al A’raj, ‘Ikrimah, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullah.
A number of scholars have praised him:
His narrations have been reported by al Tirmidhi, al Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah.
He was a gifted Faqih who loved the pious predecessors.
It has been reported in Tarikh al Dimashq from Muhammad ibn Qasim al Asadi Abu Ibrahim:
I saw ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan ibn Hassan ibn ‘Ali mentioning the killing of ‘Uthman and he cried until both his beard and clothes were wet.
He has been described as a benevolent person, caring and tolerant.
Ibn ‘Asakir reports that a person maligned ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan rahimahu Llah but he just ignored him. When he was asked why he did not respond to him, he said:
I am not aware of his faults and I dislike to slander him with that which he does not have.
Ibn ‘Asakir also reports from Yahya ibn Ma’in that a man cursed ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan rahimahu Llah but he merely replied:
ما أنت كفؤ لي فأسب و ال انت عبدي فأشح
You are not my peer that I should curse, nor are you my slave that I should be resentful.
An astonishing example of his sincerity and good council is his interceding on behalf of the Banu Umayyah, as reported in Tarikh Dimashq from al Asma’i, who said:
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ali intended to slaughter all of the Banu Umayyah in Hijaz, so ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan ibn Hassan said to him, “O my cousin, if you hasten in killing all of your equals then who will remain to savour your rule? Forgive and Allah will forgive you.” So he complied.
Al Asfahani has reported with his chain of narration from Mus’ab al Zubairi, his words:
All forms of excellence were found in ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan. When it was asked who is the most excellent of people? The reply would come, “‘Abdullah ibn Hassan!” When it was asked who is the most virtuous of people, the reply would come, “‘Abdullah ibn Hassan!” When it was asked who is the most well-spoken of people, the reply would come, “‘Abdullah ibn Hassan!”
Due to his eminence and merit ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan rahimahu Llah was honoured and revered by the Khalifahs, governors, and leaders. ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul Aziz rahimahu Llah would welcome him when he came into his presence and call him to sit next to him.
‘Abdullah ibn Hassan rahimahu Llah and his brothers, Hassan al Muthallath rahimahu Llah, Ibrahim al Ghamr rahimahu Llah, and Muhammad al Dibaj ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan rahimahu Llah [his uterine brother], were put through an immense trial, the likes of which are unequalled. This was when Abu Jafar al Mansur ordered them to be imprisoned, after which they were subsequently tortured and finally killed in the year 145 A.H, may Allah give the oppressors what they deserve.
The progeny of ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan rahimahu Llah spread to the various cities and towns of the Muslim world, amongst them are the Idrisid dynasty in the west (Morocco) and the leaders of Makkah until the tenth century Hijri.
Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan rahimahu Llah faced great trials and difficulty, a means through which Allah elevated his status in accordance with the words of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:
Indeed greater reward comes with greater trial. An indeed, when Allah loves a people He subjects them to trials, so whoever is content then for him is pleasure, and whoever is discontent then for his is wrath.
‘Abdullah ibn Hassan rahimahu Llah and his brothers, Hassan al Muthallath, Ibrahim al Ghamr, and Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, underwent this severe trial during the reign of Abu al ‘Abbas ibn al Saffah and then again during the reign of Abu Jafar al Mansur who had them all imprisoned. All the sons of Hassan al Muthanna rahimahu Llah were martyred in imprisonment. Abu Jafar al Mansur had each of them executed in a different manner, and he would also utilise various means of torture each different from the next.
Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan rahimahu Llah, Sayyidina Hassan al Muthallath rahimahu Llah, and Sayyidina Ibrahim al Ghamr rahimahu Llah were all martyred while in prison in the year 145 A.H, alongside their uterine brother, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah rahimahu Llah, son of Fatimah bint Hussain rahimaha Llah. I will not unnecessarily lengthen the discussion and digress from the topic at hand with a graphic account of the torture and oppression that was meted out to ‘Abdullah ibn Mahd rahimahu Llah and his brothers, but I will suffice with the brief recollection of these events by Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah:
Few were those who survived and were later released. Al Mansur had imprisoned them in a cell where they could neither hear the Adhan nor discern the times of salah. The people of Khurasan interceded for Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah al ‘Uthmani, but he was executed instead. His head was severed and sent to the people of Khurasan. May Allah not give al Mansur a good return.
 Tarikh Dimashq, 29/256.
 Tarikh Dimashq, 29/258.
 ‘Abdullah bin ‘Ali ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas was a commander of the army forces of the Abbasid dynasty. He was killed during the reign of Abu Jafar al Mansur.
 Tarikh Dimashq, 27/380.
 Maqatal al Talibiyin, pg. 160.
 Ibid, pg.162.
 Al Tirmidhi, # 2396.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 10/81. I request the readers to also read Hassan al Muthanna and his son, ‘Abdullah al Mahd—A glimpse into their noble lives by ‘Ali ibn Hamd al Tamimi. [The book has been translated into English by the Mahajjah Research Institute, and is available to download on www.mahajjah.com.]