New publication of Prof. Christopher Clohessy

PISAI is pleased to announce the new publication of the Prof. Christopher Clohessy, under the title The Outrider. Abū al-Faḍl al-ʿAbbās (Gorgias Press 2024) This volume attempts to present what is certainly the first academic biography of Abū al-Fal al-ʿAbbās based almost entirely on primary and secondary Arabic sources. The elusive al-ʿAbbās, eldest son of ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib and his wife Umm al-Banīn, is lauded throughout the Shīʿī would for his heroic and altruistic exploits on the field Karbalāʾ, and is remembered most especially on the ninth night of Muarram, the night before ʿĀshūrāʾ. Aside from a few important recorded incidents from the Karbalāʾ battle, there are few primary sources for al-ʿAbbās, who becomes something of an intangible figure hidden behind his half-brother al-usayn. The earliest accounts of al-ʿAbbās’ feats, found in the earliest Sunnī historians basing themselves partly on a no longer extant Shīʿī text, differ substantially from the later Shīʿī telling of the story. It is thus the task of the historian in part to trace the development of these earliest narratives and to examine some of the accretions and embellishments by later authors. Whatever these may be, al-ʿAbbās is an attractive and enticing figure, a model of valour and of selflessness, and has a story that deserves a more careful reading by a wider audience.

The Pisai



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