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Abbas (äbäsˈ, ăbäsˈ, ăbˈəs) [key], d. 653, uncle of Muhammad the Prophet and of Ali the caliph. A wealthy merchant of Mecca, he was at first opposed to the religious movement initiated by his nephew Muhammad. In 629 he became a convert, however, and from then on he was a companion of Muhammad and the chief financial support of Islam. His descendants founded the Abbasid dynasty. The son of Abbas, Ibn Abbas (Abd Allah), was a celebrated authority on Islamic traditions and law.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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