Abbas Qamar-e-Bani Hashim (the Moon of the Hashimites), who was next only to the Holy Imam in charge of the Holy Imam's camp, after a very strenuous fight with the enemy at the river, got a sack of water but when the sack filled with water was placed before the thirsty children, the poor innocents not waiting till it was properly opened, and not knowing how to open the sack, rushed to it and fell upon it, one over the other, in the haste to at least cool their burning bodies.
But alas! The knot at the mouth of the sack gave way to the pressure and the whole water flowed away on the sand. It can be imagined what the feelings of despair and disappointment of the poor children and the helpless mothers would have been, and how disappointed the brave son of Imam Ali (pbuh), who got the water, would have felt at the loss of the water which he could get for the poor children and the inmates of the camp after so much of fight with the enemy guarding the banks of the river. Attempts to dig a well were also made but in vain, for instead of water, stones came out. The Holy Imam preached patience and fortitude to every one at each disappointment and torture, saying:
"Be you all cheerful and always surrender to the will of the All-Merciful Lord, for the end of all these trials is at hand and the water of Paradise awaited there to quench your thirst."
After the Zuhur prayers on the day of Ashura, one by one the brave companions of Imam Hussain fell in the battlefield. At last only Imam Hussain, Ali Akbar and Abbas were left. Imam Zainul Abideen (Sajjad) lay sick in his tent.
Several times Abbas asked Imam Hussain (pbuh) for permission to go and fight. Each time Imam Hussain (pbuh) would reply "Abbas, you are the captain of my army; you are my Alamdar - the Standard Bearer." Abbas would never argue with Imam Hussain (pbuh). His three brothers were killed in the battle fought after Zuhur. Imam Hussain (pbuh) could see the anger in Abbas's eyes. Imam Hussain (pbuh) knew that if he let Abbas go and fight; there would be a massacre in the enemy rank. Imam Hussain's object was to re-awaken Islam and not to score a victory on the battlefield.