Abis Mal tends to be dim witted, selfish and at times, childish. He misses things easily and rely on minions to fight rather than himself. Aside from this he can be a cruel villain. He cares nothing for his henchman and murders them if they fail a mission. His right hand man Haroud often assist him in his plots. Abis Mal is easily tricked by Haroud to do something he wishes not to. Abis Mal holds a small knowledge of magical items and uses this against his enemies. Most of his plans are genius but his small minds ruins it for himself. His schemes are primarily directed at gaining riches and/or power.
For all intents and purposes, Abis Mal is a highly incompetent and pathetic individual with no combat skills of his own. Even his intelligence and leadership skills are below average. In truth though, Abis Mal's second-in-command Haroud Hazi Bin is the actual brains and leadership behind Abis Mal, who is far more intelligent and threatening than Mal and it seems quite clear that despite being subservient to Abis Mal, it is Haroud who is the true threat, with Abis Mal often being no more than a puppet leader to receive the punishment on Haroud's behalf. But despite Abis Mal's many shortcomings, Abis Mal is able to maintain Haroud and his followers' loyalty thanks to his surprisingly knowledge of the underworld black market where he can obtain almost anything he needs for his schemes, from weapons and spell scrolls to enchanted artifacts and even monsters that he can exploit for dangerous results, and it is because of his good fortune with finding rare and powerful items that he is able to continue being considered the scourge of the desert and inspire loyalty from Haroud and others. His ruthlessness and extreme punishments also help to ensure loyalty.
In the 1994 film, he leads a band of thieves who don't like him because he kept the lions share of the plundered wealth while leaving at best a bag of coins for the entire troop, and Aladdin steals his treasure, making him very angry. He manages to board Carpet but Abu takes the crystal flower from and he tries to take it back but falls off due to letting go of the edge to grab Abu. He and his troops also attempt to get their revenge on Aladdin when they reencounter him at Agrabah when the latter literally bumps into him while chasing Iago, although Iago inadvertently saves Aladdin by causing Abis Mal and his followers to be knocked into a wagon filled with chickens eggs, as well forced to escape when the chicken owner, lamenting the destruction of his eggs, calls the guards to arrest them, with the guards also recognizing him (presumably for his earlier thefts). Later, while getting some water from a well he comes across Jafar's lamp, and plans to sell it for riches, while rubbing it to clean off the water. His unknowingly summoning Jafar also inadvertently saved him when he learns that the thieves under his command plan to kill him for both his earlier mistreatment of them as well as his failure in getting revenge on Aladdin. With Jafar unable to attack Aladdin and the others directly due to his new genie limitations (and also forced to utilize his human form due to Abis Mal being too scared to even respond to Jafar while in his genie form), he forces Abis Mal to work for him by granting Abis Mal's first wish for treasure from a sunken ship by sending him to the ship itself; with Abis Mal forced to sacrifice his second wish to escape, he must now aid Jafar in his plans for revenge on Aladdin in order to gain his third wish (although when he learns that Jafar wanted revenge on Aladdin, he remarks that he was more than willing to help him in getting his revenge anyhow, as he desired revenge against him as well). After sneaking into the palace and Jafar reencountering Iago, Jafar also magically seals Abis Mal into a treasure chest after the latter made the mistake of verbally considering wishing for the treasure chest before removing the seal.
He later attacks Aladdin and the Sultan on a flying horse and an army of shadowy assassins, leading to the Sultan's capture and Aladdin being washed out to sea, the latter action only because one of the shadowy assassins telekinetically lifts an unconscious Aladdin away from the waterfall's rocks, to which Abis Mal immediately calls Jafar out on the action, before Jafar revealed that he had a different method of revenge. Later Jafar fakes the Sultan's murder so that Aladdin will be arrested and executed, purposely slices the Sultan's hat to plant as evidence though Abis Mal wanted it. Later, Jafar tempts Abis Mal with various treasures so that he can free him with his final wish, warning Abis Mal that there is a great deal he can do to the thief without killing him when he wonders if freeing Jafar would result in the treasures Jafar summoned disappearing. Before this threat can go further, Aladdin manages to steal the lamp, resulting in its destruction and Jafar's death after a prolonged battle. He was thrown off the crumbling Palace balcony and eventually landed hanging on a tree below. Abis Mal was still hanging on the tree hours after the battle, apparently upset not only over the loss of Jafar but also his opportunity of his third wish.
Abis Mal was one of the series' more recurring villains, often coming up with elaborate plans to acquire magical items or resources; one notable occasion saw him stealing Genie's lamp to try and gain his three wishes (Although this plan was doomed from the beginning as Genie wasn't in the lamp at the time and doesn't grant wishes any more anyway). Other plans included attempting to travel back in time and alter the circumstances of Agrabah's founding so that he was in charge, forcing Carpet to fly them to a city with a secret treasure, or working with Mechanicles to infect the group with various 'mood stones' that would make them experience one specifically powerful emotion over all others. Here he has a far greater control over his minions and in the pilot episode "Air Feathered Friend" it is revealed he kills the minions who fail him.
- His personality can be compared to George Costanza from the sitcom Seinfeld, who was played be Abis Mal's voice actor Jason Alexander. His sudden outbursts of anger and excitement and his neurotic disposition mirror George Costanza's to a tee.