Ali Ibn Ali Talib, Commander of the Faithful, was born circa 599 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia to Abu Talib and Fatima Bint Asad and died 661 Kufa, Iraq of unspecified causes. He married Fatimah bint Muhammad (c610-632) 623 JL .


Offspring of Ali Ibn Ali Talib and Fatimah bint Muhammad (c610-632)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Hasan ibn Ali (625-670) 1 March 625 Medina, Saudi Arabia 3 June 670 Medina, Saudi Arabia Umm Ishaq bint Talha ibn `Ubayd Allah (-)
Hafsa bint 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr (-)
Hind bint Suhayl bin `Amru (-)
Ju'da bint al-Ash'ath ibn Qays (-)
Husayn ibn Ali (626-680)
Zaynab bint Ali (c629-?)
Umm Kulthum bint Ali (?-?)
Muhsin ibn Ali (?-?)

Commander of the Faithful (Arabic: Amir al-Mu'minin)
This mosque near Al Najaf, Iraq, is believed by Shias to house the tombstone of Ali
Reign 656661[1]
Full name ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib
Titles Father of Hasan(Arabic: Abu Al-Hasan)
Father of Dust/Soil (Arabic: Abu Turab)
Murtada(“One Who Is Chosen and Contented”)
Lion of God (Arabic: Asad-ullah)
Lion(Arabic: Heydar) [1]
Buried Imam Ali Mosque, Najaf, Iraq
Predecessor Uthman
Successor Muawiyah I
Wife Fatimah[1]
Offspring Hassan
(See:Descendants of Ali ibn Abi Talib )
Royal House Ahl al-Bayt
Banu Hashim
Father Abu Talib
Mother Fatima bint Asad

Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib) (Arabic: علي بن أﺑﻲ طالب) (Thirteenth of Rajab, 24 BH – Twenty-first of Ramadan, 40 AH) (approximately: March 17 599[2] or 600[1] - February 28 661)[2] was the cousin, son-in-law and one of the Ahl al-Bayt of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Shi'a Muslims glorify him as the first Imam and consider him and and his descendants as the rightful successors to Muhammad who are the only legitimate religious and political leaders of the Muslim community and Sunni Muslims revere him as the fourth and final Rightly Guided Caliph, reigning from 656 to 661. This disagreement resulted in the only major split in Islam, into the Sunni and Shi'ite branches.[1] [3]

Ali was born in Mecca. His father was Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and his mother was Fatima bint Asad [1] but he was raised in the household of Muhammad. When Muhammad reported that he had received a divine revelation, Ali, then only about ten years old, believed him and professed Islam. He was the first male to accept Islam.[4][5] Ali stood firmly in support of Muhammad during the years of persecution of Muslims in Mecca. [6]

Ali migrated to Medina shortly after Muhammad. There Muhammad told Ali that he had been ordered by God to give his daughter, Fatimah, to Ali in marriage.[1] For the ten years that Muhammad led the community in Medina, Ali was extremely active in his service, leading parties of warriors on raids, and carrying messages and orders. With the exception of Tabuk, Ali took part in all the battles fought for Islam during this time.

After the assassination of the third Caliph, Uthman Ibn Affan, the Companions of Muhammad in Medina selected Ali to be the new Caliph. [7] He encountered defiance and civil war (First Fitna) during his reign. Finally while Ali was praying in the mosque of Kufa, a Khawarij assassinated him with a strike of a poison-coated sword. Ali died on the 21st of Ramadan in the city of Kufa in 661 CE. [8]

Muslims greatly respect Ali for his knowledge, belief, honesty, his unbending devotion to Islam, his deep loyalty to Muhammad, his equal treatment of all Muslims and his generosity in forgiving his defeated enemies. In addition, Ali retains his stature as the foremost authority on the Tafsir (Qu'ranic exegesis), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and religious thought.[9][3] Ali also holds a high position in almost all Sufi Muslim orders which trace their lineage to Muhammad through him.[1] In this way, his influence continued throughout Islamic history.

The compilation of sermonsو, lectures and quotations attributed to Ali are compiled in the form of several books. "Nahj al-Balagha" is the most famous one of them. This book is considered by historians and scholars as an important literary work in Islam.[10][11]

Ali in Mecca

Birth and childhood

A series of articles on

Imam of Islam

Family tree · Descendants · Succession to Muhammad · Birthplace · Timeline of Ali's life · First Fitna · Hadith of the pond of Khumm

Nahj al-Balagha · Qalam-e-Mowla · Zulfiqar · Imam Ali Mosque

Ali the Warrior · Ali caliphate · The Fourteen Infallibles · The Twelve Imams · Ali in Quran · Sunni · Shi'a

Muhammad and Ali, written in a single word - in its 180 degree inverted form, shows both the words. This is called an ambigram.

Ali's father, Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, was custodian of Kaaba and a Sheikh of Banu Hashim, an important branch of the powerful tribe of the Quraysh, and an uncle to the young Muhammad. His mother was Fatima binte Asad who was also from Banu Hashim; and this was a great honor for Ali that both of his parents belonged to Banu Hashim in Arab culture. Also he was one of descendants of Ismael the son of Ibrahim. [12]

Muhammad had close relationship with them. When Muhammad was orphaned and then lost his grandfather Shaiba ibn Hashim (Abdul Muttalib), Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib took Muhammad into his house. [1] Later Muhammad set out and married Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. Ali was born two or three years later.[13]

Ali was born in Mecca, inside the Kaaba as Shia believe or beside it, where he stayed with his mother for three days. His father was Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and Muhammad was the first person whom Ali saw. Muhammad took the newborn in his hands and named him Ali, meaning "exalted one".[1] [14]

When Ali was five or six years old, as a result of famine in and around Mecca, Muhammad requested to become his guardian.[4][15][1]

Conversion to Islam

Main article: Identity of first male Muslim

The second period of 'Ali's life, lasting slightly more than a decade, begins in 610, when Muhammad received the first of his revelations, and ends with the Hijra (withdrawal) of Muhammad to Medina in 622.[1] When Muhammad reported that he had received a divine revelation, Ali, then only about nine years old, believed him and professed to Islam. Ali was the first male to enter Islam. [1][4][16] Some historians and scholars believe Ali's conversion isn't worthy enough to consider as the first male due to the fact that he was child at that time. [17]

The Shi'a believe that in keeping with Ali's divine mission, he converted to Islam before he had ever taken part in any of the rites of the pre-Islamic Meccan traditional religion, which Muslims regard as polytheism (see shirk) or paganism. Hence the Shi'a say of Ali that his face is honored - that is, it was never sullied by prostrations before idols.[4]

After conversion to Islam

Until three years Muhammad invited people to Islam in secret. Then he started inviting people publicly. When according to Qu'ran he was commanded to invite his closer relatives to come to Islam[18], gathered Banu Hashim in a ceremony and told them clearly that whoever would be the first to accept his invitation would become his successor and inheritor. Ali who had 13 or 14 years old at that time was the one who step forth and embrace Islam. This invitation repeated for three times but only Ali answer to Muhammad. Muhammad accepted Ali's submission to the faith and thus fulfilled his promise. Others laughed at them and dispersed. [19] This event is known as Hadith Yawm Al-Dar or Yawm Al-Enzar among Muslim historians and scholars.

Then Muhammad made a public declaration and the struggle between Muslims and pagans started. As the ranks of Muhammad's followers swelled, he became a threat to the local tribes and the rulers of the city. Muhammad’s denunciation of the Meccan traditional religion was especially offensive to his own tribe, the Quraysh, as they were the guardians of the Ka'aba. So they persecuted Muslims. According to the tradition, the leaders of Makhzum and Abd Shams, two important clans of Quraysh, declared a public boycott against the clan of Banu Hashim, their commercial rival in order to put pressure on the clan. At this time, Muhammad arranged for some of his followers to emigrate to Ethiopia. The boycott lasted for three years. Ali stood firmly in support of Muhammad during the years of persecution of Muslims and boycott of Banu Hashim in Mecca.[20]

Migration to Medina

In 622 CE, the year of Muhammad's migration to Yathrib (now Medina), Ali risked his life by sleeping in Muhammad's bed to impersonate him and thwart an assassination plot, so that Muhammad could escape in safety.[1][4][21] This night is called "Laylat Al-mabit". According to some hadith a verse was revealed about Ali concerning his sacrifice on the night of hijrah which says "And among men is he who sells his NAFS (self) in exchange for the pleasure of Allah"[22] [23]

Ali survived the plot, but risked his life again by staying in Mecca to carry out Muhammad's instructions: to restore to their owners all the goods and properties that had been entrusted to Muhammad for safekeeping. Then he went to Medina with Fatima binte Asad (his mother), Fatimah (the daughter of Muhammad), and two other women. [4]

Ali in Medina

During Muhammad's era

Ali was 22 or 23 years old when he migrated to Medina. When Muhammad was creating bonds of brotherhood among his Sahaba (companions) he selected Ali as his brother.[24][4][25]

For the ten years that Muhammad led the community in Medina, Ali was extremely active in his service, serving in his armies, the bearer of his banner in every battle, leading parties of warriors on raids, and carrying messages and orders. [26] As one of Muhammad’s lieutenants, and later his son-in-law, Ali was a person of authority and standing in the Muslim community.

Family life

In 623 the second year after Hijra, Muhammad told Ali that he had been ordered by God to give his daughter Fatimah to Ali in marriage.[1] Muhammad said to Fatima: "I have married you to the dearest of my family to me."[25] This family is glorified by Muhammad frequently and he declared them as his Ahl al-Bayt in events such as Mubahala and hadith like Hadith of the Event of the Cloak. They were also glorified in Qu'ran in several cases such as "the verse of purification".[27][28] Ali had four children born to Fatimah. It was only through Fatimah that the progeny of Muhammad was perpetuated.(See Ali#descendants) In fact, so far as material comforts were concerned, it was a life of hardship and deprivation. Throughout their life together, Ali remained poor because he did not set great store by material wealth. Fatimah was the only one of her sisters who was not married to a wealthy man. To relieve their extreme poverty, Ali worked as a drawer and carrier of water and she as a grinder of corn. Even often there was no food in her house. One day she said to Ali: "I have ground until my hands are blistered." and Ali answered "I have drawn water until I have pains in my chest," [25][29]

Their marriage took about ten years and ended when Fatima died. Although polygyny was permitted, Ali did not marry another woman while Fatimah was alive, and his marriage to her possesses a special spiritual significance for all Muslims because it is seen as the marriage between the greatest saintly figures surrounding Muhammad. After Fatimah's death, Ali married other wives and fathered many other children.[1]

Ali in the Battles

Main article: Ali the Warrior

With the exception of the Battle of Tabouk, Ali took part in all the battles and expeditions fought for Islam.[4]

Ali first distinguished himself as a warrior in 624, at the Battle of Badr. He defeated the Umayyad champion Walid ibn Utba as well as many other Meccan soldiers. Al Seerah of Ibn Hisham narrates how he killed 20 of the pagans[30] and Al Maghazi put the number at 22.[31]

Scene of Battle of Badr from the film The Message: The Muslim army sends out its champions including Ali. Zulfiqar is in the foreground.

Ali was also prominent at the Battle of Uhud, as well as many other battles where he wielded a bifurcated sword known as Zulfiqar.[32] He was the standard-bearer in every battle that he partook in. He also led parties of warriors on raids into enemy lands, and was an ambassador. At the beginning Ali killed Talhah Ibn Abu Talhah and then his brother Abu Saad ibn Abu Talhah, the bearers of the banner of the pagans.[33] Ali ibn al-Athir, Abu Rafi, and Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari reported that Ali, alone, destroyed all the standard bearers.[34], The death of the bearers of the banner heightened the morale of the Muslims and shook the hearts of the pagans and when the army of Islam was defeated and most of the Muslims had fled Ali was one of the few Muslims who defended Muhammad. According to Ibn Atheer, "The Prophet became the object of the attack of various units of the army of Quraish from all sides. Ali attacked, in compliance with Muhammad's orders, every unit that made an attack upon him and dispersed them or killed some of them, and this thing took place a number of times in Uhud"[35] and it was said "La fata illa Ali, La saifa illa Zulfiqar" (There is no brave man except Ali and there is no sword which renders service except Zulfiqar)."[36]

Zulfiqar, a fictional representation of the sword of Ali.

Teacher of Islam and Carrier of the messages and orders

Ali was so reliable and trustworthy that prophet asked him to carry the massages and declare the orders. In 630 he recited to a large gathering of pilgrims in Mecca a portion of the Qur'an that declared that Muhammad and the Islamic community were no longer bound by agreements made earlier with Arab polytheists. One year later 'Ali was sent to Yemen to spread the teachings of Islam.[1]

The Incident of Mubahala

Main articles: Mubahala and Hadith of Mubahela

According to hadith collections, it is narrated that during the 9th - 10th year after hijra an Arab Christian envoy from Najran (currently in northern Yemen and partly in Saudi Arabia) came to Muhammad to argue which of the two parties erred in its doctrine concerning Jesus [37]. After likening Jesus' miraculous birth to Adam's creation [38], Muhammad called them to Mubahala (Cursing), where each party should ask God to destroy the lying party and their families. Muhammad, to prove to them that he is a prophet, brought his daughter Fatimah and his surviving grandchildren, Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, and Ali ibn Abi Talib and came back to the Christians and said this is my family (Ahl al-Bayt) and covered himself and his family with a cloak.[39] The Christian envoy, the traditions add, declined to take part in Mubahala and chose instead to pay tribute.

Ghadir Khumm

There is another quote from Muhammad about the rightness of Ali ibn Abi Talib to succeed him which is:

"O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a message from my Lord and I, in response to Allah's call, (would bid good-bye to you), but I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it. He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said: The second are the members of my household I remind you (of your duties) to the members of my family.[40]."

This quote is confirmed by both Shi’a and Sunni everywhere, but Sunni and Shi'a take different meanings of the quote.

Also some of Sunni and all of Shi'a resources report that Muhammad then proclaimed:

"For whoever I am a Mawla of, then 'Ali is his Mawla[41][42]."

This statement is seen by Sunnis as a recommendation of Ali's good qualities and a refutation to prevailing rumors about him[43], although Shia see it as a confirmation of Ali's succession to Muhammad and Imamah[44]

On the basis of this hadith Ali later insisted on his religious authority superior to that of Abu Bakr and Umar.[45]

Succession to Muhammad

Muhammad united the tribes of Arabia into a singular Arab Muslim religious polity at the last years of his life. With Muhammad's death in 632, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. While Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, and the rest of Muhammad's close family were washing his body for burial, at a gathering attended by a small group of Muslims at Saqifah, Umar (Umar ibn al-Khattab), a prominent companion of Muhammad, nominated Abu Bakr, who was Muhammad's father in-law and collaborator. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph. This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who held that Ali had been designated his successor.[46][47]

Ali himself was firmly convinced of his legitimacy for caliphate based on his close kinship with Muhammad, his intimate association and his knowledge of Islam and his merits in serving its cause. He told Abu Bakr that his delay in pledging allegiance(bay'ah) as caliph is based on his belief of his own prior title. He had not changed his mind when he finally gave his pledge to Abu Bakr and then to Umar and to Uthman but had done so for the sake of the unity of Islam, at at time when it was clear that the Muslims had turned away from him.[48][49]

According to Nahj al-Balagha Ali believed that the caliphate was his right and told:

"By Allah the son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) dressed himself with it (the caliphate) and he certainly knew that my position in relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the hand-mill...I put a curtain against the caliphate and kept myself detached from it... I watched the plundering of my inheritance till the first one went his way but handed over the Caliphate to Ibn al-Khattab after himself.[50]

According to Sunni accounts, Muhammad died without having appointed a successor, and with a need for leadership, they gathered and voted for the position of caliph. Shi'a accounts differ by asserting that Muhammad had designated Ali as his successor on a number of occasions, including on his death bed. Ali had many friends, followers and supporters who believed that he should have succeeded Muhammad. This did not create an immediate division, however, because Ali did not fight against the elected caliphs.[51]

The succession to Muhammad is an extremely contentious issue. Muslims ultimately divided into two branches based on their political attitude towards this issue, which forms the primary theological barrier between the two major divisions of Muslims: Sunni and Shi'a, with the latter following Ali as the successor to Muhammad. The two groups also disagree on Ali's attitude towards Abu Bakr, and the two caliphs who succeeded him: Umar (or `Umar ibn al-Khattāb) and Uthman Ibn Affan or (‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān). Sunnis tend to stress Ali's acceptance and support of their rule, while the Shi'a claims that he distanced himself from them, and that he was being kept from fulfilling the religious duty that Muhammad had appointed to him. The Sunni Muslims say that if Ali was the rightful successor as ordained by God Himself, then it would have been his duty as the leader of the Muslim nation to make war with these people (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman) until Ali established the decree. The Shia claim, however, that Ali did not fight Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman, because firstly he did not have the military strength and if he decided to, it would have caused a civil war amongst the Muslims, which was still a nascent community throughout the Arab world.[52]


Main article: Fadak

After Muhammad had died his daughter, Fatimah, asked Abu Bakr to deliver her lands of Fadak and Khaybar but he refused and told her that prophets didn't have any legacy and Fadak belonged to the Muslim community.[53] The new caliph argued that Muhammad's considerable landed property had been held by Muhammad in trust for the community, and was rightfully the property of the state, despite Ali's rejoinder that Muhammad's revelations included accounts of prophetic inheritance (Qur'an 27:16, 21:89). Fatimah became angry and stopped speaking to Abu Bakr, and continued assuming that attitude till she died.[54] After Fatima's death Ali again claimed her inheritance, but was denied with the same argument.

However, Umar, the caliph who succeeded Abu Bakr, did restore the estates in Medina to `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib and Ali, as representatives of Muhammad's clan, the Banu Hashim. The properties in Khaybar and Fadak were retained as state property (Madelung 1997 p. 62). Shi'a sources regard this as another instance of the persecution of Muhammad's lineage, the Ahl al-Bayt, at the hands of the caliphs they regard as usurpers.

Ali wrote about it to Uthman ibn Hunaif:

Verily, under the sky we had only Fadak as our personal property but we were deprived of it, it tempted them, they took it by force and we had to bear the wrench patiently and cheerfully, the best judge is the Lord Almighty.[55]

Ali's life after the death of Muhammad

Another part of Ali's life started in 632 after death of Muhammad and lasted until assassination of Uthman Ibn Affan, the third caliph in 656. During these years Ali didn't take part in any battle or conquest. He also didn't assumes any executive position. He had a few participation a politic affairs especially after death of his wife, Fatima Zahra. He spent his time for his family and worked as a farmer. He dug a lot of wells and gardens beside Medina and endowed for public usage. These well are known as "Abar Ali"(Ali's wells) today.[56] He also made some gardens for his family and descendants.

Ali and the Rashidun

Ali did not give his oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr until some time after the death of his wife, Fatimah. Ali participated in the funeral of Abu Bakr but did not participate in the Ridda Wars.[57]

He pledged allegiance to the second caliph Umar ibn Khattab and helped him as a trusted advisor. Caliph Umar particularly relied upon Ali as the Chief Judge of Medina and as his deputy when he traveled outside of Medina.[58]

Umar used Ali's suggestions in political issues as well as religious ones. When he asked Ali if he should personally participate in the battlefields of Persia and the Byzantine lands, Ali advised him not to do so.[59]

Ali was one of the electoral council to choose the third caliph and one of the two major candidates but most of the electors supported Uthman and Ali was reluctantly urged to accept him.[60] According to Nahj al-Balagha Ali told them:

You have certainly known that I am the most rightful of all others for the Caliphate. By Allah, so long as the affairs of Muslims remain intact and there is no oppression in it save on myself I shall keep quiet seeking reward for it (from Allah) and keeping aloof from its attractions and allurements for which you aspire.[61]

There is controversy among historians about the relationship between Ali and Uthman Ibn Affan,the third Caliphs. Although Ali pledged allegiance to him but Ali disagreed with some of his policies. Therefore some of the historians like the writers of The Cambridge History of Islam consider Ali as one the leading members of Uthman's opposition. Madelung says Ali didn't support Uthamn when rebels besieged its palace.[62] On the other hand Ali himself said in numerous cases that he had done whatever he had been able to defend him but he didn't agree with Uthman's policies.[63]

In the beginning of rebellion people demanded that the exiled be returned to their homes, the deprived be provided sustenance, the men of strength and integrity be appointed as governors, and so on.[64] They requested Ali to speak to Uthman on their behalf and to admonish him for their sake. Ali told Uthamn "The people are behind me and they have made me an ambassador between you and themselves." He forewarned Uthman that he should have changed his manner immediately unless he would be killed. Ali told "I swear to you by Allah that you should not be that Imam of the people who will be killed because it has been said that, "An Imam of this people will be killed after which killing and fighting will be made open for them till the Day of Judgment, and he will confuse their matters and spread troubles over them. As a result, they will not discern truth from wrong."[65] Duo to Ali's mediation and Uthman's commitment rebellion settled down but it had risen again. Finally the choices offered by the rebels amounted to abdication of Uthman and selection of another caliph.[66] While the situation became hard and dangerous Ali told Ibn Abbas "By Allah, I continued protecting him till I feared lest I become a sinner."[67] Later Ali said he had neither helped him nor tried to kill. According to his viewpoint Uthman appropriated (wealth) and did it badly. Rebels protested against it and committed excess therein.[68]


A silver dirham from the reign of Imam Ali

Election of Ali as a Caliph

This is the last part of Ali's life. He was the caliph between 656 and 661 CE which was one the hardest situation in Muslim history and coincided with the First Fitna.

After the assassination of the third Caliph, Uthman Ibn Affan, rebels had to select a new Caliph. But this selection encountered with some difficulties. The rebels were divided into three groups comprising Egyptians, Kufans and Basntes. There were three candidates Ali, Talhah and Al-Zubayr. First they referred to Ali and asked him to accept caliphate. Also some Companions of Muhammad tried to persuade him to accept the office.[48][69] But he refused and answered:

Leave me and seek some one else. We are facing a matter which has (several) faces and colors, which neither hearts can stand nor intelligence can accept. Clouds are hovering over the sky, and faces are not discernible. You should know that if I respond to you I would lead you as I know and would not care about whatever one may say or abuse. If you leave me then I am the same as you are. It is possible I would listen to and obey whomever you make in charge of your affairs. I am better for you as a counselor than as chief.[70]

Then rebels offered caliphate to Talhah and Al-Zubayr and some other companions but they refused it too. Therefore they threatened that, unless the people of Medina choose a caliph within one day, they would be forced to take some drastic action. In order to resolve the deadlock all of the Muslims gathered in Mosque of Prophet in 18 June 656CE. (19th Dhu al-Hijjah 35AH.) to chose the caliph. Ali refused to accept caliphate by the fact that the people who pressed him hardest were the rebels, and he therefore declined at first. When the notable companions of Muhammad as well as people who live in Medina urged him, however, he finally agreed. According to Abu Mekhnaf narration Talhah was the first prominent companion who gave his pledge but the other narrations claim they didn't do so or even somebody force them to do so. However he and Al-Zubayr later claimed they did so reluctantly. But Ali refused this claim and say they do so voluntarily. Mudelong believe that force didn't use to urge people to give their pledge and they pledge in public in the mosque. While overwhelming majority of people who lived in Medina as well as rebels gave their pledge, some major figures didn't do so. Umayyads, kins of Uthman, escaped to Levant or remained in their houses and later refused Ali's legitimacy. Sa`ad ibn Abi Waqqas were absent and Abdullah ibn Umar abstained from offering his allegiance but both of them assured Ali that they wouldn't do anything against Ali. [3][71] Another prominent figure who was in Mecca at that time and later opposed Ali, was A'isha, Muhammad's widow.

Reign as a Caliph

At the beginning Ali told people that Muslim polity had come to be plagued by dissension and discord and he want to purge Islam of all evil from which it had come to suffer. Then warned all concerned that he would tolerate no sedition and all found guilty of subversive activities would be dealt with harshly. He advised people to behave as true Muslims. [72]

But he soon found that he was helpless and the prisoner of the people who didn't obey him. The caliphate had come to him as the gift of the rebels and he didn't have enough force to control or punish them. [73] When some people asked Ali to punish who killed Uthamn, Ali answered that "How do I have the power for it while those who assaulted him are in the height of their power. They have superiority over us, not we over them. "[74] Furthermore A'isha, Talhah, Al-Zubayr and Muawiyah I accused him for murder of Uthman and arose civil war, while Ali believe all of them were more deserve to be responsible for it. [75]

Soon thereafter Ali became caliph, Ali dismissed provincial governors who were appointed by Uthman, and replaced them with trusted aides. All the governors excepting Muawiya I, the governor of Levant submitted to his orders. The capital of the province of Levant, Damascus, was held by Mu‘āwīyah ibn Abī Sufyān, the governor of Syria and a kinsman of Uthman, Ali's slain predecessor. Ali then transferred his capital from Medina to Kufa, the Muslim garrison city in what is now Iraq. Kufa was in the middle of Islamic land and had strategic position.[76][3]

Ali resumed the land which had been granted by Uthman and sweared to resumed whatever some elites had taken before him. He opposed the centralization of capital control over provincial revenues and favored an equal distribution of taxes and booty among the Muslims. When asked him to pay more money to elites he said "Do you command me that I should seek support by oppressing those over whom I have been placed? By Allah, I won't do so as long as the world goes on, and as long as one star leads another in the sky. Even if it were my property, I would have distributed it equally among them, then why not when the property is that of Allah." [77]

Ali believe that people and governors have rights over each other and God created these rights so as to equate with one another. The greatest of these rights that Allah has made obligatory is the right of the ruler over the ruled and the right of the ruled over the ruler. If the ruled fulfill the rights of the ruler and the ruler fulfills their rights, then right attains the position of honor among them, the ways of religion become established, signs of justice become fixed and the sunnah gains currency. He wrote directions for his officials which clearly show what form of regime he wanted to introduce. It was not to be a regime whose officers had an upper hand and were fattened on public money. It was to be a regime where the governed and the tax-payers were at premium. It was their convenience for which the State was to function. It was a welfare-state working solely for the welfare of the people living under its rule, a regime where the rich cannot get richer while the poor are made poorer; a regime where canons of religion hold the balance between the governed and the ruler. He asked people not to speak with him as they spoke with cruel governors and be honest with him. [78]

Ali had decisive beliefs that he shouldn't start the war with other Muslims but when the enemy started it his army wouldn't retreat unless they wanted to attack again. He ordered his soldiers not to kill who would become injured, or not be able to defend himself, or escape from the battlefield and injuries and wanted his warriors not to injure women. [79]

First Fitna

The Battle of Siffin, illustration from a 19th century manuscript by Muhammad Rafi Bazil. There are Persian poems on the above and bottom of the picture.

The First Fitna, 656–661 CE, followed the assassination of the caliph Uthman Ibn Affan, continued during the caliphate of Ali, and was ended, on the whole, by Muawiyah I's assumption of the caliphate. This civil war is often called the Fitna, and regretted as the end of the early unity of the Islamic ummah (nation). Ali was first opposed by a faction led by Talhah, Al-Zubayr and the Muhammad's wife, Aisha bint Abu Bakr. When Ali asked them for obedience and a pledge of allegiance, they refused. The two parties met at the Battle of Bassorah (Battle of the Camel) in 656, where Ali emerged victorious. Later he was challenged by Mu‘āwīyah ibn Abī Sufyān's the ruler of Levant and cousin of Uthman who refused Ali's demands for allegiance and called for revenge for Uthman. The two armies encamped themselves at Siffin for more than one hundred days. Although, Ali exchanged several letters with Muawiyah, he was unable to dismiss the latter, nor persuade him to pledge allegiance. Skirmishes between the parties led to the Battle of Siffin in 657. Finally they intended to use arbitration to choose the caliph. On the other hand some of Ali's supporters, later were known as Kharijites opposed this decision and rebelled. Ali had to fight with them in Battle of Nahrawan.Ali declared he has removed Fitna "So now, praise and eulogy be to Allah, O' people, I have put out the eye of fitna. No one except me advanced towards it when its gloom was swelling and its madness was intense." But foresaw the worst fitna which would be the fitna of Umayyad and forewarned people that it "would come to you like evil eyed fear and pre-Islamic fragments, wherein there would be no minaret of guidance nor any sign (of salvation) to be seen." [80]

Army of Muawiyah I invaded cities and occupied them or plunder people. But Ali's governors couldn't prevent them and people didn't support him to fight with them. Muawiyah overpowered Egypt, Yemen and some other areas.[81]

This civil war created permanent divisions within the Muslim community and Muslims were divided over who had the legitimate right to occupy the caliphate. [82]


On the nineteenth of Ramadan, while Ali was praying in the mosque of Kufa, the vigilante Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam assassinated Ali with a strike of his poison-coated sword. Ali, injured with the wound from the poisonous sword, lived for two days and died on the 21st of Ramadan in the city of Kufa in 661 CE.[83]

In these two days he dictated his will to his household "My advice to you is that you should not consider anyone as a co-worker of the Lord, be firm in your belief that there is One and only One Allah. Do not waste the knowledge given to you by the Muhammad and do not give up and destroy his Sunnah (traditions). Keep these two pillars of Islam (monotheism and Sunnah of the Muhammad) aloft. If you act according to my advice then you cannot be blamed for damaging or destroying the religion." [84]


Many Shi'a believe that Ali didn’t want his grave to be desecrated by his enemies and because of that he asked his friends and family members to bury him secretly. This secret gravesite is supposed to have been revealed later during the Abbasid caliphate by Ja'far al-Sadiq, the sixth Shia Imam.[85] Most Shi'as accept that Ali was buried at the Tomb of Imam Ali in the Imam Ali Mosque at what is now the city of Najaf, which grew around the mosque and shrine called Masjid Ali.[86]

Rawze-e-Sharif, the Blue Mosque, in Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan - Where a minority of Shi'as believe Ali ibn Abi Talib is buried

  • Yet another story, usually maintained by Afghans, notes that his body was taken and buried in the Afghan city of Mazari Sharif at the famous Blue Mosque or Rawze-e-Sharif.[87]


Upon the death of Ali ibn Abi Talib in Kufa a new caliph should be chosen. As Ali declared in many occasions that just Ahl Al-Bayt of Muhammad were entitled to rule the Muslim community the choices restricted to Hasan and his brother Husayn. Thus Kufi Muslims pledge allegiance(bay'ah) to his eldest son Hasan without dispute.[88]

At this time Muawiyah held both Levant and Egypt and, as commander of the largest force in the Muslim Empire, had the declared himself caliph and marched his army into Iraq, the seat of Hasan's caliphate. War ensued during which Muawiyah gradually subverted the generals and commanders of Hasan's army with large sums of money and deceiving promises until the army rebelled against him. Finally, the Hasan was forced to make peace and to yield the caliphate to Muawiyah. In this way Mu'awiyah captured the Islamic caliphate and in every way possible placed the severest pressure upon Ali's family and his Shi'a. Muawiyah also established Umayyad caliphate which was a centralized monarchy.[89] [3]

Madelung writes:

In face of the fake Umayyad claim to legitimate sovereignty in Islam as God's Vicegerents on earth, and in view of Umayyad treachery, arbitrary and divisive government, and vindictive retribution, they came to appreciate his [Ali's] honesty, his unbending devotion to the reign of Islam, his deep personal loyalties, his equal treatment of all his supporters, and his generosity in forgiving his defeated enemies.[90]


Ali had several wives and Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad, was the most beloved one. He had four children born to Fatimah comprising Hasan ibn Ali, Husayn ibn Ali, Zaynab bint Ali[1] and Umm Kulthum bint Ali. His other famous sons were Al-Abbas ibn Ali born to Fatima binte Hizam (Um Al-Banin) and Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah.

Hasan ibn Ali, born in 625, was the second Shia Imam and he also occupied the outward function of caliph for about six months. During that time Mu'awiayh marched his army into Iraq, the seat of Imam Hasan's caliphate. War ensued during which Mu'awiyah gradually subverted the generals and commanders of Hasan's army with large sums of money and deceiving promises until the army rebelled against Hasan. Finally, he was forced to make peace and to yield the caliphate to Mu'awiyah, provided it would again return to Imam Hasan after Mu'awiyah's death. In the year 50 A.H. he was poisoned and martyred by one of his own household who, as has been accounted by historians, had been motivated by Mu'awiyah.[91]

Husayn ibn Ali, born in 626, was the third Shia Imam. Husayn lived under the most difficult outward conditions of suppression and persecution by Mu'awiyah. After the death of Mu'awiyah, his son, Yazid I, captured the caliphate and wanted the Bay'ah (allegiance) of Husayn ibn Ali. Yazid was openly going against the teachings of Islam in public and changing the sunnah of Muhammad. Husayn was determined not to give his allegiance to Yazid and knew full well that he would be killed as death was inevitable in the face of the military power of the Umayyads. On the tenth day of Muharram of the year 680 the he lined up before the army of caliph with his small band of follower and finally almost all of them were killed in Battle of Karbala. The anniversary of his death is called the Day of Ashura and it is a day of mourning and religious observance for Shi'a Muslims.[92] In this battle some of Ali's other sons were killed, including the four sons born to Fatima binte Hizam among whom was Al-Abbas ibn Ali, famous due to his pure love of Husayn ibn Ali, the holder of Husayn's standard.[93]

His daughter Zaynab bint Ali who was in Karbala was captured by Yazid's army and later played a great role in revealing what had happened to Husayn ibn Ali and his followers. Her sermons in Kufa provoked the people into avenging Hussein's martyrdom. She also delivered a furious sermon in the court of the caliph that made his authority and despotic rule feel undermined.[94]

Ali's descendants by Fatimah are known as sharifs, syeds or sayyids. These are honorific titles in Arabic, sharif meaning 'noble' and sayed/sayid meaning 'lord' or 'sir'. As Muhammad's only descendants, they are respected by both Sunni and Shi'a, though the Shi'as place much more emphasis and value on the distinction.[1]

The Idrisid and Fatimid dynasties are descended from Ali and many Muslim notables claim to be descendents of Muhammad via his daughter Fatimah and Imam Ali. The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei, supreme leaders of Iran, Muammar al-Gaddafi president of Libya, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali president of Tunis, The Hashemite royal families of Jordan and Iraq, the Alaouite royal family of Morocco, the Husseini family of Lebanon, and the Aga Khans of the Ismaili community claim direct descent from Muhammad through Ali and Fatimah.

Descendents of Ali with documented family trees (about 42 generations of an unbroken chain of descent) are often identified by their family trees leading to one of the 12 Shi'a Imams, most notably Imam Musa al-Kazim, Imam Ali al-Rida, and Imam Ali al-Hadi. Most syeds tend to cross-reference their own particular family trees with those of others in order to maintain accuracy and to weed out impostors.


Wikiquote has a collection of quotations by or about:

Ali is respected not only as a warrior and leader, but as a writer and religious authority. All Shia and many Sunnis believe that Muhammad told about him "I'm the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate..." [95] Ali told people about himself "Ask me before you miss me."[96] Muslims consider him as a foremost authority on the Tafsir (Qu'ranic exegesis), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and religious thought. Ali was also a great scholar of Arabic literature and pioneered in the field of grammar and rhetoric. His speeches, sermons and letters served for generations afterward as models of literary expression. [3] He also has a high rank position in almost all Sufi orders which trace their lineage to Muhammad through him.[1] Therefor various groups of Muslims have attempted to collect his quotations , narrate his life and recite his sermons. Historians have paid attention to his government, religious scholars tried to learn his knowledge and the men of literate collected his speeches. Sunnis have narrated many hadith trough him from Muhammad in their authentic books. Shias have narrated his quotations in specific books such as "Ghorar Alhakam". In the 7th century Sulaym ibn Qays and `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas narrated his speeches and manners as well as the events which had happened in his life in their works. In the 8th century his descendants such as Muhammad al Baqir and Jafar as Sadiq narrated his quotations which had learnt from their fathers. Some historians such as Abu Mikhnaf narrated the story of major events of Ali's life in his books like Kitab al Jamal, Kitab al-gharat and so on. Even who works in the Divan of Umayyad recited Ali's sermons to improve their eloquence.[97] Of course Peak of Eloquence(Nahj al-Balagha) is an extract of Ali's quotations from literal viewpoint as its compiler mentioned in its preface. While there are many other quotations, prays(Du'as), sermons and letters in other literal, historic and religious books.[98]

In later Islamic philosophy, especially in the teachings of Mulla Sadra and his followers like Allameh Tabatabaei Ali's sayings and sermons were increasingly regarded as central sources of metaphysical knowledge, or divine philosophy. Members of Sadra's school regard Ali as the supreme metaphysician of Islam.[1]

Works related to Ali

  • Nahj al-Balagha(Peak of Eloquence) contains eloquent sermons, letters and quotations attributed to Ali which is compiled by ash-Sharif ar-Radi. This book has a prominent position i Arabic literature. "Masadir Nahj al-Balagha wa asaniduh" written by "al-Sayyid `Abd al-Zahra' al-Husayni al-Khatib" introduces some of these sources.[99] Also "Nahj al-sa'adah fi mustadrak Nahj al-balaghah" by "Muhammad Baqir al-Mahmudi" represents all of 'Ali's extant speeches, sermons, decrees, epistles, prayers, and sayings have been collected. It includes the Nahj al-balaghah and other discourses which were not incorporated by ash-Sharif ar-Radi or were not available to him. Apparently, except for some of the aphorisms, the original sources of all the contents of the Nahj al-balaghah have been determined.[100] Ther are several Comments on the Peak of Eloquence such as Comments of Ibn Abu al-Hadid and comments of Muhammad Abduh.
  • Divan-i Ali ibn Abi Talib (poems of Ali ibn Abi Talib)[101]
  • Nuzhat al-Absar va Mahasin al_Asar, Ali's sermons which has compiled by Ali ibn Muhammad Tabari Mamtiri[102]


Muslim view

19th century Iranian painting depicting Imam Ali.

Except for Muhammad, there is no one in Islamic history about whom as much has been written in Islamic languages as 'Ali. [1] Ali is revered and honored by all Muslims. Having been one of the first Muslims and foremost Ulema (Islamic scholars), he was extremely knowledgeable in matters of religious belief and Islamic jurisprudence, as well as in the history of the Muslim community. He was known for his bravery and courage. Muslims honor Muhammad, Ali, and other pious Muslims and add pious interjections after their names.

Shia Muslim view of Ali

Main article: Shi'a view of Ali

The Shias regards Ali as the most important figure after Muhammad. According to them Muhammad in his life time suggested on various occasions, that Ali would be the leader of Muslims after his demise like Hadith of the pond of Khumm, Hadith of the two weighty things, Hadith of the pen and paper, Hadith of the Twelve Successors and so on.

According to this view, Ali as the successor of Muhammad not only rules over the community in justice but also interprets the Sharia Law and its esoteric meaning. Hence he was free from error and sin (infallible) and he was appointed by God by divine decree (nass) through Muhammad.[103] Ali is known as "perfect man"(Al-insan al-kamil) similar to Muhammad according to Shia viewpoint.[104]

Shia pilgrims usually go to Mashad Ali in Najaf for Ziyarat, pray there and read "Ziyarat Amin Allah"[105] or other Ziyaratnames.[106]

Sunni Muslim view of Ali

Main article: Sunni view of Ali

The Sunni Muslims regard Ali as one of the Ahl al-Bayt and the last of the Rashidun and one of the most influential and respected figures in Islam. Ali is held with the utmost respect along with the Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman Ibn Affan. [3]

Sufi Muslim view of Ali

Almost all Sufi orders trace their lineage to Muhammad through Ali, an exception being Naqshbandi, who go through Abu Bakr. Even in this order, there is Ja'far al-Sadiq, the great great grandson of Ali. Sufis, whether Sunni or Shi'ite, believe that 'Ali inherited from the Prophet the saintly power wilayah that makes the spiritual journey to God possible.[1] Imam Ali represents the essence of the teachings of the School of Islamic Sufism.

Sufis have glorified Ali in their works[107]. For example Rumi says in Masnavi:

The man spat in Ali's pure face

of every saint and prophet far and wide The prostrates itself before this face...


Sufis recite Manqabat Ali in the praise of Ali (Maula Ali), after Hamd and Naat in their Qawwali.

Non-Muslim view

Main article: Non-Muslim view of Ali

Some of the prominent non-Muslim Islamic scholars and politicians like Edward Gibbon[109], Thomas Carlyle[110] and Kofi Annan[111] praised Ali while a few of them, like Lammens[112], have held a negative view of Ali.

Some Islamic Scholars do not accept hadiths collected in later periods, and only study the early collections of narrations. This leads them to regard certain reported events as inauthentic or irrelevant.

Wilferd Madelung has rejected the stance of indiscriminately dismissing everything not included in "early sources". [113]

UN Legal Committee, member states voted that the order of Ali to Malik al-Ashtar (Nahj Al-Balagha letter 53) should be considered as one of the sources of International Law. The United Nations urged the Arab nations to use that letter as a model. [114] The UNDP in its 2002 Arab Human Development listed six sayings of Imam Ali about the importance of knowledge and establishment of ideal governance.[115]

Muslim veneration of Ali

The picture of Malik al-Ashtar(left) and Muawiyah I(right) in the Imam Ali Series which was shown in Iran TV in 1990s.

Ali has high position in the mind of Muslims and they made a lot of pictures, poems and myths about him. For example "Ali Guyam, Ali Juyam" (I call Ali, I seek Ali) is a famous rhyme in Iran.

His birthday is celebrated on 13th of Rajab by Muslims all over the world and is a special occasion for Shia Muslims to remember their first Imam who was born in the House of Allah/Kaaba. His death is remembered and mourned from the 19 to 21st of Ramadan which is the anniversary of his assassination and martyrdom.

At the Ali Masjid in Pakistan is a huge boulder which carries the marks of a hand believed to be that of Hadrat (Hazrat) Ali.

Many Muslims (mostly Shia) and some non-muslims (like Hindus in Uttar Pradesh, India) say "Ya Ali Madad" or "Ya Ali", to seek help from Ali in times of difficulty or to seek strength in manual and strenous work, getting relief from pain, etc. This is frowned upon by Sunni Muslims, as it means invoking Ali as if he is God or equal to God.

Ali as deity

Main article: Ghulat

Several groups of people has recognized Ali as deity. They are known as 'Nusairi' They're described as Ghulat (exaggerators) by Muslims. These groups have gone too far in ascribing divinity to a person, to the (forbidden) point of associating them with God. Almost all of the Muslims don't consider them as Muslim. They were forbidden to practice their own formed religion by Ali himself who commanded them to stop worshiping him as a God and only to follow to teachings of Allah and Muhammad.

Hstoriography of Ali's life

The primary sources for scholarship on the life of 'Ali are the Qur'an and the Hadith, as well as other texts of early Islamic history. The extensive secondary sources include, in addition to works by Sunni and Shia Muslims, writings by Christian Arabs, Hindus, and other non-Muslims from the Middle East and Asia and a few works by modern Western scholars. However, many of the early Islamic sources are coloured to some extent by a bias, whether positive or negative, toward 'Ali. [1]

See also

  • Historiography of early Islam
  • List of Muslim reports
  • Succession to Muhammad
  • Rashidun
  • Imamah (Shia doctrine)
  • Family tree of Ali
  • Imam Ali Mosque
  • Shia Islam
  • Ismaili
  • Fatimid
  • Banu Hashim
  • Alawism
  • Alevi
  • Wali
  • Ahl al-Bayt
  • Nahj al-Balagha
  • Zulfiqar
  • Non-Muslim view of Ali


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Ali". Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 
  2. ^ a b Shaheed Foundation
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Sunni view of Ali
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Tabatabae (1979) page 191
  5. ^ Ashraf, (2005) p.14
  6. ^ Ashraf, (2005) p.16
  7. ^ See:
    • Ashraf, (2005) pp. 119-120
    • Madelung, (1997) pp. 141-145
  8. ^ See:
    • Lapidus (2002), p.47
    • Holt (1977a), p.70 - 72
    • Tabatabaei (1979), p.50 - 57 and 192
  9. ^ Madelung (1997), 309-310
  10. ^ Sources of Nahj al Balaghah
  11. ^ Mutahhari, 1997 [1]
  12. ^ Ashraf, (2005) p.5
  13. ^ Ashraf, (2005) pp.6-7
  14. ^ See also:
  15. ^ *Ashraf, (2005) p.7
  16. ^ Ashraf, (2005) p.14
  17. ^ Watt 1953, p. 86
  18. ^ Quran 26:214
  19. ^ See:
    • Tabatabae, (1979) p.39
    • Ashraf, (2005) p.15
  20. ^ See:
    • Ashraf, (2005) pp.16-26
    • Holt, (1977), p.36
    • Francis, (2003) p.96
  21. ^ Ashraf, (2005) pp.28-29
  22. ^ Quran 2:207
  23. ^ Tabatabae, Tafsir Al-Mizan
  24. ^ Ashraf, (2005) pp.30-32
  25. ^ a b c Fatima Bint Muhammad
  26. ^ See:
    • Al Hakim, al Mustadrak, vol 3 p 111
    • Ashraf, 2005
  27. ^ Quran 33:33
  28. ^ Madelung, 1997, pp. 14 and 15
  29. ^ Sahih Muslim Book 031, Number 5955
  30. ^ Abdul Malik Ibn Husham, Al Seerah Al Nabaweyah (Biography of the Prophet), Published by Mustafa Al Babi Al Halabi, Egypt, 1955 A.D, Part 2 page. 708-713
  31. ^ Waghedi, Al Maghazi (The Invasions) published by Oxford Printing. Part 1 page. 152
  32. ^ Khatab, Amal (May 1, 1996). Battles of Badr and Uhud. Ta-Ha Publishers. ISBN 1-897940-39-4. 
  33. ^ The Battle of Uhud
  34. ^ Ali ibn al-Athir, The Complete History (Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh), vol 3 p 107
  35. ^ Reasons for the battle of Uhud
  36. ^ Ibn Al Atheer, In his Biography, vol 2 p 107
  37. ^ Quran 3:61
  38. ^ Quran 3:59
  39. ^ See:
    • Sahih Muslim, Chapter of virtues of companions, section of virtues of Ali, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1871, the end of tradition #32
    • Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p654
    • Madelung, 1997, pp. 15 and 16
  40. ^ Sahih Muslim 031.5920 The Book Pertaining to the Merits of the Companions (Allah Be Pleased With Them) of the Holy Prophet (May Peace Be Upon Him) (Kitab Al-Fada'il Al-Sahabah)
  41. ^ Ibn Taymiyyah, Minhaaj as-Sunnah 7/319
  42. ^ Event of Ghadir Khumm
  43. ^
  44. ^ Tabatabae (1979), page 40
  45. ^ Madelong, 1997 p.253
  46. ^ Chirri, Mohamad (1982). The Brother of the Prophet Mohammad. Islamic Center of America, Detroit, MI. Alibris ID 8126171834. 
  47. ^ See:
    • Holt (1977a), p.57
    • Lapidus (2002), p.32
    • Madelung (1996), p.38-43
    • Tabatabaei (1979), p.39–50
  48. ^ a b Nahj Al-Balagha Sermon 3
  49. ^ Madelung (1996), p.141 See also:
    • Nahj Al-Balagha,
    3, 5, 66, 143, 171 and 216
    • Ashraf (2005), 99 and 100
  50. ^ "أما والله لقد تقمصها ابن أبي قحافة وإنه ليعلم أن محلي منها محل القطب من الرحى ... فسدلت دونها ثوبا وطويت عنها كشحا... أرى تراثي نهبا، حتى مضى الأول لسبيله فأدلى بها إلى ابن الخطاب بعد ...(في بعض من النسخ كتب فلان بدل ابن أبي قحافة و ابن الخطاب)ز Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon 3
  51. ^ Chirri, Mohamad (1982). The Brother of the Prophet Mohammad. Islamic Center of America, Detroit, MI. Alibris ID 8126171834. 
  52. ^ Sahih Bukhari 5.57.50
  53. ^ *Sahih Bukhari 4:53:325
  54. ^ See: 19:4352]
    • Madelung 50 and 51
  55. ^ بَلَى! كَانَتْ في أَيْدِينَا فَدَكٌ مِنْ كلِّ مَا أَظَلَّتْهُ السَّماءُ، فَشَحَّتْ عَلَيْهَا نُفُوسُ قَوْم، وَسَخَتْ عَنْهَا نُفُوسُ آخَرِينَ، وَنِعْمَ الْحَكَمُ اللهُ.Nahj al-Balagha, Letter 45
  56. ^ History of Mecca, Medina and all other Ziyarats
  57. ^ See:Ashraf (2005), p. 100 and 101 See also: 19:4352]
  58. ^
  59. ^ See:
  60. ^ Madelung 1997 p. 70 - 72
  61. ^ لَقَدْ عَلِمْتُمْ أَنَّي أَحَقُّ بِهَا مِنْ غَيْرِي، وَوَاللهِ لاَُسْلِمَنَّ مَاسَلِمَتْ أُمُورُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ، وَلَمْ يَكُنْ فِيهِا جَوْرٌ إِلاَّ عَلَيَّ خَاصَّةً، الِْتمَاساً لاَِجْرِ ذلِكَ وَفَضْلِهِ، وَزُهْداً فِيَما تَنافَسْتُمُوهُ مِنْ زُخْرُفِهِ وَزِبْرِجِهSermon 73
  62. ^ See:
    • Holt, (1977) pp. 67 and 68
    • Madelung, (1997) p. 134
  63. ^ See:
  64. ^ * Madelung, (1997) p. 129
  65. ^ وَ إِنِّي أَنْشُدُكَ اَللَّهَ أَنْ تَكُونَ إِمَامَ هَذِهِ اَلْأُمَّةِ اَلْمَقْتُولَ فَإِنَّهُ كَانَ يُقَالُ يُقْتَلُ فِي هَذِهِ اَلْأُمَّةِ إِمَامٌ يَفْتَحُ عَلَيْهَا اَلْقَتْلَ وَ اَلْقِتَالَ إِلَى يَوْمِ اَلْقِيَامَةِ وَ يَلْبِسُ أُمُورَهَا عَلَيْهَا وَ يَبُثُّ اَلْفِتَنَ فِيهَا فَلاَ يُبْصِرُونَ اَلْحَقَّ مِنَ اَلْبَاطِلِ Sermon 163
  66. ^ * Madelung, (1997) p. 130
  67. ^ وَ اَللَّهِ لَقَدْ دَفَعْتُ عَنْهُ حَتَّى خَشِيتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ آثِماً Sermon 238
  68. ^ See:
  69. ^ See:
    • Ashraf, (2005) p. 119
    • Madelung, (1997) pp. 141-143
  70. ^ دَعُونِي وَ اِلْتَمِسُوا غَيْرِي فَإِنَّا مُسْتَقْبِلُونَ أَمْراً لَهُ وُجُوهٌ وَ أَلْوَانٌ لاَ تَقُومُ لَهُ اَلْقُلُوبُ وَ لاَ تَثْبُتُ عَلَيْهِ اَلْعُقُولُ وَ إِنَّ اَلْآفَاقَ قَدْ أَغَامَتْ وَ اَلْمَحَجَّةَ قَدْ تَنَكَّرَتْ وَ اِعْلَمُوا أَنِّي إِنْ أَجَبْتُكُمْ رَكِبْتُ بِكُمْ مَا أَعْلَمُ وَ لَمْ أُصْغِ إِلَى قَوْلِ اَلْقَائِلِ وَ عَتْبِ اَلْعَاتِبِ وَ إِنْ تَرَكْتُمُونِي فَأَنَا كَأَحَدِكُمْ وَ لَعَلِّي أَسْمَعُكُمْ وَ أَطْوَعُكُمْ لِمَنْ وَلَّيْتُمُوهُ أَمْرَكُمْ وَ أَنَا لَكُمْ وَزِيراً خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ مِنِّي أَمِيراً Sermon 91
  71. ^ See: See also:
  72. ^ Ashraf, (2005) p. 121
  73. ^ Ashraf, (2005) p. 121
  74. ^ وَلكِنْ كَيْفَ لي بِقُوَّة وَالْقَوْمُ الْـمُجْلبُونَ عَلَى حَدِّ شَوْكَتِهِمْ، يَمْلِكُونَنَا وَلاَ نَمْلِكُهُمْ Nahj Al-Balagha, sermon 167
  75. ^ See: Nahj Al-Balagha Sermon 22, 136, Letter 37
  76. ^ 'Ali
  77. ^ See: لمّا عوتب على تصييره الناس أسوة في العطاء من غير تفضيل إلى السابقات والشرف، قال: أَتَأْمُرُونِّي أَنْ أَطْلُبَ النَّصْرَ بِالْجَوْرِ فِيمَنْ وُلِّيتُ عَلَيْهِ! وَاللهِ لاَ أَطُورُ بِهِ مَا سَمَرَ سَميرٌ، وَمَا أَمَّ نَجْمٌ فِي السَّمَاءِ نَجْماً! لَوْ كَانَ الْمَالُ لي لَسَوَّيْتُ بَيْنَهُمْ، فَكَيْفَ وَإِنَّمَا الْمَالُ مَالُ اللهِ لَهُمْ.
  78. ^ Nahj al-Balaghah Sermon 215 Letter 25, 26, 27, 40, 41, 43,
  79. ^ Nahj al-Balaghah Letter 14
  80. ^ See:
    • أَمَّا بَعْد، أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ فَإِنِّي فَقَأْتُ عَيْنَ الْفِتْنَةِ، وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لِيَجْتَرِىءَ عَلَيْهَا أَحَدٌ غَيْرِي بَعْدَ أَنْ مَاجَ غَيْهَبُهَا، وَاشْتَدَّ كَلَبُهَا... أَلاَ وَإِنَّ أَخْوَفَ الْفِتَنِ عِنْدِي عَلَيْكُمْ فَتْنَةُ بَنِي اُمَيَّةَ، فإِنَّهَا فِتْنَةٌ عَمْيَاءُ مُظْلِمَةٌ: عَمَّتْ خُطَّتُهَا، وَخَصَّتْ بَلِيَّتُهَا، وَأَصَابَ الْبَلاَءُ مَنْ أَبْصَرَ فِيهَا، وَأَخْطَأَ الْبَلاَءُ مَنْ عَمِيَ عَنْهَا.
    وَايْمُ اللهِ لَتَجِدُنَّ بَنِي أُمَيَّةَ لَكُمْ أَرْبَابَ سُوْء بَعْدِي، كَالنَّابِ الضَّرُوسِ: تَعْذِمُ بِفِيهَا، وَتَخْبِطُ بِيَدِهَا، وتَزْبِنُ بِرِجْلِهَا، وَتَمْنَعُ دَرَّهَا، لاَ يَزَالُونَ بِكُمْ حَتَّى لاَ يَتْرُكُوا مَنْكُمْ إِلاَّ نَافِعاً لَهُمْ، أَوْ غَيْرَ ضَائِر بِهِمْ، وَلاَ يَزَالُ بَلاَؤُهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ يَكُونَ انْتِصَارُ أَحَدِكُمْ مِنْهُمْ إِلاَّ مثل انْتِصَارِ الْعَبْدِ مِنْ رَبِّهِ، وَالصَّاحِبِ مِنْ مُسْتَصْحِبِهِ، تَرِدُ عَلَيْكُمْ فِتْنَتُهُمْ شَوْهَاءَ مَخْشَيَّةً، وَقِطَعاً جَاهِلِيَّةً، لَيْسَ فِيهَا مَنَارُ هُدىً، وَلاَ عَلَمٌ يُرَی Sermon 92
    • Lapidus (2002), p.47
    • Holt (1977a), p.70 - 72
    • Tabatabaei (1979), p.50 - 57
    See also:
  81. ^ See: Nahj Al-Balagha Nahj Al-Balagha Sermon 25, 27, 29, 39
    • Al-gharat(Plunders) which has written by Abi Mikhnaf is a detailed report about these raid
  82. ^ See:
    • Lapidus (2002), p.47
    • Holt (1977a), p.72
    • Tabatabaei (1979), p.57
  83. ^ Tabatabae (1979), page 192
  84. ^ وَصِيَّتِي لَكُمْ: أَنْ لاَ تُشْرِكُوا بِاللهِ شَيْئاً، وَمُحَمَّدٌ(صلى الله عليه وآله) فَلاَ تُضَيِّعُوا سُنَّتَهُ، أَقِيمُوا هذَيْنِ الْعَمُودَينِ، وَخَلاَ كُمْ ذَمٌّ Nahj Al-Balaghah Letter 23
  85. ^ Majlesi, V.97, p. 246-251
  86. ^ Redha, Mohammad; Mohammad Agha (1999). Imam Ali Ibn Abi Taleb (Imam Ali the Fourth Caliph, 1/1 Volume). Dar Al Kotob Al ilmiyah. ISBN 2-7451-2532-X. 
  87. ^ Balkh and Mazar-e-Sharif
  88. ^ Madlong, (1997) p. 313 - 314
  89. ^
    • Lapidus (2002), p.47
    • Holt (1977a), p.72
    • Tabatabaei (1979), p.195
  90. ^ Madelung (1997), 309-310
  91. ^ Tabatabae (1979), page 194
  92. ^ Tabatabae (1979), page 196 - 201
  93. ^ See:
    • Lohouf (Arabic: اللهوف), by Sayyid ibn Tawoos (Arabic: سید ابن طاووس)., Tradition No. 174 and 175
    • list of Martyrs of Karbala
  94. ^ See:
  95. ^ «قال رسول الله: انا مدینة العلم و علی بابها فمن اراد المدینة فلیأت الباب» See:
    • «حدیث متواتر عن النبی نقله العامة و الخاصة»
    شیخ آغابزرگ تهرانی، تاریخ حصر الاجتهاد، تحقیق محمد علی انصاری، قم، موسسة الامام المهدی، 1401 ه‍ ، ص 53.* 10. حاكم نیشابوری، المستدرك علی الصحیحین، تحقیق دكتر یوسف مرعشلی، بیروت، دار المعرفه، 1406ه‍ ، ج 3، ص 126.
    • «رواه احمد‌‌ من ثمانیة طرق و ابراهیم الثقفی من سبعة الطرق و ابن‌بطه من ستة طرق و القاضی الجعانی من خمسة طرق و ابن‌شاهین من اربعة طرق و الخطیب التاریخی من ثلاثة طرق و یحیی بن معین من طریقین و قد رواه السمعانی و القاضی الماوردی و ابو‌منصور السکری و ابو‌الصلت الهروی و عبدالرزاق و شریک عن ابن‌عباس و مجاهد و جابر»
    ابن‌ شهر‌ آشوب، مناقب آل ابی‌ طالب، تحقیق گروهی از اساتید نجف، مطبعه الحیدریه، 1376 ه‍ ، ج 11، ص 314.
  96. ^ "سلوني قبل ان تفقدوني" See: * Nahj Al-Balagha Sermon Sermon 92 and 188
  97. ^ "حفظت سبعين خطبة من خطب الاصلع ففاضت ثم فاضت ) ويعني بالاصلع أمير المؤمنين عليا عليه السلام"مقدمة في مصادر نهج البلاغة
  98. ^ See:
  99. ^ Quarterly Journal of Islamic Thought and Culture, Vol. VII, No. 1 issue of Al-Tawhid
  100. ^ Mutahhari, 1997 [3]
  101. ^ Collection of Ali's poems(I Arabic)
  102. ^ پیدا شدن مجموعه نفیس کلمات امام علی(ع) در واتیكان
  103. ^ Nasr, Shi'ite Islam, preface, p. 10
  104. ^ Motahhari, Perfect man, Chapter 1
  105. ^ Trust, p. 695
  106. ^ Trust, p. 681
  107. ^ See:
    • Attar in The Conference of the Birds[4]
    • Sanai [5]
  108. ^ "و خدو انداخت در روی علی افتخار هر نبی و هر ولی آن خدو زد بر رخی که روی ماه سجده آرد پیش او در سجده‌گاه" ُSee:Rumi, 2004, p.227
  109. ^ The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London, 1911, (originally published 1776-88) volume 5, pp. 381-2]
  110. ^ May 8, 1840
  111. ^ The United Nation and Imam Ali’s Constitution
  112. ^ Henri Lammens, Fatima and the Daughters of Muhammad, Rome and paris: Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici, 1912. Translation by Ibn Warraq.
  113. ^ Madelong, (1997) p.xi
  114. ^ The United Nation and Imam Ali’s Constitution
  115. ^ Arab human development report 2002 pp. 82 and 107


  • Al-Bukhari, Muhammad. Sahih Bukhari, Book 4, 5, 8. 
  • Ali ibn Abi Talib. Nahj al-Balagha(Peak of Eloquence), compiled by ash-Sharif ar-Radi. 
  • Ali ibn al-Athir. In his Biography, vol 2. 
  • Ali ibn al-Athir. The Complete History (Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh), vol 3. 
  • Al-Waqidi. Al-maghazi(The Invasions) Part 1. Oxford Printing. 
  • Ashraf, Shahid (2005). Encyclopedia of Holy Prophet and Companions. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD.. ISBN 8126119403. 
  • Chirri, Mohammad (1982). The Brother of the Prophet Mohammad. Islamic Center of America, Detroit, MI. Alibris. ISBN 8126171834. 
  • Holt, P. M.; Bernard Lewis (1977). Cambridge History of Islam, Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521291364. 
  • Ibn Hisham, Abdul Malik (1955). Al Seerah Al Nabaweyah (Biography of the Prophet). Mustafa Al Babi Al Halabi(Egypt). (In Arabic)
  • Ibn Taymiyyah, Taqi ad-Din Ahmad. Minhaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah. (In Arabic)
  • Khatab, Amal (1996). Battles of Badr and Uhud. Ta-Ha Publishers. ISBN ISBN 1-897940-39-4. 
  • Lapidus, Ira (2002). A History of Islamic Societies (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521779333. 
  • Madelung, Wilferd (1997). The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521646960. 
  • Majlisi, Mohammad Baqer. Bihar al-Anwar V.97. (In Arabic)
  • Motahhari, Morteza. Ensane Kamel (Perfect Man), translated by Aladdin Pazargadi, edited by Shah Tariq Kamal. Foreign Department Of Bonyad Be'that. 
  • Motahhari, Morteza (1997). Glimpses of the Nahj Al-Balaghah, translated by Ali Quli Qara'i. Islamic Culture and Relations Organizati. 978-9644720710. 
  • Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj. Sahih Muslim, Book 19, 31. 
  • Peters, F. E. (2003). The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and Competition. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691114617. 
  • Redha, Mohammad; Mohammad Agha (1999). Imam Ali Ibn Abi Taleb (Imam Ali the Fourth Caliph, 1/1 Volume). Dar Al Kotob Al ilmiyah. ISBN 2-7451-2532-X. 
  • Rumi, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad (2004). The Masnavi, Book One , translated by Jawid A. Mojaddedi. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192804383. 
  • Sayyid ibn Tawoos. Lohouf (Arabic: اللهوف). h. (in Arabic and Persian)
  • Tabatabae, Sayyid Mohammad Hosayn; Seyyed Hossein Nasr (translator) (1979). Shi'ite Islam. Suny press. ISBN 0-87395-272-3. 
  • Tabatabae, Sayyid Mohammad Hosayn. Tafsir al-Mizan. 
  • Qommi, Abbas; PearMahumed Ebrahim Trust (translator). The Prayer's AlManac, English version of Mafatih al-Jinan. 
  • Watt, William Montgomery (1953). Muhammad at Mecca. Oxford University Press. 
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.. 

For further reading

  • Al-Tabari, Muhammad ibn Jarir (1987 to 1996). History of the Prophets and Kings , translation and commentary issued in multiple volumes. SUNY Press.  volumes 6-17 are relevant.
  • Armstrong, Karen (1993). Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. San Francisco: Harper. ISBN 0-06-250886-5. 
  • Gordagh, George (1956). Ali, The Voice of Human Justice. ISBN 0-941724-24-7. (in Arabic)
  • Ibn Ishaq; Guillaume, Alfred, ed. (translator) (2002). The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0196360331. 
  • Ibn Qutaybah. Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa. (In Arabic)
  • Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi (1997). The Book of the Major Classes (scattered volumes of English translation as issued by Kitab Bhavan). Ta-Ha Publishers, London. 
  • Motahhari, Murtaza (1981). Polarization Around the Character of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib. World Organization for Islamic Services, Tehran. 


  • Rizvi , Sa'id Akhtar (1956). Imamate: The Vicegerency of the Prophet. 
  • Watt, William Montgomery (1956). Muhammad at Medina. Oxford University Press. 

External links

Some of the Ali's most famous sermons and letters

Sunni biography

Shi'a biography

Ali Ibn Ali Talib (c599-661)
Banu Hashim
Cadet branch of the Banu Quraish
Born: March 17 599 Died: February 28 661
Shī‘a Islam titlesWp globe tiny.gif
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Hasan ibn Ali
Disputed by Nizari
Sunni Islam titlesWp globe tiny.gif
Preceded by
Rashidun Caliph
Succeeded by
Muawiyah I

Footnotes (including sources)

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