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Ali says

Biography

Ali (/ˈɑːli, ɑːˈliː/;[7] Arabic: علي‎, translit. ʿAlī‎, Arabic pronunciation: [ʕaliː]; 13 Rajab, 21 BH – 21 Ramadan, 40 AH (c. 594 – 29 January 661) was the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. He ruled as the fourth caliph from 656 to 661, and was first Imam of Shia Islam from 632 to 661. Born to Abu Talib and Fatimah bint Asad, Ali was the only child believed to have been born in the sacred sanctuary of the Ka‘bah (Arabic: كَـعـبَـة‎‎) in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam, according to many classical Islamic sources, especially Shia ones. Ali was the first young male who accepted Islam.[11][12] After migrating to Medina, he married Muhammad's daughter Fatimah. Ali took part in the early caravan raids from Mecca and later in almost all the battles fought by the nascent Muslim community. He was appointed caliph by Muhammad's Companions (Sahaba) in 656, after Caliph Uthman ibn Affan was assassinated. Ali's reign saw civil wars and in 661, he was attacked and assassinated by a Kharijite while praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, dying two days later. Ali is important to both Sunni and Shi'ite denominations, politically and spiritually.[18] The numerous biographical sources about Ali are often biased according to sectarian lines, but they agree that he was a pious Muslim, devoted to the cause of Islam and a just ruler in accordance with the Qur'an and the Sunnah. While Sunnis consider Ali the fourth and final of the Rashidun (rightly guided) caliphs, Shi'ites regard Ali as the first Imam after Muhammad due to their interpretation of the events at Ghadir Khumm. Shias also believe that Ali and the other Shi'ite Imams (all of whom are members of the Bayṫ (Arabic: بَـيـت‎‎, Household) of Muhammad) are the rightful successors to Muhammad. This disagreement split the Ummah (Arabic: أُمَّـة‎‎, Muslim Community) into the Sunni and Shia branches.

Ghadir Khumm

As Muhammad was returning from his last pilgrimage in 632, he made statements about Ali that are interpreted very differently by Sunnis and Shias. He halted the caravan at Ghadir Khumm, gathered the returning pilgrims for communal prayer and began to address them. According to Encyclopedia of Islam: Taking Ali by the hand, he asked of his faithful followers whether he, Muhammad, was not closer (awlā) to the Believers than they were to themselves; the crowd cried out: "It is so, O Apostle of God!"; he then declared: "He of whom I am the mawla, of him Ali is also the mawla (man kuntu mawlāhu fa-ʿAlī mawlāhu)". Shias regard these statements as constituting the designation of Ali as the successor of Muhammad and as the first Imam; by contrast, Sunnis take them only as an expression of close spiritual relationship between Muhammad and Ali, and of his wish that Ali, as his cousin and son-in-law, inherit his family responsibilities upon his death, but not necessarily a designation of political authority. Many Sufis also interpret the episode as the transfer of Muhammad's spiritual power and authority to Ali, whom they regard as the wali par excellence. On the basis of this hadith, Shias say that Ali later insisted that his religious authority was superior to that of Abu Bakr and Umar.

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