Why Ali

It’s unfortunate that in many discussion about Islam, Ali’s name rarely comes up. He personifies all of the qualities we look up to in society and is the forgotten role model many Muslims and non-muslims ignore. So I thought I’d post a thread about what’s been written about him

Thomas Carlyle
(1795-1881) Scottish historian, critic, and sociological writer.
“As for this young Ali, one cannot but like him. A noble-minded creature,
as he shows himself, now and always afterwards; full of affection, of fiery
daring. Something chivalrous in him; brave as a lion; yet with a grace, a
truth and affection worthy of Christian knighthood.”
[On Heroes, Hero-Worship, And The Heroic In History, 1841, Lecture 2: The Hero
as Prophet. Mahomet: Islam., May 8, 1840)]

Edward Gibbon
(1737-1794) Considered the greatest British historian of his time.
“The zeal and virtue of Ali were never outstripped by any recent proselyte.
He united the qualifications of a poet, a soldier, and a saint; his wisdom still
breathes in a collection of moral and religious sayings; and every antagonist,
in the combats of the tongue or of the sword, was subdued by his eloquence
and valour. From the first hour of his mission to the last rites of his funeral,
the apostle was never forsaken by a generous friend, whom he delighted to
name his brother, his vicegerent, and the faithful Aaron of a second Moses.”
[The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London, 1911, volume 5, pp. 381-2]

Dr. Henry Stubbe
(1632-1676) Classicist, polemicist, physician, and philosopher.
“He had a contempt of the world, its glory and pomp, he feared God much,
gave many alms, was just in all his actions, humble and affable; of an
exceeding quick wit and of an ingenuity that was not common, he was
exceedingly learned, not in those sciences that terminate in speculations but
those which extend to practice.”
[An Account of the Rise and Progress of Mahometanism, 1705, p. 83]

Wilferd Madelung
Professor of Arabic at Oxford University
"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 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."
[The succession to Muhammad: a study of the early caliphate, Cambridge, 1997,
pp. 309-310]

Even after 1400 years, as the united nations looks to the future of human development in the arab world, they quoted Imam Ali several times on governance in page 107 of ARAB HUMAN
DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2002 hdr.undp.org/en/reports/regionalreports/arabstates/RBAS_ahdr2002_EN.pdf

George Jurdaq a christian arab who was fascinated by the personality of Imam Ali (as) wrote a book titled “Imam Ali - the Voice of Justice for Humanity” where he compares the “international declaration of human rights” with a letter written by Imam Ali to his governor in Egypt, Malik al-alshtar. Below are some excerpts from that letter

Malik! You must create in your mind kindness, compassion and love for your subjects. Do not behave towards them as if you are a voracious and ravenous beast and as if your success lies in devouring them…

Remember, Malik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you have; they are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than that of yours, they are human beings like you. Men of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human beings are inclined to, they commit sins, indulge in vices either intentionally or foolishly and unintentionally without realizing the enormity of their deeds. Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you

Do not feel ashamed to forgive and forget. Do not hurry over punishments and do not be pleased and do not be proud of your power to punish. Do not get angry and lose your temper quickly over the mistakes and failures of those over whom you rule. On the contrary, be patient and sympathetic with them. Anger and desire of vengeance are not going to be of much help to you in your administration. …

Do not give cause to the people to envy each other (man against man, tribe against tribe or one section of the society against the other). Try to alleviate and root out mutual distrust and enmity from amongst your subjects. …

Be fair, impartial and just in your dealings** with all, individually and collectively** and be careful not to make your person, position and favours act as sources of malice. Do not let any such thing or such person come near to you who does not deserve your nearness and your favour. Never lower your dignity and prestige…

Try carefully to realize that a ruler can create goodwill in the minds of his subjects and can make them faithful and sincere to him only when he is kind and considerate to them, when he reduces their troubles, when he does not oppress them and when he never asks for things which are beyond their power…

You must know, Malik, that the people over whom you rule are divided into classes and grades and the prosperity and welfare of each class of the society individually and collectively are so interdependent upon the well-being of the other classes that the whole set-up represents a closely woven net and reciprocal aspect. One class cannot exist peacefully, cannot live happily and cannot work without the support and good wishes of the other…

Then comes the class of the poor and the disabled persons. It is absolutely necessary that they should be looked after, helped and well-provided for. The Merciful Allah has explained the ways and means of maintaining and providing for each of these classes. And everyone of this class has the right upon the ruler of the State that at least minimum necessities for its well-being and contented living are provided…

Ali’s generosity and kindness knew no bounds, he would deny himself food and comfort to feed and shelter the poor and needy. Even as the khalif and leader of the muslim empire he would take it upon himself to visit the poor and disabled in his city to feed and help them.

He was the closest person to the prophet Muhammad (s), in fact one of my teachers used to say that Imam Ali (as) was the greatest Miracle of Muhammad (s) that is because he was raised by him, learned everything from him and was always by his side, as his shadow until the prophets’ last breath. Ali is the role model that all muslims need to follow.

Ali Talib is the person that Shia’s follow, isn’t that correct Famdigy?

And Ali married mohamads daughter Fatina, right?

And the Sunni sect follow Abu Bakr, correct?

From what I’ve been reading and understanding was that when mohamad died he did not leave a successor to rule. Some muslims wanted Abu and the others wanted Ali, so it looks like Abu got the majority of the votes, -if I may put it that way- :stuck_out_tongue:

I participate on other boards where the sunny continiously bash the shia, over and over! I know sunny make up the higher percentage of muslim, but they don’t like the shia at all and always at their throats.

What else can you tell us about Ali besides what you posted in the OP…

I’m always learning and want to continue to learn. Frankly, I feel real bad on other boards when the sunny come out as voltures against the shia.

I always thought a muslim is a muslim. I had no idea about the different sects and types until I started learning about islam and all associated with it.

Thanks for you time,

Also Famdigy,

Please pardon my ignorance if you “roll your eyes” at my questions. :blush:

Do the shia follow the koran? Or do they have their own version of the koran?

Do the shia follow the hadiths? Or do they have their own hadith books?

Do the shia follow mohamads sunna?

What is shia’s shahada? And do they follow the 5 pillars of islam.

And also, I remember a post a while back titled “what happened to ali’s koran”…

Did we ever finish that discussion?

Wow, thanks again for you time and looking forward to learning…

Hi Pam! Found these on the Answering-Islam site:




These beg the question as to whether Ali merits the distinction of being another model for Muslim men!


Thanks Vickie - I’ll be looking at them… :smiley:


Just as Muhammad allowed the murder of Christians, so later, Ali did the same. Below are several accounts of how Ali and his men abused and murdered Christians.

Among them were many Christians who had accepted Islam, but when dissension had developed in Islam had said, “By God, our religion from which we have departed is better and more correct than that which these people follow. Their religion does not stop them from shedding blood, terrifying the roads, and seizing properties.”

And they returned to their former religion.

Al-Khirrit met them and said to them, “Woe unto you! Do you know the precept of Ali regarding any Christian who accepts Islam and then reverts to Christianity?

By God he will not hear anything they say, he will not consider any excuse, he will not accept any repentance, and he will not summon them to it. His precept regarding them is immediate cutting off of the head when he gets hold of them.” (page 187, 188).

"I was in the army that Ali Abi Talib sent against the Banu Najiyah… Our commander said to one of these groups, “What are you?” and they replied, “We are a Christian people who do not consider any religion to be better than ours, and we hold fast to it.” Our commander said to them, “Be off with you.”

He said to another band, “What are you?” And they said, “We were Christians, but we accepted Islam, and we hold fast to our Islam.” He said to them, “Be off with you!”

Then he said to the third group, “What are you?” and they said, “We are a people who were Christians. We accepted Islam but we do not think, that any religion is better than our previous one.”

He said to them, “Accept Islam!” but they refused. He said to his men, “When I rub my head three times attack them and kill the fighting men and make captive the dependants.” (page 188).

But there was an old man among them, a Christian called al-Rumahis b. Mansur, who said, By God, the only error I have made since attaining reason was abandoning my religion, the religion of truth for yours, the religion of wickedness. No by God, I will not leave my religion and I will not accept yours so long as I live.” Maqil brought him forward and cut off his head.” (page 191).

“As for the Christians, we made them captive and led them off so that they might be a warning for those of the protected peoples who come after them not to refuse the jizyah (extortion tax), and not to make bold against our religion and community, for the protected people are of little account and lowly in status. (page 192)

Masqalah sent one of the Christians of the Banu Taghlib, whose name was Hulwan, to Nuaym from Syria with a letter… Ali who took his letter and read it. He then cut off the hand of the Christian, who died. (page 195).

Pam you are right, Imam Ali (as) was married to the prophet’s daughter, Lady Fatima (as), they had 2 sons, Hassan and Hussayn (as) and 1 daughter, Lady Zainab (as).

Lady Fatima (as) died as a result of injuries she received when the 2nd Khalif Omar kicked the front door of her house open and pinned her between the wall and the door, she was 18 or 19 years old and pregnant with their 3rd son at the time. Lady Fatima (as) held Abu Bakr and Omar responsible for usurping their rights and made Ali (as) promise not to allow them to attend her funeral. Ali (as) buried her body in the middle of the night in secret with only a few people present. To this day, nobody knows where exactly Lady Fatima (as) is buried. We also hold those 2 responsible for usurping the rights of the prophet’s household, to the sunnis, abu bakr and Omar are regarded as holy saints, they become extremely enraged when we call them out on their crimes

There is lots of evidence on both the sunni and shia side to support the idea that Muhammad (s) chose Ali (as) as his successor. When the news of the prophet’s death spread, some of the companions decided to hold a secret meeting to elect the next leader so as to keep Ali (as) away from leadership. The secret meeting was held at a place called “Saqifa bani Sa’ida”, the rooftop of a tribe known as bani Sa’ida, there they argued and debated about who will be successor with everyone wanting the position for himself, eventually they agreed to select abu bakr. Meanwhile Ali (as) was busy preparing the body of the prophet for burial.

Pam, to answer your questions

  1. Yes the Shia follow the Quran, We do believe however that Imam Ali (as) compiled a manuscript of the Quran in the order it was revealed, this manuscript contained the verses, along with the prophet’s commentary and other divine revelation, the book is said to have contained 17,000 verses. The imam presented this manuscript to the khalif Uthman, but uthman refused it saying that we already have a book and have no need for yours. The imam kept the manuscript hidden and never showed it again since.

  2. Yes we follow the hadiths but from our own collections. One of the conditions to following a hadith is that the narrator of the hadith must be loyal and friendly to the prophet’s household. If you look at early islamic history, Imam Ali (as) had many enemies, especially from the Ummayid dynasty. Hadith forgers who got paid by the Umayyid and Abbasid governments had fabricated all sorts of hadiths slandering Imam Ali and accusing him of all sorts of repulsive actions.

  3. Yes we follow the sonna, but as it was taught to us by the prophet’s household, namely Imam Ali, Lady Fatima, and their children. Since they grew up in the shadow of the Prophet (s). they know best how to interpret and inact the Sunna of the prophet.

  4. The shia shahada is the same as the Sunni Shahada. The Ummayids instituted a practice where they demanded people curse Imam Ali in the mosques, for around 60 years of Ummayid rule, Ali’s name was being cursed in every mosque in the empire. This prompted Loyal Shias to declare that Ali is Allah’s friend (Allyun Walli Allah) whenever they read the shahada, to affirm that Ali is not Allah’s enemy as the Umayids want to have people believe. We understand that the shahada is “There is no God except Allah, and that Muhammad is his messenger” however we do append “and Ali is Allah’s friend” with the understanding it is not part of the Shahada

  5. Yes we follow the 5 pillars but they are defined differently than that. In Shia theology we have two principles
    a.Usul al-din (foundations of faith), these are a set of universal beliefs that are incumbent on every believer with no exception. and,
    b. Furu’ al-din (branches of faith), these deal with the practices and rituals of faith.

the sunni 5 pillars are spread out within the two.

I think the post titled what happened to Ali’s Quran died away, I don’t think there was any additional interest from the OP or anybody else.

These are Ummayid lies and slanders against Ali, recorded in their books. If you want to know about Imam Ali, learn it from those close to him, not from his enemies.

If there were any truth to what was reported in answering-islam, all the non-muslim historians I quoted above and the Christian arab George Jordac would not have regarded him so highly
to write a book about him titled “the voice of human justice”


Wow, thanks much for your time and replies.

I read both of them and will need some time to absorb the information. I’m exhausted from reading and researching all day… :blush: and besides, it’s getting late here in New York and almost supper time.

Hey, did you get a chance to look at what I posted regarding “murder of the Christians” within here? These things happened under Ali’s watch.


OK, I will research Ummayid tomorrow. Thanks for your attention to the posts and replies.

Hi Famdigy…

The information on the article I posted about the killing of the Chistians during Ali’s rule came from this source.

al-Tabari, “The History of al-Tabari”, (Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-muluk),
State University of New York Press, 1993

I tried to read up on Ummayid and frankly, the stuff is over my heard. :confused:

Way too many names and battles and conquests and when I read so many Arabic names, my brain shuts down. :blush: :shrug:

Just being truthful, that’s all.

Thanks for the information you provided.

Anyone ever noticed how when you quote something from Hadith that Muslims don’t like, they always claim it’s a “lie” and was made up by “enemies” of their own sect of Islam? As if they Umayidds just made up those stories out of thin air!

Yes, battles and conquests pretty much some up the whole history of Islam. :stuck_out_tongue:

Al-Tabari followed the classic methodology of early Islamic historians, a process which differed greatly from modern day historical writers. Islamic historians would simply compile all the known narrations about a certain event, regardless of how authentic or reliable each of those narrations were. They would copy the Isnads (chains of transmitters) into their books, in order that the Muhaditheen (scholars of Hadith) could determine which narration was authentic, weak, or fabricated. Therefore we find that History of at-Tabari is simply a collection of narrations on certain events; some of these narrations are accurate, whereas others are not. There isn’t an educated muslim whether sunni or shia who believes Ali murdered christians. This is because he was known for protecting the rights of everyone under his rule, including non-muslims and non-arab muslims.

When Ali became the Khalif, he sent Malik al-ashtar to Egypt as his governor and sent to him a letter advising how to run his government. A part of this letter reads:

Remember, Malik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you have; they are brothers to you, and those who have religions other than that of yours, they are human beings like you. Men of either category suffer from the same weaknesses and disabilities that human beings are inclined to, they commit sins, indulge in vices either intentionally or foolishly and unintentionally without realizing the enormity of their deeds. Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you.

He regarded muslims as brothers and non-muslims as equals in creation, and asked his governor to extend mercy and compassion to all under his rule.

Another evidence of his encompassing compassion and mercy is his treatment of the Khawarij, these are a band of people who at one point were members of Ali’s army who then defected, formed their own political group and called for Ali’s death. Imam Ali neither imprisoned them or suppressed their freedoms of speech, as long as they did not break any laws or physically harmed anyone. Eventually one of the khawarij struck Ali with a poisoned sword as he was praying, and as Ali was dying due to his injury he asked his son not to punish his killer with cruelty or torture.



Who is the person (picture0 on your ending signature?

I was wondering the same thing…I’ve seen that pic before other places, I assume its Ali, or perhaps Mahomet himself? :shrug: Whoever it is, he’s a downright wicked looking fellow. I’m so thankful we worship this Man:

Instead of this greasy barbarian with the shifty eyes:

I was wondering the same thing…I’ve seen that pic before other places, I assume its Ali, or perhaps Mahomet himself? :shrug:

Its illustration of either Ali or his son:


thank you for the illustrations SAM, God bless you!!

MrDickerson, very ignorant of you, even though you claim to be christian and worship Jesus, you don’t behave as a true christian would, you are crude and cold harted.

In any case, that picture I have is a liking of Imam Hussein (as), he is Ali’s (as) second son. If you knew anything about him, you would be ashamed of your words and wouldn’t have said what you said, but the ignorant will be ignorant.

This is what western historians have said about him.

“The best lesson which we get from the tragedy of Karbala is that Husain and his companions were rigid believers in God. They illustrated that the numerical superiority does not count when it comes to the truth and the falsehood. The victory of Husain, despite his minority, marvels me!” – Thomas Carlyle

“I learnt from Hussein how to achieve victory while being oppressed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Edward G. Brown
Sir Thomas Adams Professor of Arabic and oriental studies at the University of
"… a reminder of the blood-stained field of Kerbela, where the grandson of
the Apostle of God fell at length, tortured by thirst and surrounded by the
bodies of his murdered kinsmen, has been at anytime since then sufficient
to evoke, even in the most lukewarm and heedless, the deepest emotions,
the most frantic grief, and an exaltation of spirit before which pain, danger
and death shrink to unconsidered trifles."
[A Literary History of Persia, London, 1919, p. 227]

Edward Gibbon
(1737-1794) Considered the greatest British historian of his time.
“In a distant age and climate the tragic scene of the death of Hosein will
awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.”
[The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London, 1911, volume 5, pp. 391-2]

Peter J. Chelkowski
Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, New York University.
"Hussein accepted and set out from Mecca with his family and an entourage
of about seventy followers. But on the plain of Kerbela they were caught in
an ambush set by the … caliph, Yazid. Though defeat was certain, Hussein
refused to pay homage to him. Surrounded by a great enemy force, Hussein
and his company existed without water for ten days in the burning desert of
Kerbela. Finally Hussein, the adults and some male children of his family
and his companions were cut to bits by the arrows and swords of Yazid’s
army; his women and remaining children were taken as captives to Yazid in
Damascus. The renowned historian Abu Reyhan al-Biruni states; “… then
fire was set to their camp and the bodies were trampled by the hoofs of the
horses; nobody in the history of the human kind has seen such atrocities.”
[Ta’ziyeh: Ritual and Drama in Iran, New York, 1979, p. 2]

Robert Durey Osborn
(1835-1889) Major of the Bengal Staff Corps.
"Hosain had a child named Abdallah, only a year old. He had accompanied
his father in this terrible march. Touched by its cries, he took the infant in
his arms and wept. At that instant, a shaft from the hostile ranks pierced
the child’s ear, and it expired in his father’s arms. Hosain placed the little
corpse upon the ground. ‘We come from God, and we return to Him!’ he
cried; ‘O Lord, give me strength to bear these misfortunes!’ … Faint with
thirst, and exhausted with wounds, he fought with desperate courage,
slaying several of his antagonists. At last he was cut down from behind; at
the same instance a lance was thrust through his back and bore him to the
ground; as the dealer of this last blow withdrew his weapon, the ill-fated
son of Ali rolled over a corpse. The head was severed from the trunk; the
trunk was trampled under the hoofs of the victors’ horses; and the next
morning the women and a surviving infant son were carried away to Koufa.
The bodies of Hosain and his followers were left unburied on the spot
where they fell. For three days they remained exposed to the sun and the
night dews, the vultures and the prowling animals of the waste; but then the
inhabitants of a neighbouring village, struck with horror that the body of a
grandson of the Prophet should be thus shamefully abandoned to the
unclean beasts of the field, dared the anger of Obaidallah, and interred the
body of the martyr and those of his heroic friends.
[Islam Under the Arabs, Delaware, 1976, pp. 126-7]


I once had a chart and it showed the heirarchy from mohamad to the caliphs and I’ve lost it.

Anyway, does it go like this?

1st caliph: Abu Baker
2nd caliph: Ali
3rd caliph: Abu Sufyan
4th caliph: Zubayr


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