From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat

Ali bin Abi Talibra (590-661) was the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammadsa who went on to become his fourth successor as Caliph

Early Life

Ali was the son of Muhammad'ssa uncle, Abu Talib and his wife Fatimah - who had taken care of the Prophetsa in his early childhood following the death of his own parents. On Ali's birth, the Prophetsa himself became his guardian, because his Abu Talib's financial position was weak.

Following the advent of Islam, the Meccan leaders planned to assassinate Muhammadsa. The Prophetsa migrated from Mecca for Medina, with Ali providing a decoy by staying behind and sleeping in his bed. Despite threats, Ali refused to offer information on Muhammad'ssa whereabouts on being discovered by the enraged Meccans.

Ali married Muhammad'ssa daughter Fatimah.


Ali was chosen to be the fourth Caliph on June 23, 656 A.D., six days after the assassination of his predecessor, Uthman. With chaos abounding in the city of Medina, Ali moved the capital to Kufa in Iraq.

Ali faced the popular demand of Muslims including the influential companions of Muhammadsa Talhah and Zubair, to immediately punish the assassins of Uthman. Instead, he announced his top priority was to restore law and order and only then he would be able to pursue the assassins. However Talhah and Zubair did not agree and started raising their own army. Aisha, the wife of Muhammadsa, also joined them in an effort to punish the assassins. The three led a small army towards Basrah.

A battle  took place between Ali's forces and the forces of Aisha, who rode a camel leading to the battle being known as the Battle of the Camel. Talhah and Hadrat Zubair left their forces before the battle, and were killed by some opponent. Aisha's forces were defeated, but Ali ensured her safety. Later, Aisha regretted her role in fighting Ali.

Following the battle, a prominent Muslim named Mauwiyah refused to acknowledge the rule of Ali due to his desire to avenge the death of his tribesman Uthman. Mauwiyah began raising an army and Ali was forced to advance towards Syria to meet him. In July 657, the forces faced one another at Saffain. There were heavy casualties on both sides, but the battle ended with an agreement the matter be decided by an arbitration committee. This consisted of Abu Musa al-Ashari representing Ali and Amar bin al-Aas for Mauwiyah, but this arbitration also ended in failure.

A large group of people who were against the proposal of arbitration, separated from Ali, and chose an independent leader. This group was called the Khawaarij meaning 'outsiders'. At first, Ali tried to persuade them to accept his rule, but failed. This led to a fierce battle in which most of the Khawaarij were killed. Following their crushing defeat, the Khawaarij assassinated Ali while he was en route to the mosque for the morning prayer. 

See also