Ali ibn Abi Talib Biography

(1st Shia Imam (632-661))

Born: 600

Born In: Kaaba, Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Ali ibn Abi Talib was the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad. He was the fourth and the last of the Rashidun Caliphs. Raised by Muhammad since a tender age, he became his first male follower. Ali was one of Muhammad’s greatest supporters and assisted him in various conquests and in the spread of Islam. He put his life on the line many times to protect Muhammad from numerous assassination attempts. As he grew up, he led Muhammad’s armies successfully against the enemies. When he was denied the right to succeed Muhammad to become the first caliph, the Muslims split. The section of Muslims that contested that Ali was the rightful heir (by referring to various quotes of Muhammad) is called the “Shia” sect. Ali has contributed to Muslim theology as a writer and an orator. During his rule, he implemented pro-poor policies and tried to end corruption. His reign as a caliph was a turbulent period, and his life ended tragically after he was injured by deceit.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Ali

Died At Age: 61


Spouse/Ex-: Al Sahba' bint Rabi'ah, Asma bint Umays, Fatimah, Khawlah bint Ja'far, Leila bint Masoud, Umamah bint Zainab, Umm ul-Banin

father: Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib

mother: Fatima bint Asad

siblings: Aqeel ibn Abi Talib, Fakhitah bint Abi Talib, Ja`far ibn Abī Tālib, Jumanah bint Abi Talib, Talib ibn Abu Talib

children: Abbas ibn Ali, Abdullah ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, Abi Bakr bin Ali, Awn ibn Ali, Fatima bint Ali, Hasan ibn Ali, Husayn ibn Ali, Jafar ibn Ali, Jumana bint Ali, Khadija bint Ali, Maymūnah bint Ali, Muhammad al-Asghar ibn Ali, Muhammad al-Awsat ibn Ali, Muhammad Asghar ibn Ali, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, Muhsin ibn Ali, Musa ibn Ali, Nafeesa bint Ali, Ramla bint Ali, Ruqayah bint Ali, Ubaid Allah bin Ali, Um al-Hasan bint Ali, Um al-Kiram bint Ali, Um Hani bint Ali, Um Jafar bint Ali, Um Salma bint Ali ., Umamah bint Ali, Umar al-Asghar, Umar bin Ali, Umm Kulthum bint Ali, Uthman al-Akbar, Uthman al-Asghar, Yahya ibn Ali, Zaynab bint Ali

Born Country: Saudi Arabia

Quotes By Ali Ibn Abi Talib Spiritual & Religious Leaders

Died on: January 28, 661

place of death: Grand Mosque of Kufa, Kufa, Iraq

Cause of Death: Assassination

Childhood & Early Life
Ali was the son of Abu Talib and Fatima bint Asad. He was born on the 13th day of the Rajab month according to the Islamic calendar.
He was born inside the Kaaba in the city of Mecca. His birth was thus revered as a spiritual occasion.
It is believed that Muhammad was the first person Ali saw when the former held the newborn in his arms.
The name “Ali” was given to him by Muhammad.
Muhammad raised him from the age of 5.
When Muhammad declared that he was the Prophet of Islam, 9-year-old Ali became the second person after Khadija, Muhammad's wife, and the first male to follow Islam.
Four years after Muhammad began preaching, he requested the invitees of a dinner to join in his mission. However, only Ali offered to assist him. Muhammad, after his initial reluctance, accepted him. This event is observed as the Dawat dhul-Ashira.
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Contribution to Islam
While Muhammad and his followers were persecuted in Mecca, Ali was a great support. Ali impersonated as Muhammad to help him evade an assassination attempt. He then helped him escape to Medina.
In his early 20s, he joined Muhammad in Medina and worked closely with him to spread Islam.
In the Battle of Uhud, he protected Muhammad by wielding the revered double-bladed sword named “Zulfiqar.” After being anointed as the commander of the army by Muhammad, he led them to victory. The Battle of Badr helped him bring his battle skills to the Battle of the Trench after killing the Arab warrior Amr ibn Abd al-Wud.
The peace treaty of Hudaybiyyah was drafted by Ali according to the wishes of Muhammad. It was a treaty between them and the Quraysh tribe of Mecca. However, as it was breached by the Quraysh tribe, Ali led the conquest of Mecca. Thy conquered Mecca with negligible casualties.
Two incidents in his life have led to different interpretations later. First, Mubahala, the debate between Christian monks and Muhammad (along with his family members including Ali), and then the sermon at Ghadir Khumm, where Muhammad declared Ali as the “mawla” of those for whom Mohammad was the “mawla.”
The Shias consider this as the declaration that Ali was the rightful heir to Muhammad, while the Sunnis treat it only as a depiction of the spiritual bonding they shared.
However, after the death of Muhammad, Abu Bakr succeeded him to become the first Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate. This incident led to the division of Muslims into two sects: the Sunnis and the Shias. The Sunnis believe that the first four successors were the actual successors of Muhammad, but the Shias claim that only Ali was the rightful successor.
During this period and until he became the Caliph, Ali stayed away from politics, wars, and administrative duties. He was involved in public service instead. He used to express his views to the Caliphs on political and religious matters whenever they sought so.
He compiled the “mus’haf,” a complete version of the ‘Quran.’ However, this was not accepted by most people after it was revealed to them.
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After the assassination of Uthman ibn Affan, Ali became the fourth Caliph. However, the tragic end of Uthman resulted in the First Fitna, the civil war in Rashidun.
As a consequence of the civil war, the Battle of Basra ensued. Ali won the battle against Aisha, the widow of Muhammad. However, this did not bring stability to the Caliphate. There was a section of people, including Muawiyah I of the Umayyad clan, who firmly believed that Ali was responsible for the murder of Uthman. They believed he was unjust in not punishing the perpetrators.
Muawiyah I continued his protest against him. Several battles, both minor and major, were fought between the two, including the Battle of Siffin and the Battle of Nahrawan.
As the rebellion against Ali gained momentum, some of his staunchest allies deserted him. One such group came to be known as the Kharijites.
One of these Kharijites, Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam ,deceitfully wounded Ali with a sword smeared with poison while he was praying. He succumbed to the injury 2 days later. The convict was punished according to his instructions.
Ali was buried in a secret location, as he did not want his cemetery to be defiled by his enemies. The site was revealed by Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq during the Abbasid Caliphate.
The Shias believe that he was buried at the ‘Masjid Ali’ in the Iraqi city of Najaf, while the Afghans claim that the ‘Rawze-e-Sharif,’ in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, is his gravesite.
Family & Personal Life
Ali’s father, Abu, was the sheik of Banu Hashim, a clan to which his wife and Muhammed belonged.

Ali was a descendant of Ibrahim and Ishmael.
Ali’s marriage to Fatima al-Zahra, Muhammad’s daughter, was the will of God, according to a revelation made by Muhammad.
His children from Fatima were Hasan ibn Ali, Husayn ibn Ali, Zaynab bint Ali, and Umm Kulthum bint Ali.
After the death of Fatima, he married Umamah bint Zainab, Fatima binte Hizam, and Khawlah bint Ja’far.
Al-Abbas ibn Ali and Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah were his sons from his subsequent marriages.

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