2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Ali ibn Talib (c 600-661) was the fourth caliph of Islam. His strong fundamentalist beliefs cause the Shiites to revere him as the first imam and helped to create the rift between Shiite and Suni. Muhammad took Ali under his protection when Ali was ten to relieve the boy's impoverished father. Ali was among the first to accept Muhammad as a prophet and served as his secretary and as his standard-bearer. When Muhammad secured Mecca for his new religion, Ali smashed the idols of the Ka'bah. Ali later married Fateema, the youngest of Muhammad's daughters. They had two sons, who were also religious leaders. Between the time of Muhammad's death (632) and Ali's election to the caliphate (656), Ali published the first chronological edition of the Koran and became known as a legal expert because of his knowledge of the sacred book and of the sayings of the Prophet. Ali's works were collected and published in the 10th century as The Road of Eloquence. His five years as caliph were spent in civil war. He was stabbed with a poisoned sword while he prayed at Kufah and died two days later. During the reign of his political rivals the Umayyad, the place of his burial was kept a secret. After 750, it became a place of pilgrimage.
Karen Rae Keck
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