Islamic Studies 'Alī Ibn Abī Ṭālib
by
Moojan Momen, Omid Ghaemmaghami
  • LAST REVIEWED: 11 June 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 May 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0007

Introduction

ʿAlī (c. 600–661) was the cousin, and at various times in his life, foster-brother, foster-son, and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. He was a young boy when he embraced Islam and is regarded as the first male to have accepted Muhammad’s prophetic call. After the migration from Mecca to Medina, he married Muhammad’s daughter Fāṭima (d. 633). Four surviving children resulted from this marriage. ʿAlī participated in almost all of the early battles and expeditions, during which his leadership, bravery, and skill as an expert swordsman—all of which posthumously took on mythic proportions—were well regarded. Following the death of Muhammad in 632, disputes over leadership and authority enveloped the nascent community. Those who affirmed ʿAlī’s right to rule came to be known as the Shīʿa ʿAlī (partisans of ʿAlī). The majority of the community came to be known as the Ahl al-sunna (Sunnīs) and acknowledged Abū Bakr (d. 634), ʿUmar (d. 644), and ʿUthmān (d. 656) as the first three caliphs, or leaders, of the community. ʿAlī was declared leader after the assassination of ʿUthmān in 656, but his five-year rule was marked by civil strife and disputes (fitna) that lingered from the death of ʿUthmān until ʿAlī’s eventual murder in a mosque in Kūfa in 661. ʿAlī’ is venerated by Sunnīs as the fourth and last rightly guided caliph, and by the Shīʿa as the first Imām, the rightful successor to the Prophet, and the progenitor, together with his wife Fāṭima, of the succeeding Imāms. Thus, his influence in the Islamic tradition is far-reaching. He is revered for his piety and righteousness, chivalry and bravery, adherence to justice and principle, and knowledge of the Qurʾān and the Sunna of the Prophet.

General Overviews

Poonawala and Kohlberg 1985, Shah-Kazemi 2005, and Gleave 2009 are all excellent academic summaries of the life, works, and legacy of ʿAlī. Rishād 2001 is the most exhaustive study of elements of ʿAlī’s thought and philosophy in any language. Danishnamih ʿAlawi is the most complete collection of works by and about ʿAlī. The general introduction to the life of ʿAlī in Momen 1985 is of benefit to specialists and nonspecialists alike. Muttaqī 2003 and the final volume of Rishād 2001 are vital surveys for any scholar wishing to study the primary sources on ʿAlī. Ocak 2005 gathers some of the best scholarship available on the myth and image of ʿAlī in popular culture.

  • Dānishnāmih ʿAlawī. CD-ROM. Tehran, Iran: Noorsoft, 2009.

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    An attempt to compile a complete collection of the writings and speeches attributed to ʿAlī, as well as commentaries on these and other material written about ʿAlī. Contains the searchable text of more than 280 volumes.

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    • Gleave, Robert. “Alī b. Abī Ṭālib.” In Encyclopaedia of Islam. 3d ed. Edited by Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, and Everett Rowson. The Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 2009.

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      The most up-to-date academic survey of the life and influence of ʿAlī, covering his life, his works, his position in Sunnī thought, his position in the Ṣūfī tradition, and his position in Shīʿī theology.

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      • Momen, Moojan. Introduction to Shīʿī Islam: The History and Doctrines of Twelver Shiʿism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985.

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        On ʿAlī’s life, his qualities and the succession to the Prophet (pp. 11–26), and on the Imamate in general (pp. 147–160).

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        • Muttaqī, Ḥusayn. Muʿjam al-āthār al-makhṭūṭa ḥawla al-Imam ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib. Qum, Iran: Maktabat Āyatullāh Marʿashī-Najafī, 2003.

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          A listing of over ten thousand manuscripts about ʿAlī. About half of these are exclusively related to ʿAlī, while the rest are partly related. This is an indispensable source for any scholar wishing to undertake primary source research about ʿAlī.

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          • Ocak, Ahmet Yaşar, ed. From History to Theology: Ali in Islamic Beliefs. Ankara, Turkey: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2005.

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            A useful and varied collection of articles about ʿAlī. See especially Sachedina on ʿAlī in Twelver Shiʿism (pp. 3–25) and Daftary on ʿAlī in Ismāʿīlī theology (pp. 59–82). The second half of the book contains articles on ʿAlī in popular literature and iconography.

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            • Poonawala, I. K., and E. Kohlberg. Alī ibn Abī Ṭāleb. In Encyclopedia Iranica Online. Edited by Ehsan Yarshater. 1985.

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              Together with Gleave 2009, this is perhaps the best neutral and academic account available online. Poonawala authored the historical section dealing with the life of ʿAlī, while Kohlberg looks at the image of ʿAlī venerated by different Shīʿī groups.

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              • Rishād, Alī-Akbar, ed. Dānishnāmih-yi Imām ʿAlī. 12 vols. Tehran, Iran: Muʾassasih-yi Farhangī-yi Dānish va Andīshih-yi Islāmī, 2001.

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                This twelve-volume Persian encyclopedia about ʿAlī contains 630 entries and some 3,000 subentries written by religious scholars (ulāma) and university professors based in Iran. Volume titles include “Philosophy and Divine Knowledge,” “Prophethood and the Imamate,” “Ethics,” “Politics,” “History,” and “Economics.” The final volume is devoted to discussing the provenance of primary sources and manuscripts related to ʿAlī. The encyclopedia has received several prestigious publication awards in Iran.

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                • Shah-Kazemi, Reza. “ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib.” In Encyclopedia of Religion. 2d ed. Vol. 1. Edited by Lindsay Jones, 256–261. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005.

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                  An excellent survey of the life of ʿAlī and the influence he has exerted on virtually every aspect of the Islamic tradition. The article features a useful annotated bibliography for further reading.

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                  Biography

                  Thousands of biographical and hagiographical accounts about the life of ʿAlī have been produced. In this section, sources in Persian and Arabic written by Eastern scholars and sources authored by Western scholars are discussed.

                  Early Eastern Sources

                  The first half of ʿAlī’s life was so closely bound up with that of the Prophet Muhammad’s that most of the biographical literature about the Prophet contains important references to ʿAlī also (Ibn Ḥanbal 1896, Ibn Hisham 2006). The period of his caliphate (656–661) saw the first major civil war (fitna) in Islam, leading eventually to the Sunnī-Shīʿī split in Islam (al-Balādhurī 1959, al-Minqarī 1945). Due to this sectarian division, Muslim biographies of ʿAlī tend to be colored by their authors’ views (Ibn al Arabī 1967, Ibn ʿAsākir 1975, al-Yaʿqūbī 1939). In addition, the classical Sunnī (al-Ṭabarī 1989–1998) and Shīʿī collections (Majlisī 1982) of ḥadīth contain much biographical information.

                  • al-Balādhurī, Aḥmad ibn Yaḥyā. Ansāb al ashrāf. Edited by Muhammad Ḥamīd Allāh. Vol. 1. Cairo: Maʿhad al Makhṭūṭāt bi-Jāmiʿat al Duwal al ʿArabiyya bi-al Ishtirāk maʿa Dār al Maʿārif bi Miṣr, 1959.

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                    This important 9th-century historian gives what is probably the most neutral of the early accounts.

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                    • Ibn al Arabī, Abu Bakr Muhammad. Al ʿAwāṣim min al qawāṣim fī taḥqīq mawāqif al ṣaḥāba baʿda wafāt al nabī. 2d ed. Edited by Muḥibb al Dīn al Khaṭīb. Jidda, Saudi Arabia: al Dār al Saʿūdiyya lil Nashr, 1967.

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                      A strongly Sunnī account of the fitna by a 12th-century scholar from Spain.

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                      • Ibn ʿAsākir, ʿAlī ibn al Ḥasan. Tarjamat al Imām ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib min tārīkh madīnat Dimashq. 3 vols. Edited by Shaykh Muhammad Bāqir Maḥmūdī. Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al Taʿāruf lil Maṭbuʿāt, 1975.

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                        Extracts of reports concerning the life of ʿAlī from this 12th-century Syrian author’s history of Damascus. This volume, although authored by a Sunnī, records many of the ḥadīth favored by the Shīʿa.

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                        • Ibn Ḥanbal, Aḥmad. Al-Musnad. 6 vols. Cairo: al-Maṭbaa al-Mʿaymaniyya, 1896.

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                          One of the most important collections of Sunnī ḥadīth by the 9th-century scholar who founded one of the four Sunnī schools of law. It contains many traditions relating to ʿAlī’s life; see, for example, the Prophet Muhammad’s nomination of ʿAlī to be his successor at Ghadīr Khumm: Volume 1, pp. 84, 118, 119, 152, 331; Volume 4, pp. 281, 367, 370, 372; Volume 5, pp. 347, 366, 419.

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                          • Ibn Hisham, Abd al Malik. The Life of Muhammad. Translated by Alfred Guillaume. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                            The earliest extant biography of the Prophet—a 9th-century work based on an earlier 8th-century biography. For original text, see al Sīrah al nabawiyyah, 4 vols. (Cairo: Maktabat wa-Maṭbaʿat Muṣṭafā al Bābī al Ḥalabī, 1936).

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                            • Majlisī, Muhammad Bāqir. The Life and Religion of Muhammad. Translated by James Merrick. San Antonio, TX: Zahra Trust, 1982.

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                              Translation of Volume 2 of the original three-volume text Ḥayāt al-qulūb (The life of the hearts; Lucknow, India: Nawalkishawr, 1883).This author was responsible for popularizing Shīʿism in Iran in the late 17th to early 18th centuries by writing books such as this one in Persian.

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                              • al-Minqarī, Naṣr ibn Muzāḥim. Waqʿat Ṣiffīn. Edited by ʿAbd al Salām Muḥammad Hārūn. Cairo: ʿĪsā al Bābī al Ḥalabī, 1945.

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                                The oldest (author died in 827) and in many ways the best Shīʾī source for the fitna.

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                                • al-Ṭabarī, Muhammad ibn Jarīr. The History of al Ṭabarī. Bibliotheca Persica. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989–1998.

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                                  The standard early history of the rise of Islam. For ʿAlī, see in particular Volumes 6, 7, 8, 9, and 17. Original text is Taʾrīkh al rusul wa-al mulūk, edited by Muhammad Abī al Faḍl Ibrāhīm, 10 vols. (Cairo: Dār al Maʿārif, 1960–1969).

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                                  • al-Yaʿqūbī, Aḥmad. Tārīkh al Yaʿqūbī. 3 vols. Najaf, Iraq: al Maktaba al Murtaḍawiyya, 1939.

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                                    This author (d. 897) inclines to the Shīʿī view. See, in particular, ʿAlī’s nomination at Ghadīr Khumm, Volume 2, p. 93; events at the Saqīfa of the Banū Saʿīda after the Prophet’s death, Volume 2, pp. 102–105; ʿAlī’s nomination at Ghadīr Khumm, Volume 2, p. 93; events at the Saqīfa of the Banū Saʿīda after the Prophet’s death, Volume 2, pp. 102–105, and Volume 1, pp. 55–57; ʿAlī’s knowledge of the Qurʾan and the first three caliphs consulting him on legal questions, Volume 2, pp. 13–15.

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                                    Modern Eastern Sources

                                    Many modern works about ʿAlī written in Arabic and Persian tend to rehash the debates and polemical agendas that mark many of the classical sources. Among the exceptions are Jafri 1979 and al-ʿĀmilī 1995, both of which, though sympathetic with the Shīʿī viewpoint that ʿAlī’s authority was usurped, assume a balanced tone. Al-Amīnī 1995 is undoubtedly the most celebrated and comprehensive modern source in Shīʿī circles. Khaṭīb 1966 and Ḥusayn 1974 are two noteworthy biographical studies authored by Sunnī scholars, while Kattani 1983 is a rare work on ʿAlī in that it is written by a sympathetic non-Muslim Eastern scholar.

                                    • al-ʿĀmilī, Ibrāhīm. Maqtal amīr al-muʾminīn. Beirut, Lebanon: Muʾassasat al-Ghadīr, 1995.

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                                      An account of the death of ʿAlī in 661 at the hands of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Muljam, one of the Khawārij (seceders) who broke away from his camp after the battle of Ṣiffīn. This work includes what is believed by the Shīʿa to be ʿAlī’s last will and testament to his sons al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn, as well as the sermon delivered by al-Ḥasan after his passing. The book concludes with a section on the blessings of visiting ʿAlī’s tomb and a number of poems elegizing ʿAlī.

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                                      • al-Amīnī, Abd al Ḥusayn Aḥmad. Al Ghadīr fī al kitāb wa-al sunna wa-al adab. 6th ed. 11 vols. Tehran, Iran: Dār al Kutub al Islāmiyya, 1995.

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                                        An exhaustive compilation of all the primary references, both Sunnī and Shīʿī, to the episode at Ghadīr Khumm at which Shīʿīs claim ʿAlī was nominated by the Prophet Muhammad to be his successor. The work is in Arabic and has been translated into Persian in twenty-two volumes. Both the Arabic original and Persian translation are available on CD-ROM.

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                                        • Ḥusayn, Ṭāhā. La grande épreuve: Uthmān. Translated by Jacques Jomier. Paris: Vrin, 1974.

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                                          French translation of the first volume of an account of the fitna by the renowned modern Egyptian writer and intellectual Ṭāhā Ḥusayn (b. 1889–d. 1973). Although the second volume is mainly about ʿAlī, this volume contains some useful information. The full original text may be found in Fitna al-kubrā, Vol. 1, Uthmān (Cairo: Dār al Maʿārif, 1951), and Vol. 2, Alī wa-banūhu (Cairo: Dār al Maʿārif, 1956).

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                                          • Jafri, S. Husain. Origins and Early Development of Shiʿa Islam. London: Longman, 1979.

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                                            A well-written modern biography geared toward a Western readership but using traditional Shīʿī sources and lines of argument. On ʿAlī’s life, see pp. 1–126.

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                                            • Kattani, Sulayman. Imam Ali: A Beacon of Courage. Translated by I. K. A. Howard. London: Muhammadi Trust, 1983.

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                                              A modern pro-Shīʿī biography and commentary on the life of ʿAlī written by a Lebanese Christian. The book is written in the form of a tribute to ʿAlī.

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                                              • Khaṭīb, ʿAbd al-Karīm. ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib: Baqiyyat al nubuwwa wa khātim al khilāfa. Cairo: Dār al Fikr al ʿArabī, 1966.

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                                                A modern Sunnī biography.

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                                                Western Accounts

                                                Since the turn of the 19th century, Western scholars have applied critical methods of scholarship to the classical Arabic sources. Yet even Western scholars are divided in their views of ʿAlī (for example, compare Lammens 1912 with Amir-Moezzi 2000 and Madelung 1998). Given the importance of ʿAlī, there have been surprisingly few studies of him, and most have tended to concentrate on the period of the caliphate of ʿAlī (Madelung 1997, Ayoub 2005), or more specifically on the fitna (civil war) that erupted at this time (Caetani 1905–1926, Veccia Vaglieri 1952, Hinds 1972, Petersen 1974, Wellhausen 2000).

                                                • Amir-Moezzi, Mohammad Ali. “Considérations sur l’Expression Dîn ʿAlî: Aux Origines de la Foi Shiite.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 150.1 (2000): 29–68.

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                                                  A useful analysis of the origins of the Shīʿa as partisans of ʿAlī. Reprinted in Amir-Moezzi, La religion Discrète: Croyances et Pratiques Spirituelles dans lʾIslam Shiʿite (Paris: Vrin, 2006), pp. 19–47.

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                                                  • Ayoub, Mahmoud. The Crisis of Muslim History: Religion and Politics in Early Islam. Oxford: Oneworld, 2005.

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                                                    An account of the period of the first four caliphs, looking at some of the theological developments as well as the political aspects of the events. The author is an important Lebanese Shīʿī scholar.

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                                                    • Caetani, Leone. Annali dellʾIslām. 10 vols. Milan, Italy: U. Hoepli, 1905–1926.

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                                                      Although the scholarship is now somewhat dated, the Italian scholar Leone Caetani (b. 1869–d. 1935) has given what is still the most detailed analysis of early Islamic history in a Western language. On the fitna, see Volumes 8–10.

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                                                      • Hinds, Martin. “The Siffin Arbitration Agreement.” Journal of Semitic Studies 17 (1972): 93–129.

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                                                        An analysis of the arbitration at the battle of Ṣiffīn (the last major battle of the first fitna).

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                                                        • Lammens, Henri. Fatima et les filles de Mahomet: Notes critiques pour lʾétude de la Sira. Rome: Sumptibus Ponificii instituti biblici, 1912.

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                                                          This Belgian Catholic author (b. 1862–d. 1937) took a markedly pro-Umayyad stance and presented a negative view of ʿAlī and Fāṭima.

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                                                          • Madelung, Wilferd. The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

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                                                            A well-researched and thorough recent assessment of the first four caliphs; more favorable portrait of ʿAlī than most Western academic authors have given.

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                                                            • Petersen, E. Ladewig. ʿAlī and Muʾāwiya in Early Arabic Tradition. Translated by P. Lampe Christensen. Odense University Studies in History and Social Sciences. Odense, Denmark: Odense University Press, 1974.

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                                                              Looks at the historiography of the first fitna.

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                                                              • Veccia Vaglieri, Laura. “Il conflitto ʿAlī Muʾāwiya e la secessione Kharigita riesaminati alla luce di fonti ibādite.” Annali dell’Istituto universitario Orientale Napoli (1952): 1–94.

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                                                                The Italian scholar Veccia Vaglieri (d. 1989) presents new evidence on the fitna from Khārijī sources.

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                                                                • Wellhausen, Julius. The Arab Kingdom and Its Fall. Translated by Margaret Graham Weir. London: Routledge, 2000.

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                                                                  Originally published in German as Das arabische Reich und sein Sturtz (Berlin: G. Reimer, 1902). The German scholar Julius Wellhausen (b. 1844–d. 1918) was the first to apply critical methods of scholarship to the classical Arabic historical sources. His book is still useful.

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                                                                  Works of ʿAlĪ

                                                                  The most significant and widely published work ascribed to ʿAlī is a collection of sermons and letters, collected some four centuries after his death and published under the title Nahj al-balāgha (often translated as The Peak of Eloquence although The Clear Path of Eloquence is a more accurate translation). In addition, thousands of oral narrations (ḥadīth) are ascribed to ʿAlī. These narrations have been compiled and recompiled under different classifications by scholars. Finally, in this section we will introduce some thematic collections, including works of poetry, that are attributed to ʿAlī.

                                                                  Nahj al-balāgha

                                                                  In the 4th Islamic century, al-Sharīf al Rāḍī compiled a collection of sermons, letters, and aphorisms attributed to ʿAlī titled Nahj al-balāgha (see al-Sharīf al-Rāḍī 1996). Much of the material in this work appears to be authentic (see Djebli 1992), and one can sense from it the frustration and pain that ʿAlī felt in the last half of his life. This collection has even been accepted by many Sunnī authorities, and numerous commentaries by both Shīʿī and Sunnī scholars have been written on it (see Rāwandī 1986, Ibn Abī al-Ḥadīd 1959–1967, Abduh 1933, Sulṭān 1940, and Shah-Kazemi 2007). It is considered a masterpiece of Arabic eloquence and style (al-ʿUmarī 2010).

                                                                  • Abduh, Muhammad. Kitāb nahj al balāgha: Wa-huwa mā jamaʿahu al Sharīf al Rāḍī min kalām Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib; wa ʿalayhi sharḥ Muḥammad Abduh. Cairo, 1933.

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                                                                    The text of the Nahj al-balāgha together with a commentary by the prominent Sunnī modernist Shaykh Muhammad ʿAbduh (d. 1905).

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                                                                    • Djebli, Moktar. “Encore à Propos de l’Authenticité du Nahj al Balagha!” Studia Islamica 75 (1992): 33–56.

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                                                                      An article suggesting that most of the material in the Nahj al-balāgha can be attributed to ʿAlī.

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                                                                      • Ibn Abī al-Ḥadīd, ʿAbd al Ḥamīd. Sharḥ nahj al balāgha. 20 vols. Edited by Muhammad Abū al Faḍl Ibrāhīm. Cairo: ʿĪsā al Bābī al Ḥalabī, 1959–1967.

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                                                                        Numerous commentaries and glosses have been written on the Nahj al-balāgha. One of the most influential commentaries is this work by the Muʿtazilī Ibn Abī al-Ḥadīd (d. 1257). The author often cites from an earlier commentary on the Nahj al-balāgha, Rāwandī 1986.

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                                                                        • Rāwandī, Quṭb al Dīn Saʿīd. Minhāj al barāʾa fī sharḥ nahj al balāgha. Edited by ʿAbd al Laṭīf al Kūhkamarī. Qum, Iran: Maktabat Āyat Allāh al Marʿashī al ʿĀmma, 1986.

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                                                                          One of the earliest and most famous commentaries is this three-volume work written by the well-known Shīʿī traditionist and jurist Quṭb al-Dīn Rāwandī (d. 1178). The commentary probes the grammatical, theological, and literary aspects of the original work.

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                                                                          • Shah Kazemi, Reza. Justice and Remembrance: Introducing the Spirituality of Imam ʿAlī. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007.

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                                                                            Analyzes ʿAlī’s letter to Mālik al-Ashtar from Nahj al-balāgha demonstrating the former’s political philosophy. The author also examines the term dhikr Allāh (the remembrance of God) and ʿAlī’s mystical philosophy.

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                                                                            • al-Sharīf al Rāḍī, Abul-Ḥaṣan Muhammad, ed. Nahjul balaaghah. Translated by Sayed Ali Reza. Potomac, MD: Ahlul Bayt Assembly of America, 1996.

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                                                                              Useful edition in that it has a parallel Arabic text and English translation. The best critical edition of the text is, however, probably that of ʿAzīz Allāh al-ʿUtārdī (Tehran, Iran: Nahj al-Balāgha Foundation, 1993).

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                                                                              • Sulṭān, Jamīl. Étude sur Nahj al Balâgha. Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, 1940.

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                                                                                A Sunnī study of the Nahj al-vbalāgha in French.

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                                                                                • al-ʿUmarī, Ḥusayn. Al-Khiṭāb fī nahj al-balāgha. Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 1431/2010.

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                                                                                  A literary and analytical study of the structures and modes of the orations found in the Nahj al-balāgha.

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                                                                                  Ḥadīth

                                                                                  The oral tradition concerning the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad attributed to ʿAlī can be found throughout the ḥadīth literature of both Sunnīs and Shīʿa. For the Shīʿa, the words and actions of ʿAlī himself constitute a source of ḥadīth because he is considered infallible. Qubānchī 2000 is perhaps the most comprehensive collection of Shīʿī ḥadīths ascribed to ʿAlī. For Shīʿī ḥadīths of ʿAlī on the subject of the Islamic messianic figure known as the Mahdī, see the recently published ʿĀshūr 2008. For Sunnī ḥadīths, see Ibn Ḥanbal 1896 and Wensinck 1971.

                                                                                  • ʿĀshūr, ʿAlī. Sirr al-mahdī fī ʿilm ʿAlī. Beirut, Lebanon: Muʾassasat al-Tārīkh al-ʿArabī, 2008.

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                                                                                    Numerous Shīʿī ḥadīths are attributed to ʿAlī on the subject of the Mahdī, the Islamic messianic figure whom the Shīʿa identify as ʿAlī’s descendant, the twelfth or hidden Imām. These narrations describe, inter alia, the Mahdī’s physical features, the condition of the world at the time of his appearance, and descriptions of his rule that will be marked by the spread of justice and equity throughout the world. This book is a systematic study of some of these traditions.

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                                                                                    • Ibn Ḥanbal, Aḥmad. Al-Musnad. 6 vols. Cairo: al-Maṭbaʿa al-Maymaniyya, 1896.

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                                                                                      An important Sunnī collection arranged by the originator of the ḥadīth (musnad). For those attributed to ʿAlī, see Volume 1, pp. 75–160.

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                                                                                      • Qubānchī, Ḥasan. Musnad al-Imām ʿAlī. 11 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Muʾassasat al-Aʿlamī lil-Maṭbūʿāt, 2000.

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                                                                                        One of the largest collections of ḥadīths ascribed to ʿAlī. The author spent twenty-four years (1387–1409 AH) compiling the volumes. The final volume has a useful and comprehensive index.

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                                                                                        • Wensinck, A. J. A Handbook of Early Muhammadan Tradition. 8 vols. Leiden, The Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1971.

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                                                                                          This is the standard Western alphabetical index of Sunnī ḥadīth.

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                                                                                          Thematic Collections

                                                                                          Various authors have collected material attributed to ʿAlī. These include collections of prayers (Chittick 1995, al-Ṭabrisī 1998), poetry (Shams al-Dīn 2004), sermons (al-Bursī 2006), legal judgments (al-Āmilī 1976, Tustarī 1992), and proverbs and aphorisms (Āmidī 1987, Cleary 1995). However, some of the material in these collections is of dubious authenticity.

                                                                                          • Āmidī, Abd al Wāḥid ibn Muhammad. Ghurar al ḥikam wa durar al kilam: Min kalām amīr al muʾminīn Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib. Edited by Muhammad Saʿīd al Ṭurayḥī. Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al Qāriʾ, 1987.

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                                                                                            A large number of proverbs and aphorisms are ascribed to ʿAlī. This is a collection from both Shīʿī and Sunnī sources.

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                                                                                            • al-Āmilī, Muḥsin al Ḥusaynī. ʿAjāʾib al aḥkām amīr al muʾminīn ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib. Beirut, Lebanon: Maktabat Walad al Bayān, 1976.

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                                                                                              A collection of the legal judgments of ʿAlī.

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                                                                                              • al-Bursī, Rajab, ed. Mashāriq anwār al-yaqīn fī asrār amīr al-muʾminīn. Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al-Qāriʾ, 2006.

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                                                                                                Compilation of theophanic, mystical, and esoteric sermons and statements attributed to ʿAlī and other Shīʿī Imāms, as well as the author’s own commentary on these. This compilation is considered “extremist” (see discussion of the Ghulāt in Imamology) by the orthodox but is popular in Arabic-speaking countries.

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                                                                                                • Chittick, William C. Supplications (Duʿā). London: Muhammadi Trust, 1995.

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                                                                                                  Translations of three prayers of ʿAlī, including the Prayer of Kumayl, which is much loved and recited by the Shīʿa.

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                                                                                                  • Cleary, Thomas, trans. Living and Dying with Grace: Counsels of Hadrat ʿAlī. Boston: Shambhala, 1995.

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                                                                                                    Translation of proverbs and aphorisms attributed to ʿAlī.

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                                                                                                    • Shams al-Dīn, Sālim, ed. Dīwān amīr al-muʼminīn wa-sayyīd al-bulaghāʼ wa-al-mutakallimīn al-Imām ʻAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib. Beirut, Lebanon: al-Maktaba al-ʿAṣriyya, 2004.

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                                                                                                      Poetry attributed to ʿAlī, but much of it is of doubtful authenticity.

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                                                                                                      • al-Ṭabrisī, Ḥusayn Taqī al-Nūrī, comp. Al Ṣaḥīfa al ʿalawiyya al-mubārika al-thāniyya. Edited by Ṣafāʾ al-Wadīs. Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al-Aḍwāʾ, 1998.

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                                                                                                        A collection of prayers ascribed to ʿAlī.

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                                                                                                        • Tustarī, Muhammad Taqī. Qaḍāʾ amīr al muʾminīn ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib. 11th ed. Beirut, Lebanon: Muʾassasat al Aʿlamī, 1992.

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                                                                                                          A compilation of the legal judgments of ʿAlī.

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                                                                                                          Hagiogrphy of ʿAlī

                                                                                                          Statements attributed to Muhammad praising ʿAlī can be found in most collections of ḥadīth, both Shīʿī and Sunnī. In the latter, look for the section often titled “Manāqib” or “Faḍāʾil al-ṣaḥāba” (ʿAskarī 1965, Nasāʾī 1969). Shīʿī sources go further than Sunnī ones in praising ʿAlī, elevating his station and attributing miracles to him (al-Mufīd 1981, al-Māzandarānī 1991). For all Shīʿa, many of the verses of the Qurʾan refer to ʿAlī (and by extension, the other Imāms) (al-Baḥrānī 2004, Abū Maʿāsh 2007), and it is on account of ʿAlī’s high station that love (maḥabba/mawadda) and devotion (walāya) toward him are incumbent on all; that he is immune from error (maʿṣūm); and that he will intercede with God on behalf of his supporters on the Day of Judgment (al-Majlisī 1983). For Ismāʿīlī Shīʿa especially, and for many other Shīʿa, Muhammad was responsible for the revelation (tanzīl), while ʿAlī was responsible for its interpretation (taʾwīl); Muhammad expounded the ẓāhir (outward form) of Islam, while ʿAlī explained the bāṭin (inner reality) (Hunzai 1997).

                                                                                                          • Abū Maʿāsh, Saʿīd. Kitāb faḍāʾil amīr al-muʾminīn: ʿAlī bin Abī Ṭālib fī al-Qurʾān al-karīm. Tehran, Iran: Dār al-Mawadda, 2007.

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                                                                                                            A discussion of the virtues of ʿAlī based on the author’s interpretation of verses in the Qurʾān about ʿAlī.

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                                                                                                            • ʿAskarī, Najm al Dīn Jaʿfar. Maqām al imām amīr al muʾminīn ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib ʿinda al khulafāʾ wa-awlādihim wa-al ṣaḥāba al kirām. Najaf, Iraq: Maṭbaʿat al Ādāb, 1965.

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                                                                                                              A useful compilation of Sunnī sources on ʿAlī, written by a Shīʿī.

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                                                                                                              • al-Baḥrānī, al-Hāshim. Al-Lawāmiʾ al-nūrāniyya fī asmāʾ ʿAlī ʿalayhi al-salām wa-ahl baytihi al-qurʾāniyya. Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al-Aḍwāʾ, 2004.

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                                                                                                                Goes verse by verse through the Qurʾān identifying those verses that have been revealed about ʿAlī, Fāṭima, or the other eleven Imāms based on Shīʿī ḥadīths. The author (d. c. 1697) was one of the most prolific traditionalists in Shīʿī history.

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                                                                                                                • Hunzai, Faquir. Shimmering Light: An Anthology of Ismaili Poetry. London: I.B. Tauris, 1997.

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                                                                                                                  Poems by some of the most eminent names in the Ismāʿīlī tradition, much of it about ʿAlī.

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                                                                                                                  • al-Majlisī, Muhammad Bāqir. Biḥār al-anwār: al jāmiʿa li durar akhbār al aʾimma al aṭhār. 2d ed. 111 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Muʾassasat al Wafāʾ, 1983.

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                                                                                                                    The most comprehensive published collection of Shīʿī traditions. Some Shīʿī scholars have criticized the author for not being sufficiently discriminating, but this is probably because the critics are Uṣūlīs and Majlisī favored Akhbarism (these are two conflicting schools of Shīʿī law). It contains numerous ḥadīth attributed to ʿAlī throughout. The section on the Imamate appears in Volumes 23–27; the section about ʿAlī in Volumes 35–42.

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                                                                                                                    • al-Māzandarānī, Abī Jaʿfar Muhammad b. ʿAlī b. Shahrāshūb al-Sarwī. Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib. 4 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al-Aḍwāʾ, 1991.

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                                                                                                                      A classical hagiographical text about the virtues of the Prophet Muhammad and the Imāms, with special emphasis on Imām ʿAli.

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                                                                                                                      • al-Mufīd, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Muhammad. Kitāb al irshād: The Book of Guidance into the Lives of the Twelve Imams. Translated by I. K. A. Howard. Horsham, UK: Balagha, 1981.

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                                                                                                                        Biographies of the Imāms by the most important Shiʿi scholar of the late 10th to early 11th centuries. The section on ʿAlī accounts for almost half of the book and includes speeches, legal judgments, and stories of miracles of ʿAlī (pp. 1–263; original text: pp. 2–167). Original text: Kitāb al-irshād, edited by Kāẓim al Mūsawī al Mayāmawī (Tehran, Iran: Dār al Kutub al Islāmiyya, 1957).

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                                                                                                                        • Nasāʾī, Aḥmad ibn Shuʿayb. Khaṣāʾiṣ amīr al muʾminīn Alī ibn ʿAbī Ṭālib. Edited by Muhammad Hādī al Amīnī. Najaf, Iraq: al Maṭbʿa al Ḥaydariyya, 1969.

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                                                                                                                          Nasāʾī (c. 829–915) is the author of one of the “canonical” collections of Sunnī ḥadīth and yet is said to have had Shīʿī sympathies for which he was killed. This is a book of ḥadīth of the Prophet Muhammad recording the distinctions and merits of ʿAlī.

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                                                                                                                          Imamology

                                                                                                                          The various Shīʿī schools and sects have usually differed over their view of the station and nature of ʿAlī. The boundary between “high” orthodox Imamology (particularly as espoused by the Akhbārī school) and the so-called extremists or exaggerators, the Ghulāt, can be difficult to discern at times. Literature accepted by the former talks of the first creation of God being a light that then separated into two, Muhammad and ʿAlī, and finally became the Fourteen Pure Ones (maʿṣūmūn): Muhammad, ʿAlī, Fāṭima, and the other eleven Shīʿī Imāms (Corbin 1972, Lawson 1993, Amir-Moezzi 1994). The Ghulāt are defined by Muslim heresiographers as having exceeded the proper bounds of moderation in their veneration of the Imāms, and in particular ʿAlī, by attributing divine qualities to them or equating their stations with that of the Prophet Muhammad (Ibn Ḥazm 1909, Shahrastānī 1984, Moosa 1987, Bar-Asher and Kofsky 2002). The Shaykhī movement in 19th-century Iran could be considered a fusion of mystical philosophy (of 16th- and 17th-century Iran) and Akhbārī devotion to the Imāms. Many of the writings of its first two leaders, Shaykh Aḥmad al-Ahṣāʾī and Sayyid Kāẓim Rashtī, focus on ʿAlī (al-Aḥsāʾī n.d.). In the writings of the Bāb (Sayyid ʿAlī Muhammad Shīrāzī), the founder of the Bābī religion, which emerged from the Shaykhī movement, one finds a similar veneration of ʿAlī and the other Imāms (Saiedi 2008). The views of ʿAlī among the early Shīʿī sects can usually be found in the classical accounts of these sects (Ibn Ḥazm 1909, Shahrastānī 1984).

                                                                                                                          • al-Aḥsāʾī, Shaykh Aḥmad. Majmūʿa al-rasāʾil. Vol. 30. Kerman, Iran, n.d.

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                                                                                                                            A collection of treatises by the founder of the Shaykhi movement; on ʿAlī, see in particular the treatise on pp. 194–215.

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                                                                                                                            • Amir-Moezzi, Mohammad Ali. The Divine Guide in Early Shīʿīsm: The Sources of Esotericism in Islam. Translated by David Streight. Albany: State University of New York, 1994.

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                                                                                                                              Attempts to reconstruct the esoteric teaching about the metaphysical and cosmological dimension of the Imāms, which was the central teaching of the Shīʿa before the later superimposition of rationalist and legalistic discourses.

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                                                                                                                              • Bar Asher, Meir, and Aryeh Kofsky. The Nuṣayrī ʿAlawī Religion: An Enquiry into Its Theology and Liturgy. Leiden, The Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                About the Nuṣayrīs, or ʿAlawīs, one of the extant sects of “Ghulāt”; on the Nuṣayrī view of ʿAlī and festivals commemorating events in his life, see pp. 14–24, 120–128, 141–150.

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                                                                                                                                • Corbin, Henri. En Islam iranien: Aspects spirituels et philosophiqes. 4 vols. Paris: Gallimard, 1972.

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                                                                                                                                  Corbin (b. 1903–d. 1978) was the foremost Western writer on the esoteric aspects of ʿAlī and the Imamate, although he has a tendency to transpose his own ideas onto his subject. On the Imamate, see Volume 1, pp. 39–85, 219–329; on ʿAlī and spiritual chivalry, Volume 4, pp. 390–460.

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                                                                                                                                  • Ibn Ḥazm, ʿAlī ibn Aḥmad. The Heterodoxies of the Shiites, according to Ibn Ḥazm. Translation and commentary by Israel Friedlaender. New Haven, CT: American Oriental Society, 1909.

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                                                                                                                                    A translation of the part dealing with the Shīʾīs sects in the classic 11th-century work by the Sunnī writer Ibn Hazm, al Faṣl fī al milal wa-al ahwāʾ wa al niḥal, edited by Abd al Raḥmān Khalīfa, 5 vols. (Cairo: Maktabat wa Maṭbaʿat Muhammad ʿAlī Ṣubayḥ, 1928–1929). On ʿAlī, see pp. 28–39, 40–73; original text: Volume 2, pp. 88–92, and Volume 4, pp. 137–144.

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                                                                                                                                    • Lawson, B. Todd. “Akhbārī Shīʿī Approaches to tafsīr.” In Approaches to the Qurʾān. Edited by G. R. Hawting and Abdul Kader A. Shareef, 173–210. London: Routledge, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                      Lawson examines four important Qurʾān commentaries written by Akhbārī scholars from the Safavid period. All four commentaries employ an Imām-centered exegetical apparatus and feature a plethora of uniquely Shīʿī traditions relating to esoteric aspects of the Imamate and highly charged statements of love and devotion to ʿAlī, the Prophet, Fāṭima, and the other Imāms (collectively, the ahl al-bayt).

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                                                                                                                                      • Moosa, Matti. Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                        An important study of the Ghulāt (the exaggerators). Moosa’s monograph covers, inter alia, the Bektashis, Ahl-i Ḥaqq, and Nuṣayrīs. On ʿAlī, see pp. 50–76, 337–356.

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                                                                                                                                        • Saiedi, Nader. Gate of the Heart: Understanding the Writings of the Bāb. Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                          The Bābī movement branched out from Shaykhism but went on to separate from Islam. In the writings of the Bāb, the founder of the movement, there is a profound love and veneration of ʿAlī and the other Imāms; related to ʿAlī, see pp. 55–6, 102, 120–121, 164–169.

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                                                                                                                                          • Shahrastānī, Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al Karīm. Muslim Sects and Divisions: The Section on Muslim Sects in Kitāb al-Milal waʾl -Niḥal. Translated by A. K. Kazi and J. G. Flynn. London: Kegan Paul, 1984.

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                                                                                                                                            Twelfth-century classical work on Islamic sects. The author is thought to have been an Ismāʿīlī. Original text: al Milal wa-al niḥal, edited by Aḥmad Fahmī Muḥammad, 3 vols. (Cairo: Maktabat al Ḥusayn al Tijāriyya, 1948–1949). On ʿAlī, see pp. 125–173; original text: Volume 1, pp. 234–238.

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                                                                                                                                            Legend and Role Model

                                                                                                                                            Perhaps no figure in Islam, other than the Prophet Muhammad himself, is the source of so much myth and legend and is such a role model as ʿAlī. ʿAlī plays an important symbolic role in Ṣūfīsm in that almost all of the chains of transmission (silsila) of the various Ṣūfī orders go back to him, often through Ḥasan al-Baṣrī (d. 728) (Shaybī 1991, Trimingham 1998). Stemming from ʿAlī’s bravery in battle, his virtues of forbearance and justice, and his respect for women, he is regarded as having been the archetypal youth (fatā), the role model for the various brotherhoods that arose in Islam under the names of futuwwa in the Arabic world, akhī in the Turkish-speaking world, and ayyār and javānmardī in the Persian-speaking world (Corbin 1972, Ibn Janāḥ 1994, Zakeri 1995). From these traditions, the moral ideal and codes of conduct of many Islamic guilds, societies, and orders of warriors were derived. These codes were influential in popular social institutions such as the Zūr-khānas (gymnasia) of Iran (Chehabi 2006). It may even be that these notions passed over to Europe through the early Crusaders and influenced the European concept of chivalry (Von Hammer-Purgstall 1849).

                                                                                                                                            • Chehabi, Houchang. Zur-Kāna. In Encyclopedia Iranica Online. Edited by Ehsan Yarshater. 2006.

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                                                                                                                                              An encyclopedia entry that includes information on the importance of ʿAlī to the Zūrkhāna tradition in Iran.

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                                                                                                                                              • Corbin, Henri. En Islam iranien: Aspects spirituels et philosophiqes. 4 vols. Paris: Gallimard, 1972.

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                                                                                                                                                Although Corbin should be treated cautiously because of a tendency to impose his own ideas on the subject, he is nevertheless the most empathic of Western writers on many aspects of Shīʿism. On ʿAlī as the exemplary fata (translated by Corbin as “chevalier”), see Volume 4, pp. 410–430

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                                                                                                                                                • Ibn Janāḥ, Ṣāliḥ. Kitāb al adab wa-al murūʾa. Tehran, Iran: Pazhūhishgāh i ʿUlūm i Insānī va Muṭālaʿāt i Farhangī, Vābastih bih Vizārat i Farhang va Āmūzish i ʿĀlī, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                  On ʿAlī and futuwwa, see pp. 28, 161–166, 177–179.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Shaybī, Kāmil Muṣṭafā. Sufism and Shiism. Surbiton, UK: LAAM, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                    Deals with the interrelations of Ṣūfīsm and Shīʿism. This study originated as the author’s Cambridge University PhD thesis. This book is a translation by the author of his al Fikr al Shīʿī wa-al nazaʿāt al ṣūfiyya ḥattā maṭlaʾ al qarn al thānī ʿashar al hijrī (Baghdad: Maktabat al Nahḍa, 1966).

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                                                                                                                                                    • Trimingham, J. Spencer. The Sufi Orders in Islam. London: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                      The standard work on the Ṣūfī orders. On the importance of ʿAlī to the Ṣūfī orders, and especially their spiritual lineages, see pp. 133–136, 149, 261–263.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Von Hammer-Purgstall, Joseph. “Sur la chevalarie des Arabes antérieure á celle de lʾEurope, sur l’influence de la première sur la seconde.” Journal Asiatique 13 (1849): 4–14.

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                                                                                                                                                        Traces the concepts of chivalry from ʿAlī to the caliph al-Nāṣir (d. 1225) and notes that these concepts were developed prior to the emergence of similar ideas in the West. The author also notes that the word “galaubier,” used in the dialect of Provence to mean a man in search of glory in arms, is derived from the Arabic “ghālib,” meaning one who is victorious, providing further evidence of the directional drift of ideas about chivalry. Unfortunately, the author’s ideas have not been adequately followed up by later scholars.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Zakeri, Mohsen. Sāsānid Soldiers in Early Muslim Society: The Origins of ayyārān and the futuwwa. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                          On the origins of the ayyārān and the futuwwa, urban organizations espousing ideals of chivalry. On the role of ʿAlī as inspiration for the ayyārān and futuwwa, see pp. 210–214.

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                                                                                                                                                          Founder of Branches of Islamic Knowledge

                                                                                                                                                          ʿAlī is also popularly regarded as having been the founder of various branches of Islamic learning. He is recorded in both Sunnī and Shīʿī sources as having had an extensive knowledge of the Qurʾan, of its correct reading, of the circumstances of the revelation of each verse (see Asani 2001, Lalani 2006), and of the practice of the Prophet; in addition, his legal judgments are highly valued (see also Thematic Collections). He is thus a role model for the Shīʿī ʿulamāʾ. ʿAlī is also considered the master of Arabic rhetoric, particularly as seen in the Nahj al-balāgha, and he is the founder of Arabic grammar, through his disciple Abu al Aswad al Duʾalī (d. 688; but see Bohas, et al. 1990). Windfuhr 2008 mentions the tradition that ʿAlī possessed knowledge of jafr (knowledge of the future, divination) and transmitted this knowledge to his descendants. ʿAlī has been an inspiration for various modernist and Islamist reinterpretations of Islam (see Muṭahharī 1981, Sharīʿatī 2000, ʿĪd 2002).

                                                                                                                                                          • Asani, Ali S. ʿAlī b. “Abī Ṭālib.” In Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. Edited by Jane McAuliffe. 6 vols. Leiden, The Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                            As Imām, the Shīʿī tradition maintains that ʿAlī was invested with special knowledge of the inner meaning of the Qurʾān. This knowledge was passed down through the Imāms that followed him. Some early Shīʿī traditions maintain that an authentic version of the Qurʾān was recorded by ʿAlī but rejected by his opponents. According to Shīʿī lore, ʿAlī’s version is in the possession of the twelfth Imām (known as the hidden Imām). On ʿAlī, see Volume 1, pp. 62–63

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                                                                                                                                                            • Bohas, Georges, Jean Patrick Guillaume, and Djamel Eddine Kouloughli. The Arabic Linguistic Tradition. London: Routledge, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                              See p. 1 for a refutation of the legend of ʿAlī and al Duʾalī as founders of Arabic grammar.

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                                                                                                                                                              • ʿĪd, Sulaymān ibn Qāsim. Manhaj ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib fī al daʿwa ilā Allāh: al istifāda minhu fī al ʿaṣr al ḥāḍir. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Dār al Waṭan lil Nashr, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                Presents ʿAli as an inspiration for a Sunnī modernist reinterpretation of Islam.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Lalani, Arzina. “ʿAli ibn Abi Talib.” In The Qurʾān: An Encyclopedia. Edited by Oliver Leaman, 28–32. London: Routledge, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Regarding ʿAlī’s knowledge of all aspects of the Qurʾān: its compilation, its contents, the occasion on which each verse was revealed, its recitation, its commentary, etc.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Muṭahharī, Murtaḍā. Polarization around the Character of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib. Tehran, Iran: World Organization for Islamic Services, 1981.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Written by one of the ideological inspirers of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. It holds up ʿAlī as an example for all Shīʿa. Translation of Jādhiba va dāfiʾa yi ʿAlī ʿalayhi al salām (Tehran, Iran: Muʾassasa yi Islāmī yi Ḥusayniyya yi Irshād, 1970).

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Sharīʿatī, ʿAlī. Tashayyuʿ i ʿalavī va tashayyuʿ i ṣafavī. 3d ed. Tehran, Iran: Intishārāt i Chāpakhsh, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                      This author (d. 1977) was one of the ideological inspirers of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. In this work he contrasts the original pure Shīʿīsm of ʿAlī with what he considers is the corruption of this under the Safavid dynasty (and by implication under the Pahlavi regime).

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Windfuhr, Gernot. Jafr. In Encyclopaedia Iranica Online. Edited by Ehsan Yarshater. 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Discusses ʿAlī as the purported founder of Islamic divination.

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                                                                                                                                                                        The Shrine of ʿAlī

                                                                                                                                                                        The shrine of ʿAlī in Najaf and the shrine of his son Ḥusayn at Karbala are two of the most important shrines in the Shīʿī world (Ibn Ṭāwūs n.d., Muhammad 1969). According to Shīʿī tradition, pilgrimage to the shrine of ʿAlī is equal to 100,000 martyrdoms and the sins of the pilgrim will be forgiven (Donaldson 1933). With ʿAlī regarded as the founder of most branches of the Islamic sciences, it is not surprising that some of the leading madrasihs of the Shīʿī world are located around his shrine (Gharawī 1994). Sindawi 2008 highlights accounts of oneiric encounters experienced by visitors to ʿAlī’s shrine.

                                                                                                                                                                        • Donaldson, D. M. The Shīʿite Religion. London: Luzac, 1933.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Pages 54–65 contain a helpful history of Najaf and a description of the shrine.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Gharawī, Muhammad. Al Ḥawza al ʿilmiyya fī al Najaf al ashraf. Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al Aḍwāʾ, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                            On Shīʿī educational institutions situated around the shrine of ʿAlī.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Ibn Ṭāwūs, ʿAbd al-Karīm. Farḥat al gharī fī taʿyīn qabr amīr al muʾminīn ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib fī al Najaf. Najaf, Iraq: al Maṭbaʿa al Ḥaydariyya, n.d.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Traditions and historical accounts about the shrine of ʿAlī.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Muhammad, Suʿād Māhir. Mashhad al Imām ʿAlī fī al Najaf wa mā bihi min al hadāya wa-al tuḥaf. Cairo: Dār al Maʿārif, 1969.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Description of the shrine of ʿAlī in Najaf with pictures.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Sindawi, Khalid. “The Image of ʿAlī bin Abū Ṭālib in the Dreams of Visitors to his Tomb.” In Dreaming Across Boundaries: The Interpretation of Dreams in Islamic Lands. Edited by Louise Marlow, 179–201. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Visitation to the shrine of ʿAlī is an important religious activity for the Shīʿa, while dreams and their interpretations are an important part of the popular religion. This article brings together these two subjects.

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