“A poor man is like a foreigner in his own country.” – Ali Ibn Abi Talib
About Ali Ibn Abi Talib
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (15 September 601 – 29 January 661) was the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic Nabi (Prophet) Muhammad, ruling over the Caliphate from 656 to 661 ACE, and was Imam of Shi‘ite from 632 to 661 ACE.
Born to Abu Talib and Fatimah bint Asad, ‘Ali was the only person born in the sacred sanctuary of the Ka‘bah in Mecca, the holiest place in Islam, according to many classical Islamic sources, especially Shia ones. ‘Ali was the first young male who accepted Islam. After migrating to Medina, he married Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah. Ali took part in the early caravan raids from Mecca and later in almost all the battles fought by the nascent Muslim community. He was appointed caliph by Muhammad’s Companions (Sahaba) in 656, after Caliph Uthman ibn Affan was assassinated. ‘Ali’s reign saw civil wars and in 661, he was attacked and assassinated by a Kharijite while praying in the Great Mosque of Kufa, dying two days later.
‘Ali is important to various Sunni and Shi‘ite denominations politically, legislatively and spiritually. The numerous biographical sources about Ali are often biased due to sectarianism, but they agree that he was a pious Muslim, devoted to the cause of Islam and a just ruler in accordance with the Qur’an and the Sunnah. While Sunnis consider Ali the fourth and final of the Rashidun (rightly guided) caliphs, Shi‘ites regard ‘Ali as the first Imam after Muhammad due to their interpretation of the events at Ghadir Khumm. Shias also believe that ‘Ali and the other Shi‘ite Imams (all of whom are members of the Ahl al-Bayt, Muhammad’s household) are the rightful successors to Muhammad. This disagreement split the Ummah (Muslim community) into the Sunni and Shia branches.
Except for Muhammad, there is no one in Islamic history about whom as much has been written in Islamic languages as Ali. In Muslim culture, Ali is respected for his courage, knowledge, belief, honesty, unbending devotion to Islam, deep loyalty to Muhammad, equal treatment of all Muslims and generosity in forgiving his defeated enemies, and therefore is central to mystical traditions in Islam such as Sufism.
Ali holds a high position in almost all Sufi orders which trace their lineage through him to Muhammad. Ali’s influence has been important throughout Islamic history. Sunni and Shia scholars agree that the verse of Wilayah was narrated in honour of Ali, but there are differing interpretations of wilayah and the Imamate. The Sunni scholars believe that the verse is about Ali but does not recognise him as an Imam while, in the Shia Muslim view, Ali had been chosen by God as successor of Muhammad.
(Source – Wikipedia)