Ali ibn Abi Talib

Definition

Ali ibn Abi Talib, or simply Ali, (l. 601-661 CE) was among the first Muslims, a cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (l. 570-632 CE), and later reigned as the fourth Caliph of Islam from 656 CE to 661 CE, when he was murdered. Much of his tenure was spent bringing the empire to order during the first civil war of the Islamic Empire or the First Fitna (656-661 CE). A faction of the Islamic community, known as the Shia Muslims, consider him as the sole legitimate heir of Muhammad's temporal position, and the first in a long series of their spiritual leaders or imams. Sunni Muslims, another faction within the community, hold him with special reverence but also consider his three predecessors, Abu Bakr (r. 632-634 CE), Umar (r. 634-644 CE) and Uthman (r. 644-656 CE) as equally rightful leaders of the early community and collectively term the four as the Rashidun Caliphate (632-661 CE).

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Timeline

  • 601
    Ali ibn Abi Talib is born in Mecca.
  • 610
    Ali ibn Abi Talib accepts Islam, and becomes one of the first Muslims.
  • 619
    Both, Ali's father Abu Talib, and Prophet Muhammad's first wife Khadija pass away. The year is termed as the year of sorrow.
  • 622
    Ali ibn Abi Talib stays behind during the Prophet Muhammad's hegira (migration to Mecca) to return the possessions of people entrusted to the Prophet.
  • 656 - 661
    The murder of Caliph Uthman causes the eruption of the First Fitna (civil war). Muawiya surfaces as a major opposer of the Rashidun Caliphate.
  • 656
    The Battle of the Camel.
  • 656 - 661
    Ali ibn Abi Talib succeeds Uthman to become the fourth and final caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate.
  • 657
    Battle of Siffin.
  • Jan 657
    Ali ibn Abi Talib moves his empire's capital to Kufa in Iraq.
  • 659
    A peace treaty is signed between the Byzantine Empire and the Rashidun Caliphate.
  • 661
    Caliph Ali is assassinated by the Kharijites.
  • Mar 670
    Hasan ibn Ali, Shia Islam's second imam (his father, Ali ibn Abi Talib, being the first imam), is poisoned to death.
  • Oct 680
    Husayn ibn Ali, Shia Islam's third imam, is beheaded by Yazid I's force at the Battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq.
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