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Martyrdom of Imam Ali

Imam Ali's Martyrdom, Iran

Ali was born to Abu Talib and his wife Fatimah bint Asad around 600 CE, possibly on 13 Rajab, a date also celebrated annually by the Shiites. Shia and some Sunni sources present Ali as the only person born inside the Kaaba in Mecca, some of which contain miraculous descriptions of the incident.

Ali's father was a leading member of the Banu Hashim clan who also raised his nephew Muhammad after the death of his parents. When Abu Talib later fell into poverty, Ali was adopted at the age of five and raised by Muhammad and his wife Khadija.

Caliphate, the successor state of the Islamic prophet Muhammad's political dominions. Shia Muslims consider him the first imam, the legitimate religious and political successor of Muhammad. The issue of succession caused a major rift between Muslims and divided them into two main branches: the Shia, following an appointed hereditary leadership among Ali's descendants, and the Sunnis, following political dynasties. The assassination of Ali in the Great Mosque of Kufa by a Kharijite coincided with the rise of the Umayyad Caliphate.

The Imam Ali Shrine and the city of Najaf were built around Ali's tomb and are visited by millions of worshipers every year. Ali was Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, raised by him from the age of 5, and accepted his claim of divine revelation by age 11, becoming one of the first to do so.

Ali played a key role in the early years of Islam, when Muhammad was in Mecca and was severely persecuted. After Muhammad's move to Medina in 622, Ali married his daughter Fatima and, among others, became the father of Hasan and Husayn, the second and third Shiite Imams.

Muhammad called him his brother, guardian and successor, and he was the standard-bearer in most wars and was famous for his bravery. Upon returning from the farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad uttered the phrase: "Whoever I am his mawla, this Ali is his mawla." But Maul's meaning has become controversial. The Shiites believed that Ali was appointed by Muhammad as the leader of Islam, while the Sunnis interpreted this word as friendship and love.

While Ali was preparing Muhammad's body for burial, a group of Muslims met and swore allegiance to Abu Bakr. Ali swore allegiance to Abu Bakr after six months, but did not take part in wars and political activities, except for the election of Uthman, the third caliph. However, he advised the three caliphs on religious, judicial and political matters.

After Uthman was killed, Ali was chosen as the next caliph, coinciding with the first civil wars between Muslims. Ali faced two separate opposition forces: a group in Mecca that wanted to convene a council to determine a caliphate; and another group led by Mu'awiyah in the Levant who demanded revenge for Uthman's blood.

He defeated the first group; but in the end the Battle of Siffin resulted in arbitration in favor of Mu'awiya, who ultimately defeated Ali militarily. Killed by the sword of Ibn Muljam Moradi, Ali was buried outside the city of Kufa. In the eyes of his admirers, he became a model of piety and uncorrupted Islam, as well as the chivalry of pre-Islamic Arabia.Several books are devoted to his hadiths, sermons and prayers, the most famous of which is Nahj al-Balaga.

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