The Prophet's Heir: The Life of Ali ibn Abi Talib
Hardback, 256 pages
Ali ibn Abi Talib is arguably the single most important spiritual and intellectual authority in Islam after the Prophetﷺ. Through his teachings and leadership as fourth caliph, Ali nourished Islam. But Muslims are divided on whether he was supposed to be Mohammad’s political successor—and he continues to be a polarizing figure in Islamic history.
Hassan Abbas provides a nuanced, compelling portrait of this towering yet divisive figure and the origins of sectarian division within Islam. Abbas reveals how, after the Prophetﷺ, Ali assumed the spiritual mantle of Islam to spearhead the movement that the Prophetﷺ had led. While Ali’s teachings about wisdom, justice, and selflessness continue to be cherished by both Shia and Sunni Muslims, his pluralist ideas have been buried under sectarian agendas and power politics. Today, Abbas argues, Ali’s legacy and message stands against that of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Taliban.
1 The Early and Struggling Years of Islam
2 The Rise of Ali
3 The Prophet's Farewell and Delegating Spiritual Guardianship
4 The Succession Politics and Imperial Islam (632-56)
5 Ali as the Fourth Caliph of Islam
6 The Legacy of Ali
Conclusion: Ali and the Future of Islam