(Also: Ali ibn Abi Talib)
Major figure in the history of Islam. Born c. 570, died 661. The fourth of the so-called Four Righteous Caliphs (al-khulafa al-rashidun).
As the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, Ali was one of the first to accept him as a true prophet of God. Ali later married Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, with whom he had the sons Hassan and Husayn.
Ali was several times mentioned as a candidate for Caliph, but it was not until the death of Uthman ibn Affan in 656 that he achieved the Caliphate, being elected by the cizens of Mekkah (Mecca) and Madinah (Medina). His candidacy was challenged by, among others, Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, who succeeded Ali as Caliph, from 661 to 680.
Ali died in 661, assassinated in Kufa by one of his political opponents. In Shia Muslim tradition, Ali and his sons in the marriage with Fatima are considered imams - true, infallible leaders of the Islamic community.