Talk:Ali ibn Abi Talib

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Do NOT put picture please.

Why?--Zereshk 20:11, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Anon editor didn't explain, or sign, but I'm guessing that he/she feels that it's wrong to put up images as if they're to be worshipped. Is this another difference between Sunni and Shi'a? I know that many Muslims feel that ANY realistic art is wrong, but I didn't think that there were sectarian differences in the matter. Zora 11:40, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'll butt in here again, if I may. I suspect that there might be some Shi'as as well that may feel uncomfortable with images of Ali or Mohammad or what have you. But the majority of the Shi'a have no problem with it. In fact, you can find typical paintings of Ali (like the one on our page) posing with his sword Zolfaqar while sitting next to a Lion, in almost every traditional home in Iran and Pakistan (if Shi'a). The Sunni however hold a different view on the matter. As you may have noticed and wondered, Mohammad, in fact has no tomb or shrine like we see for Ali or Husayn. He has that green domed mosque named after him in Medina. But that's not where he's buried. His grave is almost anonymous, whereas in Iran, you run into a highly adorned truquoise domed "Imam-zadeh" (son/daugther or grandson/granddaghter of one of the 12 Imams) almost every other mile. Sectarian differences I'd say. But then again, cultural aspects have an influence too.--Zereshk 13:03, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Is Islam iconoclastic, and is there hadith that forbids or discourages pictures of imams? I have seen paintings of Hussein, though not in the context of an article. --Jake Land 19:26, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I recommend moving the picture down to the legacy section since... that is a modern rendition and definitely reflects how he is seen recently... I think it's fine to have the image... and I'm not sure we need to go to the extent not to offend as they did on Bahá'u'lláh... I think it's more unencyclopedic to not show an image because of some objections... gren 21:26, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Name change

I moved the page to Ali ibn Abu Talib simply because I feel Ali Ben Abu Talib is an outdated way to write the name of this individual.

DigiBullet 06:37, 27 Jan 2004 (UTC)

The correct name is Ali ibn Abi Talib. --Wik 20:45, Mar 5, 2004 (UTC)

Thought Abu Bakr was first male to embrace Islam?

Other than the Prophet, of course. Or is this (as might be expected) a controversial point?

Nop, ther is no controversy, it was Ali. --Striver 01:29, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I agree that there is no controversy. Al Sideeq (Abu Bakr) was the first male convert, it's quite famous. Also, Muawiyah I is the universally accepted fifth Caliph of Islam, not Hassan (by any stretch of the imagination). Rival claimants, like anti-popes, are not universally accepted. Such is the case of Hassan, who did not even seek the office, but is termed Caliph or Imaam by some Shi'a devotees. Similarly, from 929 onwards, the Umayyad Caliphs of Cordoba were not as accepted as the Abbasids of Baghdad, though claiming the title. --A. S. A. 19:27, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)

I seriously doubt this claim that Abu Bakr was first or second male convert to Islam. According to Ibn Ishaq, Abu Bakr was around 20th person to accept Islam. Were all previous 20 converts women? I suggest we remove that claim of being first convert. It's clearly disputed in some sources OneGuy 19:36, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
A valid suggestion. Speaking for myself, I will research the subject further and introduce findings in Talk and article edits hopefully on Feb 13 or 14.--A. S. A. 19:44, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)

First Converts to Islam (consensus knowledge among both Sunni & Shia scholars): 1) First women convert = Khadija w/o Prophet. Then the only wife of Prophet. 2) First child convert = Ali ibn Abi Talib. He lived under Prophet's guardianship. 3) First male adult convert = Abu Bakr Al Sideeq. Prophet's closest friend. These converts were also in the order as mentioned above. I am not sure if these were the first 3 converts.


To help clarify to Atif.Hussain, you are wrong my freind, Abu Bakr was the first convert after Khadija, but note this my dear friend, Ali was always a Muslim thus he never needed to convert. Yes Abu Bakr was a non-believer and then by the grace of God became a believer, however Ali was always gifted with this grace, and was a muslim from day one!

The Sayyed debate

That sentence doesnt belong here. Based on the following reasons:

  1. Irrelevancy. Just because the word "Sunni" is mentioned in the article doesnt make Sunni opinions about Shias relevant inthis article. This page is about the Biography of Ali. Your claim should go on the "Sunni vs. Shia differences" page.
  2. It is baised: The sentence is clearly promoting Sunnism by its "Not so in Sunni Islam" reference. If you insist it belongs here, then you must change its pro-Sunni tone.
  3. It is inaccurate: If you still insist on keeping that, then you must also add the Shi'a answer to your claim. In the Shi'a view, as far as ordinary people, the "Sayyed" is only a nominal designation. Very similar to the British title of "Knighthood": It is only a title. Shias do not "enjoy special privileges" as you say, in their societies. It is only a designation for respect.--Zereshk 23:11, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It may well also apply to the Sunni Vs Shiaa page, but it is also an important distinction here. The readers will see that Shiaas use the Sayyed title, and they will wonder why not Sunnis, since the article states that Ali is a revered figure in both traditions. Nevertheless possible concern for promoting one way or the other is valid, and I rephrased accordingly. The nominal nature of the title is already evident, as I clearly used the wording an honorary designation form the outset. --AladdinSE 04:39, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)

Major revision

This page has been through some severe upheavals -- I haven't even tracked them all, and I suspect that some useful material has been lost. In any case, I deleted a long duplicate para, broke huge swathes of text into more readable short paras, and re-organized into sections.

Someone added "info" that Sunnis don't honor descendents of Muhammad and don't recognize sayeds/sayyids. I suspect that this is wrong, but I'll hold judgement until I hear from the Muslim editors. Zora 20:53, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It is correct. I have been in several Sunni Muslim countries; they do not recognize sayeds. The only exception, or sort of exception, it the Sharif title used by the Hashemite kings, as described in the article..
I just did a small revision, and I wanted to mention in Talk that I deleted the following sentence about caliph Uthman: "Most historical accounts agree that the aging and ailing Uthman had placed a great deal of trust in his kin and that they had used their positions of power to enrich themselves." I have never come across anything like this, but if I am wrong, please cite these several "historical accounts," and then return the sentence. It sounds very intruiging. Thanks. --AladdinSE 20:29, Apr 12, 2005 (UTC)

The word "Sayyed" is however used in Sunni countries as well to address dignitaries and royalties. For example, I remember seeing a mural in Damascus which read:

Gha'idina ilal abad, Sayyidina Hafez Asad.

--Zereshk 20:38, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The word Sayyed was around before it was applied to the descendants of Ali. It means means Sir, Master, Lord, etc. So use for dignitaries is perfectly normal and completely unrelated to the Shiite title. --AladdinSE 04:09, Apr 13, 2005 (UTC)

Exactly. That's why I said that Shi'as consider no "special privilidges" for Sayyeds like you claim. It is only a normal honorary title.--Zereshk 17:28, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

No. Sayyid as an adjective is very different from the Honorific title, which may not entail tangible privileges, still is a distinction above other people. My point was that the word was available in the Arabic language before Islam, as an adjective. --AladdinSE 10:55, Apr 19, 2005 (UTC)

Sayyed though just an Honorific title before Muhammad, henceforth, has invariably been used to refer to the lineage. The amount of reverence given to Sayyeds varies among Sunnis (i donot have any first hand knowledge about Shias), according to their cultures, from using names of Hasan & Hussain in the Friday sermons, to celebrating birthdays of their progeny. --Syed.Atif.Hussain

Respect due sharifs/sayyids

After a great deal of fruitless googling, I found a source that stated that sharif and sayyid were simply two words for the same thing, in Arabic and Farsi respectively. Because Shiism is strongest in Iran, Shi'a naturally tend to use the Farsi word. Given that many Arabic rulers boast of being sharifs, I really can't agree that Sunni Muslims reject distinctions based on descent. The section on Muhammad's descendents in the Muhammad article conflates sharifs and sayyids, and no one has objected. Therefore I changed this section of the article. Zora 01:21, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

P.S. I'm certainly open to correction on this, as an ignorant foreigner <g>. However, I think I can recognize sectarian wrangling when I see it. I didn't want to keep anything that overstated differences between Sunni and Shi'a. Zora 01:34, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I think the one lone link is testament enough that this is not reliable information. While Sharrif are somewhat of synonyms, they are not the same. Also, Sayyed is an Arabic word which made its way into Farsi and Urdu due to Quranic influence. --AladdinSE 04:13, Apr 13, 2005 (UTC)and Sayeed

I would like to correct Zora, Shiism is not strongest in Iran, correct it is around the area, but I need not remind you that Shiism is even stronger in Iraq, a arabic speaking nation. Secondly a Sayyed according to shia terminology if you will, is a title that implies direct relation to one of the 12 imams and consequently Ali ibn Abe Talib. You people need to wake up, with all due respect, many Sunnies to this day have issues with someone saying they're a sayyid, its like wow oh my no way, while they have no problem with calling King Hussein and his Son Sayyeeds... hmm I think we need to open our eyes a little wider, as far as AladdinSE, I'd like to ask you are you a linguest? Because you seem to like to talk as though you are, the pharasee word for sayyid is Agha.

Given that:

  • the statement that sayyid and sharif are synonyms has been included in the Muhammad article for months
  • ditto, statements re Muslims as a whole respecting descendents of Muhammad (which is not to say that they all share Shi'a beliefs)

and that none of the Sunni editors have complained, I'm not sure that I understand your objections. Exactly HOW are sharif and sayyed different? I'm not an Arabic speaker -- are you? Is there anyone else here who is?

As for all your other reverts -- you seem to be really really attached to your prose, Aladdin, even when it's not the best English. For example -- your insistence on using the word "convoy" for the pilgrims. Convoy is usually used for vehicles, like trucks or ships travelling together, or for the physical act of protecting a gaggle of travellers and their vehicles ("We convoyed the trucks across the pass."). Using it for a party or band of pilgrims on foot, camels, or horses just plain gives the wrong image. Ditto for other constructions you've used -- they're verbose, circuitous, or misleading. Am I going to have to fight to modify each one, as you defend your ego and your prose to the death?

I don't think my prose is always perfect, and I've often been corrected by other editors. Usually I look at it and recognize that they've made the original wording clearer, simpler, or more precise. That's what we want in Wikipedia. Clear, simple, and precise. You don't get that by blindly reverting to your own version when anyone else makes an edit. Zora 05:35, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • This is not the Muhammad article, it's the Ali article.
  • Sunis respect respect Hasan and Huseyn, but I would not go so far as to say they respect all Sayyids to this day, certainly not in a religious sense. Sunni Sharifs on the other hand are not nearly as widespread as shia Sayyids, and are almost exclusively limited to royal dynasties. The respect they command is mostly political and regal. Also, you are mistaken in supposing there to be only Sunni and Shia editors. Some of us actually do strive for neutrality, and for all you know are not even Muslims. It's safer, not to mention much less presumptuous, not to make assumptions.

This is the second time where you have suspected that I am reverting some text because of some childish attachment to my own prose. Your example about the Pilgrim's convoy was not even mine, it was someone else's either in this article or copy-pasted from another Islam article, I forget. I simply judged it to be less cumbersome then its replacement. And no, convoy is not just for vehicles and trucks, you're thinking of motorcade. Convoy is any procession of traveling modes of transportation, be it camels or Benzes.

I have already responded some weeks or months ago to this rather condescending lecture about what is wanted in Wikipedia. If I was anything like you described, you many edits to my work would not have survived. I read it carefully, and some of your formulations were really cumbersome and confusing. Most importantly, I have not made any blind revert, that's a bit insulting. Please check the edit history. Several of your changes which I considered either superior or was ambivalent about, remain. --AladdinSE 06:36, Apr 13, 2005 (UTC)

A new version of descendents section

I rewrote the descendents section again. I hope this one will do. As to sharif/sayyid:

An official website for the kingdom of Jordon says:

Ali and Fatima had two sons: Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein. The direct descendants of their eldest son, Hassan, are known as “Sharifs” (nobles), while the descendants of Hussein are called “Sayyids” (lords). The royal family of Jordan, the Hashemites, is descended through the Sharifian branch of lineage.

Also that:

King Hussein’s branch of the Hashemite family ruled the holy city of Mecca from 1201 CE until 1925 CE.

The purpose here seems to be rank sharifs over sayyids. The Shi'a websites I've seen use sayyid or sayyed exclusively, not sharif. Did only the Sunni descendents use sharif?

It seems that there's some conflict over usage within the Muslim world, which is making it difficult to write a coherent account in this section. Zora 20:59, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The Saudi royal family is Sunni, but they discourage the use of Sharifs because it is the title claimed by the Hashemits, the family the House of Saud displaced in Najd and Hejaz. The version stated by the Jordanian website is technichally true though presented in a way most likely to enhance their claim to the old "Sherif of Mecaa" title that chagrins the Saudis so much. Also, in Sunni Arab countries, non-royal members of the population who claim some decent from Muhammad or Ali rarely go around inserting either of the honorific titles into their family names. Unlike Iran where notoriously many do, far more than is genealogically feasible, especially since Iranian stock is predominantly Indo-Aryan while Muhammad and Ali came from Semitic Arab stock. In any case I made some slight modifications, mostly about Arabic meanings. --AladdinSE 05:30, Apr 14, 2005 (UTC)

Mr./Ms. AlladinSE, I find it very intriguing that not only are you a linguist but apparently a geneticist. I need not remind AlladinSE that Islam has found its way to the FAR EAST primarily through marriage by Arab-Muslim Merchants. Food for thought my obviously hungry friend.

Removed a section added by Zereshk

While I've felt that the Islamic sections were sometimes too Sunni in emphasis, I don't think that going into the details of Sunni-Shi'a polemics in a biographical article is the right way to get this information into Wikipedia.

Zereshk (I hope that I've remembered your username correctly), how about we start an article called Creation of the caliphate -- or some such title, if you can think of a better one that is NPOV, do -- that is specifically focussed on the events surrounding the death of Muhammad and the elevation of the first caliph. That will give us space to really lay out all the arguments, for all sides. Zora 20:53, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I dont think one paragraph would cause such an overflow. But if you insist on this, then you must take out other un-necessary details as well. The article is pro-Sunni as it is. Perhaps we should have a History of Shia vs. Sunni article as a title, and take everything there? Ive seen this topic on several pages, all with half-way and incomplete discussions. None of them, as you, are willing to give a full 50-50 treatment of the subject.--Zereshk 21:20, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure that the article is pro-Sunni (speaking as someone who is neither Sunni nor Shi'a). It seems to me that for every Sunni argument, there's a Shi'a one as well. Could you expand on why you think the article is biased?

As for the other articles -- yes, I agree, there is a whole constellation of biographical articles re well-known figures of early Islamic history in which the Shi'a point of view is represented only fitfully. The problem is that we are visiting the same events, over and over, and not doing so consistently. That is why it makes sense to have one article on the subject of the succession to the caliphate, which can then be linked to all the articles.

I'm not sure that it would make sense to have an article devoted entirely to Shi'a versus Sunni -- it would range widely and be extremely contentious -- but if you want to start it, we could see what happens. Perhaps it could then be broken up into separate articles, re separate points of disagreement. Zora 21:42, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The way this article is structured now, it first gives a Shi'a perspective, then gives a Sunni view in reply to that Shi'a view, and then moves on to something else. That's not very balanced, because it gives the impression of Sunni beliefs having an upperhand. An example was the recent Sayyed thing that Aladdin had going on. I had to step in to make him change the word "...Not so in Sunni Islam...", which is clearly promotionary. If youre going to mention the history at all, then you should do it in a fair satisfactory manner to both sides. Otherwise, I dont think the history of how the Caliphate was created should be mentioned at all. I'm not happy about this matter, considering that I provided solid documentation for the paragraph I put in.
I agree we should create a specific page about this, but the title Creation of the caliphate seems a bit lacking. The viewer will be asking: "...which Caliphate?...Buwayhid?...Abbasid?....The Caliphate of Adam on Earth?...The Caliphate as Man as vice-regent of God?" The word "Caliphate" is just too general a thing. A more specific title would be suiting perhaps? --Zereshk 22:01, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Ah, the old "last word" problem. If we give one para to the Sunni and one to the Shi'a, someone has to come first. Zereshk thinks that the Shi'a have too many firsts. That may be so. Perhaps we need to go over the article and make sure that the firsts are evenly split between Sunni and Shi'a.

It was solid documentation, but it unbalanced the article, making it somewhat pro-Shi'a and putting the emphasis less on Ali, the subject of the article, than on later disputes. That's why I think it deserves its own space.

For an article title, how about Succession to Muhammad? That's a steal, actually, from a book by the scholar Wilferd Madelung. I just ordered the book and I'm looking forward to reading it; it's supposed to be a well-documented work that gives more space to Shi'a views than is usual in Western scholarship (which has relied heavily on Sunni sources). Zora 22:32, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)



The title Succession to Muhammad is a good one. However, before we can transfer the discussion to there, this article has biases in favor of Sunnism, and therefore needs to be addressed.

I put the POV sign up to address the following specifics of the article. This list is in response to your request from me to point out the Sunni biases. They are:

1. The article keeps objectively using the word "Shura" to describe the decision of first caliphate. The Shi'as use the word "ijma" instead. The article makes no mention of this. There's a slight difference. Shura is a Quranic word. It therefore brings favoritism to the Sunni view, if used without its Shi'a counter equivalent.

2. The existence of a section on "Election of the Caliph" is problematic. It is written in a Sunni promotional way. Its treatment of the subject is inadequate. The Sunni argument has the upper hand, the way it is written: it apprears after the Shi'a argument, and in reply to it, and then moves on to something else, without any counter argument. If this is a biographical page, this section shouldnt even be here.

3. The article claims Qadir i Khumm as the only event Shi'as use to back themselves with. This is not true. Nothing is mentioned about Shi'a fundamental claims such as Hadith-i Thaqalayn or other similar hadith and events.

4. The statement "These caliphs were elected by the elders of the Muslim community, some of the closest companions of the Prophet" is portraying a Sunni perspective as fact. Shia's dont exactly believe the view presented by this statement. "elders"? Says who? "closest companions"? By whos standards? Many of the closest companions in fact were not there. "election"? Shi'as believe this "election" was not free and fair, even it was to be the basis of designating the Caliph.

5. The statement: "All the surviving historical accounts were written long after the event, when the divisions between Sunni and Shi'a were already well-developed." is cleverly POV, if not ambiguous and confusing in intention. There are entire schools of people devoted to studying the authenticity of hadiths. The timing of them is not an issue as long as the chain of transmission is illustared as sufficiently authentic.

I don't think it's POV -- it's the Western academic consensus. Hadith are not reliable as history. See Herbert Berg's The Development of Exegesis in Early Islam and Fred Donner's Narratives of Islamic Origins.
The statement is confusing because there is no clear conclusion drawn from it. e.g. Are you (in the article) implying that these sources were devoid of accuracy because of their timing? And if so, what would that matter, since it would apply to both Sunnis and Shia historians. What's the point?--Zereshk 15:27, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It's not that hadith are totally inaccurate, it's that they have to be used with extreme caution. They were fabricated for purposes of argumentation and isnads were inflated. Muslim and Bukhari cleaned out the worst, but Western historians don't even trust the sahih ones. Also, hadith, even when relatively sound, are an accumulation of the POVs of everyone through whom they passed. At least when you have a dated manuscript, or an archaelogical dig, you have evidence that someone, at a certain date, wrote X, or did Y, or made Z. X may be biased, but you DO know that X was believed by someone at that time. That's a fact. Something solid to hold onto. Whereas when you have A reporting that B said that C said that D said that X, you don't REALLY know that D said X.
The Berg book is interesting because he did an experiment. He assembled all the hadith supposed to come from Muhammad's uncle mumble-mumble-Abbas, the progenitor of the Abbasids, to see if they presented a clear picture of what Abbas knew and believed. Nope. The hadith were all over the place. Berg concluded that controversialists of the time when the hadith were first written down had manufactured hadith to support their positions, and had sourced them to Abbas because as the "founder" of the new line of caliphs, he was considered an exceptionally reliable source. From a historical POV, hadith evidence is suspect until it's written down, in a manuscript we can date, at which point there's something firm.
As for saying it doesn't matter, since Sunni and Shi'a are arguing from the same unreliable sources -- well, it matters to those who want to know what happened, even if it doesn't support either Shi'a or Sunni. Zora 18:01, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Your point is duly noted. However:
  • We are not here to judge what people believe in. We are only here to report them. Whether or not you think Ahadith are fabrications is irrelevant.
  • Like I said, there are entire schools and universities and thousands of scholars and historians that spend their entire resources on verifying the authenticity of Ahadith. It's an entire field of Islamic study. You and I are absolutely in no position to call Ahadith "fabrication"s.
  • Besides, the way you have that sentence in the text going, it works in favor of Sunnis, because it implies that Hadiths like Qadir Khumm (central to Shi'a belief) are questionable. Which is why I put it on my POV list in the first place.
  • My solution to item 5: Clarify that statement. But make sure it stays impartial, by clearly mentioning your intention of making that statement.--Zereshk 18:59, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Shi'a polemicists in fact rely extensively on numerous Sunni documentation in their arguments. Tabari may have lived long after these events, but he was a Sunni. Ghadir i Khumm, for example, has been transmitted by more than 100 of the companions of the prophet, and has been recounted by numerous chains of transmission, both Sunni and Shia.

6. The statement: "They agree in saying that...there was much debate as to the proper way to proceed". In fact, Shi'as contend that there was no real debate at all, and that the elections were in fact fait accompli.

7. The statement: "Hasan is said to have renounced any claim to the caliphate to prevent further bloodshed among Muslims. Muawiyah I thus became the undisputed caliph and established the Umayyad dynasty of caliphs." Not exactly the Shi'a version.

I hope these POV statements are addressed. Thank You.--Zereshk 23:01, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Well, bit by bit we can work through them, though not all at once. Zora 23:12, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I just wanted to let the two of you know that I am playing catch up with all the Talk here. I am currently traveling and unable to devote the time I would like to Wikipedia. There have been some very important points made here and I hope to reply to them at length after April 21, 2005. If I can, I will try to do so earlier. --AladdinSE 07:23, Apr 17, 2005 (UTC)

Ah, things are hotting up nicely!

Zereshk, I just noticed and deleted your "sources used" section. It is completely useless to 99.99% of the Wikipedia users, who speak English and not Arabic. I agree that the article could use some links to solid academic web pages (not Shi'a or Sunni proselytizing sites, I should hope) and a list of books to read. The Wilferd Madelung book I mentioned above would probably be one of those books. These sections should lead the interested reader onwards, into further exploration of the subject. Zora 23:05, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Of course, the sources I mentioned there were in reference to the parts you deleted. No use for them now anymore obviously.--Zereshk 00:56, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

BTW, why do u think "things are hotting up"? Unless you hold fixed views and feel uncomfortable with my challenge to your article's POVness.--Zereshk 02:04, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Um, they're hotting up because we're arguing about things -- but so far it's good, because we're making progress. And we haven't started calling each other names yet. You have to heat the pot to make the soup. BTW, I started the Succession to Muhammad article. Just an introduction and outline, so far. Zora 02:23, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I can only contribute partially to that article, the way youve set it up. My knowledge is limited.
Mine is even more limited than yours. Just do the parts you feel that you know well (perhaps the Qur'an, Hadith, and Twelver Shi'a sections?). I've been trying to make sure that Shi'as get fair play in various Islamic articles, but I'm somewhat handicapped by the fact that I'm not Shi'a.
The outline is not set in stone. I think it's a start, and allows people to fill in the things that they know. But things may develop in a very different direction. Zora 07:37, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
And we'll be fine as long as we attack eachother's argument, instead of eachother. That is if you think you must refute my additions. --Zereshk 06:17, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Hadith - ahadith

Zereshk, the accepted English transliteration for (whatever the Arabic is) is hadith. That's the title of the Wikipedia article on the subject, that's the word that English-speaking scholars use. I don't see that there's any sense in trying to change it.

Ahadith is simply the plural form of hadith. Similar to saying feet instead of foots.--Zereshk 01:07, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I've seen the word Ahadith used in English text as well, and it is used in the academia as well. But it really doesnt matter, because it too will be adopted into popular English sooner or later as more people come to study this field. For now, I will respect your insistence on the usage of "Hadiths" instead of "Ahadith".--Zereshk 20:36, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Hadith has now been adopted into English as a noun that is both singular and plural, and insisting on the Arabic plural is um, idiosyncratic. If you want to do it in your own, personal writing, you can, but I think you should adopt the accepted English usage here. Zora 04:03, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
"Ahadith" is also used on other pages on Wikipedia (which I didnt author). Example. Hadith is an Arabic word, not an English word. Therefore the proper usage is Hadith (singular) and Ahadith (plural). Case closed.--Zereshk 00:00, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Your example doesn't prove what you think it proves. Ahadith is there at the start, along with the Arabic, and then the rest of the article uses hadith for singular and sometimes for plural, sometimes hadiths for plural. In the academic works I read, hadith is usually singular plus plural. Ahadith is never used. You really can't lay down the law and insist that English follow Arabic rules. English has, I believe, the largest vocabulary of any language and much of that vocabulary is pilfered from other languages. Once pilfered, it generally follows English grammatical rules. Note that I wasn't the one who decided the way it would work in this case -- it's the general English usage.
My friend James Nicoll is famous for this quote: "English pure? English is as pure as a cribhouse whore. She follows other languages down dark alleys, coshes them, and riffles their pockets for vocabulary." Zora 01:33, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Um, as to questioning the hadith being directed at Shi'a -- I don't think so. It affects the Sunni case as much as it does the Shi'a. Speaking as an outsider, I don't think any of the Qur'an verses cited by either side decide the matter. It's a matter of interpretation, or a tradition about the occasion of the revelation, which have the same problems as the hadith. I believe that reliably dated documents from the very early Islamic period are few and far between, and don't touch on these issues. So it really comes down to a question of weighing oral traditions.

  1. Zora, please understand. YOU are not in a position to arbitrate or decide whether or not Shi'as or Sunnis are correct in using what Quranic verses they use. You dont even know what they mean, the stories behind them, and why are they used: As you said yourself, you are an outsider. I, on the other hand, am merely reporting on what Shi'as declare to believe. Not on what I believe what they should believe. Judging the fidelity and veracity of their documents is not my concern.
  2. You say: "I believe that reliably dated documents from the very early Islamic period are few and far between, and don't touch on these issues." I can confidently inform you that both Sunnis and Shi'as would strongly disagree, in fact ignore you on this matter. Hadith is a fundamental pillar used in Islam. That you think it isnt academic or not worthy of using is your personal opinion (right or wrong) that doesnt matter here. It's like me telling someone to ignore The Gospels in writing about Christianity, because it was probably largely fabricated. Now how silly is that? I hope you see that you are clearly trying to impose your views here. You are totally ignoring what Shia's believe, and instead referring to some western research and author to discuss Shi'as top Imam.--Zereshk 01:07, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Donner talks about this in his book. I need to look at the book again, but if I recall correctly, Donner points out that historians can use even biased, polemic, conflicting oral traditions if they ask themselves "How would I go about fabricating a tradition that people would believe?" You make it convincing by mixing "what everyone knows" with the point you want to make. Then the historian can look at the conflicting traditions and try to figure out what they have in common, and that will be the "what everyone knows" that is the start of the argument. This may not be what REALLY happened (what we could see if we could use a time machine to go back and observe and tape events), but it might move historians closer to it. If everyone, Sunni and Shi'a, agrees that Muhammad had a wife named Aisha, whatever else they say about Aisha, it is indeed very likely that he had a wife named Aisha.

OK. Heres a solution. In different sections:
  1. Report what Shia's say (impartially and despite YOUR and Donner's beliefs).
  2. Report what Sunnis say (impartially and despite YOUR and Donner's beliefs).
  3. Report what some westerner like Donner thinks about Ali without making any judgements on the beliefs of Shias and Sunnis.--Zereshk 01:07, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

So I'm not saying that hadith can't be used, I'm saying that they have to be used with caution. Myself, I don't know who they support, Sunni or Shi'a. Perhaps I'll have a better idea when I get and read Madelung's book. At the moment, I'm sympathetic with both sides <g>. Zora 23:31, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Well, until now so far, seems to me you have made attempts to minimize the usage of Hadith in a subject that both Sunni and Shi'a scholars heavily use it in.
Like I said, there are literally thousands of people whose jobs is to investigate the authenticity of all ahadith. Examples:
(btw, this is all in just one city)--Zereshk 01:35, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

We're moving far afield, but ... the fact that people have invested lots of time and effort in something doesn't mean that it's true. Vide alchemy, or phrenology. Simply saying, "You aren't Muslim, you wouldn't understand", isn't a sufficient refutation. Complete infidels ought to be able to look at the "evidence" and draw the same historical conclusions. Scientists have to be able to demonstrate cold fusion outside one laboratory. The proponents didn't get to say, "You don't believe in cold fusion, that's why your experiments failed".

When you write an article on Alchemy in an encyclopedia, you dont write about whether you think Alchemy is acceptable or dismissable. You write about what it was about, what were its goals, and who studied it and when. You simply report it. Now u can also say that it isnt practiced as a science anymore. But you cannot judge it subjectively. And there is good reason for that.
Look, it seems I am unable to get through to you. You seem unable to accept what muslims say about their own religion Islam. (!)
Let me re-iterate on more time: In studying Islam, the history of Islam, the philosophy of Islam, and its protagonists,,, studying Hadith is an extremely well established method. Ignoring hadith in an article like this only academically discredits it, because many of the fundamentals of Shi'a and Sunni thought are derived from Hadith.
There is no room for debate here. There are literally hundreds of books that rank hadiths according to strength of chains of transmission. And when I mention Hadith-i Thaqalayn or Hadith-i Qadir-i Khumm or some other Hadith, it is accepted beyond doubt, by both communities. You are not in a position to declare whether Tabari or Al-Jahiz or whoever else is an accredited historian or not.
It is like writing about Jesus Christ based on archeological evidence, instead of the gospels.--Zereshk 18:38, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Zereshk, I'm NOT saying that I've got the final word on whether or not a certain hadith is trustworthy -- I'm saying that you can't just trot one out and I'll agree that that's what happened. I've read some hadith, I've read lots of books about hadith, and I regard them as slippery material. Perhaps part of the problem is that you're used to a particularily Muslim style of argumentation, in which you heap hadith on the head of an opponent; both you and the opponent are operating with certain shared assumptions about the value of the hadith, which hadith are better than others, etc. Like fundamentalist Christians arguing about something by hurling Bible quotations at each other. But if you're talking to someone who doesn't share the same assumptions -- a non-Muslim, or a non-Christian -- an appeal to hadith, Qur'an, the Bible, whatever, is a failed argumentative ploy. The response is "so what?"
The problem is even greater in that I can't judge the value of the references you're using.
Youre not supposed to. The reader is.--Zereshk 20:36, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I probably know more about Islam than most Western non-Muslims, thanks to all the reading I've been doing for the last few years, but my hadith knowledge is limited to browsing in Bukhari, and knowing that Bukhari and Muslim are considered sahih by the Sunni.
First, Shahih-i Bukhari is just one of 150 or so major writers of that period. "Hadith"-ologists study the authenticity of a Hadith based on many factors.
Second, I also think Sahih Bukhari is weak in its authnticity. But I dont care. Because if that's what the Sunni think, then that's what they think. And I will merely report that.
Thrid, to ignore hadiths is to ignore the history altogether; almost everything we know from that period comes from people who also wrote these Hadiths. For example, Tabari was a historian, and Hadiths are merely extracted from what he recounts from early Islam. There were no western historians in Hijaz or Mesopotamia at the time.--Zereshk 20:36, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

So when you triumphantly quote something and add an Arabic title I don't know, I can't really evaluate your quote. Is this a Sunni source? Some collection of Shi'a hadith? If I don't get it, consider how opaque it is to the average reader who is using Wikipedia to learn more about Islam.

The average reader will read what is written here, see the given sources I have provided at the bottom of the article, go to his library, read them (or their translations and commentaries), and investigate further in detail about the accuracy of the contents, .....and then, make up his mind.--Zereshk 20:36, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

If you want to educate non-Muslims, you are going to have to adopt a "for dummies" approach. It may be wearisome, but you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you've done your bit to combat ignorant Islamophobia. Zora 19:07, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

True. But deleting and not mentioning Hadiths from the ignorant will actually keep the ignorant, more ignorant about islam, because muslims extensively use hadith in their arguments whether you like it or not. Without Hadith, Shi'a or Sunnis dont have ANY justification and basis in their arguments. How are you going to justify or explain that Mohammad went up to Heaven from Jerusalem, or that he was visited in a cave by Gabriel, or that he performed miracles? By scientific justification? Or maybe by Donner's writings? Please. --Zereshk 20:33, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
But there IS no proof that any of those things you mentioned happened, any more than there's proof of Christian or Hindu or Buddhist miracles. At least there's no proof that I find convincing. You can't tell me to accept hadith because they prove things I find implausible.
I'm not saying that you can't recount hadith as Shi'a belief -- I'm just saying they don't necessarily prove anything historical, unless used with extreme caution. Zora 01:33, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This has nothing to do with the spiritual efficacy or relevance of a belief. As a Buddhist, I'm aware that most of the stories about the Sixth Patriarch are pious fabrications. I don't believe them as history, but they are useful to my Zen practice. I'm sure that there are a number of hadith that would fall into this category. Zora 09:17, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Editing others' comments on talk pages

Um, one additional thing -- Zereshk, several times you've edited my messages on talk pages, changing spelling or adding emphasis that I didn't add. This is really a no-no. The article itself is a collaborative effort; not the talk page. I know you didn't mean any harm by it, you were just trying to fix what you thought were errors, or pointing to something that you were going to discuss. But it puts your words, or your thoughts, in my mouth. Please don't ... Zora 09:23, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I do remember boldening the font, so you will know what I'm refering to, but I dont remember fixing your spelling, unless it was in the main article.
But anyway, rest assured, I'll watch out for it next time.--Zereshk 17:54, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I hope that jumping in and responding to your statements right in the middle of a pargraph (bi-secting it) isn't considered a no-no. If it is, let me know.--Zereshk 20:33, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

More on hadith

We're really getting far afield from the article, and the replies are getting REALLY indented. This wiki interface for argument is clumsy, IMHO. Anyway ...

Zereshk says he (I'm assuming "he" -- tell me if I'm wrong) doesn't care what I think, the reader will go his/her library, read the quoted works, make up his/her own mind. Zereshk, the quoted works probably don't exist in libraries in most Western cities and schools. They haven't been translated, or if they've been translated, they aren't part of the library collection. Telling people to go to the websites and explore is not all that helpful. I have no particular reason to trust any of the websites to which you link. They all seem to be Iranian Shi'a sites in Qom, right?

Qom is clearly the center of Shi'a religious studies at the present time. Traditionally Najaf is #1, making Qom #2, but the current political situation has made Qom the #1 center of Shi'a scholarship during the past 20 years. Besides, anything that is published in Najaf, makes its way to Qom anyway. There is total consensus between Qom, Mash-had, and Najaf on these issues. So if you care what Shi'as have to say about their leader, you will listen to them.--Zereshk 23:48, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

They're inside their own little sectarian world, a sectarian world that, from my POV, is full of violence, oppression, and corruption (Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis). I don't expect scholarly impartiality from them.

Ignoring what muslims have to say about their own religion is not only un-academic, but is totally ridiculous.--Zereshk 23:48, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I'm not ignoring it, dang it, I'm saying that if you insist that all discussion and presentation be on YOUR terms, you're failing to communicate. If you're going to cite references, you need to link to them, or cite them Western academic style. Information about their significance helps. Frex, I have a copy of the Sirat Rasulallah translated into English, and when I cite something from Ibn Ishaq, I'll usually say something like "earliest surviving biography of Muhammad, as translated by Guillaume". If I'm careful, I'll put the book with the ISBN number in a references section. That way, anyone who doubts me can buy the book and check out the citation. There's a 20-volume translation of Tabari, too, though it's not in any local libraries and I can't afford a copy. But at least it exists. Bukhari and Muslim are available on the net in English translation. But you're not telling us anything about all the Shi'a material you're citing. Where is it? Is it translated? When was it written? Etc.
If you think we should know this, then perhaps you need to state the obvious (to you) in a Wikipedia article so that we can look it up. Zora 01:50, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

That's what I'm asking from you. If you want infidels to listen to you, you have to reach to us, learn our language. I'm making an effort from my end, an effort that's much much more than many Westerners are willing to make. You need to make an effort from yours. Zora 21:41, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Nobody is preventing you from writing what you want. All I am saying is that Hadith should not be ignored, but rather should be included. You are in fact withholding and censoring information from everyone based on your personal opinion.--Zereshk 23:48, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I asked you to move your "documentation" out of the Ali article, and you moved it to the Succession to Muhammad article. From which I have not deleted it. Disagreeing with you about the significance of hadith on a talk page is not censoring you. It is arguing with you. Zora 01:54, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

OK. I think it's easier to discuss this in a serial way, rather than keep going back to the original text above and inserting and answer there.

  1. Just FYI, Actually if you look at the page hadith, the word ahadith is used further down in the article again. In English text. Lets just agree to disagree here. At least now you know what ahadith means anyway.
  2. The documentation thingy applies to Ali's article as well, because it expalins why Shi'as think Ali (their Imam) was not the fourth caliph, but was in fact the first one.
  3. All the documentation, ideas, and claims I cited thus far has been quoted, used, and mentioned from American textbooks in fact: Most come from "Shi'te Islam" by Allameh Tabatabaei, edited and forward by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, PhD Harvard, published by State University of New York Press, 1979. ISBN: 0873953908. Buy it, and read it. It's English. You will see everything I told you there.
  4. For the nth time, this article is not about whether Hadiths are academically acceptable or not. I suggest you write that stuff on a page called Why Islam is full of nonesense based on the FACT that there's no scientific evidence to back up anything it claims, including Mohammad's Miraj, his visit by Gabriel, and the Shi'a claim that Ali is their Imam and first caliph. Heck, even God's existence is as much proven as Cold Fusion.

Yes. You are simply preventing and withholding info about why and on what basis Shi'as beleive in what they beleive about ALI. merely because they dont have any western academic backing.

As long as you dismiss the proper Shi'a POV on this page, that POV tag stays up. Shi'as must be properly represented on this page. Especially on a page about THEIR Imam. Period.--Zereshk 03:27, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Revert wars

Zereshk, please calm down. This is not YOUR page. Nor is the Shi'a page YOUR page. The Sunni page does not belong to AladdinSE. No page on Wikipedia belongs to any one person or group. If you clearly have expertise on a subject, other editors will usually listen to you and incorporate your changes, but you have to win their trust and cooperation -- which you do by behaving reasonably.

I think we can solve this particular problem by a rewrite, instead of playing revert war. I've got RL (real life) stuff to do now, but I'll come back later and try to produce a version of the offending para that both you and Aladdin will accept. If I can. Inshallah. Zora 01:13, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It's not your page either Zora.
However, as a Shi'a, I do have a say about what my faith says about Ali, Which you have been denying, up to now, with the most ridiculous excuses, that Sunnis dont even accept.
All you need to do, is make some impartial revisions that I agree to be acceptable from a Shi'a POV. That's all I asked for.--Zereshk 02:25, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This is really absurd. Zereshk, I am issuing an official warning to you to stop attacking me personally in your edit summaries. Do not even assume that I am Muslim, much less Sunni. Concern yourself with the edits, and not the editor. That you are shia does not entitle you at all to insert POVs. Zora, I am surprised that you have allowed this militant shia-centrism to destroy the great balance and consensus that had been reached earlier. Not to mention that a once well written article now sounds childish and un-encyclopedic. I am reverting most of these changes, and deleting "external links" to propaganda and highly partisan shia-only websites. Scholarly and neutral websites are acceptable, these are neither. --AladdinSE 02:44, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)

P. S. The Muslim confession of faith is the Shahada. the adhan is the call to prayer. Also, please do not insert dividers into talk discussions where there are already section titles, this makes it difficult to keep track of conversations. Please use indentations instead. --AladdinSE 02:44, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)

Stop threatening me AladdinSE. I can also have administrators throw you out, if you keep vandalizing Shi'a pages. That you consider Shi'a documentation "partisan publications and POV interpretations" is your personal opinion. You are not entitled to present it as fact or censor our beliefs.--Zereshk 04:03, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Zereshk, if you believe a case of Vandalism has taken place, please report it and refrain form making ugly threats about having editors thrown out, which is laughable. No on is entitled to present their personal oppinions as facts or censor anyones beliefs, but neither is Wikipedia the place for you to publish your personal beliefs. --AladdinSE 07:48, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)

Aladdin, I did not justify all my changes to this article in minute detail. But I did my best to remove things to which Shi'a would object, without putting in their place anything to which I, as a non-Muslim and a non-Shi'a, would object. You just reverted, without engaging any of the changes. OK, to take just one change. The old article had "Election of the Caliph". After reading Madelung, I no longer believe that Saqifah was an election -- it was a muddle, which ended up with some of the men on Abu Bakr's side beating up one of the Ansar. The ummah as a whole was not consulted, there was no council of elders, there was simply ... a shouting match. So putting "Election" in the heading is a Sunni POV in itself. I'm not sure that the title I put in its place was the best -- I really agonized over it -- but at least it didn't take sides. And so on. I made the changes I made with the intent of being neutral, based on Zereshk's input and the reading that I've been doing. Zora 05:41, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Zora, please remember that one book does not an international consensus make. The contested American election in 2000 was a HUGE shouting match and had accusations of misconduct that makes the Caliphal election look like a walk in the park, that doesn't mean we can go around declaring that it wasn't really an election. International consensus clearly describes the first four caliphs as elected. You can certainly include a caveat that so and so scholar(s) think this and that, but not change the fundamental nature of accepted history because you read a book. I think your concerns are often a boon to NPOV and neutrality, but I am concerned that you are allowing yourself to be bullied by certain editors. --AladdinSE 07:48, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)

Actually, the Madelung book is highly regarded, even by academics of different views. I've been printing out course outlines and bibliographies for college Islamic history courses and Madelung shows up on all of them. Of course I'm just full of enthusiasm for it right now, and I'll probably cool down later, but -- I'd trust him when he says that Saqifah was nothing like an "election". Abu Bakr and his friends heard that the Ansar were discussing setting up their own ruler, rushed over the meeting, and proposed Abu Bakr as the new leader. Ali wasn't there; most of the companions weren't there; it wasn't planned or announced. It was a rowdy back-room deal, and it wasn't accepted immediately. Zora 08:32, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

That's one version, but most important of all, Ali himself accepted it, and swore allegiance to Abu Bakr, and the next two elected caliphs. He then used the Shura system to assume office himself, based on election and never once advancing any divine right to rule. These facts clearly legitimize the succession of the first four caliphs. --AladdinSE 14:49, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)

Ali took six months to "accept" the outcome, and that was only after all sorts of pressure (short of actual violence) had been brought to bear on the Rafidi. As for the "election" of Umar -- Abu Bakr selected him, he wasn't elected. Umar did set up an election to pick his successor, but he himself selected the electors. As for the "election" of Ali -- that was a mob, which had just killed the previous caliph, forcing the office upon him. Only the choice of Uthman could be described as anything even like an election, and it's a sad excuse for an election when the electors are chosen by fiat. As Madelung points out, it's interesting that Uthman seems to have taken the comparative regularity of his election as a justification for assuming all the prerogatives of a "king", which drove his "subjects" into revolt. Zora 17:45, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Zora, we're talking the seventh century here. Of course there was violence and mayhem. In some respects I've seen worse during Bush V. Gore. That Ali was quite anxious to rule is evident. 6 months or 6 years, he still accepted and swore allegiance. Also, Abu Bak did not appoint Umar, he nominated him. He was elected thereafter by the elders and sahaba. Abu Bakr was revered and his nomination carries enormous weight. That does not mean Abu Bakr appointed Umar. Also, please remember that you are reading one book, do not accept it as gospel, and remember that it is what is internationally regarded as scholarly consensus which has to guide us. --AladdinSE 22:55, Apr 23, 2005 (UTC)

Um, what is the scholarly consensus and who holds it? Crone? Cook? Berkey? Donner? Watt? Rippin? Berg? ... It's true that I'm very enthusiastic about the Madelung book at the moment, and I will check my other books before I do more on the academic section, but I'm not sure that there's as much consensus on the succession as you think. Zora 11:59, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Removal of Qom as a reference

Zereshk, I removed Qom from the list of links. That's one center of scholarship, out of several, for one sect of Islam. Adding that, and that only, is POV -- claiming Ali for that particular sect. If you have one educational institution, you'd have to have them all, which is ridiculous. Qom on the Shi'a Islam page makes sense. Zora 11:00, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It's a link at the bottom of the page for God's sake!
Links for College of Bishops and Pontifical University exist on the "see also" section of the pope page. Im afraid youre wrong therefore, and that the name Qom will have to go back on that page.--Zereshk 23:07, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Pope is an office. Institutions associated with that office are fair game for links. Ali is a PERSON, not an office. He has as much to do with Qom as he does with Al-Azhar -- both of which were founded centuries after his death. I repeat, if you link to Qom, you have to link to all Islamic institutes, which would overwhelm the article, and be off-topic and silly besides. Adding a link to Qom to this article is inherently POV! Zora 01:57, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Sorry new person to wipipedia, whats POV??? Thanks

= biased. See here.--Zereshk 22:50, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Thulfeqar's quotes

A new editor with the username Thufeqar has entered the fray <g> with a list of famous quotes of Ali added to the bottom of the page. While quotes are not a bad idea (I've seen them in other biographical articles) I think having that many is overkill, and borders on using the article for proselytization. How about selecting the best three or four, and then integrating them into the body of the article? Zora 23:24, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

They are completely irrelevant in this article, I have removed them. If someone thinks they are relevant to some person or topic, then consider creating them in the Wikiquotes. --AladdinSE 05:36, Apr 27, 2005 (UTC)

would AladdinSE please go ahead and remove the entire quote sections from the following articles as well:

Otherwise please restore the quote section.--Zereshk 07:38, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

You might be surprised to know that actually, yes, the quotations in those articles should be moved to Wikiquote which is then inserted as a template-link in the article. For example, see the Ariel Sharon article. When there are a large number of quotations like that, that is the proper procedure, and there are some editors who devote much of their time to "transwikifying" large quotations sections to WikiQuotes and then linking that in the original articles. --AladdinSE 09:45, Apr 28, 2005 (UTC)

Please make your argument on those respective pages, AFTER you have deleted the quote sections from all those pages.--Zereshk 22:27, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

In response to AlladinSE Well Umm, no I do think they are quite relavant. In response to Zora I did not mean to proselytize anything, however if they're that good what can I do? Jokes aside, I do like your idea about choosing three or four qoutes, so I did it, tell me what you think! --Thulfeqar 6:02 AM, 27 Apr 2005

The quotes are much less overwhelming now. I moved them to follow the para on Ali's eloquence, where they seem like less of an afterthought. Zora 11:40, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Are you serious? Overwhelming, I put four little quotes, at the bottom of the page right before the external links, no on the contrary I believe they complement the article. I mean look at any other great historical figure and they have some sort of quotes. Thulfeqar

Thulfeqar, I can see why you misread my note. The "now" of "much less overwhelming now" is the "now" of "after Thulfeqar's edit. All I did was move the quotes to a better place in the article, where they illustrate the reputation for eloquence. Zora 08:02, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

They do appear to be less unwieldy now. Nevertheless, will someone please provide a source that verifies these as quotations truly from the caliph and not simply attributed to him? A notable and neutral scholarly or journalistic source would be very useful here. --AladdinSE 09:45, Apr 28, 2005 (UTC)

Once again I don’t see why the quotes have been removed! Check out Richard Nixon, Andrew Jackson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, all of them have quotes regarding the respective individual and non of those require a source, I find I funny how everyone else doesn’t need a source but when it comes to Ali ibn Abu Talib we need sources, but be that as it may, all these quotes are found in Nahjul Balagah (The Peak of Eloquence), there are many online editions of this book and many print editions, take your pick! Thank you! By the way I added an external link to a source 12:31PM April 30th 2005

POV 2.0

Ive read the "revision". These problems still need to be addressed:

1. The article still uses the pro-Sunni word "Shura" to describe the decision of first caliphate, without ever mentioning the equivalent Shi'a word of "ijma" anywhere. There's a slight but crucial difference.

2. The word "Election" is still used objectively in the article to describe the first Caliph's coming to power. It titles a section.

3. The article claims Qadir i Khumm as the only event Shi'as use to back themselves with. This is not true. Nothing is mentioned about Shi'a fundamental claims such as Hadith-i Thaqalayn or other similar hadith and events. Or at least, a link should be provided to Succession to Muhammad in the text.--Zereshk 07:38, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Major revision repealed

I worked hard to do a Shi'a/Sunni neutral revision and Aladdin reverted it. When I have time, I will go at it again, piecemeal this time. Zora 08:55, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Another attempt

I haven't completely de-Sunnified the article, or so it seems to me, but I have changed a few things. Instead of referring to Abu Bakr's election, I've referred to his succession. I've changed wording that suggested that Hassan ibn Ali renounced the caliphate and said that he refrained from publicly advancing his claims to it. I don't think Shi'a would agree that he did renounce it, or that he could have renounced it, since in their opinion, he was imam by God's will. I've removed a bit re Ali being Abu Bakr's closest advisor -- Madelung says that this is Sunni propaganda. Abu Bakr distrusted him to an extent, and kept him at arm's length. Ali, however, did not intrigue against Abu Bakr. All this could be argued at length, but it seems easiest to delete the questionable claim.

Someone changed the bit re the Hashemites to include other "royal families". I tweaked that a bit and removed the "praise be upon him". The usual Muslim interjections are not appropriate for an encyclopedia. Zora 22:11, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Thx for your efforts, it appreciated :) --Striver 13:29, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The picture

An anon editor keeps removing an Iranian picture of Ali; Zereshk keeps adding it.

The anon editor doesn't explain why he removes it; possibly he feels that picturing Islamic figures is shirk, and possibly he dislikes the Iranian origin. Or it could be that he sees no value in a picture that is purely imaginary.

I don't care whether the picture is there or not. I'm staying out of this one. Zora 02:29, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Ali's birthdate

An anon editor changed Ali's birth year, and added a birth date. He/she didn't give any reason for this. I've left it, since I don't know that it's wrong, but I'd sure like to hear from other editors as to accepted dates. Zora 10:27, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Most Shi'a -- All Shi'a

An anon editor changed the wording of "most Shi'a accept Hassan as the second imam" to "all Shi'a ...". I'll leave it like that for now, since I can't find the reference, but I'm fairly sure that there was a reference somewhere, in an academic history of Islam I'm reading, to a sect of Shi'a, now extinct, who accepted Hussein as the second imam. That's all, just me being nitpicky. Zora 16:29, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

Striver, why delete my contribution?

Striver removed my contribution (a quote from Nahjul Balagha), saying it's a Sunni POV. As he mentions in his own comment, it's from a Shia book. How he can even begin to bring up Sunni POV when all the external links are Shia based, I don't know. In fact this article is more Shia POV than Sunni. Striver, don't do it again!

--GNU4Eva 19:06, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Asalam aleikom GNU4Eva.

It was abvious that with that Nahj al-balagha referens you wanted to covertly claim that Ali does not like shias. That is not the case. I do agree with the statement you quoted, and in my POV it is obviously talking about people that deidyfie Ali, like the alawis.

If you insist in qouting that part of Nahj al-Balagha, then also quote this part to balance the POV:

Beware! By Allah the son of Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr)[2] dressed himself with it (the caliphate) and he certainly knew that my position in relation to it was the same as the position of the axis in relation to the hand-mill. The flood water flows down from me and the bird cannot fly upto me. I put a curtain against the caliphate and kept myself detached from it.

Then I began to think whether I should assault or endure calmly the blinding darkness of tribulations wherein the grown up are made feeble and the young grow old and the true believer acts under strain till he meets Allah (on his death). I found that endurance thereon was wiser. So I adopted patience although there was pricking in the eye and suffocation (of mortification) in the throat. I watched the plundering of my inheritance till the first one went his way but handed over the Caliphate to Ibn al-Khattab after himself.

(ref (

Here is the rest, i add it for your education:

It is strange that during his lifetime he wished to be released from the caliphate but he confirmed it for the other one after his death. No doubt these two shared its udders strictly among themselves. This one put the Caliphate in a tough enclosure where the utterance was haughty and the touch was rough. Mistakes were in plenty and so also the excuses therefore. One in contact with it was like the rider of an unruly camel. If he pulled up its rein the very nostril would be slit, but if he let it loose he would be thrown. Consequently, by Allah people got involved in recklessness, wickedness, unsteadiness and deviation.

Nevertheless, I remained patient despite length of period and stiffness of trial, till when he went his way (of death) he put the matter (of Caliphate) in a group[4] and regarded me to be one of them. But good Heavens! what had I to do with this "consultation"? Where was any doubt about me with regard to the first of them that I was now considered akin to these ones? But I remained low when they were low and flew high when they flew high. One of them turned against me because of his hatred and the other got inclined the other way due to his in-law relationship and this thing and that thing, till the third man of these people stood up with heaving breasts between his dung and fodder. With him his children of his grand-father, (Umayyah) also stood up swallowing up Allah's wealth[5] like a camel devouring the foliage of spring, till his rope broke down, his actions finished him and his gluttony brought him down prostrate.

At that moment, nothing took me by surprise, but the crowd of people rushing to me. It advanced towards me from every side like the mane of the hyena so much so that Hasan and Husayn were getting crushed and both the ends of my shoulder garment were torn. They collected around me like the herd of sheep and goats. When I took up the reins of government one party broke away and another turned disobedient while the rest began acting wrongfully as if they had not heard the word of Allah saying:

That abode in the hereafter, We assign it for those who intend not to exult themselves in the earth, nor (to make) mischief (therein); and the end is (best) for the pious ones.

(Qur'an, 28:83)

Yes, by Allah, they had heard it and understood it but the world appeared glittering in their eyes and its embellishments seduced them. Behold, by Him who split the grain (to grow) and created living beings, if people had not come to me and supporters had not exhausted the argument and if there had been no pledge of Allah with the learned to the effect that they should not acquiesce in the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed I would have cast the rope of Caliphate on its own shoulders, and would have given the last one the same treatment as to the first one. Then you would have seen that in my view this world of yours is no better than the sneezing of a goat.

(It is said that when Amir al-mu'minin reached here in his sermon a man of Iraq stood up and handed him over a writing. Amir al-mu'minin began looking at it, when Ibn `Abbas said, "O' Amir al-mu'minin, I wish you resumed your Sermon from where you broke it." Thereupon he replied, "O' Ibn `Abbas it was like the foam of a Camel which gushed out but subsided." Ibn `Abbas says that he never grieved over any utterance as he did over this one because Amir al-mu'minin could not finish it as he wished to.)

So, if you want to give some sunni POV ref from Nahj, then dont forget to bring this one to.

Ma salam --Striver 21:59, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC) --Striver 21:59, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Article for Ali's descendents

An anon added a list of Ali's best-known sons to the article. It was INFO, and I didn't want to delete it, but I could also see that it could metastisize (sp?) and eat the article. So I moved it to an new article, Descendents of Ali ibn Abi Talib. I think all his wives and descendents, at least down to grandchildren, should be listed. That would help make sense of some later Islamic history, for one thing. I don't have the time or resources to do the research, but I figure other editors here should be able to supply what's needed. Zora 14:14, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I added that list, (hey what's with the anon title! ;-) ) but unfortunately I have not been able to find a list that names all his children. It was, more than anything, a stub. What I'd liked to have happen was that each child could be listed (birth info if available) and to which mother s/he belonged to. I like the idea of listing all his descendants to his grand children. Now if only all the information could be located!! --GNU4Eva 18:51, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't mean to slight you, Mr. Emacs enthusiast <g>. Chalk it up to writing in the wee hours. I'm glad you like the idea. I'd bet that some of our Shi'a editors could fill in the info. Zora 20:06, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

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