"Book Launch - The Prophet's Heir: The Life of Ali Ibn Abi Talib"
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Hassan Abbas, Distinguished Professor of International Relations, Near East South Asia Strategic Studies Centre (NESA).
Payam Mohseni, Director, Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs. Lecturer on Government, Department of Government, Harvard University.
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The life and legacy of one of Mohammad’s closest confidants and Islam’s patron saint: Ali ibn Abi Talib. Ali is arguably the single most important spiritual and intellectual authority in Islam after prophet Mohammad. 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 Mohammad, Ali assumed the spiritual mantle of Islam to spearhead the movement that the prophet 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 the Taliban.