The Prophet’s Heir

The Life of Ali ibn Abi Talib 

Yale University Press says: 

Hassan Abbas provides a nuanced and compelling portrait of this towering personality. Abbas reveals how, after Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), 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 message and legacy remains a powerful one of peace and tolerance.

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Ali was a hugely gifted thinker and speaker, one of the earliest scribes and something of a poet. But it is hard to be objective about him. The evidence is often contradictory and he is shrouded by accretions, pious and otherwise. In The Prophet’s Heir, Hassan Abbas – an enthusiast for his subject, and an objective enthusiast – pursues Ali on the ground. Fantastic.

Dr. Hassan Abbas

Distinguished Professor of International Relations

Hassan Abbas is Distinguished Professor of International Relations at the Near East South Asia Strategic Studies Centre (NESA), at the National Defense University in Washington DC. He also serves as a senior advisor at Harvard University’s Program on Shiism and Global Affairs at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs

Earlier he served as professor and department chair at National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs (2011-2019) and as the Distinguished Quaid i Azam Professor at Columbia University (2009-2011). 

He held various fellowships including at Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program & Program on Negotiation  (2002-04); the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government  (2005-09); Asia Society in New York as Bernard Schwartz fellow (2009-2011); and as a Carnegie fellow at the New America Foundation (2016-2018). 

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An erudite and accessible biography of Ali, one that tells his life story, and discusses his teachings and values, and how his legacy continues to loom large over Muslim world.

This erudite but readable book shows why the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law Ali is central to Islam today, and should be both an inspiration and a figure for reconciliation.