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Khalifa Ali bin Abu Talib - Assessment of Ali by Western Scholars

Sir William Muir

In his book The Caliphate, its Rise, Decline and Fall, Sir William Muir has paid his tribute to Ali in the following words; "In the character of Ali, there are many things to commend. Mild and beneficent, he treated Basra when prostrate at his feet with a generous forbearance. Towards theocratic fanatics, who wearied his patience by incessant intrigues and insensate rebellion, he showed no vindictiveness. Excepting Muawiyah, the man of all others whom he ought not to have estranged, be carried the policy of conciliating his enemies to a dangerous extreme. In compromise indeed and in procrastination lay the failure of his caliphate. With greater vigor, spirit, and determination, he might have averted the schism which for a time threatened the existence of Islam, and which has never ceased to weaken it. Ali was wise in counsel and many an adage sapient proverbs have been attributed to him. But like Solomon, his wisdom was for others than for himself.

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