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‘The Prophet’s Heir: The Life of Ali ibn Abi Talib’ (Yale University Press, 2021) by Hassan Abbas


Inside the legacy of Islam’s Patron Saint

“For Muslims, this book is a must, for non-Muslims, it is essential reading in order to understand the correct history and true spirit of Islam.”—Dr. Akbar Ahmed, American University, Washington D.C.

“Hassan Abbas has stepped skilfully and eloquently into a lacuna [and] has produced a book that is not only timely and germane, but which pleads the cause of Ali before a contemporary generation, offering him afresh as a fitting and relevant paradigm for an age in which people hunger for the things for which Ali hungered and struggled.”—Professor Christopher Clohessy, Islamochristiana 

Ali ibn Abi Talib is arguably the single most important spiritual and intellectual authority in Islam after Prophet Mohammad but Muslims are divided on whether he was supposed to be the Prophet’s political successor—and this continues to be a polarizing debate across Islamic societies.

Professor Hassan Abbas provides a nuanced, compelling portrait of this towering figure and the origins of sectarian division within Islam. Abbas reveals how Ali’s teachings about wisdom, justice, and selflessness continue to be cherished by both Shia and Sunni Muslims, but 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 Taliban.

For a quick overview of the book, watch this short video from Harvard University: 

Author, Hassan Abbas, is distinguished professor of international relations at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. He is the author of The Taliban Revival and Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism.

Book Amazon Page: 

For more details, see: 

For book launch event at New America Foundation, Washington D.C., see 



Hassan Abbas
[email protected]

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