Ali bin Abi Thalib is placed second among the list of important figures in Islam. The cousin of Mohammed the Prophet has tremendous and outstanding role on the spread of Islam and and Islamic teaching. History has provided us the fact that Ali bin Abi Thalib is among the first believer of Mohammed – and the youngst of all. When teens of his age were very busy, Ali bin Abi Thalib had surrendered himself to Islam, by taking risky acts to protect the life of Mohammed the Prophet, his own cousin. Such brave attitude gets stronger by the time he is getting older. That is why Mohammed the Prophet loves him very much, and commences him as military commander in some battles. In addition to his magnificent strength, Ali bin Abi Thalib is considered as the most intelligent among his contemporaries. For that, Mohammed the Prophet said that if Mohammed is the city of knowledge, then Ali bin Abi Thalib is the gate to the city. There is no single knowledge Mohammed the Prophet possesses that is not passed and acquired by Ali bin Abi Thalib. His presence sparks controversy: Even thousands of years after his death, people will voluntarily show their respect towards Ali.
The incredible brave and his thought provoking performances his showed in some occasions have triggered some persons to provide historical accounts of Ali bin Abi Thalib. He is highly praised, especially by Shiite people who consider him as the legal and the most righteous and the most credible successor of Mohammed the Prophet. Though, among Shiite people, Ali bin Abi Thalib is not a prophet, but an Imam – religious title without any rights to deliver or invent new teaching.
Hence, many historians make books or writings about Ali bin Abi Thalib. However, some have lost their objectivity for many reasons: either due to their Sunni background; being Westerner or Orientalist or even since they’re Shiite. The book Imamul Muhtadin written by H.M.H. Al Hamid Al Husaini, according to me, can be considered as the most objective and resourceful account on the life of the Imam. The writer is a Sunni, but he doesn’t lose his objectivity and perspectives while writing sensitive parts of the life of Ali bin Abi Thalib. It is written in concise manner, and rich in details. The writer even takes some of Ali’s words from the other sources such as Nahjul Balaghah, one of religious books within Shiite community.