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Imam Ali from the View Point of Non-Muslim Scholars

Imam Ali (AS) is a great and unique person who has always been praised by great people during the course of history and even those who do not believe in Ali’s Imamat (AS), they consider him unique in his own way. The following text is an example of the speech of non-Muslim scholars about Ali (AS).

The unique character of Imam Ali (AS)

Madame Dieulafoy, a French explorer, says, “The respect for Ali (AS) among Shia reach its maximum point and of course it must be the same, because this great man, in addition to the wars and sacrifices that has been made for the development of Islam, in knowledge, virtues, justice and good traits was unexampled and left behind a pure and holy generation. His descendants also were oppressed and martyred for the development of Islam. Imam Ali (AS) is the one who broke all the idols which were deemed the partners of Allah by Arabs and promoted Unification and Monotheism. Ali was the one whose actions and behaviors were fair to all Muslims. Ali (as) was someone who had definite menace and promise.”

In continuing of this discussion, the Christian Madame Dieulafoy, addressing herself, says, “Cry My eyes! And blend your tears with my sighs and groans! And mourn for the descendants of the Prophet (S) who were oppressed martyrs.”

Ali (as), a magnanimous and honored man

The famous British Orientalist, General Sir Percy Sykes Says, “Among the Caliphs,  he [Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS)] was well-known for the honor and glory and he was very observant for his inferiors. The claims of the messengers and agents had not effect on him and their gifts were not effective. He was not ever comparable to Mu’awiya, his cunning and wicked opponent who was committing the hardest crimes to achieve his goals and was creating the most vicious means for his progress. His severe caring and observing in the trusteeship and faith have caused the greedy Arabs to be dissatisfied; those who plundered the entire empire. However, honesty, truthfulness, full friendship, austere life style, true worshipping, purity and spirituality, deliverance and his other significant traits and characteristics made him truly admirable. Certainly, the fact that the people of Iran consider his position as a true guardian and divine instructor, it is very admirable and worthy of praise. However, his position is much higher than that.”

The love of Ali (AS) is the last resort.

Janine, the German poet, says, “We have no choice but to love and be enchanted of Ali (AS), because he was a noble and magnanimous young. He had a pure conscience full of kindness and beneficence and his heart was full of help and sacrifice. He was more courageous than a wrathful lion, but courage blended with kindness, grace, compassion, love and affection.”

The superior of Arabs

The French Professor, Stanislav Gouryard says, “Mu’awiya has behaved in many respects contrary to the rules of Islam, as he acted in a hostile manner with Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) who was considered the greatest, the most courageous, the most righteous, the most knowledgeable man and the best orator of Arab after the Prophet Muhammad (S).”

Ali (AS) did not infringe the right path.

Georgi Zidan, an Arab Christian author and scholar, says, “Mu’awiya and his friends committed any crimes in order to achieve their personal intentions, but Ali (as) and his companions never infringe the right path and defending the truth and dignity.”

Superior to Jesus Christ

Georgi Zidan states, “If I say Jesus Christ is superior to Ali (AS), my sagacity would not allow me and if I say Ali is superior to Jesus Christ, my religion would not allow me.”

A courageous hero but a tender hearted and sympathetic one

Baron Carrdyfo, French scholar utters, “Ali (AS) was not created by events but he had created events. His actions were the result of his own thoughts, creativity and affection. He was a courageous hero but a tender hearted and sympathetic one, a knight who was pious in the midst of fight. He felt contempt for wealth and positions in this world and in fact he devoted his life. He had a very deep soul that its origin was unknown and he always feared God in everywhere.”

Faithful to the religion with love and rapture

Ilya Pavlovich Petrushevsky, Russian historian and orientalist, says, “Ali (AS) [nurtured by prophet Mohammed (S)] was deeply faithful to the Prophet in the issue of Islam. Ali (AS) was faithful to the religion with love and rapture, and he was honest and trustworthy. He was so strict about the moral issues. He was both warrior and poet and he was a collection of all qualities attributed to great friends of God.”

The unique brave and the unrivalled hero

Baron Carra de Vaux, French researcher and historian, says, “Ali (AS) was the unique brave and unrivalled hero fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Prophet and he rose up with eminent and miraculous actions. In the battle of Badr, he was twenty years old who bisected the noble knight of Quraysh at one stroke. In the battle of Ohud, he took the Prophet’s sword (Du Al-Faghār) and cracked the helmets on the heads and tore armors on bodies. In one attack on castles of the Jews (Kheybar), he removed the heavy iron gate with one hand and used it as a shield over his head. The Prophet (S) loved and trusted him very much. One day he pointed to Ali (AS) and said, “For whomsoever I am his guardian, so Ali is his guardian”.”

So brilliant and of a quick perception

George Jordac, Arab Christian author, states, “Ali ibn Abi-Tālib (AS) used to stand on the pulpit and speak with calmness and having complete self-confidence and trust in his just words. He was so brilliant and had a quick perception. He knew the secrets of the people’s hearts and their whims and desires. He had a heart full of affection, freedom, humanity, virtue, etc. Ali ibn Abi-Tālib (AS) was honored and known as honest and trustworthy in [his] life.”

“Nowadays, it really deserves that warmongers and those who cause misery to the nations and people listen to the words and helps of the hero of Arabic thoughts, the magnanimous human conscious, Ali ibn Abi-tālib (AS) and memorize them and bow before the great person who has said these sayings.”

Imam Ali (AS), the martyr of his glory

George Jordac writes elsewhere in his book, “In my opinion, the son of Abi-tālib (AS) was the first Arab man who was in company with the human spirit. Imam Ali (AS) was martyred for his glory. He was killed while he was uttering the prayer on his lips and he demised with a heart full of love toward God. Arabs did not recognize his true dignity and status since some people from their Persian neighbor rose who distinguished the gem from pebble well.”

Awakening the Slaves

On the issue of “slavery”, the Christian George Jardac has compared the viewpoint of Imam Ali (AS) with Omar ibn Khattab’s and says, “Why did you slave people?  While they were born free, said Omar. This quote refers to the Lords and it is nothing more than an advice, but Ali ibn Abi-tālib (AS) was awakening the slaves and telling them, “Do not be the servant of others, since God has created you free.” Notice the depth of thought!”

Imam Ali (AS), the Martyr of Justice

George Jordac has a clear wording on the justice of Imam Ali (AS), “He was killed in his altar for his justice.”

The state of not being turbulent 

George Jordac states, “The waters all over the world, the water of the pools, the water of the lakes and the water of the oceans has the ability to be turbulent, but the thing that did not become turbulent was the soul of Imam Ali (which was like a sea), and nobody and nothing could stir it up.”

The pole of Islam world

George Jordac says, “Ali ibn Abi-tālib was unique in wisdom, he was the pole of Islam world and the source of Arabic knowledge and sciences. There is no science among Arabs unless he has established its bases or has had a contribution in its foundation.”

Ruling over the hearts

George Jordac, “O the world! What would happen if you collect all your forces and at each period of time bring a man like Ali with his wisdom, heart, word, and his sword, Du Al-Faghār? Although Ali (AS) did not rule over the people like the Umayyads and his mission was not such a governing, he did not miss the ruling over the hearts of the purified people. The qualities that he enjoyed as a great role model human, gave him the merit of ruling over the hearts.”

The Great Martyr

“The affection of Ali (AS) toward the people, and the love and affection of people toward Ali (AS) is evidence that the true noble man is the one who loved the goodness and was martyred in this way and Imam Ali is the very great Martyr.” said George Jordac, the famous Lebanese litterateur and author.

A Mighty Mountain

George Jordac says, “Yes, Ali (divine peace upon him) as the Imam of righteousness and goodness has remained akin to a mighty mountain throughout history so that even traumatic events and fierce winds could not shake it. Those who bore Alī ibn Abīțālib (divine peace upon him) animosity both went astray and led others astray and eventually demised and ceased to exist and there remained not a name nor a sign of them except the curse of the wise.

The clean conscience of humans deems them defunct and abject. If sin, indecency, and felony were valued before human conscience, they would also have value.”

Ali (divine peace upon him), a Bright Flame in Hearts

George Jordac says, “Alī ibn Abīțālib (divine peace upon him) is like a bright flame in hearts, an exhilarating warmth in souls, and a remedial logic in intellects. He believes that the Prophet of Islam (divine peace upon him and his family) has made a will and has even asked his companions for an inkpot and a pen to appoint Haḍrat Ali (divine peace upon him) as his successor on paper. Voltaire knows this to be authentic and was disconsolate about the unsatisfactory state of affairs. He said: “The last will of the Prophet of Islam (divine peace upon him and his family) was not exercised because he had chosen Alī (divine peace upon him) as his successor, while some elected Abūbakr after his demise.”

A Unique Version in the World

Shiblī Shumayyil, one of the pioneers of materialism, says, “Imam Alī ibn Abīțālib (divine peace upon him), the noblest of the noble, is a unique version that neither east nor west has seen like neither in the past nor today.”

Like Prophets (divine peace upon them)

Gibran Khalil Gibran, one of the greatest Arab authors and Christian thinkers, says, “I believe that Abūțālib’s son was the first Arab to communicate with the general spirit. He was the first character from Arabia whose lips carried the melody of the general spirit. This melody resonated through the ears of those who had not heard it before him… he departed this life while he had not delivered his message to the world. He neglected this world much the same as prophets who were appointed in communities which did not have enough capacity for those prophets. Those prophets entered crowds of people who did not deserve them and emerged at times when it was not their time. There is wisdom behind all this which God Himself knows better.”

Martyr of Justice

Carlyle, the great English philosopher, said: “All we can do is to love Ali (divine peace upon him) and adore him for he is a very redoubtable and self-effacing chivalrous man. Beneficence gushed from the source of his conscience, and flames of ardor and epic leaped from his heart. He was braver than a fierce lion but his bravery mingled with amity, grace, pure emotions, and kindness… He was killed in Kūfi. The vehemence of his justice led to such a crime as he saw everyone as just as himself. Before his demise, he said about his murderer, ‘If I survive, I do not know myself [what to do with the assassin], but if I pass away, the job would be yours. If you want to punish him, hit him with only one sword stroke and if you forgive, that is closer to piety.’”

Alī (divine peace upon him), the Manifestation of Righteousness

Mīkhā’īl Naʻīma, a clear-sighted author and an Arab Christian thinker, said, “Imam Alī (divine peace upon him)’s heroism was not confined to the war zone as he demonstrated his power in purity of insight, clearness of conscience, magic of expression, warmth of faith, depth of humane spirit, high level of aspiration, gentleness in nature, assisting the deprived, delivering the wronged from the aggressors and oppressors, and being humble before righteousness in any form it manifested before him. This heroic power is always simulative and motivational although days have gone by… .”

The Western Scientists around Ali’s Pulpit

Nevisian, a Christian scientist, says, “If Imam Ali (divine peace upon him), the great orator and the brilliant speaker, today and in the present era sat on the pulpit of Kufa mosque, you would see that the mosque with all its largeness was extremely crowded with Western people and world scientists to use the raging sea of Ali’s knowledge.”

The Lion of God

Washington Irving, an American researcher and author, says,Ali (peace upon him) was from one of the most prominent families of Arab, Quraish. He had three great character traits: bravery, fluency, and generosity. It was because of his brave and daring spirit that he deserved the title ‘the lion of God’, which the prophet (divine peace upon him and his family) awarded him.


The Brilliant Star of Knowledge and Decency

Dr. Bols Salama, a great Christian scholar and jurist, says,Ali (peace upon him) has attained a position where a scientist sees him as the brilliant star of knowledge and decency, an eminent author follows his writing style, and an Islamic jurist always relies on his researches and initiatives. Ali (peace upon him) made no exception in his judgments; he adjudicated equally and did not differentiate between the master and the servant. Ali (peace upon him) always felt very sad about the dreadful state of poor people and orphans.”

The Eminent Scientist of Islam

Rudolph Ziggur, a German researcher and author, says, “At the beginning of Islam, Alī ibn Abīțālib (peace upon him) was one of the brilliant scientists of Islam. Ali (peace upon him) was wellknown in other countries, especially in Iran although he was still a young man, and it was rare for a young scientist to become wellknown and respected outside his hometown.”

A Superb Example of Piety

Will Durant, a famous English orientalist, said, “Alī (divine peace upon him) was a perfect example of modesty, piety, joy, and sincerity on the path of religion in his youth. He was handsome, good-tempered, full of ideas, and faithful.”

The Gate of the City of Knowledge

Lammens, a well-known Belgian orientalist, said, “It’s true to say that all Islamic news and studies originate from him and this is enough to prove his vast knowledge. He had excellent memory and power. All Ulamā and scientists refer their news and traditions to him for certitude and credibility. Islamic Ulamā[1], from the opponent to the compliant and from friends to enemies, are proud to authenticate their speech by Alī (divine peace upon him), for his words were of definite validity. He was the gate of the city of knowledge and had strict adherence to the general spirit.”

The Sea of Virtues

Reynold Alleyne Nicholson, a renowned English researcher and orientalist, said, “Alī (divine peace upon him) had many prominent features and virtues. He was vigilant, provident, brave, thoughtful, patient, loyal, and noble.”

Alī (divine peace upon him), a Man of Ideas and Reason

Abu Al-Faraj Ahrūn, aka Ibn Al-ʻIbrī, a Christian historian and scientist, said, “It was Alī (divine peace upon him) that compensated for the void caused by the absence of the generous Prophet (divine peace upon him and his family) in the age of Caliphs[2]. He undertook an ideological campaign after the Prophet (divine peace upon him). His reasoning and debates prove this claim throughout history.

His holy existence alongside Caliphs filled the void that was the result of the absence of the high prophetical stature. The Shiite and Sunnite books are full of such matters. Its prominent example would be what ʻUmar said, ‘Lawlā Alī lahulik ʻUmar’[3] and there are at least seventy cases of this recorded throughout history.”



[1] The learned of Islam, those who possess the quality of ʿilm, “learning,” in its widest sense.

[2] A person considered a political-religious successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire ummah.

[3] If there were no Alī, ʻUmar would perish.

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