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My question is whether calling Ali "Imam Ali" is a shibboleth that reveals that someone is a Shiite or not. I know the basic historical-political and doctrinal differences, including the imamate and the Shia belief that Ali was to be the temporal and spiritual leader of the Islamic community after the death of Muhammad. I assumed, then, that only Shiites would refer to him as "Imam Ali" and that Sunnis would just call him "Ali" or maybe "Caliph Ali." However, today I heard a non-Shiite scholar referring to him as Imam Ali, hence my question. Do non-Shia call him Imam Ali, too? When I search for "Imam Ali" online it seems that all the results are from Shia sources. Thank you in advance.

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It is possible, but you can not be sure just because of it Ali ibn Abi Talib was an Imam for Sunnis as well:

  • Caliphate is الإمامة الكبرى the caliph is the great Imam. Ali was one of the four rightly guided caliph.
  • Leader in congregational prayer is called Imam, Ali lead prayers.
  • Foremost experts in a field of knowledge (like fiqh or hadith) are called Imam. Ali was Imam in this sense as well.
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As "Imam" in Arabic also means leader it is fine -from this perspective- to call 'Ali ibn Abi Talib an "imam".
See also:
What's the literal meanings of the word "Imam"?,
What is the reason for interpreting word Imam to book in Quran?

and What is an Imam, is he simply the leader of the jamaat?).
However when sunni's usually call him imam they don't give him the same attributes such as infallibility which shi'a give him. But they say it out of respect for his leadership in different matters be it Arabic language, fiqh or eloquence etc..

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Being a non-Shiite, all I can say is that we consider Hazrat Ali(RA) our Imam too, although we don't usually emphasize on it, as we consider the Holy Prophet (SAW) to be the one and only true Leader.

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Molavi Ali Ahmad Salami "known as" Molavi Nazir Ahmad "in 1324. He was born in a religious family in "Kishkour" village of Sarbaz city of Sistan and Baluchestan province. He spent his primary education in this region and after that, he completed his basic seminary education in the presence of professors such as "Maulana Taj Mohammad Bozorgzadeh" in the army and then "Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi" the Grand Mufti of Pakistan, "Maulana Mohammad Rafi Osmani", "Maulana "Mohammad Taqi Osmani", "Maulana Shamsa Al-Haq" and "Maulana Sobhan Mahmud" completed in Karachi, Pakistan. In addition to his religious studies, he received a master's degree in economics from Karachi University.

In addition to representing the people of Sistan and Baluchestan in the Assembly of Leadership Experts and a member of the Supreme Council of the World Assembly for the Rapprochement of Islamic Religions, he is a member of the faculty of Hanafi jurisprudence and law at the University of Islamic Religions and a lecturer at the Darul Uloom seminary in Zahedan. Among her works are books such as "History of Islam", "Axes of Invitation and Propaganda", "Exemplary Women of the Age of the Prophet (PBUH) and Companions", "Three Companions", "How to Live in the Light of Shari'a Etiquette", "History Perspective of the Karbala incident" and "a gift to the sisters" as well as more than 15 scientific articles on various topics in international forums. The combination of these cases has led to him being named as one of the most prominent Sunni scholars and elites in Iran. According to ISNA, for this reason, the reporter of Ahl al-Bayt (AS) Ibna news agency came to him on the sidelines of the Assembly of Experts, so that due to Molavi Salami's complete aristocracy on the doctrinal and jurisprudential foundations of the Sunni religion, a conversation entitled "Hazrat Ali (AS) From the point of view of the Sunnis "and" exploring the crimes of Takfiris and Salafis "to make a gift on the occasion of the great day of Eid Ghadir. Ibna: It is very interesting for every Shiite, especially young people who have little knowledge, to know what you Sunnis think about our first Imam? Therefore, please tell us what is the view of the Sunnis about the characteristics and virtues of this great man of history, including faith, justice, courage, worship, judgment, jihad, sacrifice, and the interest of the Prophet (PBUH) in him?

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and in Him we seek help If you allow me, I will present the view of the Sunnis in relation to all the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet, and then we will reach Imam Ali (as) himself. Loving the Ahl al-Bayt is part of our faith and we believe in this. In our prayers, we greet the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt; The greeting that is recorded in our Sahah books and we consider the prayer incomplete without this greeting. The salawat that we consider obligatory to mention in prayer is that "O God, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as you prayed to Abraham and the family of Abraham, that you are Hamid, the glorious." In the last tashahhud of every congregational, individual, night prayer and tahajjud prayer, we send this prayer and this greeting both to the Prophet and to the family of the Prophet. Also in Sunni Friday prayer sermons, where the sermon is recited in Arabic, these words are part of the expressions of Friday prayer sermons that "Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein are the masters of the youth of the people of Paradise, and Fatimah is the master of the women of the people of Paradise.”

This sermon was recited in mosques all over the Islamic world and in Iran even before the Islamic Revolution. Not to say that after the Islamic Revolution came and the Shiite government came, such speeches were made in sermons. No, it was like that before the revolution. These words “Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein are the masters of the youth of the people of Paradise, and Fatimah is the master of the women of the people of Paradise.” These are the words that the preachers say and all the Sunni listeners also hear and believe in it. For example, about the tragedy that took place in Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the true Sunni scholars condemn this act and have published articles and articles in support and praise of his actions in the Karbala incident. In this regard, great Sunni scholars in the Indian subcontinent such as "Abu al-Ali Maududi", "Abul Kalam Azad" and "Maulana Muhammad Shafi" the Grand Mufti of Pakistan at the time wrote books. Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi'i wrote a book called "Martyr of Karbala" and wrote in the introduction of this book: "Not only the people but also the moon, the sun, the sun and the sky wept over the tragedy of Karbala." I have also collected all the material that Sunni and Shiite scholars have condemned in the newspapers, articles and books in condemnation of the emergence of a sect affiliated with the deviant Kharijite sect that created the Karbala incident and in support of Imam Hussein's valuable actions in newspapers, articles and books. It was the army that is to be published in a book called "Perspectives on the Karbala Incident". Ibna: Did you say that because I am the servant of a Shiite journalist? Never. In the case of Imam Ali, nothing can be imagined except goodness and virtue. Whatever I want to say about them is good and good.

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