Muslims in Iran, across the world, mark Imam Ali's martyrdom anniversary
Muslims in Iran and around the world on Wednesday marked the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Ali. He is considered by Shia Muslims to be the first Imam, the rightful successor to Prophet Muhammad.
Imam Ali was the cousin of prophet Mohammad and is hailed as the first man to embrace the prophet's call for Islam.
According to Islamic references, Imam Ali rooted out poverty and promoted an unprecedented justice system across the Muslim world during his short rule based in Iraq's city of Kufa.
His character continues to inspire the younger generation even today. Imam Ali was assassinated on the eve of the 20th day of the Islamic month of Ramadan in 661 AD.
He was attacked with a poison-coated sword while he was praying in a mosque in Kufa. Two days later, he succumbed to his wounds.
Muslims erected a magnificent shrine for him in the Iraqi city of Najaf, which still draws pilgrims from across the Muslim world.
Shia Muslims have 12 Imams or religious leaders; the first was Imam Ali and the last is Imam Mahdi, who is believed to be the prophesied savior of the world.
While all Imams are equally revered among Muslims, Iranians accord a special status to Imam Ali as the father of Shia Islam and the symbol of Islamic justice.