The Injury of Imam Ali and His Death A Study in Neurosurgical and Medico Legal aspects


  • Abdul Hadi Al Khalili


History, Cultural Studies, Humanities


Study of those who changed history usually is limited to
their lives and what they have achieved. However, it would
be beneficial to study the medical causes of their death and
circumstances surrounded that. To that end, many studies
offered details about the passing of prophets, reformers,
politicians, scientists, musicians, and others which may add
more aspects to studying these personalities. This study is an
attempt to highlight the medical sequences of death of Imam
Ali Ibn Abi Talib, (AS), who was the fourth Caliph of Islam after
Prophet Mohammad. This study is an attempt to arrive to a
conclusion as to the direct and indirect causes of Imam Ali’s
death in 661 A.D. after he was hit by Abdul Rahman Ibn Muljim
on his head by a poisoned sword. That hit inflicted a deep wound
to the skull, which penetrated to the brain. Two days after injury
he passed away. Clinical analysis as to the cause of death did
not go with the head injury or with the poisons studied to be the
definite causes of death. This work tried to throw some light
on many issues; basically on the circumstances when Imam
was injured namely, what was his position when he was hit?
Where in the head was the injury? What damage did it make

in the head? Did the head injury cause his
death? Was the poison the cause of death? Is
there another possible cause of death? From
the study it was concluded that the Imam was
struck while in an upright position, on the left
frontal area of his head. The injury went down
through the skull bone to injure the brain.
There was a significant gap in skull bone and
depth of wound was around one inch. The
meninges and brain were injured down to
the white matter. However, it was concluded
that head wound was not the direct cause of
death as there were no signs of meningitis or
infection to the brain; and the Imam remained
completely alert until his death which is
impossible if damage of brain or infection of
brain or meninges were the cause of death as
the patient must be comatosed prior to death.
It also appears that the likely poisons used at
that time which were studied did not cause his
death, as his clinical state after injury did not
match the clinical descriptions of poisoning
with those poisons. Other possible causes of
death were discussed and again no evidence
that any was the direct cause of death. It is
likely that his death was the result of a mixture
of causes, includings poisons which were not studied.



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How to Cite

Al Khalili, A. H. (2014) “The Injury of Imam Ali and His Death A Study in Neurosurgical and Medico Legal aspects”, Kufa Review (Discontinued), 5(3). Available at: (Accessed: 1 June 2023).