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Abu Talib
Arabic: 'abū tālib bni ¢abd al-muttalib

(549-619 or 623) In Islam, uncle of Muhammad and father of Ali.
There was always a close relation between Abu Talib and Muhammad, Muhammad working with Abu Talib in his trade and travels, and Muhammad acting as a second father to Ali. Sources differ somewhat, some state that Muhammad brought up Ali entirely by himself due to Abu Talib's poverty.
Abu Talib was the protector of Muhammad during his first years as messenger of the new faith of Islam. Groups in Mecca defending the old religion repeatedly tried to make him change this position, but throughout the remainder of his life Abu Talib remained loyal to his nephew. This while he himself still adhered to the local religion that Muhammad was accused of destroying. Whether Abu Talib ever converted to Islam, is unanswered by the whole body of accounts. Sunni sources make him a non-Muslim upon his death, Shi'i sources claim that he did convert before dying. Sunni sources are the oldest, and appear closest to the truth.

549: Born in Mecca.
578: Abu Talib's father, Abd al-Mutallib dies, and his 8 year old nephew, Muhammad, comes under his custody.
623: Dies in Mecca.

By Tore Kjeilen