Prominent religious and political leader in Sudan. The Mirghani family came to Sudan in the early nineteenth century and established the Khatmi tariqah. Ali assumed leadership of the family and the brotherhood early in the twentieth century. He was the patron of nationalist parties supporting the “unity of the Nile Valley” in competition with parties supported by the family of the Sudanese Mahdi. Following Sudanese independence, he was the major patron of one of the two largest political parties and during both military and parliamentary regimes was a significant political force until his death.