The Rāfiḍha – A name which is labelled upon every individual who repudiates themselves from the two shaykhs – Abī Bakr al-Siddīq and ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (may Allāh be pleased with them both) and likewise upon every individual who repudiates themselves from the companions of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ.

As for the reason for this name then al-Shahristānī mentioned in his book al-Milāl wa al-Nihāl (1/100):“Indeed the Shīʿa of al Kūfa (in Irāq), when they heard that Zayd ibn ʿAlī had given his allegiance to Abū Bakr and ʿUmar (may Allah be pleased with them both), since they were the two deputies of his grandfather (the Prophet ﷺ) he said, “Rafaḍhuh (they have rejected him)” so he said to them “You have rejected me” thereupon they were labelled as the Rāfiḍha (the rejectors).[1]

ʿAbdullāh ibn Aḥmed said, “I asked my father (Imām Aḥmed ibn Hanbal) regarding the Rāfiḍha and he answered; “They are those who revile and curse Abū Bakr and ʿUmar (may Allāh be pleased with them both)…” This is because from their beliefs are loyalty and disavowal in speech, action and belief.

As for their loyalty – then it means loyalty for ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib and the Rāfiḍha have no loyalty to ʿAlī except that it includes disavowal from the two companions of the Prophet ﷺ – Abī Bakr and ʿUmar. Likewise (the disavowal for) the rest of the companions except a number of them who did not apostate from Islam according to their belief.

Upon this, the Rāfiḍha are those who disavowed from the companions, cursed them and insulted them and (this name) is more befitting to be labelled on those who make takfīr of the companions as it was mentioned by Ibn Hazm. This is what the reader will find applicable to the Ithna-ʿasharīah (the twelve Imāmate Shiʾītes) who speak regarding the Imāmate of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib from the text of the Prophet ﷺ as a declaration and not by gesture.

[1] This has also been narrated in Ibn Kathīr’s  al-Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah (9/32-33)

[TN] Who are the Shīʿa? Their shaykh, Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Nuʿmān al-Mufīd said in his book – Awaʿil al-Maqalāt fi al-Madhāhib wa al-Mukhtarāt (35/413); ‘They are the followers of Amīr al-Muʾminīn ʿAlī (raḍiAllāhu ʿanhu). To whom they give credence to his loyalty and immediate succession and imāmate after the Messenger of Allāh [1], whilst negating any imāmate that proceeded ʿAlī (raḍiAllāhu ʿanhu) in the station of caliphate, and beliving that ʿAlī was in actual fact the leader (of the three caliphs before him) and never really followed them.


Today, the word Shīʿa is not mentioned except that it is applied to the Twelvers sect[2] (Ithna Asharīyyah) owing to their overwhleming majoirty spread throughout Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Gulf states and some other locations, and since their authoritative books of ḥadith comprises a great portion of the views held by the Shiʿī sects that have appeared throughout history.

[1] What is meant by this is that the Shiʿī Imām (The Rafiḍhi) is someone who believes that ʿAlī (raḍiAllāhu ʿanhu) is the immediate caliph directly after the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ without there being any gap between them, this belief therefore is bulit upon the negation of the legitimacy of the three caliphs (Abū Bakr, ʿUmar and ʿUthman). Therefore, it is not correct to apply Shīʿism except – according to the view of their shaykh al-Mufīd,  upon the one who believes that the caliphate ʿAlī (raḍiAllāhu ʿanhu) extending from the period of the Prophet’s ﷺ death up until the martyrdom of ʿAlī (raḍiAllāhu ʿanhu).

[2] Al-Saksaki mentioned in his al-Burhān fi Maʿrifat Aqāʿid ahl al-Adyan under the chapter: The Rafiḍha (the rejectionist), (p.47); They have been called the Rafiḍha due to their rejection of Abū Bakr and ʿUmar. It has been said they were called as such due to their rejection of Zayd ibn ʿAlī when he acknowledged (the caliphate) of Abū Bakr and ʿUmar and testified to their legitimate imāmate, Zayd said to them; “rafaḍhuni..” (you have rejected me), and so they were called the Rafiḍha.  They were called the Shīʿa (lit. the party) when they rallied; “We are from the party (shīʿa) of ʿAlī!” However, some of them said things about ʿAlī which held no truth and these were the Ghāliya. Some of them made him a God, whilst others a Prophet. ʿAlī executed a group of them and burnt alive others during his era. From the Ghāliya are those that denounce the day of resurrection. The Rafiḍha unanimously agree that the imāmate is established via sound reasoning and the imāmate of ʿAlī along with his precedence to leadership has been estabished by fundemental text. They hold that the imāms are infallible, and inmmune from mistakes, error or negligence. They renounce the validity of a civil appointment of an Imām. According to them ʿAlī is more superior than the rest of the Companions, and he is the rightful imām after the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ.  Apart from the Zaydiya, the Shīʿa disassociate themselves from Abū Bakr and ʿUmar and many of the Companions. They say that the Islamic community has apostised due to their abandonment of the imāmate of ʿAlī. The majority of them believe that Allāh does not know what is to happen until it happens. According to them the dead return to the world before the day of resurrection. Common to their doctrine is that the Imām encompasses the knowledge all affairs, knowledge of the past and future occurences related to the religion and the worldly matters, even the number of stones (in the world) and rain drops (that fall), and the leaves on the trees. Without a doubt this is utter lunacy. They negate emcompassing knowledge from Allāh and instead affirm it for created beings! They believe miracles have occurred from the imāms just as they did from the Messengers of Allāh ﷺ. The Majoirty of them rule disbelief upon anyone that fought Ali. The Rafidha comprise of 18 sects; the Jarudiya, the Mutarifa, the Masiriya, the Imāmiyah Ithna Asharīyyah, the Khatabīyah, the Kaysanīya, the Hāshimīya, the Muḥammadīya, the Ghurabīya, the Kharirīya,  the Muntathira, the Bayanīya, the Mansourīya, the kasfīya, the Mughayrīya, the Tarifīya, the Qarmatīya and the Ismāʿīilīya.