The Titles of the Ithna `Ashariyyah Shi`ah’s

The Sects of the Ithna `Ashariyyah
April 15, 2016
The Sects of the Shi`ah
April 15, 2016

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The Titles of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) Shia’s


Some of the titles by which the Ithna ‘Ashariyyahs (Twelvers) are referred to by authors of books on sects are:


Al Shia:


The title Shia is used to refer to all the sects thereof. However, in this era, this title refers only to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) when used in its general sense, according to them and others including Strothmann,[1] al Tabarsi,[2] Amir ‘Ali,[3] Kashif al Ghita,[4] Muhammad Hussain al ‘Amili[5] and ‘Irfan ‘Abdul Hamid[6]. I am also of the opinion that it refers only to them. However, I say so, not only on account of them being the largest sect from the Shia, but on account of another reason as well, which holds more weight (although I have not seen anyone who studied and explained it whereas a discussion concerning it requires an independent study which should include a comparison along with an analysis), i.e. the books of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) on hadith and narrations have covered the views of most, if not all, of the sects that emerged along the course of history (as explained previously). Thus, this sect has become the guardian of the other sects.


Al Imamiyyah


According to many of the authors of books regarding sects, this title is used for many different sects of the Shia. However, according to latter day authors as well as others, it is confined to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers). Perhaps the first person to hold this view was the leading scholar of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) in his era, al Mufid, in his book Awa’il al Maqalat.[7] Al Sam’ani indicated that this was the common practise of his time. He says:


Nowadays the title al Imamiyyah is used for this sect (referring to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers)).[8]


Ibn Khaldun stated:


As for the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), their latter day scholars have referred to them specifically, using the title al Imamiyyah.[9]


The author of Mukhtasar al Tuhfah al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) has indicated that the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) are the first sect that comes to mind when using the title Imamiyyah.[10] Sheikh Zahid al Kowthari says, “it is common knowledge that the Imamiyyah are the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers).”[11] Kashif al Ghita is among the contemporary Shia scholars who uses the title Imamiyyah with reference to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers).[12] Some Shia scholars who belong to the other sects are of the opinion that the Imamiyyah consist of different sects, including the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers); the Kaysaniyyah, the Zaidiyyah and the Ismailiyyah.[13] After understanding that the title Imamiyyah is one of the many titles of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), we will now move on to that which has been said regarding its definition:


The scholar of the Shia in his era, al Mufid says:


الامامية هم القائلون بوجوب الامامة والعصمة و وجوب النص و انما حصل لهم هذا الاسم فى الاصل لجمعها فى المقالة هذه الاصول فكل من جمعها فهو امامى و ان ضم اليها حقا فى المذهب كان او باطلا ثم ان من شمله هذا الاسم و استحقه لمعناه قد افترقت كلمتهم فى اعيان الائمة و فى فروع ترجع الى هذه الاصول و غير ذلك فاول من شذ من فرق الامامية الكيسانية


The Imamiyyah are those who believe in the compulsion of Imamah, infallibility and the incumbency of divine appointment. They were only given this title on account of them holding onto all of the above principles. Whoever upholds all of them will be an Imami, even though he adds on to them in the mazhab. This is irrespective of whether he adds on truth or falsehood. In addition, those to whom this title is applicable and they are truly deserving thereof due to adhering to it, have differed regarding the (appointment of the different) Imams, secondary matters which are based upon these principles as well as other matters. The first sect to separate from the rest of the Imamiyyah was the Kaysaniyyah.[14]


Here, we see al Mufid granting the title of Imamiyyah to all those who uphold the three principles; Imamah, infallibility and divine appointment. However, in another book of his, he places such pre-requisites to qualify for this title, that it is as if he wishes to confine it to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers). He says:


الامامية علم على من دان بوجوب الامامة و و جودها فى كل زمان و اوجب النص الجلى و العصمة والكمال لكل امام ثم حصر الامامة ولد الحسين بن على و ساقها الى الرضا على بن موسى عليه السلام


Al Imamiyyah is the title given to all those who accepts the incumbency of Imamah, its existence in every era, believes that it takes place by explicit divine appointment (revelation), confines it to the progeny of Hussain ibn ‘Ali. (Thereafter he lists all the Imams until al Rida, ‘Ali ibn Musa).[15]


This definition states that a person has to believe that the divine appointment was explicit, whereas he previously omitted this condition, as to include the belief that it was explicit as well as the belief that it was inexplicit. Similarly, here, he added on the condition that the Imams should be from the progeny of Hussain and he listed all of them until al Rida ‘Ali ibn Musa, which he did not do in his first definition — the result of which was that it included the Kaysaniyyah. It seems as if he realised the contradiction between his two views. Thus he says:


لانه و ان كان (اى لقب الامامىة) فى الاصل علما على من دان من الاصول بما ذكرناه دون التخصيص لمن قال فى الاعيان بما وصفناه فانه قد انتقل عن اصله لاستحقاق فرق من معتقديه القابا باحاديث لهم باقاويل احدثوها فغلبت عليهم فى الاستعمال دون الوصف بالامامية و صار هذا الاسم فى عرف المتكلىن و غيرهم من الفقهاء و العامة علما على من ذكرناه


This is because, even though it (the title Imamiyyah) was originally coined to point out all those who accept the principles that we have mentioned, without confining it to those who believe regarding the Imams that which we have explained, it is now used against its original meaning since some sects deserved other titles on account of their beliefs, ahadith and views which they invented. Thus, it became the norm to refer to them using these titles, instead of ‘Imamiyyah’. Consequently, this title was used to identify those who subscribe to all the beliefs that we had mentioned.[16]


If we look beyond that which al Mufid had stated and page through the other books regarding sects, to get an idea of the definition of ‘Imamiyyah’ according to non-Shias, we will see that most of the authors regarding the subject of sects have not confined the title of Imamiyyah to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers). Imamiyyah, according to them was much more general and inclusive. Al Shahrastani says:


The Imamiyyah are those who believe in the Imamah of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and that he was appointed through explicit (revealed) texts. It was a specific and definite appointment of him, not a description which was suggestive of him. He was appointed in person.[17]


Al Ash’ari’s view is no different:

They are referred to as al Imamiyyah as they believe that ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib was divinely appointed.[18]


Among the authors on the subject, is an author who opined that they were named al Imamiyyah on account of their belief that the world will never be void of an Imam, either he will come out in public and be known, or he will be hidden and described to people.[19] However, Ibn al Murtada says:


و الامامية سميت بذلك لجعلها امور الدين كلها للامام و انه كالنبى و لا يخلو وقت من امام يحتاج اليه فى امر الدين و الدنيا

The Imamiyyah have been given their name on account of them placing all the matters of din in the hands of the Imam, as if he is a Nabi. No era can be devoid of an Imam, he is needed for religious as well as worldly matters.[20]


In a nutshell, some believed that the title was given to them on account of their belief in divine appointment, some believed that it was a result of their belief that the earth will never be devoid of an Imam and others believed that it was also on account of their belief that all the matters of religion are in the hands of the Imam. All of these views are inter-connected and boil down to the same thing.

The title, Imamiyyah, came to the fore after the title, Shia. Apparently, it became popular after the Shia started paying more attention and granting importance to the doctrine of Imamah and the Imam, and after some sects sprung up who singled out certain individuals of the Ahlul Bayt as Imams. The entire discussion will appear under the subject of Imamah. Ibn Abi al Hadid states that the views of the Imamiyyah (not even their title) only became famous in the later eras. He says:


لم تكن مقالة الامامية و من نحا نحوهم من الطاعنين فى امامة السلف مشهورة حينئذ (يعنى فى العصر الاموى) على هذا النحو من الاشتهار

The views of the Imamiyyah and those who adopt their path, i.e. criticising the Imamah of the salaf[21] was not as famous in that era (the era of the Omayyads) as it is now.[22]


Al Ithna al ‘Ashariyyah


This term is not found in the classical books regarding sects. Al Qummi (d. 299/301 A.H) did not mention it in his book al Maqalat wa l-Firaq, al Nowbakhti (d. 310 A.H.) did not mention it in his book Firaq al Shia and al Ash’ari (d. 330 A.H) did not mention it in his book Maqalat al Islamiyyin. Perhaps, the first person to mention it (from the Shia) was al Mas’udi[23] (349 A.H). As for non-Shias, ‘Abdul Qahir al Baghdadi (d. 429 A.H) was most likely the first to mention it as he says, “they were named the ‘Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers)’ due to their claim that the awaited Imam belonged to the twelfth generation from the progeny of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.”[24]


Muhammad Jawad Mughnyyah, a contemporary Rafidi says:


الاثنا عشرية نعت يطلق على الشيعة الامامية القائلة باثنى عشر اماما تعينهم باسمائهم

Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) is an adjective used to describe the Shia Imamiyyah who believe that there are twelve Imams and they specify them by their names.[25]


This name or title undoubtedly only made its appearance after the demise of Hassan al ‘Askari (d. 260 A.H.), “prior to his demise none held the view that their twelfth Imam will be the awaited one. Added to that, there is no proof, from the era of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as well as the entire reign of the Banu Umayyah, that anyone claimed that there will be twelve Imams.”[26] However, the author of Mukhtasar al Tuhfah al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) is of the view that the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) appeared in the year 255 A.H.[27]

It seems as if he stipulated this date based on his own calculations. This is because that was the year in which the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) claimed that their Twelfth Imam[28] had been given birth to (regarding whom they believe that he is alive until today and they are awaiting his appearance). If the matter should be left to calculations, then it would be more appropriate to stipulate the year 260 A.H., as the claim of the existence of the twelfth and awaited Imam only came to the fore after the demise of Hassan al ‘Askari (who passed away in the year 260 A.H).

As for the twelve Imams who the Jafariyyah take as their Imams, they are ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hassan, Hussain and the progeny of Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

To follow is a list of the names, titles, agnomens, birthdates and dates of death of each Imam.

Name of the Imam His Agnomen His Title His Dates of Birth and Death
1 ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib Abu al Hassan Al Murtada 23 (Before Hijrah)-40 A.H.
2 Hassan ibn ‘Ali Abu Muhammad Al Zaki 2 A.H.-50 A.H.
3 Hussain ibn ‘Ali Abu ‘Abdullah Al Shahid 3 A.H.-61 A.H.
4 ‘Ali ibn Hussain Abu Muhammad Zayn al ‘Abidin 38 A.H.-95 A.H.
5 Muhammad ibn ‘Ali Abu Jafar Al Baqir 57 A.H.-114 A.H.
6 Jafar ibn Muhammad Abu ‘Abdullah Al Sadiq 83 A.H.-148 A.H.
7 Musa ibn Jafar Abu Ibrahim Al Kazim 128 A.H.-183 A.H.
8 ‘Ali ibn Musa Abu al Hassan Al Rida 148 A.H.-203 A.H.
9 Muhammad ibn ‘Ali Abu Jafar Al Jawwad 195 A.H.-220 A.H.
10 ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Abu al Hassan Al Hadi 212 A.H.-254 A.H.
11 Hassan ibn ‘Ali Abu Muhammad Al ‘Askari 232 A.H.-260 A.H.
12 Muhammad ibn Hassan Abu al Qasim Al Mahdi They claim that he was born in the year 255/256 A.H and he is alive until today.1

1  For more information regarding the Imamiyyah, refer to al Kulayni: Usul al Kafi 1/452, al Mufid: al Irshad, al Tabari: A’lam al Wara, Al Arbali: Kashf al Ghummah. Also refer to al Ash’ari: Maqalat al Islamiyyin 90-91, al Shahrastani: al Milal wa l-Nihal 1/169, Ibn Khaldun: Lubab al Muhassal pg. 128 as well as other books.


Al Qat’iyyah


It is one of the titles of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) according to some of the authors on the subject of sects such as al Ash’ari[29], al Shahrastani[30], al Isfarayini[31] and others.[32] They were named al Qati’iyyah as they were certain that Musa ibn Jafar (al Sadiq)[33] had passed away. This is the view of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers). Al Mas’udi says:


و فى سنة ستين و ماتين قبض ابو محمد الحسن بن على…وهو ابو المهدى المنتظر الامام الثانى عشر عند القطيعية من الامامية

In the year 260, Abu Muhammad Hassan ibn ‘Ali passed away… He is the father of the awaited Mahdi, the twelfth Imam, according to the Qati’iyyah Imamiyyah.[34]

Some of them consider the word Qati’iyyah to be a name of one of the sects of the Imamiyyah, and not one of the titles of the Imamiyyah.[35]


Ashab al Intizar


Al Razi grants this title to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) since they believe that the Imam after Hassan al ‘Askari is his son Muhammad ibn Hassan al ‘Askari who is in occultation and will soon emerge. He says, “this is the mazhab of the Imamiyyah of our times.”[36] There are other sects as well, not only the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), who are anticipating the emergence of the Imam. However, they have differences among themselves as to who exactly is the Imam.


Al Rafidah


Some scholars (such as al Ash’ari in al Maqalat[37] and Ibn Hazm in al Fisal[38]) have used the word Rafidah to refer to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers). The books of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) admit in very clear words, that this is one of their titles. Their scholar, al Majlisi (in his book al Bihar — which is one of their eight canonical works on hadith), quotes four of their narrations in which they are extolled for being named Rafidah.[39] It is as if they tried to lull their masses by beautifying this name. However, even these narrations reveal that people began referring to them in this way to insult them and not to praise them.

These Shia sources do not cite the reasons behind them becoming the targets of this derogatory term and insult.[40] Nevertheless, other sources have explained that this is on account of their stances regarding the khilafah of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. Abu al Hassan al Ash’ari states:

They were only given the name Rafidah on account of them denouncing the khilafah of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.[41]


Ibn Taymiyyah quoted this statement of al Ash’ari and thereafter commented, “the correct view is that they were named al Rafidah after they abandoned Zaid ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, when he left Kufah during the reign of Hisham ibn ‘Abdul Malik.”[42] However, this view of Ibn Taymiyyah boils down to that which al Ash’ari stated. This is because they only denounced Zaid when he openly declared[43] his view regarding Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and their khilafah.[44]

Thus, the view that they abandoned Zaid or his mazhab, according to me, is the same (as the view that they were named such on account of denouncing Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma). Nonetheless, Ibn Taymiyyah took into consideration the historical perspective when he commented on the view of al Ash’ari. Proof of this is that some of the sects of the Shia, such as the Saba’iyyah and others had already denounced the khilafah of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, even before their disagreement with Zaid, but they were not called Rafidah. This title was only given to them after they publicly distanced themselves from Zaid, (due to his praise for Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma) who consequently named them al Rafidah.

Added to the above, there are other views regarding the reason why they were called al Rafidah.[45] Also, some authors on the subject of sects refer to all the groups of the Shia using the word ‘Rafidah’.[46]


Al Jafariyyah


They Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) are also referred to as the Jafariyyah, due to their claim that their sixth Imam is Jafar al Sadiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu. It is a reference to all of them by naming just one Imam. Al Kashshi reports that the (supposed) supporters of Jafar in Kufah were named al Jafariyyah. This reached him whereupon he was angered and he said:


ان اصحاب جعفر منكم لقليل انما اصحاب جعفر من اشتد ورعه و عمل لخالقه و رجا ثوابه فهؤلاء اصحابى

Indeed there are almost no companions of Jafar amongst you. The companions of Jafar are only those whose scrupulousness is of a high level, he acts only to please his Creator and he hopes for reward from Him. These are my companions.[47]


This indicates — if there is any truth to the narration — that the name al Jafariyyah was common in the time of Jafar, and he was not pleased with most of those who claimed affiliation with him. Similarly, it also points out that this name was shared between the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) and the Ismaili, as the split between them only took place after the demise of Jafar. The term al Jafariyyah was also used in reference to a sect of the Shia who are now non-existent. They held the view that the Imam after Hassan al A’skari was his brother Jafar.[48] There are also other names and titles that were given to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) in different countries.[49]


Al Khassah (the special ones)


This is a title used by the scholars of the Shia to refer to their sect, and they refer to the Ahlus Sunnah as the ‘Ammah (the common folk). The following appears in Da’irat al Ma’arif al Shi’iyyah:


الخاصة فى اصطلاح بعض اهل الدراية: الامامية الاثنى عشرية والعامة اهل السنة و الجماعة

The term al Khassah, according to some of the scholars refers to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), and the term al ‘Ammah refers to the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah.[50]


These two terms are used quite extensively in their ahadith narrations. They say, “this is reported by the ‘Ammah and this is reported by the Khassah.”[51]


NEXT⇒ The Sects of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers)

[1]Da’irat al Ma’arif al Islamiyyah 14/68

[2]Mustadrak al Wasa’il 3/311

[3]  Amir ‘Ali says: “The (word) Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) has become a synonym of the (word) Shia.” Ruh al Islam 2/92

[4]  He says: “Today, when it is used in its general sense, it refers specifically to the Imamiyyah.” The word Imamiyyah here is used to refer to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers), as will be seen from that which appears after this sentence. Asl al Shia wa Usuluha pg. 92

[5]  Al ‘Amili says: “Since the Zaidiyyah and Imamiyyah are only known by these affiliations, and the Fathiyyah and Waqifiyyah do not exist in this era, the name Shia is now confined to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers).” Al Shia fi l-Tarikh pg. 43.

[6]  ‘Irfan says: “When the word Shia is used without being specified or singling out (any sect), then only the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) are being referred to.” Majallat Kulliyyat al Dirasat al Islamiyyah, edition 1 pg. 35-1387 A.H.

For more examples of scholars who held this view, refer to al Samura’i: al Ghulu wa l-Firaq al Ghaliyah pg. 82, Ahmed Zaki Tufahah: Usul al Din wa Furu’ih ‘Ind al Shia pg. 21 and Ihsan Ilahi Zahir: al Shia wa l-Tashayyu’ pg. 9

[7]Awa’il al Maqalat pg. 44

[8]Al Ansab 1/344, Ibn al Athir: al Lubab 1/84, al Suyuti: Lubb al Albab fi Tahrir al Ansab/the alphabet Hamzah, the word Imamiyyah.

[9]Tarikh Ibn Khaldun 1/201

[10]Mukhtasar al Tuhfah al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) pg. 20

[11]  Al Kowthari: in his footnotes on the book al Tanbih wa l-Radd of al Milti, pg. 18

[12]Asl al Shia wa Usuluha pg. 92

[13]  Muhsin al Amin: A’yan al Shia 1/21

[14]Al ‘Uyun wa l-Mahasin 2/91

[15]Awa’il al Maqalat pg. 44

[16]  Ibid pg. 44

[17]Al Milal wa l-Nihal 1/162

[18]Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/86

[19]  ‘Uthman ibn ‘Abdullah al ‘Iraqi: Dhikr al Firaq al Dawal (manuscript). Al Qurtubi has the same view in his book Bayan al Firaq (manuscript). Refer to Sharh al Ithnatayn wa l-Sab’in (manuscript).

[20]Al Munyat wa l-Amal pg. 21

[21]  Literally pious predecessors. In this context, those who preceded, viz. ‘Ali, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

[22]Sharh Nahj al Balaghah 4/522

[23]Al Tanbih wa l-Ishraf pg. 198

[24]Al Farq Bayn al Firaq pg. 64

[25]Al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) wa Ahlul Bayt pg. 15

[26]Minhaj al Sunnah 4/209

[27]Mukhtasar al Tuhfah pg. 21

[28]  As stated by al Kulayni: al Kafi 1/514, al Mufid: al Irshad pg. 390, al Tabarsi: A’lam al Wara pg. 393. The year 256 A.H is stipulated in al A’lam of al Zirikli (2/215), al ‘Aql ‘ind al Shia of Rushdi ‘Ilyan (pg. 56), Tarikh al Imamiyyah of ‘Abdullah Fayyad (pg. 183).

[29]Maqalat al Islamiyyin 90-91

[30]al Milal wa l-Nihal 1/169

[31]Al Tabsir fi l-Din pg. 33

[32]Al Hur al ‘Ayn pg. 166

[33]  Al Qummi: al Maqalat wa l-Firaq pg. 89, al Nashi al Akbar, Masa’il al Imamah pg. 47, al Ash’ari: Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/90, ‘Abdul Jabbar al Hamdani: al Mughni vol. 20 category 2, pg. 176, al Mas’udi: Muruj al Dhahab 3/221

[34]Muruj al Dhahab 4/199

[35]Mukhtasar al Tuhfat al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) pg. 19-20. There is no doubt that the Qati’iyyah were the predecessors of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers). They were given this name after they expressed certainty regarding the death of Musa. This led to their separation from the Ismailiyyah. However, when we look at the fact that the Shia split up at the death of each Imam, we realise that this separation was the lot of the Qati’iyyah… Further sects were formed from them, who did not believe in twelve Imams. Thus, they were no longer part of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers). Therefore, the term Qati’iyyah is not restricted to the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers).

[36] I’tiqadat Firaq al Muslimin wa l-Mushrikin pg. 84-85

[37]  Refer to Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/88

[38]Al Fisal 4/157-158

[39]  Al Majlisi mentions them under the chapter titled, “the virtue of the Rafidah and the praiseworthiness of being named so”. An example of the narrations in this chapter is:

Reported from Abu Basir, I said to Abu Jafar (al Baqir), “May I be sacrificed for you, we have been given a name by which the authorities have taken as a license to spill our blood, take our wealth and punish us!” He asked, “what is that name?” I replied, “al Rafidah.” Thereupon Abu Jafar said, “there were seventy men from the army of Musa ‘alayh al Salam who were the most hard-working and had the greatest love for Harun. Thereupon, the nation of Musa named them al Rafidah. Allah then revealed to Musa, ‘place this as their name in the Torah as I have granted it to them.’ Allah has granted that name to you (as well).” Al Bihar 68/96-97, Tafsir Furat pg. 139, al Barqi: al Mahasin pg. 157, al A’lami: Da’irat al Ma’arif 18/200

[40]  There is a claim that the first person to name them Rafidah was al Mughirah ibn Sa’id, the leader of the al Mughiriyyah sect. He was killed by Khalid al Qisri in the year 119 A.H. This was due to him inclining towards the Imamah of al Nafs al Zakiyyah (Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Hassan) after the demise of Muhammad al Baqir, and he proclaimed this view. Thereupon the Shia of Jafar ibn Muhammad denounced him. Consequently, he named them al Rafidah. Refer to al Qummi: al Maqalat wa l-Firaq pg. 76-77, al Nowbakhti: Firaq al Shia pg. 62-63, al Qadi ‘Abdul Jabbar: al Mughni vol. 20 category 2 pg. 179. This view seems to be a product of the works of the Rawafid. Al Tabari pointed this out saying, “These days they claim that they were named al Rafidah by al Mughirah, when they separated from him.” Tarikh al Tabari (7/181). ‘Abdullah al Fayyad considers the hadith that is attributed to al Mughirah, wherein he names the Shia “al Rafidah”, to be so unreliable that it does not even deserve to be scrutinised. One way in which this is proven is that, if he was the one who named them so, it would not have been a derogatory term and the authorities would not have taken it as a license to spill their blood, take their wealth and punish them, as they claim in their narrations. Tarikh al Imamiyyah pg. 75

[41]Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/89. For more information regarding them being named al Rafidah, refer to al Shahrastani: al Milal wa l-Nihal 1/155, al Razi: I’tiqadat Firaq al Muslimin wa l-Mushrikin pg. 77, al Isfarayini: al Tabsir fi l-Din pg. 34, al Jilani: al Ghunyah 1/76, Ibn al Murtada: al Munyat wa l-Amal pg. 21.

[42]Minhaj al Sunnah 2/130

[43]  This should not create the impression that any of the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt had a different view regarding Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, as they too revered these illustrious personalities. However, what gives greater merit to the denunciation of the Shia by Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu was that he openly declared this reverence when they rallied around him and dissociated himself from those who reviled them, whereas the praise of the other Imams for the illustrious Sahabah did not occur on the same scale as Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

[44]  Refer to Tarikh al Tabari 7/180-181, Ibn al Athir: al Kamil 4/246, Ibn Kathir: al Bidayah wa l-Nihayah 9/329, Ibn al ‘Imad al Hambali: Shadhrat al Dhahab 1/157, Tarikh Ibn Khaldun 3/99.

[45]  It is said that they were named al Rafidah because they did not help al Nafs al Zakiyyah. Ibn al Murtada: al Munyat wa l-Amal pg. 21, footnote 1 page 111. It is also said that it was on account of them not having love for the Sahabah, ‘Ali al Qari: Shamm al ‘Awarid fi Dhamm al Rawafid pg. 254 (of the manuscript). Another reason that has been stated is that it is on account of them leaving the religion of Islam, al Iskubi: al Radd ‘Ala al Shia pg. 23 (manuscript). Refer to Muhy al Din ‘Abdul Hamid: footnotes of Maqalat al Islamiyyin 1/89.

[46]  Such as al Baghdadi in al Farq Bayn al Firaq, al Isfarayini in al Tabsir fi l-Din, al Milti in al Tanbih wa l-Radd, al Saksaki in al Burhan fi ‘Aqa’id Ahl al Adyan, etc.

[47]Rijal al Kashshi pg. 255

[48]  Al Razi: I’tiqadat Firaq al Muslimin pg. 84, Mukhtasar al Tuhfah al Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers) pg. 21

[49]  Such as ‘al Mutawilah’. This was used in the latter days to refer to the Shia of Mount ‘Amil, Ba’albakk and Mount Libnan. It is the plural form of the word Mutawali, which is one form of the verb tawala (from al wala and al muwalat) which means love. This was on account of their claim that they loved the Ahlul Bayt. It is also said that they were given this name because they would say, at the time of war, “Mit waliyyan li’Ali” (die whilst supporting ‘Ali). Thus they were each name mutawali. Refer to Hadir al ‘Alam al Islami 1/193-194, A’yan al Shia 1/22. Another title is ‘Qizilbash’ — a Turkish word which means, the one with a red head — nowadays this name is popular in Iran. Similarly, all the Shia of India, Rome and Syria are referred to by this name. Refer to A’yan al Shia 1/23-24. It will appear under the discussion of the sects of the Shia that the Qizilbash are one of the sects of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah (Twelvers).

[50]Da’irat al Ma’arif 17/122

[51]  As an example, refer to Ghayat al Maram of Hashim al Bahrani. Among their narrations is;

ما خالف العامة ففيه الرشاد

That in which is in opposition of the ‘Ammah is guidance.

Refer to Usul al Kafi 1/68, Wasa’il al Shia 18/76.