The Shia, Rafida, and the Martyrdom of Lady Fatima in 2nd Century Hijri

From: Early Ibadi Theology: New Material on Rational Thought in Islam from the Pen of Al-Fazārī (2nd/8th Century)

Al-Fazārī’s writings are a unique source of information about Ibadi teachings on ʿilm al-kalām and the early development of this branch of religious knowledge. It is for this reason that scholars of Islamic theology are particularly interested in early Ibadi theology. In this volume newly discovered, re-edited texts by al-Fazārī are presented, with previously lacking fragments included, texts that had already begun to offer new perspectives on Islamic ʿilm al-kalām, and on its origins and the sources of its concepts and debating techniques. In their revised state these Ibadi texts represent a major contribution to scholastic theology. They demonstrate how their respective theological debates already took place at the beginning of the second/eighth century and how associated ideas, as well as related sects and treatises, remained current for some time afterwards, thereby contradicting earlier claims that these debates started in the third/ninth century.

Fazari was a trade partner of Hisham b. al-Hakam in Kufa and was well familiar with him. Later on, in Baghdad he would participate in the debate gatherings hosted by the Barmakids and was in touch with Hisham and as well as other prominent theologians of the time such as Dirar b. ‘Amr. In his work Kitab al-Rudud (Book of Refutations), Fazari speaks of the views of the Shi’a, and another group who he refers to as the Rafida, and according to Dr. Ansari, it is very likely that he was recounting views he had heard from Hisham directly or had read in his works.

وقام قوم من الشيعة وأفرطوا في علي کما روی لهم محدثهم أيضاً أن النبي علیه السلام قال: علي خليفتي في أمتي ووصيي من بعدي، ونصّبه للناس إماما، وأسرّ إليه أشياء من الوحي لم یعلّمها أمته وجعل [إليه] أمر نسائه من بعده في يده، وأنّه ردّت عليه الشمس حين فاتته العصر بعد ما غابت، وأنّه دابة الله التي تخرج علی الناس، ومعه عصی موسی وخاتم سلیمان علیهما السلام، وأنّه قسیم الناس (کذا: النار) يقسّم لها أهلها، يقول: هذا لي وهذا لها، وأنّ أبابکر وعمر رضوان الله عليهما ضربا فاطمة بنت رسول الله صلی الله عليه وسلم حتی ألقت جنیناً، وأنّ أبابکر أمر خالد بن الولید حین تخلف علي عن بيعته أن یضرب عنقه إذا سلّم أبوبکر من الصلاة، فلما قعد أبوبکر في التشهد فبدی له، فقال قبل أن یسلّم: يا خالد لا تفعل ما أمرتک، ونحو ذلک من الأحاديث المفتعلة الضالة المضلة لمن صدّقها وقبلها أولئک المفرطون ودانوا بها وأکفروا من تقدم علی علي. وزعموا أن الأمة کلها ارتدت بعد النبي علیه السلام حین لم يؤمّروا علياً، وأنه ظلم و قهر، و برئوا من أبي بکر وعمر، و من لم يشهد بمثل شهادتهم، وهم الرافضة لعنهم الله، صاروا إلی ذلک بالروایات وسوء التأويل

And there is a group from amongst the Shi’a who went extreme in the case of ‘Ali, just like their narrator transmits for them that the Prophet (p) said: ‘Ali is my caliph in my nation and my executor after me,’ and they believe that the Prophet (p) appointed him as an Imam for people, and taught him the secrets of revelation which he (p) did not teach his (p) nation, and he (p) gave the affairs of his (p) wives over in his (a) hands, and that the sun returned back for him (a) when he missed the ‘Asr prayers after the sun had set, and that he is the Dabbah1 of Allah which will come out towards people.

[They believe] he has the staff of Musa (a) and the ring of Sulayman (a), and he is the distributor of people (or hellfire) which he distributes to people accordingly, saying, ‘this is for me and this is for her’. [They believe] Abu Bakr and ‘Umar – may Allah be satisfied with the two – hit Fatima the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (p) until she miscarried a fetus, and that Abu Bakr ordered Khalid b. al-Walid to strike the neck of ‘Ali for refraining to give allegiance to him, when Abu Bakr finishes the Salat with the tasleem, but when Abu Bakr sat down in tashhahud, he changed his mind and even before saying the tasleem, he said: ‘O Khalid, do not do what I commanded you to do’,2 and other false, erroneous, and deceptive reports for those who justify and accept them.

These are the extremists, who adopt these beliefs and excommunicate all who were prior to Ali. They think that the entire nation apostatized after the Prophet (p) when they did not empower ‘Ali, and that this was oppression and dominance. They disassociate from Abu Bakr and Umar, and anyone who does not testify in accordance to their testimonies. These are the Rafidah, may Allah curse them, who have gone to these opinions due to reports and false interpretations.

Also see: Did the Early Shia Believe In Tahrif? Insights from a 2nd Century Hijri Work


  1. Reference to 27:82
  2. A brother pointed out that this incident is also reported by a Zaydi, Abu al-Abbas al-Hasani (d. 353 H.). See al-Masabih of Imam Abu al-‘Abbas al-Hasani, pg. 262.