Rafida, also transliterated as Rafidah, is an Arabic word (collective plural Arabic: الرافضة‎, multiple plural Arabic: روافض‎, romanized: Rawāfiḍ; singular Arabic: رافضي‎, romanized: Rāfiḍī) meaning "rejectors", "rejectionists", "those who reject" or "those who refuse". The word is derived from the Arabic consonantal root ر ف ض (r-f-ḍ), which as a verb means "to reject". The non-collective singular form is رافضي rāfiḍī "one who rejects".The term is used contemporarily in a derogatory manner by Sunni Muslims, who refer to Shias as such because Shias do not recognize Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman as the legitimate successors of Muhammad, and hold Ali as to be the first successor.


Abbas Di Palma, Shaykh Abbas Di Palma holds a BA and an MA degree in Islamic Studies, and certifications from the Language Institute of Damascus University. He has also studied traditional Islamic sciences in... Answer updated 2 years ago

as salam alaikum

according to some scholarly views, the term "Rafidah" existed before Zayd Ibn 'Ali and it was used to indicate those who oppose someone or something, especially an adverse established government. 

In some Sunni sources, after the uprising of Zayd Ibn 'Ali, the term was attributed to those who deserted him when he reportedly refused to dissociate himself from the Shaykhayn.  According to this view, from this episode onwards, the term "Rafidah" was referred to indicate those who rejected the Shaykhayn or the three caliphs. Zaydi sources however attribute the Rafd (rejection) to the "rejection of Zayd" or  the"rejection of jihad" in more general terms. The Zaydis were among the firsts - if not the first - to write against the Rafidah meaning the Imamiyyah.

Eventually some segments of the Imamiyyah took pride in being called "Rafidah" and in several Imami sources the term has been used with a sense of honor.  However not all Imamis nowadays like to be identified as such. 

Later on, in Sunni rijali books a distinction was done between a "Shi'i" as one who preferred 'Ali over all companions, and a "Rafidi" as one who rejects the three caliphs.

With prayers for your success.

Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answer updated 2 years ago

This is a false claim fabricated by Ibn Taymiyyah, the godfather of Wahhabism and most of the terrorist groups. He made this claim in his book Minhaj al-Sunnah , volume 1, page 35. The term Rafidhah was used long before the time of Zayd ibn Ali ( AS).

Rafidah is plural of Rafidi from Rafadha ( رفض) which means in Arabic language ( to reject ). It was used for any person or group who rejects something. The term Rafidhah is commonly used for the followers of Ahlul Bayt who rejected the Saqeefa rulers.
1. The enemies of Imam Ali (AS) who rejected his leadership and fought against him in the battle of The Camel, were called Rafidha of Basra. This is been recorded in a letter from Mu'awiyah Ibn Sufiyan to Amr Ibn al-Aass. ( Nassr bin Muzahim, Waq'at Siffeen, P 34). This goes to the time after the battle of The Camel when Zayd ibn Ali was not born.

2. When Al-Farazdaq , the famous poem, praised Imam Ali Zayn al-Aabideen Al-Sajjad (AS) in front of the Umayyad tyrant, Abdul Malik Bin Marwan asked him: Are you a Rafidhi? Al-Farazdaq replied him: If loving The Progeny of the Prophet is Rafdh, I am a Rafidhi. ( Amaali al-Murtadha, V. 1, P. 68). This incident took place in Makkah when Zayd was either not born yet or very little child.

3.Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (AS) who was martyred eight years before the revolt of Zayd, mentioned Rafidhah. Abul Jaroud narrated that a man told Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir: A person called us with a name. Imam asked him: What is the name? He replied: He called us Rafidhah. Imam al-Baqir pointed to him chest and said: I am also from the Rafidhah and Rafidhah are from me. ( Bihaar al-Anwaar , vol 65, page 97).

4. The term Rafidhah was mentioned in many narrations from Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (AS) and Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (AS) as a title for seventy believers who left Firaon and joined Prophet Muses (AS) and called Rafidhah because they rejected Firaon.( Al-Mahaasin by al-Burqi, page 119).

5. In many Hadeeths from Ahlul Bayt (AS) about people calling the followers if Ahlul Bayt as Rafidhah, the Imams said: Blessed name for you, because you rejected the wrong and believed in the Truth, while your enemies have rejected the Truth and believed in the wrong.(Tafseer Furat al-Koofi, page 376 and 377).

6. Al-Shafi'ee who was a well known Sunni Imam has mentioned in his poetry : If loving Ahlul Bayt is Rafdh, then let all humans and Jinns witness that I'm a Rafidhi.



Rebecca Masterton, Dr Rebecca Masterton graduated with a BA in Japanese Language and Literature; an MA in Comparative East Asian and African Literature and a PhD in Islamic literature of West Africa. She has been... Answered 3 years ago

They rejected the legitimacy of the caliphates of Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman. Initially the name was used pejoratively by the 'Uthmaniyya, but it was taken up and used by the Imami Shi'a themselves.