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Faṭaḥiyya (Arabic: الفَطَحیّه) or Afṭaḥiyya (Arabic: الأفطَحیه) were believers in the imamate of 'Abd Allah, son of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a), known as al-Afṭaḥ (Arabic: الاَفطَح). After the martyrdom of the sixth Imam of Shi'a (a), his elder son, 'Abd Allah claimed his succession. Mentioning this quote from his father that "imamate of every Imam (a) reaches his elder son"; 'Abd Allah gathered some people around himself.

His claim did not last long and he died seventy days after the martyrdom of Imam al-Sadiq (a); and since he did not have any son or successor, his followers were left without leader and most of them turned to Imam al-Kazim (a) and the mentioned belief ended very soon. Some great figures of Imamiyya such as Banu Faddal turned to 'Abd Allah first, but many of them returned either halfway or after he died.

Cause of Naming

The cause of naming this group as Fatahiyya has been mentioned to be one of the following:

  • 'Abd Allah's title as al-Aftah due to having a large head (aftah al-ra's) or large feet (aftah al-rijlayn).
  • Some others consider the leadership of another person called 'Abd Allah b. Faṭīḥ from Kufa for this movement as the reason for calling this sect Fatahiyya.[1]

Destiny of 'Abd Allah al-Aftah

Main article: 'Abd Allah al-Aftah

'Abd Allah was the eldest son of Imam al-Sadiq (a) after Isma'il. His mother was Fatima bt. al-Husayn b. al-Hasan b. Ali.[2]

According to some historical sources, he was inclined toward Murji'a[3] and Hashwiyya[4] thoughts so much that Imam al-Sadiq (a) called him "Murji' Kabir" and therefore, he was rejected by his father.[5]

After the martyrdom of Imam al-Sadiq (a), 'Abd Allah introduced himself as the successor of his father and took his place. He performed Imam's (a) ghusl, Shrouding, and burial, and wore his ring.[6] He referred to this quote from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that "every imam's imamate will be transferred to his elder son" and gathered people around himself.

'Abd Allah died seventy days after the martyrdom of Imam al-Sadiq (a) and left no children.[7] Therefore, the belief in the imamate of 'Abd Allah Aftah ended and most of his followers turned to believe in the imamate of Imam al-Kazim (a).[8]

Fatahiyya Famous Figures

At the beginning of the claim of 'Abd Allah, many great companions of Imam al-Sadiq (a) accepted his claim and considered him the true successor of Imam (a), the most famous of whom were:

Based on historical evidence, many of these people returned from their belief in 'Abd Allah al-Aftah and there is no evidence whether others returned from that belief or not; however, it can be understood from rijal sources that all the mentioned people, despite their beliefs, were among reliable transmitters of hadiths who were trustworthy before Imams (a) and the Shi'a scholars. For example, Imam al-'Askari (a) was asked about the validity of hadiths transmitted by Banu Faddal who were followers of Fatahiyya, and he (a) answered, "Act according to their hadiths, but leave their beliefs."[17]

See Also


  1. Ṭūsī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, vol. 2, p. 524.
  2. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-niḥal, vol. 1, p. 148.
  3. A theological sect the followers of which believed that worshipping together with disbelief has no benefit, and that, sinning does not decrease anything from faith. This sect considered intention and belief important and regarded speech and actions unimportant.
  4. Followers of this sect are the extremists among Sunnis who did not care about rational thoughts and considered them unlawful innovations.
  5. Mufīd, al-Fuṣūl al-mukhtāra, p. 312.
  6. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-niḥal, vol. 1, p. 148.
  7. Shahristānī, al-Milal wa l-niḥal, vol. 1, p. 148.
  8. Ṭūsī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, vol. 2, p. 525.
  9. Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, p. 173.
  10. Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, p. 189.
  11. Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, p. 54.
  12. Najāshī, Rijāl, p. 35.
  13. Ṭūsī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, vol. 2, p. 853.
  14. Ṭūsī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, vol. 2, p. 682.
  15. Ṭūsī, Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl, vol. 2, p. 840.
  16. Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, p. 67.
  17. Ṭūsī, al-Ghayba, p. 390.


  • Mufīd, Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-. Al-Fuṣūl al-mukhtāra. Edited by Sayyid ʿAlī Mīr Sharīfī. Beirut: Dār al-Mufīd, 1414 AH.
  • Najāshī, Aḥmad b. ʿAlī al-. Rijāl. Qom: Muʾassisat al-Nashr al-Islāmī, 1424 AH.
  • Shahristānī, Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Karīm al-. Al-Milal wa l-niḥal. Cairo: Maktabat al-Anjulu al-Miṣrrīyya, [n.d].
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Fihrist. Qom: Nashr al-Fiqāha, 1417 AH.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Ghayba. Edited by Ṭihrānī. Qom: Muʾassisat al-Maʿārif al-Islāmīyya, 1411 AH.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Ikhtīyār maʿrifat al-rijāl. Qom: Muʾassisat Āl al-Bayt li-Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth, [n.d].
Shi'a Denominations