Khalafiyya Shia

Khalafiyya Shia

The Khalafiyya Shia (named for its founder Khalaf ibn Abd al-Samad) were a subsect of the Zaidi branch of Shia Islam.


The Khalafiyya Shia had the following beliefs:

  • They believed that the Imams after Zayd ibn Ali ibn Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abī Ṭālib are as follows (in chronological order):
    • Abd al-Samad (a client of Zayd ibn Ali, although the Khalafiyya Shia claim he was a son of Zayd), then
    • Khalaf ibn Abd al-Samad (who fled from the Ummayads to the land of the Turks), then
    • Muhammad ibn Khalaf ibn Abd al-Samad, then
    • Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalaf ibn Abd al-Samad, then
    • The Khalafiyya Shia did not know the names of the Imams after Ahmad, but they believed that a descendent of Ahmad, still residing in the land of the Turks (since the migration to that land of his ancestor Khalaf ibn Abd al-Samad), would rise as the Mahdi.
  • They believed the Imam’s knowledge comes to him by inspiration, not by acquisition.
  • They believed the Imam understood all languages.
  • They believed that Khalaf ibn Abd al-Samad left behind a book which he composed in letters of an alphabet unknown to anyone other than his successor Imams and that these Imams alone would be able to explain his book.
  • They believed in a doctrine of Tawhid (Oneness of God) which denies that a person can describe or characterize God in any way. For example:
    • a person cannot say that God is knowing, or that God is not knowing.
    • a person cannot say that God is powerful, or that God is not powerful.
    • a person cannot say that God is a thing, or that God is not a thing.
  • They also believed in a devotion to fives. For example (according to them):

See also


  • Mediaeval Isma'ili History and Thought, By Farhad Daftary, pg.173-74