Abdullah al-Aftah ibn Ja'far al-Sadiq

Abdullah al-Aftah ibn Ja'far al-Sadiq

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Abdullah al-Aftah ibn Ja'far al-Sadiq (d.766 CE / 149 A.H.) was the eldest surviving son of Ja'far al-Sadiq
Ja'far al-Sadiq
Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad al-Sādiq was a descendant of Muhammad and a prominent Muslim jurist. He is revered as an Imam by the adherents of Shi'a Islam and as a renowned Islamic scholar and personality by Sunni Muslims. The Shi'a Muslims consider him to be the sixth Imam or leader and spiritual...

 (after al-Sadiq’s death) and the full-brother of Isma'il ibn Jafar. Abdullah’s title "al-Aftah" derives from the Arabic words "aftah al-ra’s" (broad-headed) or "aftah al-rijlayn" (broad-footed) used to describe his appearance.

During the lifetime of his father, Abdullah al-Aftah had supported the revolt of his relative Muhammad ibn Abdallah An-Nafs Az-Zakiyya
Muhammad ibn Abdallah
Muhammad ibn Abdillah Al-Mahd ibn al-Hasan al-Muthanna ibn al-Hasan ibn 'Ali ibn Abi Talib or Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya was a descendant of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah...


Following Ja'far al-Sadiq’s death, the majority of Ja'far’s followers accepted Abdullah al-Aftah as their new Imam
Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
Imāmah is the Shia doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shīa believe that the A'immah are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muḥammad, and further that Imams are possessed of divine knowledge and authority as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt,...

. These followers were known as the Fathites and, according to the Mu'tazili
' is an Islamic school of speculative theology that flourished in the cities of Basra and Baghdad, both in present-day Iraq, during the 8th–10th centuries. The adherents of the Mu'tazili school are best known for their having asserted that, because of the perfect unity and eternal nature of God,...

 heresiographer Abul-Qasim al-Balkhi al-Ka‘bi (d.319 A.H. / 931 CE), they were the biggest and most important section of the followers of Ja'far al-Sadiq. To support his claims, Abdullah al-Aftah seems to have claimed a 2nd Nass
Nass (Islam)
Nass is an arabic word meaning "a known, or clear, legal injunction". In Twelver Shi`ah Islam, nass is used to reference the nomination of an Imam by a previous Imam....

 from his father (following Ismā'īl's demise) and his adherents cited a supposed Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

from Ja'far al-Sadiq to the effect that the Imamate must be transmitted through the eldest son of the Imam. However, when Abdullah al-Aftah died childless about 70 days after the death of his father, the bulk of his supporters went over to his brother Musa al-Kadhim
Musa al-Kadhim
' was the seventh of the Twelve Imams of Twelver Shi'a Islam. He was the son of Imam and his mother was Hamidah Khātūn, a student and former Zanjiyyah slave...

. Other Fathites considered Abdullah al-Aftah the 7th Imam and Musa al-Kadhim the 8th Imam, while others believed the Imamate came to an end when Abdullah al-Aftah died. Another group invented a son for Abdullah al-Aftah, called Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Aftah
Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Aftah
Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Aftah ibn Ja'far al-Sadiq was a figure whose existence is contested: a portion of the Fathite Shia Muslims , believed that Muhammad was the son of Imam Abdullah al-Aftah , whom they believed to be the Imam after his father Ja'far al-Sadiq...

, because they unconditionally believed the Imamate could only be inherited from father to son, rather than from brother to brother. This group also claimed that Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Aftah was the promised Mahdi
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...