There is a treasure trove of traditions which back verses of Quran or independently talk about the successors of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sawa). These traditions are quoted extensively from both sources of the Shiah and Ahle Sunnah.Before we actually quote the traditions, let us summarise them so that the concept is clear for us. Traditions from Holy Prophet (sawa) and the Ahle Bayt (as) explicitly state that:
- The earth will never be devoid of a proof from Allah. Even if there are only two people left on this earth, then one of them will be a Divine leader.
- There will be 12 caliphs after the Holy Prophet of Islam – equal to the caliphs of Bani Israel or in some traditions equal to the number of months.
- All of them will be Arabs
- All of them will be from Quraysh
- They will be from the progeny of Hazrat Fatemah Zahra (sa) and through Imam Husain (as)
- The first of them will be Imam Ali (as) and the last will be Imam Mahdi (as)
- The names of all the Imams (as) are available in traditions
- Islam will not end (or the day of Judgement will not arise) till such time that a person from the progeny of the Holy Prophet (sawa) comes forth and establish Islam as the dominant religion, fill the earth with justice and equality, just as it will be rife with injustice and inequality.
- Recognition of these Aimmah (sa) and their obedience is obligatory upon all creatures
12 Caliphs In Islam
Holy Prophet (sawa) said, “After me there would be twelve caliphs, nine of whom shall be from the descendants of Husain, the ninth of whom shall be their Qaim and Mahdi. So blessed be his friends and woe be upon his enemies.” (Kifayatul Athar, Pg. 292)
Sulaym bin Qais Hilali reports: I heard Abdullah bin Ja’far at-Tayyar say: “We were present in a gathering that included Muawiyah, Hasan, Husain, Abdullah Ibne Abbas, Umar Ibne Abu Salma and Usamah Ibne Zaid. Traditions were being narrated.
The narrator said to Muawiyah Ibne Abu Sufyan: I heard the Messenger of Allah (sawa.) said: “I have a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves, after my brother Ali is having greater claim on the believers than they have on themselves. Then after him my son, Hasan has a greater claim on the believers than they have on themselves. After him my son, Husain has a greater claim on the believers than they have on themselves. After him his son, Ali has a greater claim on the believers than they have on themselves. And you O Ali will see him. After him his son, Muhammad has a greater claim on the believers than they have on themselves. And you O Husain will see him. Then he completed twelve Imams nine of whom were from the progeny of Husain. Abdullah says: This statement of mine was verified by Hasan, Husain, Abdullah Ibne Abbas, Umar bin Abu Salma and Usamah bin Zaid in the presence of Muawiyah.” Sulaym bin Qays says: I heard this tradition from Salman, Abu Zar, Miqdad and Usamah bin Zaid who said that they heard it from the Messenger of Allah (sawa). (Kamaluddin, chapter 24, tradition 15)
The Messenger of Allah (sawa) said: “The Imams after me will be twelve. The first of them is Ali Ibn Abi Talib and the last of them is the Qaem. They are my caliphs, my successors, my friends and the proofs of Allah upon my nation after me. One who accepts them is a believer and the one who denies them is an unbeliever.” (Kamaluddin, chapter 24, tradition 4)
The narrator says, “We were sitting in a circle in which Abdullah bin Masud was also present. A Bedouin came and asked: Is there Abdullah among you? Abdullah bin Masud said: I am Abdullah. He asked: Did your Prophet tell you how many caliphs will be there after him? Abdullah bin Masud replied: Yes, twelve, same as the number of the chiefs of Bani Israel.” (Kamaulddin, chapter 24, tradition 17)
Imam Mahdi (as) is the Caliph of Allah
Holy Prophet (sawa) said, “The Hour shall not be established till the one who will rise up with the truth from among us does not appear. And that is the time when Allah, the Mighty and Sublime will give the permission. Thus whosoever follows him will get salvation and whosoever denies him will be destroyed. Thus for the sake of Allah, for the sake of Allah, O people, go to him even if on ice and snow. Because he is the Caliph of Allah.” (Kifayatul Athar, Pg. 292)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) narrated from the Messenger of Allah (sawa), “Jibraeel (as) has reported to me from the Lord of the Might, may His Majesty be Mighty, that He (Allah) said, ‘Whoever knows (believes) that there is no god but Me alone, Muhammad (sawa) is My servant and My messenger, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as) is My caliph and that surely the Imams from his progeny are My proofs, I will make him enter Paradise on account of My mercy, save him from My hell due to My forgiveness and allow him to reside in My neighborhood. I will make My honor obligatory on him, complete My bounties on him and make him from My special and pure (servants). If he calls Me, I will answer him, if he invokes Me, I will accept his invocation and if he asks Me, I will grant him. If he is silent, I will initiate the talk with him and if he errs, I will have mercy on him. If he flees from Me, I will call him and if he returns unto Me, I will accept him. If he knocks on My door, I will open it.
But one who does not witness that there is no god but Me alone; or bears testimony for the same but does not bear witness that Muhammad is My servant and My messenger; or testifies for the above two but does not acknowledge that Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as) is My caliph; or witnesses for all the above but refuses to confess that the Imams (as) from his progeny are My proofs, then indeed he has denied My bounties, belittled My greatness and disbelieved in My signs and My books. If he desires Me, I will veil Myself from him and if he asks Me, I will deprive him. When he calls Me, I will not hear his call and when he invokes Me, I will not accept his invocation. If he expects from Me, I will disappoint him. This is my retribution for him and I am not unjust unto My servants.’” At this juncture, Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari stood up and asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah (sawa)! Who are the Imams from the progeny of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as)?’ He informed, “Hasan (as) and Husain (as), the two leaders of the youth of paradise. Then, the chief of the worshippers in his time, Ali Ibn Husain (as), then Baqir, Muhammad Ibn Ali (as); soon you will reach unto him O Jabir, so when you meet him, convey my salutations unto him. He will be followed by Sadiq, Ja’far Ibn Muhammad (as), then Kazim, Musa Ibn Jafar (as), then Reza, Ali Ibn Musa (as), then Taqi, Muhammad Ibn Ali (as), then Naqi, Ali Ibn Muhammad (as), then Zaki, Hasan Ibn Ali (as), then his son, the one who will rise with the truth, the Mahdi of this Ummah (as).
He will fill the earth with justice and equity, as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression. These, O Jabir, are my caliphs, my successors, my descendants and my progeny. Whoever obeys them has obeyed me and whoever disobeys them has defied me. Whoever denies them or denies even one of them, then indeed he has denied me. Through them, Allah, the Mighty and Glorified, will prevent the skies from falling on the earth, of course, with His permission. Due to them, Allah protects the earth from swallowing up its inhabitants.” (Kamaluddin, volume 24, tradition 3)
Asbagh bin Nubatah that he said: “One day Amirul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as) came out, holding the hand of his son Hasan, while he was saying, “The Messenger of Allah (sawa) met us in a similar fashion one day. That is, my hand was in his hand and he was saying, ‘The best of creatures after me, and their chief is this brother of mine and he is the Imam of every Muslim and the master of every believer after my death. Beware! And certainly I declare, ‘The best of creatures after me, and their chief is this son of mine and he is the Imam of every Muslim and the master of every believer after my death. Beware! He will be oppressed after me just as I was oppressed after the Messenger of Allah (sawa). The best of creatures and their chief after Hasan is my son and his brother Husain (as), the oppressed after his brother and the martyr at Kerbala. Know that he and his companions are the chiefs of the martyrs on the Day of Judgment.
After Husain (as), nine of his descendants are Allah’s Caliphs in His earth, His proofs upon His servants, His trustees upon His revelation, the Imams of the Muslims, the leaders of the believers and the pilots of the pious. The ninth (of the Imams) is the Qaim through whom Allah will fill the earth with light after its darkness, justice after its oppression and knowledge after its ignorance. By the One Who sent my brother Muhammad with Prophethood and chose me for Imamate, revelation has descended from the sky in this regard on the tongue of the Trustworthy Spirit Jibraeel (as). Indeed, the Messenger of Allah (sawa) was asked while I was with him, concerning the Imams after him.
He replied to the questioner, “By the sky, the possessor of constellations!” (Surah Buruj, verse 1) Certainly, their number is equal to the number of the constellations, by the Lord of the nights, days and months and their number is equal to the number of the months!”
The questioner asked, ‘Who are they, O Messenger of Allah (sawa)?’ He placed his hand on my head and said, “He is the first of them and the last of them is Mahdi. Whoever befriends them has befriended me and whoever bears enmity against them bears enmity against me. Whoever loves them loves me and whoever bears malice against them, bears malice against me. Whoever denies them denies me and whoever recognizes them, recognizes me. Through them, Allah, the Mighty and Glorified, will protect His religion, inhabit His cities and sustain His servants. Due to them, rains descend from the sky and the earth throws up its bounties. They are my chosen ones, my caliphs, the Imams of the Muslims and the masters of the believers.” (Kamaluddin, volume 24, tradition 5)
Tablet of Hazrat Zahra (sa)
Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari said: “One day I came to Hazrat Fatemah (sa) and before her was a tablet inscribed with the names of successors from her progeny. I counted twelve names, the last of whom was al-Qaem. There were three Muhammads and four Alis (as). (Kamaluddin, chapter 24, tradition 13) (Read More)
All 12 Caliphs will be from Quraish
The Holy Prophet said, “There will be twelve Amirs after me. Then he said something in a low voice. The narrator says, I asked my father: What did The Messenger of Allah (sawa) say in a low voice? He replied: He said: All of them will be from Quraish.” (Kamaulddin, chapter 24, tradition 19)
Jabir Ibne Samarah says: “I went to the Masjid with my father and the Messenger of Allah (sawa) was speaking. I heard him say: There will be twelve after me – that is Amirs – then he lowered his voice and I could not make out what he said. So I asked my father: What did he say? He replied: He said: All of them will be from Quraish.”
Imam Mahdi’s (as) name will be same as Holy Prophet (sawa)
Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi narrates from Abdullah-ibn-Masood and he from the Holy Prophet (sawa) thus, “If there remains not more than a day from the life of the earth, Allah will prolong this day until a person from my Ummah and progeny who carries the same name as mine appears (and fills the world with justice.)” (Fusoolul Mohimma, Ibn Sabbagh al-Maleki)
Thus we see that the concept of the Mahdi is well established through traditions. The traditions quoted above are but a drop in the ocean with respect to the volume of traditions quoted on the subject.
Read more about Imam Mahdi (as)
- An Introduction to Imam Mahdi (as)
- Who Is Imam Mahdi (as)?
- Who Are The Parents Of Imam Mahdi (as)
- Need of Recognition Of The Imam Of The Time
- The Earth Will Never Be Devoid of A Divine Proof
- Belief in Imam Mahdi (as) – A Universal Belief
- Shiahs and Ahle Sunnah Both Wrote Books About Imam Mahdi (as)
- Discussion About Imam Mahdi (as) In Traditions
- Abundance of Traditions Regarding Imam Mahdi (as)
- 40 Traditions from Ahle Bayt (as) about Imam Mahdi (as)
- Names And Titles Of Imam Mahdi (as) – Part I
- Names And Titles Of Imam Mahdi (as) – Part II
- Imam Mahdi (as) In Hadithe Qudsi
- The Belief in Imam Mahdi (as) Was Ingrained in People