This was a question from a noble sister regarding the issue of the 12 Imams or Khalifahs issue. I found it very useful so perhaps the readers might as well. Please read and enjoy!
— On Sun, 11/9/11
Subject: 12 imams
To: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
Date: Sunday, 11 September, 2011, 21:28
Salam abu Jafar, I’m Sending you the email.
as-Salaamu `Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,
Noble sister A’ishah,
Thank you for your e-mail and may Allah reward you.
Narrated Jabir ibn Samura: I heard the Prophet (s) saying:
“There will be Twelve Commanders after me (Imams).” He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, the Prophet added, “All of them will be from Quraysh.”
This is not the hadith. The hadith is actually where the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “There will be twelve KHALIFAHS after me, all of them will be from the Quraish.” Sahih Muslim
Below are the refs, all from Sunni books of Hadith and taffsir.
1. Sahih al-Bukhari (English ver.) Hadith: 9.329. Sahih al-Bukhari, (Arabic), 4:165, Kitabul Ahkam. This hadeeth is narrated in many other sources as well, including:
2. Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol 5 p97 and 101 (who held the position that the Shi`ah were unbelievers)
3. Umadathl Qari- page 271 (The author of this work is the Imam, Mahmud al-`Aini (d. 871 AH),Hanafi scholar and enemy of the Shi`ah and he called them unbelievers)
4. Tafseer ibn Kathir Vol7 page 110 (A Shafi`ii writer by the name of Imam Isma`il ibn Kathir (d. 774 AH) is the author and he refers to all Shi`ah as cursed )
5. Jami Usul Volume 4 page 440 (Egypt)
6. Al Bidaya al Nihaya Volume 2 page 248 (This is written by Imam Kathir as well)
7. Sawaiqh al Muhriqa page 187 (A work written about the cults by Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami (d. 981 AH), in which is classes 12ers as cultists, innovators and in some cases unbelievers)
8. Hilayathul Awliya Volume 333 (This is written by Imam Abu Nuàim al-Isbahani (d. 280 AH), who called the 12ers unbelievers and most all other Shiàh)
9. Tarkeeh Kabeer Volume 1 446 (This was written by Imam Abu Ja`far at-Tabari (d. 280 AH), who was so offended at someone suggesting that his writings had some Shiàh tendencies that he fought that person the rest of his life until he died)
The point of all of this is that if you grant the authors as having veracity, then the Shiàh are wrong. If you should say that the authors are wrong, the Shiàh are still wrong.
If you accept the Sunni books, you have rejected the Shiàh as these authors have; and if you reject them you have rejected the Shiàh path.
Who are the 12? Fill it in and send it back to me. Thanks.
The twelve KHALIFAHS prophesied are:
1. Muàwiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (reigned 41-60 AH)
2. Yazid ibn Muàwiyah (reigned 60-64 AH)
3. Muàwiyah ibn Yazid (or Muàwiyah II) (reigned 64-67 AH) and there was also at the same time, Àbdullah ibn Az-Zubair (reigned 67-86 AH)
4. Marwan ibn al-Hakam (reigned from 67-70 AH)
5. Àbdul Malik ibn Marwan (reigned until 86 AH )
6. Al-Walid I (reigned until 93 AH)
7. Sulaiman I (reigned until 99 AH)
8. Ùmar ibn Àbdul Àziz (reigned 99-101 AH)
9. Yazid ibn Àbdul Malik (Yazid II) (reigned 101-105 AH)
10. Hisham ibn Àbdul Malik (Hisham I) (reigned 105-125)
11. Al-Walid ibn Yazid (Walid II) (reigned 125-126 AH)
12. Yazid ibn Al-Walid (Yazid III) (reigned the remainder of 126 AH for five months)
The evidence for this is the very text that you quoted but we will supplement it with additional proofs.
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, also said, “This matter will not pass until there have appeared among them 12 KHALIFAHS.” Collected by Imam Muslim.
He also said, “The affair of my Ummah will remains straight until the passing of 12 KHALIFAHS.” Collected by al-Bazzar.
There is also his statement, “Islam will always be foreboding, mighty until the passings of 12 KHALIFAHS.” Collected by Al-Bazzar.
There is also in the collection of Abu Dawud where he made the same statement and then the Companions asked, may Allah be pleased with all of them, “They what will there be?” He said, “There will be mass killings.”
This is true to form, for after the death of Yazid III, the Umayyads began to decline and in the East the Andalusian khilafah that they had built began to appear and then the Abbasids overthrew them.
This would be the last time all the people would be united upon one KHALIFAH of Quraish until the end of time.
This can be gleaned from Imam Abu Ja`far at-Tabari’s text on history under the relevant section, so please feel free to refer to it.
Please also remember that Banu Umayyah were from the Quraish. So this would hold with the hadith and there were a succession of them exactly 12 in number, before the eradiction.
Both Akhbari and Usuli would not declare their Imams khalifahs so how this hadith would be used as a proof by 12ers would be diffcult indeed.
Also keep in mind that when Al-Hasan al-Mujtaba, peace be upon him, self abdicated and gave the khilafah to Muàwiyah, this was called the “Year of Jamaàh,” as everyone was now united under one Imam and the murders of the khulafa (as all four of them were assassinated) stopped and the last one to die in his bed was Yazid III.
This has nothing to do with whether all of Banu Umayyah were moral or not. The issue is the prophecy and who it fits; and this is the position of Imams Ìyad al-Yahsubi and Yahya an-Nawawi, peace be upon both of them. Please see Sahih Muslim bi-Sharh in-Nawawi, vol.12, pp. 201-202
brother in Islam,
Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far al-Hanbali