Existence of Imam Mahdi in Hadith “My caliphs are twelve persons” (2)

3: “Twelve leaders”

In some of narratives this phrase is written “Twelve leaders”:

This narrative is written in “Sahih Bukhari”:

جَابِرَ بن سَمُرَةَ قال: سمعت النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم يقول: يَكُونُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ أَمِيرًا فقال: كَلِمَةً لم أَسْمَعْهَا فقال: أبي إنه قال: كلهم من قُرَيْشٍ.

“Jabir ibn Samurah” says: I heard from messenger of Allah [PBUH] who said: there are twelve leaders after me; the he said something that I didn’t hear, my father said: messenger of Allah said: all those leaders are from “Quraysh”.(1)  “Ahmad ibn Hanbal” says in his “Musnad” that this saying of messenger of Allah [PBUH] about twelve successors was said in farewell “Hajj”:

عن جَابِرِ بن سَمُرَةَ السوائي قال: سمعت رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلي الله عليه وسلم يقول: في حَجَّةِ الْوَدَاعِ لاَ يَزَالُ هذا الدِّينُ ظَاهِراً علي من نَاوَأَهُ لاَ يَضُرُّهُ مُخَالِفٌ وَلاَ مَفَارِقٌ حتي يَمْضِيَ من أمتي اثْنَا عَشَرَ أَمِيراً كلهم من قُرَيْشٍ قال: ثُمَّ خفي عَلَيَّ قَوْلُ رسول اللَّهِ صلي الله عليه وسلم قال: وكان أبي أَقْرَبَ إلي رَاحِلَةِ رسول اللَّهِ صلي الله عليه وسلم مِنِّي فقلت: يا أَبَتَاهُ ما الذي خفي علي من قَوْلِ رسول اللَّهِ صلي الله عليه وسلم قال يقول: كلهم من قُرَيْشٍ قال: فاشهد علي إِفْهَامِ أبي إياي قال: كلهم من قُرَيْشٍ.

“Jabir” says: messenger of Allah [PBUH] said in farewell “Hajj”: this religion always wins over enemy and its supporters and opponents can never hurt it. Twelve persons of my nation who are all from “Quraysh” will become leader. Then he said a sentence that I didn’t hear it, my father was closer to him than me, I told him: what did he say? He said: messenger of Allah said: all of them are from “Quraysh”. “Jabir” says: I testify that my father heard that sentence from messenger of Allah who said: all these twelve persons are from “Quraysh”.(2)

In another narrative, “Ahmad ibn hanbal” quotes this phrase:

لاَ يَزَالُ هذا الأَمْرُ مَاضِياً حتي يَقُومَ اثْنَا عَشَرَ أَمِيراً. (3)

 “Tabarani” quotes this narrative with this phrase:

عن جَابِرٍ قال سمعت رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلي اللَّهُ عليه وسلم في حَجَّةِ الْوَدَاعِ يقول لا يَزَالُ أَمْرُ هذه الأُمَّةِ هَادِئًا علي من نَاوَأَها حتي يَكُونَ عَلَيْكُمِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ أَمِيرًا ثُمَّ تَكَلَّمَ بِكَلِمَةٍ لم أَسْمَعْهَا فَسَأَلْتُ أبي وكان أَقْرَبَ إليه مِنِّي ما قال قال قال كلهم من قُرَيْشٍ

Messenger of Allah said: religion of this nation always wins over its enemies until twelve leaders rule. Then he said a sentence that I didn’t hear. I asked my father who was closer to him. He said: messenger of Allah said: all of them are from “Quraysh”.(4)

 “Albani” says about this narrative:

وهذا إسناد صحيح علي شرطهما. وقد أخرجه مسلم عنه بلفظ: لا يزال أمر الناس ماضيا.

Document of this narrative is authentic if conditions that both “Muslim ibn Hajjaj” and “Ismail Bukhari” considered for a narrative to be valid, are fulfilled in this narrative as well and “Muslim ibn Hajaj” has quoted this narrative with this sentence:

لا يزال أمر الناس ماضيا (5)

 “Tirmidhi” writes about this narrative:

قال أبو عِيسَي: هذا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ.

This narrative is authentic.(6)

4: “Twelve guardians”

The fourth phrase of in this narrative is “Twelve guardians” that “Al-Tabarani” has quoted in “Mu’jam”:

عن جَابِرِ بن سَمُرَةَ قال: كنت مع أبي عِنْدَ النبي صلي اللَّهُ عليه وسلم فقال: يَكُونُ لِهَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ قَيِّمًالا يَضُرُّهُمْ من خَذَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ هَمَسَ رسول اللَّهِ صلي اللَّهُ عليه وسلم بِكَلِمَةٍ لم أَسْمَعْهَا فقلت: لأَبِي ما الْكَلِمَةُ التي هَمَسَ بها النبي صلي اللَّهُ عليه وسلم؟ قال: كلهم من قُرَيْشٍ.

“Jabir ibn Samurah” says: my father and I were with messenger of Allah who said: there are twelve guardians for this nation that even if people don’t support, it won’t hurt them. Then messenger of Allah said a sentence slowly that I didn’t hear, I asked my father about it, he said: messenger of Allah said: all of them are “Quraysh”.(7)

 “Tabarani” quotes another narrative in this regard:

عن جَابِرِ بن سَمُرَةَ قال: سمعت رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلي اللَّهُ عليه وسلم وهو يَخْطُبُ علي الْمِنْبَرِ وَيَقُولُ: اثْنَا عَشَرَ قَيِّمًا من قُرَيْشٍ لا يَضُرُّهُمْ عَدَاوَةُ من عَادَاهمْ قال: فَالْتَفَتَ خَلْفِي فإذا أنا بِعُمَرِ بن الْخَطَّابِ رضي اللَّهُ عنه وَأَبِي في نَاسٍ فَأَثْبَتُوا لِيَ الحديث كما سمعت.

Messenger of Allah said on pulpit: there will be twelve guardians from “Quraysh” after me whom enemies’ enmity can’t hurt them, then I took a look at behind me and saw “Umar ibn Khattab” and my father amongst people and they quoted saying of messenger of Allah as I heard.(8)

5: “Twelve men”

In some phrases, this sentence is written which has been quoted in “Sahih Muslim” and other books:

عن جَابِرِ بن سَمُرَةَ قال سمعت النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم يقول: لَا يَزَالُ أَمْرُ الناس مَاضِيًا ما وَلِيَهُمْ اثْنَا عَشَرَ رَجُلًا ثُمَّ تَكَلَّمَ النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم بِكَلِمَةٍ خَفِيَتْ عَلَيَّ فَسَأَلْتُ أبي مَاذَا؟ قال: رسول اللَّهِ صلي الله عليه وسلم فقال: كلهم من قُرَيْشٍ.(9)

And at the end, in some resources this narrative is written without these suffixes “caliph, leader, men and guardian”, this narrative has been quoted by “Abu Awanah”:

عن جابر بن سمرة السوائي قال جئت مع أبي إلي المسجد ورسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم يخطب فسمعته يقول: من بعدي اثنا عشر ثم خفض صوته فلم أدر ما يقول، قلت: لأبي ما يقول؟ قال: كلهم من قريش.

“Abu Awanah” says at the end:

وهذا مما انتخبه أبو زكريا الأعرج وهو حديث حسن حسن.

“Abu Zakariya A’araj” has selected this narrative which is an authentic narrative.(10)

According to these narratives written in Sunni best narrative books, we realize that this narrative with its different phrases is an acceptable narrative with them and all of them restate that after messenger of Allah, these twelve persons are successor, guardian and leader of people.

The meaning of “Twelve caliphs” in this narrative:

One of important issues in this narrative is the meaning of “Twelve caliphs” that Shia and Sunni have said different views about it.

Since Shias believe that the meaning of this narrative is “Ahl al-Bayt” twelve imams, they don’t have problem in its interpretation, but Sunni elders and scholars have presented different opinions and in fact, they faced perplexity and some of them have said frankly that they can’t determine what messenger of Allah [PBUH] means by saying this narrative.

A: “Sunnis’ point of view:

Sunnis have faced serious perplexity and confusion in interpreting and determining the instance of twelve caliphs; because from one side these narratives have been quoted in their resources with authentic document; and from another side, qualities that exist in the text of these narratives; such as number twelve, are not match with Sunni’s principle and caliphs that they have in mind.

“Ibn Jawzi” quotes the perplexity of Sunni in saying the meaning of this narrative:

هذا الحديث قد أطلت البحث عنه، وتطلّبت مظانّه، وسألت عنه، فما رأيت أحدا وقع علي المقصود به.

I made discussion about this narrative long and searched about opinions. I didn’t find anyone who could get the meaning of this narrative.(11)

 “Ibn Battal Bakri Qurtubi”, “Ibn Hajar Asqalani”, “Badr al-Din Ayni”, quote from “”Muhallab”:

لم ألق أحدا يقطع في هذا الحديث بمعني- يعني بشئ معين.

No one could have determined definitive meaning of this narrative and interpreted it clearly.(12)

Sunni elders have said many possibilities for this narrative. Their major possibility is that the meaning of “Twelve caliphs” is “Bani Umayya” caliphs. Studying these possibilities will be done in another article.

Continue in the next article: ( Existence of Imam Mahdi in Hadith “My caliphs are twelve persons” (3) )

NOTES:

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1. “Al-Bukhari” – Sahih Bukhari – vol. 6, p 2640

2. “Ahmad ibn Hanbal” – Musnad – vol. 5, p 90 and 99

3. “Ahmad ibn Hanbal” – Musnad – vol. 5, p 101

4. “Al-Tabarani” – Al-Mu’jam al-Kabir – vol. 2, p 197

5. “Al-Silsilah al-Sahiha” – vol. 1, p 651

6. “Al-Tirmishi” – Sunan al-Tirmidhi – vol. 4, p 501

7. “Al-Tabarani” – Al-Mu’jam al-Kabir – vol. 2, p 196

8. “Al-Tabarani” – Al-Mu’jam al-Kabir – vol. 2, p 256

9. “Muslim ibn Hajjaj” – Sahih Muslim – vol. 3, p 1452

10. “Abu Awanah al-Isfara’ini” – Musnad Abi Awanah – vol. 4, p 372

11. “Ibn Al-Jawzi” – Kashf al-Mushkil men Hadith al-Sahihayn – vol. 1, p 449

12. “Ibn Battal al-Bakri” – description of Sahih Bukhari – vol. 8, p 287 /// “Al-Asqalani Shafi’i”- Fath al-Bari – Vol. 13, p 211 “Al-Ayni” – Umdah al-Qari fi Sharh Sahih Bukhari – vol. 24, p 281