Belief in Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) from Sunnah: Twelve caliphs in Islam

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Further to our series on proving the existence of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) from the Sunnah, we advance the second tradition considered authentic by all Muslim sects and found in Sahih Bukhari and other books of traditions through various chains.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed:

There will be twelve Imams after me all of whom would be from Quraish.

Complete chapters are devoted in books of traditions on this topic. The clear aim of the tradition is that any series of caliphate that is not from Quraish (e.g. Bani Umayya, Bani Abbas, Ottoman/Turkish Empire, etc.) or which is within Quraish but has less or more than twelve Imams is not a divine series.

Since it is impossible that Allah wrongly declared the number of Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) caliphs as twelve while they are less or more than that, or that He later changed His decision, or the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) predicted it without getting a divine revelation.

If Muslims believe in the truthfulness of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and more importantly, if they believe in the authenticity of Sahih-e-Bukhari, then the only explanation is the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) tradition is correct and there will be twelve caliphs from the Quraish.

Indeed we have to agree that a caliphate founded on ijma (consensus), Istikhlaf (nomination), Shura (consultative committee), and force after the passing away of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), cannot be a cherished and chosen system of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.s.). More so, they fail to add up to twelve in number.

There has been an attempt by the Muslims to prove the rightfulness of the Bani Umayyah caliphate, Bani Abbas caliphate, Spanish caliphate, Turkish caliphate and Egyptian empire among others in accordance with the above tradition of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

But these so-called Muslims have failed to fulfill one of the following conditions:

  1. All the twelve caliphs should be in a continuous serial order
  2. They should be in power from the time of the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) till the Day of Judgment without any break, so that no period should be without an Imam as mentioned in the captioned tradition.

If the Muslims have not found the series yet from their own caliphs what stops them from exploring the series of twelve divine Imams from the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) successors. After all there is consensus on their superior faith, perfect monotheism without a moment of apostasy and idol-worship, truthfulness, knowledge, bravery, forbearance and other traits necessary for a divine guide.

There is no series of twelve divine caliphs that satisfies the above two conditions except the chain of the twelve infallible Imams (a.s.).

As the eleven infallible Imams (a.s.) have passed, the twelfth one – Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is naturally the last link in the chain of twelve Quraishi caliphs forecasted by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

Those who deny him because he is in occultation (Ghaibah) must first answer whether they believe in his eleven forefathers (a.s.) who were apparent and known to the Muslims. Obviously, occultation is just an excuse to deny the Imamate of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Occultation can only be an excuse for someone who has believed in the eleven Imams. Occultation cannot be an excuse for someone who hasn’t even believed in the first Imam as prescribed by Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

Occultation can never be an excuse for a Muslim who has believed in the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and other Prophets (a.s.) without ever seeing them.

Or without ever having seen the companions (Sahaabah) and companions of companions (tabe’een) and their companions (tabe-tabe’een) or even the wives of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

Or without seeing Allah, the heavens, the fire, the angels and the creation of the world in six days.

Or without seeing Satan or his army or the jinn.

Yet he continues to believe in them and considers non-belief in them as disbelief and infidelity.

Then why is it that he has a problem only when it comes to believing in Imam Mahdi (a.s.)?

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