Friday, 16 July 2010

Explanation of the 12 Imams Hadith

Jazakallah for the post, plz brother can u answer a very important question i have, do sunni's believe in the 12 imams? from what i know there is a hadith on that on the net but im not sure if we should believe in it or not...

Assalamu Alaykum dear reader,

You have asked a very good question. The Hadith you have mentioned with regards to the Twelve Imams does exist. It is a Hadith which is agreed upon and Ahadith upon this particular topic are also recorded in both Bukhari & Muslim.

و عن جابر بن سمرة رضى الله عنه قال سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول لا يزال الإسلام عزيزا إلى اثني عشر خليفة كلهم من قريش (متفق عليه – مشكوة المصابيح - باب مناقب قريش و ذكر القبائل

It is reported by Hazrat Jabir ibn Samurah radiallahu anhu, he states that he heard Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam saying, “The strength of Islam will not diminish until (after) the (emergence) of the Twelve Imams. They all will be from the Quraish.”

I have compiled for you the explanation of this Hadith from Mirqaatul Mafateeh, Sharh at Teebi and Mazaahirul Haqq. However, it is important to know that the article at hand is one which delves deep into the interpretation and explanation of Hadith. The simple answer to your question would be, “Yes, we do believe in the Twelve Imams but not as the Shi’ah do.” However, this answer in itself is one which is far too casual and requires much more commentary.

The reality of this issue is that there are many opinions in relation to its actual meaning and the Ulama have shown their reservation for it. It is evident that the summarised meaning of this hadith is, “After Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam, Twelve Imams will consecutively emerge in whose generation Islam will prosper and gain strength. Due to their existence (in society) Islam will regain its grandeur (magnificence) and power. And this is not to say that those leaders will be firm and obedient on Deen but rather it is to say that their leadership will be one of justice and fairness in matters of authority (i.e. they may be sinful in terms of obedience but in terms of their leadership, they are create fairness in society).”

However, whatever has presented itself so far in history has not bore testament to this. Through the establishing of Khilafat by Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam, Bani Marwaan (this is the name of a tribe) can claim success to the various leaders they produced. They had leaders who lived their lives in such a manner which did not conform to the principles of Deen. In fact, the believers were troubled hugely by their oppressive rule. There is also an authentic Hadith in which Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam has stated, “After me, the manner of a (proper) Khilafat will be established for thirty three years. After this, leadership will be based upon transgression and disobedience.” It is the agreed opinion of all the Ulama that after Khilaafatur Raashidah (which ended thirty three years after the death of Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam), the manner of leadership which was undertaken would not be called a Khilaafat but rather it would be called a monarchy or general leadership. And it is due to this that Ulama have interpreted the hadith in different ways. From amongst those opinions is:

1. The term “Twelve Imams” is in reference to those Khulafa (Muslim Leaders) who came after Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam in whose reign the appearance of the Muslims, their transactions, their looking after and their benefits were strengthened. The state of the Muslims was fortified despite some of the leaders being sinful, unfair and unjust. The emergence of this frightful state and detriment came during the leadership of Waleed ibn Yazeed ibn Abdul Malik ibn Marwan. He was the twelfth from the Imams (i.e. the Khulafa who succeeded Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam starting with Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu). He came in to power when his uncle Hisham ibn Abdul Malik passed away. In the beginning of his reign, people were united in supporting Waleed ibn Yazeed and this lasted for four years. However, after four years there was an uprising amongst the people and as a result, Waleed ibn Yazeed was killed. Since that day, Fitnah and Fasad (trials and tribulation) have increased and the firm leadership that was once enjoyed has weakened immensely (there has not been such a strong Khilafat since then.) This opinion has been attributed to Qazi Iyaaz Maliki rahimahullah and Hafiz ibn Hajar Asqalani rahimahullah has also inclined to this explanation. He said, “Out of all the explanations and opinions given in relation to this matter, this opinion (of Qazi Iyaaz) is the most acceptable and most preferred.”

2. The second opinion is that the term “Khalifah” has come for those leaders who are fair, impartial but also pious and righteous. They will be called “Khalifah” due to their praiseworthy nature and they will be people who will erect governments. It can also be said that meaning of this Hadith is not that they will appear one after the other consecutively but rather, they will each come at different times. The point of this Hadith was only to highlight their number, not their order in arrival. It is possible that the Twelve will come any time before Qiyamat. Hazrat Imam Turpushti rahimahullah has said that this opinion is better and more acceptable in light of the Ahadith and explanations given.

3. The third opinion is that that these Twelve Imams are those leaders who will erect their leadership after the time of Imam Mahdi alayhis salam. Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam had said whilst talking about the future, “In the final era, those who have correlating lineage with the Quraish will enjoy such peace under the leadership of Twelve individuals (from them) that the Deen will be elevated and Islam will become magnificent.” In another hadith it is related that ‘After the passing away of Imam Mahdi alayhis salam, five individuals will become leaders one after the other. They will be from the offspring of Imam Hassan radiallahu anhu and after they pass, the leadership will come to five individuals from the offspring of Imam Hussain radiallahu anhu. Then the fifth individual from the offspring of Hazrat Hussain radiallahu anhu will give the leadership back to one of the offspring of Hazrat Hassan radiallahu anhu (again). In this manner, the number of Khulafa will reach eleven (one short of the number mentioned in the Hadith). Then, when the eleventh leader has fulfilled his reign as the Khalifah and passed away, his son will be appointed as Khalifah thus completing the number of Imams prophesised by Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam. Each one of these Twelve will be just, pious and spiritual leaders by whose justice, popularity and righteousness Islam will gain enormous respect, power and magnificence.’ If this hadith is considered to be authentic, then this explanation will be considered to be a better explanation of the hadith. In another hadith reported by Hazrat ibn Abbas radiallahu anhuma about the characteristics and beauty of Imam Mahdi alayhis salam, Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam also stated, “Allah Ta’ala will remove every sadness and distress by his (Imam Mahdi alayhis salam) presence. By him, every door of evil and transgression will be closed. After his era, the leadership will come into the hands of those Twelve individuals who will come one after the other and they will look after the leadership for 150 years.”

4. The fourth opinion is that the Twelve Leaders will be present in one era but in different areas where different people will follow them in different ways. This opinions is strengthened by the Hadith in which Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam said, “That time will soon come after me when there will be many leaders.” The point wanting to be made by Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wa salam is that new trials, disagreements and fights will break out to such an extent that it will result in twelve different leaders emerging in different places (during the same era) and each one will make a claim for leadership. The meaning of the Hadith in discussion could possibly mean be that things will be at peace until the era of these Twelve (scattered) leaders. The Muslims will remain impressively united, organise, fortified, strong and will have much respect however, when the Twelve Imams will appear (all in one era), fights, disagreements, trials and tribulations will spread and the Muslims will become disunited and divided.

The Shi’iah have explained this hadith to mean that the leadership will fall upon the Ahlul Bayt (the Members of the House of Rasulullah alayhimus salatu wat tasleem). Some of these leaders were such that even though they were in reality deserved of being the Khalifah, they were not able to due to some occurrence. According to the Shi’ah the Twelve Imams are: Hazrat Ali, Hazrat Hassan, Hazrat Hussain radiallahu anhum, Hazrat Zaidul Aabideen, Hazrat Muhammad Baaqir, Hazrat Ja’far Sadiq, Hazrat Musa Kaazim, Hazrat Ali Raza, Hazrat Muhammad Naqee, Hazrat Ali Naqee, Hazrat Hussain Askaree and lastly, Hazrat Muhammad Mahdi.

Lastly, I would urge you not to search the internet with matters regarding your faith. Do go to your local scholar in your local Masjid.

And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

JazakAllah Khair Brother for your time and what a great article!! I did go to my local imam but nobody had heard of this hadith, so i thought i would ask you, May Allah reward you, your family and increase you in knowledge. Ameen Jazakallah again :)