the author says: all those reasons and arguments which give indication to this fact that the caliphs after the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) are twelve in number and are all from quraish or bani-hashim, give indication to the afore-mentioned matter too. all those reasons have been collected by ahmad hanbal in his book 'musnad'. besides him, other sunni scholars and experts of traditions too have collected those reasonings. the reasons which they have collected cannot be conformed but to what we, the shia ithna ashar, say: the successors to the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) are twelve in number where the first of them is ali-ibn-abi talib, amir-ul-mumineen and the last of them is muhammad-ibn-hassan Mahdi (a.s.). may Allah place us amongst his followers and helpers.
therefore, i looked and witnessed twelve lights on which was written the names of each of my legatees in green. the first of them was ali and the last of them the 'qaem'.'
in the afore-mentioned book, its author narrates (on page 486) from 'manaqib' of khawrazmi and he from abu sulaiman chupaan that the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: 'the night when i was being taken towards the heaven .... (and he narrated the same tradition so far as Allah says): 'o muhammad, do you wish to meet them? i replied: 'yes my lord'. then Allah said: "look towards the right of 'arsh' (throne)." as i looked i suddenly saw ali, hassan, hussein, ali-ibn-hussein, muhammad-ibn-ali, jafar-ibn-muhammad, musa-ibn-jafar, ali-ibn-musa, muhammad-ibn-ali, ali-ibn-muhammad; hassan-ibn-ali and muhammad-ibn-hassan Mahdi. amongst them, perhaps Mahdi appeared like a sparkling star. thereafter he said: 'o muhammad, they are my hujjats (proofs) upon my servants and they are your legatees.'
in the same book, the author narrates (on page 487) from the author of 'faraed-us-semtain' and he from sa'eed-ibn-jubair and he from ibn-abbass that the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) said: 'verily, my legatees and the hujjats (proof) of Allah upon the people after me are twelve in number. the first of them is my brother and the last of them is my son.'
people asked hazrat: who is your brother? he replied: 'ali'. again he was asked: who is your son? he replied: 'Mahdi'.
again, in the same book, the author narrates (on page 487) from ibn-abbass that the holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:- 'i am the chief of the prophets and ali the chief of legatees. verily the legatees after me are twelve in number. the first of them is ali and the last is Mahdi.'
«Mahdi is the twelfth imam»