Amazing analyses made by a brother:
One of the main pieces of evidence that is given, time and time again, by the Ansar is a hadeeth. This hadeeth claims to be a will from the Prophet to Ameer al-Mu'mineen and the will says that there will be 12 Imams and then 12 mahdis. Therefore, it is worth examining the authenticity of this hadeeth.
The hadeeth can be found translated on a website by the Ansar http://the-savior.co...-his-death.html
and the hadeeth says:
The Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him and his family) said to Ali Ibn Abi Taleb during the night of his death:
“O Father of Al Hassan, bring me a leaf and a paper”, and he dictated his will until he came to a position where he said "O Ali, there will be twelve Imams and after them there will be twelve Mahdi’s. You, O Ali, are the first of the twelve Imams, God has named you in his heavens Ali Al Mortada,The Prince of the believers, Grand truthful, the bright Farouq (Judge and differentiating between true and false), the trusted, and the Mahdi (rightly guided). These names may not be truly attributed to other than you. O Ali, you are my guardian on my own family, their living and their dead. My women, whom you maintain shall find me tomorrow, and whom you reject I am acquitted of her. I will not see her and she will not see me on the day of resurrection, and you are the successor (Khalifa) on my nation after me. If the day of death comes to you, hand it over to my son Hassan the very beneficial. Then if the day of death comes to him, let him hand it over to my son Al Hussein, the Martyr, the Pure and the Assassinated. If the day of death comes to him, let him hand it over to his son, the master of the servants and worshipers Ali.If the day of death comes to him, let him hand it over to his son, Mohamed Al Baqir.If the day of death comes to him, let him hand it over to his son, Jaâfar Al Sadiq (the honest).If the day of death comes to him, let him hand it over to his son, Moussa Al Kadhim (The Patient).If the day of death comes to him, let him hand it over to his son, Ali Al Reda.If the day of death comes to him, let him hand it over to his son, Mohamed Al Thiqa (The Trustworthy).If the day of death comes to him, let him hand it over to his son, Ali Al Nasih (The Advisor). If the day death of comes to him, let him hand it over to his son, Al Hassan Al Fadil. If the day of death comes to him, let him hand it over to his son, Mohammed the Mandate of the Holy Family of Mohamad Peace be upon them all. These are the twelve Imams. Then there will be twelve Mahdi’s after them. then when Allah receiveth him, let him hand it over to his son, the first of the close ones, he has three names, one like mine and my Father’s: Abdollah (Servant of God), Ahmad and the third name is The Mahdi (the guided) and he is the first Believer”
The following sources are given by the same website:
Testament of the Holy Prophet Mohammad, may peace be on him and his family was mentioned in the following references:
· Chaykh Tawssi, Ghayba li Tawssi p.150
· Chaykh Hor L’Amili, Itbat Lhodat vol.1 p.549
· Chaykh Hor L’Amili, Al’Iqad Min Alhajaa p.393-3
· Chaykh Hassan Ben Soulayman Al Hiliy, Mokhtassar Al Bassa’ir p.159-4
· Al Allama Lmajlissi, Bihar Al Anwar vol.53 p.147
· Al Allama Lmajlissi, Bihar Al Anwar vol.36 p.260
· Chaykh Abdo Allah Albahrani, Al’awalim vol.3 p.236
· Assayid Hachim Albahrani, Ghayat almoram vol.1 p.370
· Assayid Hachim Albahrani, Al Insaf p.222
· Al Fayd Al Kachani, Nawadir Al Akhbar p.294-9
· Chaykh Al Mirza Annouri, Annajm Attaqib vol.2 p.71
· Assayid Mohammad Mohammad Sadiq Assadr , Tarikh Ma Baad Addohour p.641-11
· Achaykh Al Mayanji, Makatib Arrassoul vol.2 p.96
· Chaykh Kourani, Mokhtassar Mo’jam Ahadith Al Imam Al Mahdi p.301-13
Do not, dear reader, believe this hadeeth to be authentic simply because it is found in our (Shi`a) books. We do not accept any hadeeth found in the books. Rather, we subject it to the tests and criteria necessary to determine authenticity. The vast majority of scholars recorded hadeeth, even if they were not authentic. They were more interested in collecting hadeeths than in filtering and strictly collecting only the authentic.
For example, one of our great scholars called shaykh as-Sadooq wrote a book on the Ghaybah and the 12th Imam entitled Kamaal ad-Deen. In this book, as-Sadooq says that a particular narrator called Ahmed bin Hilaal is untrustworthy and was rejected by the generation of scholars prior to him. Yet as-Sadooq quotes hadeeths from him elsewhere in the book, despite weakening this narrator. (See page 75 of Kamaal ad-Deen in which Sadooq says "Moreover, the narrator of this report is Ahmad bin Hilal and this person is not reliable in the view of our senior scholars...")
Do not, dear reader, be impressed by the number of sources listed. If we actually look at these sources, and determine who their authors are, and when these books were written, then we see that most of these references are late; i.e. they are relying on earlier, "primary" material. The only classical source there is Kitab al-Ghaybah by shaykh at-Tusi. The other sources, e.g. Bihar al-Anwar, are quoting from this book. Thus there is only one real source for this hadeeth.
I opened up Kitab al-Ghaybah online and located the hadeeth. The following source was given by shaykh at-Tusi for the hadeeth. The source is the chain of transmission of the hadeeth:
111 - أخبرنا جماعة ، عن أبي عبد الله الحسين بن علي بن سفيان البزوفري ، عن علي بن سنان الموصلي العدل ، عن علي بن الحسين ، عن أحمد بن محمد بن الخليل ، عن جعفر بن أحمد المصري ، عن عمه الحسن بن علي ، عن أبيه ، عن أبي عبد الله جعفر بن محمد ، عن أبيه الباقر ، عن أبيه ذي الثفنات سيد العابدين ، عن أبيه الحسين الزكي الشهيد ، عن أبيه أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم - في الليلة
(The source is just a list of names so does not need to be translated)
Let us examine this chain of narrators and see if the narrators are reliable:
First narrator: جماعة. Shaykh at-Tusi begins the chain by saying that he got the hadeeth from "a group" of people. These group of people include trustworthy individuals.
Second narrator: الحسين بن علي بن سفيان البزوفري. This person is called trustworthy by the classical scholar, shaykh an-Najashi. Shaykh an-Najashi is the most important scholar when it comes to trying to find out who was trustworthy, had status, etc. amongst the Shi`a narrators of hadeeths.
Third narrator: علي بن سنان الموصلي العدل. He is "majhool" (unknown). This term is used for narrators who the classical scholars gave no comments on their honesty, accuracy, and hence ultimate trustworthiness, or lack of. Thus, if a narrator has his many details mentioned about him, but no comments on his trustworthiness, then we call him majhool, as despite the amount of knowledge we find given on the narrator, we still do not know if they were trustworthy. They may have been liars or very inaccurate in transmitting a hadeeth.
Actually, for this particular narrator, he is not an ordinary majhool (unknown) narrator. He does not have an entry in the 6 classical Imami (Shi`a) books of narrators. (The later books are almost entirely based on these 6 books). Actually there are narrators who shaykh at-Tusi gives an entry but is only able to mention a couple of facts, such as the name of the narrator, and the city in which the narrator resided in; and this demonstrate that Tusi knew next to nothing about them. However this particular narrator does not even have an entry in any of the six classical books. This means the classical scholars knew next to nothing about him (assuming they were even sure about his existence), as none of them were able to give him an entry. It also means that he held no status amongst the Shi`a, as the ordinary, famous, infamous, or great scholars and narrators were known, (even if on the odd occasion no comment was given on their trustworthiness). The late scholar of hadeeths and narrators, sayyid al-Khui said about this particular narrator: كان يوصف بها بعض علماء العامة، فلا يبعد أن يكون الرجل من العامة; i.e. this narrator is mentioned in Sunni rijaal books, and so it would not be impossible to imagine that he might be some sort of Sunni. I did not look up what Sunni books say about him.
Fourth narrator:علي بن الحسين. There are many narrators who had this name. If we are unable to prove the identity of a narrator in the chain, then we treat the narrator as effectively majhool. For there were people with this name who were great trustworthy narrators and people who were weak (i.e. untrustworthy).
Fifth narrator: أحمد بن محمد بن الخليل . He too is majhool. Actually he is also not found in the 6 classical Imami (Shi`a) books of narrators. He is not even found in mu`jam ar-rijaal; this is Khui's encyclopaedia of narrators, in which he attempt to gather nearly every single narrator mentioned in Shiai books.
Sixth narrator:جعفر بن أحمد المصري . majhool. He also does not even have an entry in the 6 books. He is found in Sunni books of narrators, and there he is called a liar.
Seventh narrator: الحسن بن علي . Unless I am mistaken, he is also majhool and not found in the 6 books, nor in Khui's book mu`jam. In my search for him, I found that some followers of Ahmad al-Hasan proposed a solution to this narrator being majhool. They claimed that this narrator is a narrator called al-Hussain bin Ali, someone trustworthy, and that his name was mispelt as al-Hassan bin Ali. The problem is that we cannot just change the name of narrators as we please; otherwise we could cause havoc just by making accusations. We need to have good evidence to establish that the name was miscopied. All the books to my knowledge which quote the book Kitab al-Ghaybah by shaykh at-Tusi, have copied the narrators name as "al-Hasan" not as "al-Hussain" so it cannot be a copyist error.
Eighth narrator: the father of the 7th narrator. Since we do not conclusively know who the 7th narrator is, we do not know the 8th narrator is.
The rest of the narrators in the chain are the Imams, and they are, without doubt, trustworthy.
So in examining the chain of narrators, it can be seen that the chain is full of very majhool (unknown) people. These people were no ordinary narrators, but people who were so unknown that the classical scholars were unable to record details about them. It could easily be the case that one of these narrators was a liar who invented some names and claimed that he got the hadeeth through them. When a hadeeth has a chain with just one person who is majhool, then even if much was known about them, we still grade the hadeeth as dha`eef (weak); this is because without knowledge of that person's honesty and accuracy in transmission of hadeeths, we are being far too easy-going with something as serious as a source of our religion, and would be in error if we acted on what turned out to be a lie even though we knew there were doubts in the authenticity of that particular source. However this particular chain does not have one majhool person; upto 6 out of the 8 narrators are majhool. And these people are not ordinary majhool narrators, but some of them do not even have entries in the books dedicated to profiling the narrators in the religion; thus they had no status. Therefore, this means the chain is not just dha`eef (weak), but dha`eef jiddan (very weak).
Another factor considered in analysis of the authenticity of a hadeeth, is the number of chains, i.e. sources, that a hadeeth has been recieved from. Hadeeths that have been recieved through many different chains are obviously much more likely to be authentic; for it is easier for one person to fabricate a hadeeth or make a serious mistake in transmission, then it is for a group. This particular hadeeth has only come down through a single chain and hence it is called khabar al-ahad, which is the weakest category of hadeeths. (We call the hadeeth "ghareeb" meaning rare, for it is a rare hadeeth coming down through a single chain).
The above analysis is through the methodology of `ilm ad-dirayah. I.e. primarily examining the reliability of a hadeeth through its source.
Other methodologies are called qaraa'in, i.e. contextual factors/evidences.
One contextual evidence in this case would be the following:
The content of the hadeeth is very important: it records the will of the Prophet. This will tells us about who the future guides and leaders of Islam will be! Actually it even goes further. It is attributed to the Messenger of God and claims that he mentioned all 12 names of the Imams. Such hadeeths are rare. If this hadeeth is authentic, then we would have expected to find many Shi`i narrators/scholars passing it down to their students. For, afterall, if they went to lengths to preserve equally important hadeeths and far less important hadeeths, then why would they not preserve this? This hadeeth does not come down to us through any of the famous or great Shi`i scholars. There were many narrators who were judged to be trustworthy. However some of them are far more prestigious than others, due to their greatness, knowledge, closeness to the Imam of their time, piety, great accuracy, and so on. Such narrators include Zuraara, who was called the most knowledgable Shi`i in the time of Imam al-Baqir, or Yunus bin Abd ar-Rahmaan, who was very dear to the Imams, or Muhammed bin Abi Umayr who was a great scholar specialising in the collection and subsequent spreading of hadeeths. Yet we find that this very important hadeeth has not been passed down by any of these individuals or any other great individuals.
For example, Muhammed bin Yahya al-Attaar was a great narrator and one of the "shaykh"s (teachers) of shaykh al-Kulayni (author of monumental work al-Kafi). He reported a hadeeth attributed to Ameer al-Mu'mineen to al-Kulayni which mentions the names of the 12 Imams. Hence he considered the content very valuable. However, he expressed doubt in its authenticity, because it had come through a narrator of questionable reliability, saying "O Abu Ja‘far, I wish this would have been narrated through a chain of narrators other then Ahmad ibn ‘Abdallah"; (see al-Kafi, volume 1, page 526). Despite this, he (and other great narrators) still narrated it to Kulayni.
Another contextual evidence is the way that the classical scholars treated this hadeeth. They are the classical scholars and so had access to greater amount of works and learnt from the scholars who lived in the time of the minor ghaybah and who also learnt from the companions of the Imams themselves. Thus, they had more access to more information which indicated whether hadeeths were authentic or not. If a classical scholar like shaykh as-Sadooq or shaykh at-Tusi quotes a hadeeth in their book, does this mean that they think the hadeeth is authentic? No; the scholars quoted authentic hadeeths and weak hadeeths. Refer to the example of Ahmad bin Hilaal. Thus, that shaykh at-Tusi quotes this hadeeth in one of his books does not mean he considered it authentic. Actually, we find that shaykh at-Tusi only quoted this hadeeth once, to our knowledge. Yet we see that the content of the hadeeth is very important. If shaykh at-Tusi had considered it authentic, then we would have expected him to have quoted it in his other works, especially his greater works. You will notice that the hadeeth explicitly names the 12 imams. Such hadeeths are uncommon and were valued greatly by the Shi`a (though whether they are authentic is a whole other story). Refer to the example of Muhammed bin Yahya. Shaykh al-Kulayni even dedicades at least one chapter to hadeeths which explicitly name the 12 Imams in his al-Kafi; yet he does not quote it. And neither does Sadooq. And Tusi quotes it once.
In addition to this, and more importantly, none of these classical scholars, in their works, especially their works on aqeeda, said that the belief of the Shi`a is that there are 12 Imams, and then these are followed by 12 mahdis. For example, shaykh as-Sadooq in his book, itiqadat al-imamiyya ("creeds of the shia"), does not mention this. Nor does shaykh al-Mufeed, in the book which he wrote as a correction to Sadooq's book, ever correct Sadooq on not mentioning this. Had this been part of the aqeeda of the Shi`a, they would have mentioned it. Had they considered this particular hadeeth authentic, they would have acted on it by believing in the idea of 12 mahdis who succeed 12 Imams.
If one were to accuse them of dishonesty in this case, then one renders them dishonest and untrustworthy, and hence once should not even accept any of their books, including the book in which this hadeeth is found.
Another relevant contextual evidence is to see whether content of this hadeeth contradicts other hadeeths. When a hadeeth with a "hasan" (good but not great) chain contradicts a hadeeth with a "saheeh" (great) chain, then we attempt to reconcile the two, perhaps giving more weight to the more authentic, latter hadeeth. We also examine the former hadeeth and look for illaal (hidden defects in the chain or content indicating inauthenticity). If reconcilation is not possible then the hadeeth is rejected as we trust the hadeeth that come through a great chain. This is because there is usually a defect in a hasan chain, such as known inaccuracies in transmission of a narrator.
However this hadeeth of the will does not have a good chain. It has a weak chain. When a weak chain hadeeth contradicts authentic hadeeths, it has a very low status and is called "munkar". The hadeeth of the will seems to contradict other hadeeeths. For example, it says that the 12 mahdis will succeed the 12 Imams. It implies that the 1st mahdi will succeed after the 12th Imam dies. However, numerous hadeeths report that the Earth is not allowed to be without an Imam; and that if this were to happen, the Earth would destroy its inhabitants.
This hadeeth conflicts with the following hadeeth which says there are 12 exectors of the will:
42 - حدثنا أبي رضي الله عنه قال : حدثنا سعد بن عبد الله قال : حدثنا محمد ابن الحسين بن أبي الخطاب ، عن الحسن بن محبوب ، عن أبي الجارود ، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام ، عن جابر بن عبد الله الأنصاري قال : دخلت على فاطمة عليها السلام وبين يديها لوح فيه أسماء الأوصياء فعددت اثني عشر أحدهم القائم ، ثلاثة منهم محمد وثلاثة منهم علي
[Shaykh as-Sadooq in his book al-Khisaal, page 477 said:] My father, may God be pleased with him, narrated to us, saying: Sa'ad bin Abdullah narrated to us saying: Muhammed bin al-Hussain bin al-Khattaab narrated to us from al-Hasan bin Mahboob from Abi'l Jarood from [Imam] Abu Ja‘far [al-Baqir, peace be upon him] from Jabir ibn ‘Abdallah al-Ansari said:"Once I went to see Fatima (a) and I saw with her a tablet in which the names of the (al-awsiyaa') executors of the wills were written. I then counted them to twelve. The last one’s name was al-Qa'im. The names of three of them was Muhammad and the names of another four was Ali.
This hadeeth is composed only of great narrators except for Abu'l Jarood. However, the content of this hadeeth matches history and so it is likely that Abu'l Jarood, who was initially trustworthy but then later became unacceptable, narrated this before he became unreliable. In any case, this hadeeth has a much stronger chain of authenticity than the hadeeth of the will. So since the two conflict and reconciliation is not possible (as one indicates 24 exectors of the will and the other says 12), then if we are to choose between them, we choose this hadeeth.
The hadeeth of the will also seems to contradict the beliefs of the Ansar. For it says that the 12 mahdis will succeed the 12 Imams, whereas the 1st mahdi, Ahmad al-Hasan, has appeared despite the 12th Imam still being alive in the belief of the Ansar and despite the 12th Imam still not having returned.
Furthermore, what is the role of Ahmad al-Hasan? Is he acting on the orders of the 12th Imam? If it is said so, then the time has changed from Ghaybat al-Kubra (the major Ghaybah) to Ghaybat as-Sughra (the minor Ghaybah). Why? The difference between the two Ghaybahs is that the Imam had Safeers (chosen representatives) and the Shi`a were able to communicate with the Imam through these Safeers. Thus if Ahmad al-Hasan is officially representing the Imam or acting on his orders, or anything else that effectively makes a Safeer, then we have re-entered Ghaybat as-Sughra.
This would contradict hadeeths which say there are two Ghaybahs. For example, shaykh al-Kulayni narrates in al-Kafi, volume 1, page 341:
 مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ الْحُسَيْنِ عَنِ ابْنِ مَحْبُوبٍ عَنْ إِسْحَاقَ بْنِ عَمَّارٍ قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع لِلْقَائِمِ غَيْبَتَانِ إِحْدَاهُمَا قَصِيرَةٌ وَ الْأُخْرَى طَوِيلَةٌ الْغَيْبَةُ الْأُولَى لَا يَعْلَمُ بِمَكَانِهِ فِيهَا إِلَّا خَاصَّةُ شِيعَتِهِ وَ الْأُخْرَى لَا يَعْلَمُ بِمَكَانِهِ فِيهَا إِلَّا خَاصَّةُ مَوَالِيهِ
Muhammad b. Yahya from Muhammad b. al-Husayn from Ibn Mahbub from Ishaq b. `Ammar. He said: Abu `Abdillah said: The Qa'im has two ghaybas: The first of them is short, the other is long. In the first ghayba, his location will not be known except by the Khass (special) of his Shi`a. And in the other, his location will not be known except the Khass from his Mawali. (Grading: Saheeh or Muwwathaq (reliable))
What has been quoted suffices to show the hadeeth of the will conflicts with other hadeeths, and so I will stop there.
Finally, I wondered if the idea of 12 mahdis could be found in any other hadeeths. I looked in Kamal ad-Deen, the book by shaykh as-Sadooq on the Ghaybah, for more hadeeths on the 12 mahdis. Sadooq himself never says that there will be 12 mahdis after 12 imams as was pointed out earlier. Here all the relevant hadeeths in that book (except one which I will quote later):
3 - Narrated to us Ahmad bin Ziyad bin Ja’far Hamdani: Narrated to us Ali bin Ibrahim bin Hashim from his father from Abdus Salam bin Salih Harawi that he said: Informed us Waki bin Jarrah from Rabi bin Saad from Abdur Rahman bin Salit that he said: Husain bin Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) said:“From us there are twelve Mahdis, the first of whom is Amirul Momineen Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) and the last of whom is my ninth descendant. And he is truly the Imam al-Qaim. Allah will enliven the earth after its death through him. And through him triumph His religion over all the religions even if the polytheists may dislike this. There will be occultation for him during which communities will apostize but others will remain steadfast on religion. They will be tortured and told: If you are true when will this promise be fulfilled? Know that one who observes patience during those tribulations will be like one who fights the holy war under the command of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.).”
6 - Narrated to us Muhammad bin Ali Majilaway and Muhammad bin Musa bin Mutawakkil - May Allah be pleased with them - they said: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Yahya al-Attar from Muhammad bin Hasan as-Saffar from Abi Talib Abdullah Ibne Salt Qummi from Uthman bin Isa from Sama-a bin Mehran that he said:
“I, Abu Baseer and Muhammad bin Imran, slave of Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (a.s.) were in a house in Mecca. Muhammad bin Imran said: I heard Abi Abdullah (a.s.) say: We are the twelve Mahdis. Abu Baseer asked: Did you really hear this from Abi Abdullah as-Sadiq (a.s.)? He swore once or twice that he had heard it from him. Abu Baseer said: But I have heard it from Abu Ja’far (a.s.).”
A similar tradition is narrated to us by Muhammad bin Hasan bin Ahmad bin Walid (r.a.) that he said: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Hasan as-Saffar from Abi Talib Abdullah bin Salt al-Qummi from Uthman bin Isa from Samaa-a bin Mehran.
13 - Narrated to us Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Ishaq Taliqani (r.a.): Narrated to us Ahmad bin Muhammad Hamdani: Narrated to us Abi Abdullah Asimi from Husain bin Qasim bin Ayyub from Hasan bin Muhammad bin Sama-a from Thabit Saigh from Abu Baseer from Abi Abdullah Sadiq (a.s.) that he heard him say:“From us there will be twelve Mahdis. Six have passed and six are remaining. Allah will do with the sixth as He pleases.”
As you can see these hadeeths, which come through a variety of different sources, are saying that the 12 mahdis are the same as the 12 imams. I looked for a hadeeth in Kamal ad-Deen which spoke of the 12 mahdis as separate individuals to the 12 Imams. I found only one:
56 - Narrated to us Ali bin Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Imran al-Daqqaq: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Abi Abdullah Kufi: Narrated to us Musa bin Imran Nakahi from his uncle Husain bin Yazid Naufali from Ali bin Abi Hamza from Abi Baseer that he said: I said to as-Sadiq Ja’far bin Muhammad (a.s.): O son of Allah’s Messenger, I have heard from your father that he said: “There will twelve mahdis after the Qaim?” Imam (a.s.) said: “He has said twelve mahdis not twelve Imams. They shall be our Shias who would call the people towards our Wilayat (guardianship) and Marefat (recognition) of our rights.”
A quick analysis of the chain:
1) Ali bin Ahmad is majhool according to sayyid al-Khui 2) Muhammad bin Abi Abdullah is trustworthy according to shaykh an-Najashi but also says he used to narrate alot from weak narrators 3) Musa bin Imran is majhool and does not have an entry in the six classical Imami (Shi`a) rijaal books 4) Husain bin Yazid Naufali is majhool 5) Ali bin Hamza is very weak and cursed for creating the Waqifi subsect of the Shi`a 6) Abi Baseer is particularly famous and is trustworthy
Thus the source/chain is dha`eef jiddan (very weak).
If we were to still look at the content of this hadeeth, then we must remember the numerous hadeeths from the Imam in which he says the Earth can never be without an Imam, and hence this hadeeth seems to conflict with the others. Also, in this hadeeth, no special status is given to the 12 mahdis. Actually the word "mahdi" is used literally to refer to 12 guided people, who would be the follower of the 12th Imam and tell people to follow him. Interestingly no mention of the mahdis being related to the 12 imams is mentioned. This differs to the presentation of the 12 mahdis by the hadeeth of the will.
So in conclusion, the hadeeth of the will is dha`eef jiddan (very weak), lacks contextual evidences, fails some contextual evidences, and opposes some hadeeths. Therefore, it is unacceptable evidence.
... May Allah, azza wa jalla, guide us toward the truth.Quran 10:36 And most of them follow not except assumption. Indeed, assumption avails not against the truth at all. Indeed, Allah is Knowing of what they do.
-----------------------------------------Let me just add:
Allamah Majlisi commented in Bihar al Anwar:
21- Narrated to us Muhammad bin Ali bin Husain bin Musa bin Babawayh from
Ali bin Ahmad bin Musa Daqqaq from Muhammad bin Abi Abdullah Kufi from
Musa bin Imran Nakhai from his uncle, Husain bin Yazid Naufali from Ali bin Abu
Hamza from his father from Abu Basir that he asked Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.):"O son of Allah's Messenger, I have heard your respected father say that
there will be twelve Imams after Imam Qaim?"
He replied: My respected father has said that there will twelve Mahdis
and not that there will be twelve Imams. But those Mahdis will be such that
they will call the people to our devotion and to recognize our rights.Note:
We should know that there is no contradiction in the knowledge of
Aale Muhammad (a.s.). On the contrary they testify each other and we have a
large number of traditions about the Rajat of the twelve Imams, but it seems
that when Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) noticed the weakness of the faith of the
inquirer and felt that he would not be able to bear their special knowledge,
which the Almighty Allah has specially granted to whomsoever He liked as
the Almighty Allah Himself says:
َ ذلِكَ َفضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاء وَاللَّهُ ُ ذو الَْفضْ ِ ل الْعَظِي ِ م"That is Allah's grace; He grants it to whom He pleases, and Allah is
the Lord of mighty grace." (Surah Jumua 62:4)
So he presented such a nice interpretation, which he could bear and does
not deny it and fall into disbelief.
Thus it is mentioned in the traditions of Imams that the complete
knowledge they had was not spoken out to all and all that is said is not that its
time has arrived and that its deserving ones should be present. And it is also
narrated that Imam (a.s.) said: Do not talk of Jibt of Taghut, rather only
mention Rajat and if people say that before you used to say that, you must tell
them that now you don't have such belief. He said this under the exigency of
Taqayyah which the Almighty Allah has ordered during the time of the
Kamaaluddin waTamaamun Ni'ma
(Perfection of faith and completion of divine favor)
Shaykh as-Sadooq Abi Ja'far Muhammad bin Ali bin al- Husain Babawahy Qummi
Translated by: Sayyid Athar Husain S.H. Rizvi
Fifth objection of Zaidiyyah sect
Zaidiyyah say: It is not possible that it should be a statement of prophets that
the number of Imams be twelve because the Divine Proof (Hujjat) on this
Ummah shall remain till the Judgment Day and after His Eminence, Muhammad
(s.a.w.s.), from the twelve, eleven have passed away, whereas the Imamites
believe that the earth is never devoid of the Divine Proof (Hujjat).
We reply as follows: Imams are indeed twelve in number and it is the
twelfth of them that would fill up the earth with justice and equity. And then it
would be as he says; that whether there would be another Imam after him of there
will be apocalypse. WE DO NOT CONFESS TO ANYTHING MORE THAN THAT
THE IMAMS ARE TWELVE and we believe that whatever the twelfth Imam says will
be there after him.
Ibrahim bin Fahad quoting from Muhammad bin Uqbah from Husain bin Hasan from Ismail
bin Umar from Umar bin Musa Wajihi from Minhal bin Amr from Abdullah bin al-Harith that
he said: I asked Ali (a.s.):
"O Amiral Momineen, please inform me of the events that shall occur AFTER
your Qaim." He replied: "O Ibne Harith it is something that ONLY HE IS ENTRUSTED
TO SAY. And the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) made me promise that except for
Hasan and Husain, I shall not tell anyone anything about it."
Therefore don't inform us what events will happen after the Qa'im, let the entrusted one come who is responsible for this affair, and as Sheikh Saduq said, then whatever the 12th Imam instructs we shall follow.As mentioned in Biharul Anwar quoting from Mufaddal bin Umar from Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a) that he said:
O Mufaddal, every kind of Bayyat before the reappearance of His Eminence Qaim (a) is a Bayyat of infidelity, hypocrisy and deception; the Almighty Allah has cursed one who gives such Bayyat and one who takes it…
[ Biharul Anwar, Vol. 53, Pg. 8]