In this article, We will mention those narrations which have come in this regards.

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Though, We mentioned the word Caliph in the title, the reality is that the narration has come to us with different words, with the exception that the number 12 has remained constant in all of them. For example, the first narration We would like to mention is from Musnad Ahmad, and in that We find  the word of Naqeeb

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Masrooq said that We were sitting with Abdullah bin Masood, And He was reciting Quran for us. A man asked him:

O Abu Abdur Rehman! Did You ask Holy Prophet as to who would be the Caliph in this Nation? 

He replied: None asked me this question from the time I came to Iraq. 

Then He further said: Yes, I asked Him, and He said: 12, like Captains (Naqeeb) in Bani Israeel. [1]

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This Chain has been termed Authentic/Sahih by Sheikh Ahmad Shakir [2]

Also, It has been termed Hasan/Good by Ibn Hajar Asqalani [3], Sayooti [4] and Ibn Hajar Haithmi [5]

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Apart from the narration from Ibn Masood, We find narration of Jabir Ibn Samura, and though the no. remains constant at 12, the word used for these differs.

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Like, Muslim narrated One version in his Sahih with Multiple chains with the words of Caliph

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Let us see one of them from the Online English version of Sahih Muslim.

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It has been narrated on the authority of Jabir b. Samura who said: I joined the company of the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) with my father and I heard him say: This Caliphate will not end until there have been twelve Caliphs among them. The narrator said: Then he (the Prophet) said something that I could not follow. I said to my father: What did he say? He said: He has said: All of them will be from the Quraish. [6]

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Apart from Muslim, Abi Daood also included this narration in his Sunan. [7]

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Similarly, There are narrations which have used the word of Custodian or Guardian (قَيِّمً)

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Abu Y’ala mentions

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Jabir bin Samara says that We were sitting with Holy Prophet (asws) when He said: There would be 12 Custodians in this Nation. Then He said something in low voice which I could not hear, so I asked my father what did He say? He said: All are from Quraish [8]

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Sheikh Durrani termed the Chain Sahih

Tabarani mentioned similar narrations in his Al Maujam [9]

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Bukhari in his Sahih used a narration which mentions the word of Amir ( أَمِيرً)

…….[10]

Online Translation of Sahih Bukhari translates it as

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Volume 9, Book 89, Number 329 :
Narrated by Jabir bin Samura
I heard the Prophet saying, “There will be twelve Muslim rulers (who will rule all the Islamic world).” He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, “All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish.” [11]

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Keep in mind Arabic word is Amir

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Similar narrations have been mentioned by Ahmad bin Hanbal [12], Tabarani, [13], Tirmidhi, [14]

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And We also find the use of word Men

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Muslim writes in his Sahih, And We take it from the online version

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It has been reported on the authority of Jabir b. Samura who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) say: The affairs of the people will continue to be conducted (well) as long as they are governed by twelve men. Then the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said words which were obscure to me. I asked my father: What did the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) say? He said: All of the (twelve men) will be from the Quraish.[15]

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The narration, with its different Chains, has been included by Sheikh Albany in his Silsila Ahadeeth Sahihiya. [16]

So

We find that there are many narrations, proven authentically, which speak of 12 Special People. They have been given different names, like Caliph, Naqeeb, Amir, Qayyam, Rajul who are Wali; however, all of these are unanimous of them being 12.

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Keep in mind that Abi Daood Sajistani included these narrations in the chapter of (Imam) Mahdi (asws). He gave the heading

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كتاب المهدي

Book of Mahdi [17]

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Those who wish for more details may refer to these links in Arabic and Persian.

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REFERENCES:-

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1- Musnad Ahmad, (urdu version), 2/570. And the words of narration are:-

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حدثنا عبد اللَّهِ حدثني أبي ثنا حَسَنُ بن مُوسَى ثنا حَمَّادُ بن زَيْدٍ عَنِ الْمُجَالِدِ عَنِ الشعبي عن مَسْرُوقٍ قال: كنا جُلُوساً عِنْدَ عبد اللَّهِ بن مَسْعُودٍ وهو يُقْرِئُنَا الْقُرْآنَ فقال له رَجُلٌ: يا أَبَا عبد الرحمن هل سَأَلْتُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَمْ تملك هذه الأُمَّةَ من خَلِيفَةٍ؟ فقال عبد اللَّهِ بن مَسْعُودٍ: ما سألني عنها أَحَدٌ مُنْذُ قَدِمْتُ الْعِرَاقَ قَبْلَكَ ثُمَّ قال: نعم. وَلَقَدْ سَأَلْنَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: اثْنَا عَشَرَ كَعِدَّةِ نُقَبَاءِ بني إِسْرَائِيلَ.

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2- Musnad Ahmad, Takhreej of Sheikh Ahmad Shakir, 4/28 & also, He included this in his Umda tu Tafaseer min Hafiz Ibn Kathir, 1/651; and on p. 652, He repeated that this Chain is Sahih

3- Ibn Hajar said in his Fath-ul-Bari, 13/212, Printed Dar-ul-Maarifa, Beirut. And his words are

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أخرجه أحمد والبزار من حديث ابن مسعود بسند حسن” أنه سئل كم يملك هذه الأمة من خليفة ؟ ” فقال : سألنا عنها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال ” اثنا عشر كعدة نقباء بني إسرائيل 

Here is the online link

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4- Sayooti said in his Tareekh-ul-Khulafa, p. 15

وعند أحمد والبزار بسند حسن عن ابن مسعود: أنه سئل: كم يملك هذه الأمة من خليفة؟ فقال: سألنا رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: “اثنا عشر كعدة نقباء بني إسرائيل”

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5- Ibn Hajar Haithmi said in his Sawaiq-ul-Mohariqqa, 1/54

وَعَن ابْن مَسْعُود بِسَنَد حسن أَنه سُئِلَ كم يملك هَذِه الْأمة من خَليفَة فَقَالَ سَأَلنَا عَنْهَا رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم فَقَالَ (اثْنَا عشر كعدة نقباء بني إِسْرَائِيل)

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6- Sahih Muslim, Book of Government, Chapter: People are subserviant to Quraish and Caliphate is the right of Quraish, Hadeeth. 4477

Apart from this narration, Hadeeth no. 4480 to 4484 of the same Chapter also mention this.

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7- Sunan Abi Daood, 4/106, Hadeeth no. 4279 & 4280. Sheikh Albany included these narrations in his Sahih Sunan Abi Daood, 3/19; thus declaring them as Sahih

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8- Maujam Shayook Abu Y’ala, p. 107, narration. 65 ,Reseacher Sheikh Hussein Saleem Asad Durrani, printed by Dar-ul-Mamoon, Beirut. And the words are:-

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رقم الحديث: 64
(حديث مرفوع) حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ ثَعْلَبَةَ بْنِ سَوَاءٍ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ سَوَاءٍ ، عَنْ سَعِيدٍ ، عَنْ قَتَادَةَ ، عَنِ الشَّعْبِيِّ ، عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ سَمُرَةَ ، قَالَ : كُنَّا جُلُوسًا عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَقَالَ : ” يَكُونُ لِهَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ قَيِّمًا ” ، ثُمَّ هَمَسَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِكَلِمَةٍ لَمْ أَسْمَعْهَا ، قُلْتُ لأَبِي : مَا الْكَلِمَةُ الَّتِي هَمَسَ لَهَا ؟ قَالَ : ” كُلُّهُمْ مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ ” 
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9- In Maujam ul Kabeer, 2/196, He said

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حدثنا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بن هَاشِمٍ الْبَغَوِيُّ ثنا محمد بن عبد الرحمن الْعَلافُ ثنا محمد بن سَوَاءٍ ثنا سَعِيدٌ عن قَتَادَةَ عَنِ الشَّعْبِيِّ عن جَابِرِ بن سَمُرَةَ قال: كنت مع أبي عِنْدَ النبي صلى اللَّهُ عليه وسلم فقال: يَكُونُ لِهَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ قَيِّمًا لا يَضُرُّهُمْ من خَذَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ هَمَسَ رسول اللَّهِ صلى اللَّهُ عليه وسلم بِكَلِمَةٍ لم أَسْمَعْهَا فقلت: لأَبِي ما الْكَلِمَةُ التي هَمَسَ بها النبي صلى اللَّهُ عليه وسلم؟ قال: كلهم من قُرَيْشٍ.

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And in same book, 2/256, he mentioned it with different chain

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حدثنا عَبْدَانُ بن أَحْمَدَ ثنا زَيْدُ بن الْحَرِيشِ ثنا رَوْحُ بن عَطَاءِ بن أبي مَيْمُونَةَ عن عَطَاءِ بن أبي مَيْمُونَةَ عن جَابِرِ بن سَمُرَةَ قال: سمعت رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى اللَّهُ عليه وسلم وهو يَخْطُبُ على 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.

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10- Sahih Bukhari, vol 6, page 2640, narration 6796, research by Mostafa Deeb, printed by Dar ibn Kather, Beirut, Third print, 1407; And the words are:-

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رقم الحديث: 6711
(حديث مرفوع) حَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى ، حَدَّثَنَا غُنْدَرٌ ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْمَلِكِ ، سَمِعْتُ جَابِرَ بْنَ سَمُرَةَ ، قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، يَقُولُ : ” يَكُونُ اثْنَا عَشَرَ أَمِيرًا ، فَقَالَ كَلِمَةً لَمْ أَسْمَعْهَا ، فَقَالَ أَبِي ، إِنَّهُ قَالَ : كُلُّهُمْ مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ ” 
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11- Sahih Bukhari, online translation’s link
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12- Musnad Ahmad, 5/90, 5/99, 5/101. Printed by Mausasa Qurtaba, Egypt
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13- Maujam al Kabeer, Tabarani, 2/197
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14- Sunan Tirmidhi, 4/501, Hadeeth. 2223; printed by Dar Ahya al Tarath al Arabi, Beirut. Tirmidhi has termed it Hasan Sahih. Sheikh Albany included this narration in his Sahih Sunan Tirmidhi, 2/484

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15- Sahih Muslim, 3/1452, Hadeeth. 1821, printed by Dar Ahya Tarath al Arabi, Beirut. And the words are

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حدثنا بن أبي عُمَرَ حدثنا سُفْيَانُ عن عبد الْمَلِكِ بن عُمَيْرٍ عن جَابِرِ بن سَمُرَةَ قال سمعت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: لَا يَزَالُ أَمْرُ الناس مَاضِيًا ما وَلِيَهُمْ اثْنَا عَشَرَ رَجُلًا ثُمَّ تَكَلَّمَ النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بِكَلِمَةٍ خَفِيَتْ عَلَيَّ فَسَأَلْتُ أبي مَاذَا؟ قال: رسول اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: كلهم من قُرَيْشٍ.

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Link for online version. Hadeeth. 4479 gives another chain for this narration.

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16- Silsila Ahadeeth Sahihiyya, Sheikh Albany, 1/719, Hadeeth. 376; Printed Maktaba tul Muarif, Riyadh.

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17- Same as [7]. This is the Online Link

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