Did the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) appoint Twelve Imams?


By brother Tripoly sunni, arranged by gift2shias team:

Firstly let us introduce the shia historian and expert on the different shia sects as we will be relying on his history book to find out whether the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) appointed the twelve imams of the shia or if the shia just picked their own imams based on their desires without a religious text.


The ancient shiite historian Abu Muhammad, Al-Hassan bin Musa bin Al Hassan al-Nawbakhti who was born in the 3rd century Hijri, writes in his  book called “Firaq al Shia” about the various shiite teams and sects and tribes during the life of the 11 imams.

But let us first introduce this shia scholar.
Here is what the shia scholars say about him:

The well known Shi’ite “Who’s Who” critic, al-Najashi in his al-Fihrist, wrote: 

“al-Hasan bin Musa: Abu Muhammad al-Nubakhti, the well versed in dialectism, who surpassed the peers of his time prior and after the 300 (hijra)”

al-Fihrist: al-Najashi, p.47; From Ash-Shi’a was-Sunnah, p.22
Another “Who’s Who” critic, At-Tusi, in his al-Fihrist wrote:

“Abu Muhammad, dialectist and philosopher, was an Imami (shi’ite), an upright in faith, trustworthy (thiqah)….and he is one of the scholars’ landmarks”

al-Fihrist: At-Tusi, p.98; From Ash-Shi’a Was-Sunnah, p.22Nurallah at-Tasturi, in his “Majaalis al-Mu’mineen” wrote:

“al-Hasan bin Musa, one of the celebrity of this sect and its scholars. He was a dialectist, a philosopher, an Imami in faith”

Majaalis al-Mu’mineen: Nurallah At-Tasturi, p.177; from Ash-Shi’a was-Sunnah, p.22The Twelver Shia sect claims That the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) told us that Allah divinely appointed twelve infallible Imams and that we must follow them and that he who denies even one of them will be amongst the misguided on the day of judgment. And they claim that he said: “He who does not know the Imam of his time will die a death of ignorance (Jahiliyyah)” thus ending up in hellfire if he denies even one of the twelve according to the shia. They attributed several narrations to their Imams and to the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) directly and I state just a few samples:

Number #1

ليلة أسري بي إلى السماء أوحى الله إليَّ أن سَلْ من أرسلنا من قبلك من رسلنا على ما بعثوا؟ قلت: على ما بعثتم؟
قالوا: على نبوتك، وولاية علي بن أبي طالب، والأئمة منكما، ثم أوحى إليَّ أن التفت عن يمين العرش، فالتفت فإذا علي، والحسن، والحسين، وعلي بن الحسين، ومحمد بن علي، وجعفر بن محمد، وموسى بن جعفر، وعلي بن موسى، ومحمد بن علي، وعلي بن محمد، والحسن بن علي، والمهدي في ضحضاح من نور يصلون

Shiites claim that the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) said: On the night when I was raised to the sky, Allah sent his revelation to me that I must ask those who came before me (previous prophets) for what purpose they were sent? They (the prophets) replied to me: (We were send) upon your Prophet-hood and of the Wilayah (leadership) of Ali bin abi Talib and the Imams from you. Then revelation came to me that I must look to the left of the Throne. So I looked and saw Ali and Hassan and Hussein and Ali bin al Hussein and Muhammad bin Ali and Ja’afar bin Muhammad and Musa bin Ja’afar and Ali bin Musa and Muhammad bin Ali and Ali bin Muhammad and al Hassan bin Ali and the Mahdi in a glowing light as they pray.

Shia sources: Ithbat al Hudat (1/652) by Muhammad bin al Hassan al Hurr al Amili, Muntakhab al Athar page 112 by Lutfullah al Safi, Bihar al Anwar (15/247) (18/297) (26/301) (27/200) (36/216) by Muhammad Baqir al Majlisi.

Number #2

يا محمد، لو أن عبداً عبدني حتى ينقطع ويصير كالشن البالي، ثم أتاني جاحداً لولايتهم ما أسكنته جنتي، ولا أظللته تحت عرشي.
يا محمد، أتحب أن تراهم؟ قال: نعم يا رب، فقال عز وجل: ارفع رأسك، فرفعت رأسي، فإذا أنوار علي، وفاطمة، والحسن، والحسين، وعلي بن الحسين، ومحمد بن الحسين، وجعفر بن محمد، وموسى بن جعفر، وعلي بن موسى، ومحمد بن علي، وعلي بن محمد، والحسن بن علي، ومحمد بن الحسن القائم في وسطهم كأنه كوكب دري، فقلت: يا رب، من هؤلاء؟ فقال: هؤلاء الأئمة، وهذا القائم الذي يشفي قلوب شيعتك من الظالمين والجاحدين والكافرين

The Shia claim in this narration that Allah is speaking to the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam): O Muhammad if one of my servants worshiped me so much exhausting himself until he became old and then on the day of judgment came to me after denying the Wilayah (Leadership) of the Imams, I would not let him into my heaven, nor would I shade him under my throne.

The Lord said: O Muhammad would you like to see them? I said: Yes O lord, Then the Almighty said: Raise your head, so I raised my head only to see the lights of Ali and Fatima and Hassan and Hussein and Ali bin al Hussein and Muhammad bin Ali and Ja’afar bin Muhammad and Musa bin Ja’afar and Ali bin Musa and Muhammad bin Ali and Ali bin Muhammad and al Hassan bin Ali and in the middle of them was Muhammad bin al Hassan al Qa’em(Mahdi) as if he was a shining planet, I said: O Lord, who are they? He said: These are the Imams and this is al Qa’em who shall cure the hearts of your Shia from the oppressors and the deniers and the kouffar.

Shia sources: ‘Uyoun Akhbar al Reda 1/61 by Muhammad bin Ali bin Hussein bin Babaweih al Qummi al Saduq, Kamal al Deen page 240 by Muhammad bin Ali bin Hussein bin Babaweih al Qummi al Saduq, Ghaybat al Tusi page 103 by Sheikh of the shia sect Muhammad bin Ja’afar al Tusi, Ithbat al hudat (1/476,549,579), Bihar al Anwar (36/216,245,262,280), Ghaybat al Nu’umani page 45 by Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Ja’afar al Nu’umani, Muntakhab al Athar pages 104,110,119.

Narration #3.

وعن جابر بن عبدالله الأنصاري رضي الله عنه قال: لما أنزل الله على نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم: ((يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ)) [النساء:59] فقلت: يا رسول الله، عرفنا الله ورسوله، فمن أولوا الأمر الذين قرن الله طاعتهم بطاعتك؟
قال: هم خلفائي يا جابر، أئمة المسلمين بعدي، أولهم: علي بن أبي طالب، ثم الحسن، ثم الحسين، ثم علي بن الحسين، ثم محمد بن علي المعروف في التوراة بالباقر، وستدركه يا جابر، فإذا أدركته فأقرئه مني السلام، ثم الصادق جعفر بن محمد، ثم موسى بن جعفر، ثم علي بن موسى، ثم محمد بن علي، ثم علي بن محمد، ثم الحسن بن علي، ثم سميي وكنيتي حجة الله على أرضه، وبقيته في عباده، ابن الحسن بن علي

From Jabir bin Abdullah al Ansari said: When Allah revealed these verses “O you who believe Obey Allah and Obey the Messenger and those of you who are in authority” [Nisa’a:59] I said: O Apostle of Allah we know Allah and we know his messenger so who are those of us who are in authority?

He (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) said: They are my successors, O Jabir and the Imams of the Muslims after me. The first among them is Ali bin abi Talib then al Hassan then al Hussein then Ali bin al Hussein then Muhammad bin Ali then Ja’afar bin Muhammad then Musa bin Ja’afar then Ali bin Musa then Muhammad bin Ali then Ali bin Muhammad then al Hassan bin Ali then he who is named after me and his Kuniyah is like mine the Hujjah of Allah on his earth and the rest of Allah in his slaves the Son of Hassan bin Ali.

Shia sources: Kamal al Deen page 241, Ithbat al hudat (1/501)(665), Muntakhab al Athar page 101, Bihar al Anwar (23/289) (36/250), Manaqib Alu Abi Talib (1/282) by Muhammad bin Ali bin Shahr-Ashoub al Mazandarani, Tafseer Noor al Thaqalayn (1/499) by Abd Ali al Huwayzi.

Narration #4.

وعن عائشة رضي الله عنها، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: إن جبرئيل أخبره أن الأمة تقتل الحسين وينتقم الله منهم بقائمكم أهل البيت، فقال: ومن قائمنا أهل البيت؟ فقال: هو التاسع من ولد الحسين، كذا أخبرني ربي أنه سيخلق من صلب الحسين ولداً وسماه عنده علياً، ثم يخرج من صلب علي ابنه، وسماه عنده محمداً، ثم يخرج من صلب محمد ابنه وسماه عنده جعفراً، ثم يخرج من صلبه ابنه وسمَّاه عنده موسى، ويخرج من صلبه ابنه وسمَّاه عنده علياً، ويخرج من صلبه ابنه وسماه عنده محمداً، ويخرج من صلبه ابنه وسماه عنده علياً، ثم يخرج من صلبه ابنه وسماه عنده الحسن، ويخرج من صلبه كلمة الحق، ولسان الصدق، ومظهر الحق، وحجة الله على بريته

They narrated from Aisha (RA) that the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) told her: Gabriel told me that the nation will kill Hussein and Allah will extract revenge on the nation by the Qa’em(Mahdi) of Ahlul-bayt. She said: Who is our Qa’em of Ahlul-bayt? The Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) replied: He is the ninth from the children of Hussein, My Lord told me that he will bring from Hussein a boy whom he called Ali, then he brings a boy from Ali whom he called Muhammad, then brings from him a boy whom he calls Ja’afar, then he brings from him a boy whom he calls Musa, then he brings from him a boy whom he calls Ali, then he brings from him a boy whom he calls Muhammad, then he brings from him a boy whom he calls Ali, then he brings from him a boy whom he calls Hassan, then he brings from Hassan a word of truth and an honest tongue and the Hujjah of Allah on his creations.

Shia Sources: Kifayat al Athar ‘ala al Aimmah al ithna Ashar page 25 by Ali bin Muhammad bin Ali al Razi al Qummi, Ithbat al hudat 1/596, Bihar al Anwar 36/348, Muntakhab al Athar page 106.

Narration #5.

وعن الباقر قال: إن الله لما خلق إبراهيم كشف لـه عن بصره، فرأى نوراً إلى جنب العرش، فقال: يا رب، ما هذا النور؟ فقيل له: هذا نور علي بن أبي طالب، ورأى إلى جنبه ثلاثة أنوار، فقال: إلهي، وما هذه الأنوار؟ فقال: هذا نور فاطمة وولديها الحسن والحسين، فقال: إلهي، وأرى تسعة أنوار قد حفوا بهم، قيل: يا إبراهيم، هؤلاء الأئمة من ولد علي وفاطمة، فقال إبراهيم: إلهي، بحق هؤلاء الخمسة من هؤلاء التسعة؟ فقيل: يا إبراهيم، أولهم: علي بن الحسين، وابنه محمد، وابنه جعفر، وابنه موسى، وابنه علي، وابنه محمد، وابنه علي، وابنه الحسن، والحجة القائم ابنه

From Imam al Baqir said: When Allah created Ibrahim he unveiled his vision so he saw a light next to the throne then said: O Lord what is this light? It was said to him: This is the light of Ali bin abi Talib, then he saw three other lights next to it so he asked: O my God what are these three lights? He said: This is the light of Fatima and next to her are her children Hassan and Hussein. Then after spotting nine other lights he asked: O my God I see nine others, He said to him: O Ibrahim these are the Imams from the progeny of Ali and Fatima, Ibrahim said: O my God by the truth of those five who are these other nine? It was said to him: O Ibrahim the first is Ali bin al Hussein and his son Muhammad and his son Ja’afar and his son Musa and his son Ali and his son Muhammad and his son Ali and his son Hassan and his son the Hujjah al Qa’em.

Shia sources: Taaweel al Ayat al Zahira 2/496 by Sharaf al Deen Ali al Husseini al Istrabadi al Najafi, Al Rawdah page 33, al Fadael page 166, Ithbat al hudat (1/646,523), Bihar al Anwar (36/151,213) (85/80), Muntakhab al Athar pages 116,138, Al Burhan fi tafseer al Quran 4/20 by Hashim al Bahrani, al Mustadrak 4/187.

Narration #6.

: لما عرج بي إلى السماء رأيت على ساق العرش مكتوباً: لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله، أيدته بعلي ونصرته به، ورأيت اثني عشر اسماً مكتوباً بالنور، فيهم: علي بن أبي طالب وسبطاي، وبعدهما تسعة أسامي: علياً علياً علياً ثلاث مرات، ومحمد محمد مرتين، وجعفر، وموسى، والحسن، والحجة يتلألأ من بينهم، فقلت: يا رب، أسامي من هؤلاء؟ فناداني ربي جل جلاله: يا محمد، هم الأوصياء من ذريتك، بهم أثيب وبهم أعاقب

They also attributed to the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam): When Allah raised me to the sky I saw on the foot of the throne was written: “No God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger I aided and supported him by Ali”.  Then I saw twelve names written in light: Ali bin Abi Talib and my two Sabtyan (Hassan & Hussein) then after them were nine names: Ali Ali Ali three times and Muhammad Muhammad twice and Ja’afar and Musa and al Hujjah was flickering between them. I said: O Lord whose names are these? Then Allah called to me: O Muhammad these are the Awsiya (Successors) from your progeny, by them I reward and by them I punish.

Shia sources: Kifayat al Athar pages 10,14,18, Ithbat al Hudat (1/580,584,586,588,590,595,598,601) Bihar al Anwar (36/310,321,325,332,390), Manaqib Alu Abi Talib 1/210, Muntakhab al Athar pages 104,106,107,122.

And many other similar narrations which need volumes to cover and they attributed it all to the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) and the Imams. The point of this article is to show the truth of this matter, did the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) really appoint these twelve whom the Twelver Shia of today believe in? OR were all of these lies falsely attributed to the pious Imams of ahlul-bayt? History will show.

I have selected critical periods in the history of the Shia sects, mainly when their Imams die then briefly translated them for you to read from sources considered extremely trustworthy by Shia scholars themselves.

NOTE: article would not discuss:

1- The first Imams whom the Shia followed such as al-Hussein and Muhammad Ibn al Hanafiyah and Ali Zain al Abideen and Zaid bin Ali bin al-Hussein…

2- Shia sects such as the Zaidiyyah or Ismailiyyah and Alawiyyah/Nusayri and Alevis and Mufawwidah ect…

3- Different teams within the Twelvers like Usooli and Akhbari and Sheikhiyyah.

4- Al Mahdi.

1- The Shia after the death of Imam Abu Ja’afar Muhammad al Baqir (died 114 hijri):

The Shia of Imam Muhammad bin Ali were divided:

NOTE: (I will quote almost word for word from early shia sources).

When Abu Ja’afar passed away his Shia split into two major groups, a group believed in the Imamah of Muhammad bin Abdullah bin al Hassan bin al Hassan bin Ali bin Abi Talib who had rebelled in Madinah against the rulers and was killed as a result, they claimed he was al Qa’em al Mahdi and that he was not killed. They said: “He is alive not dead and he lives in a mountain called al ‘Alamiyah” (This is the mountain on the road of Mecca and Najd al Hijaz on the left of the road as you go to Mecca).  It is the big mountain and he lives in it until his time to rise comes because the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) said: Al Qa’em al Mahdi his name is like mine and his father’s name is like my father’s name. His brother Ibrahim bin Abdullah bin al Hassan bi al Hassan bin Ali bin abi Talib had came out in the city of al-Basarah calling the people to give his brother Baya’ah (Allegiance) so that he may become their Caliph. After he received much support and grew in strength so the caliph of that time “Al Mansour” had sent the riders to fight him and they killed him after many wars. From those shia who adopted this opinion was al Mugheera bin Sa’eed after the death of al Baqir so the shia of Abu Abdullah Ja’afar bin Muhammad rejected him and disaffiliated themselves from him, as a result he labeled them as Rafidha (rejectionists) and claimed that he was the one who gave them this name. The companions of Mugheera appointed him as their Imam and claimed that al-Hussein bin Ali had pointed to his Imamah then Ali bin al Hussein pointed to his Imamah and finally Muhammad bin Ali pointed to his Imamah so he is the Imam until the Mahdi rises. They denied the Imamah of Abu Abdullah Ja’afar bin Muhammad and said: There shall be no Imam in the children of Ali bin abi Talib after Abu Ja’afar Muhammad al Baqir and that the Imam is al Mugheera until the Mahdi Muhammad bin Abdullah bin al Hassan bin al Hassan bin Ali returns from his occultation. This shia group was called al Mugheeriyyah after al Mugheera bin Sa’eed the Mawla (servant) of Khalid bin Abdullah al Qassri. In the end he started claiming that he was a Prophet and that he receives revelation from Gabriel. Al Qassiri later asked him about this and he confessed then al Qassri told him to repent but he didn’t thus he was killed and crucified. He also used to claim he is capable of raising the dead and he believed in “Tanasukh” and so did his followers until this day.

As for the other group from al Baqir’s companions they said in the Imamah of Ja’afar bin Muhammad al Sadiq. But only a minor group from the companions of Ja’afar remained on this belief during his life because when Ja’afar bin Muhammad pointed to the Imamah of his son Ismael who died during his father’s life then they stopped believing in his Imamah while saying: “He lied to us and he wasn’t an Imam; because the Imam does not lie and say things that will not come true” . And they blamed Ja’afar after attributing to him the saying: “Allah had Badaa in the Imamah of Ismael” (Badaa is a Shia belief meaning it appeared to Allah that Ismael was the Imam but he wasn’t). So they denied the belief in Badaa which they claimed Ja’afar attributed to Allah and said: “This saying is Batil and impermissible”. They leaned towards the opinion of the group called the Batriyyah and the sayings of Suleiman bin Jarir who told his companions: “The Sheikhs/scholars of the Rafidha(Shia) placed two sayings for their followers(Shia) which would never make them appear as liars if they attribute anything to the Imams, they are:

1- The saying of Badaa: (for example they attribute to an Imam the saying: “the Imam al Mahdi shall appear in 50 years” and when it does not happen they tell their followers that it had appeared to Allah as so but He changed his decision because the people were too evil. If what they say does indeed happen then they boast about their knowledge).

2- The saying of Taqqiyah: (for example the shia scholars tell their followers that the Imams hate the companions and when the shia meet this Imam and ask him he praises the companions so the scholars tell the followers he did so out of taqqiyah. This is because the Shia ask their scholars many questions over the years and they wrote down what they answered but the scholars forget what their answer was so they give different answers to the same question and they use the Taqqiyah of the Imams as an excuse).

So when can it be known that these shia scholars are lying? And how can truth be distinguished from falsehood?

Source: Firaq al Shia 62-66.

This reminds us of what the big shia scholar said regarding taqqiyah:

صاحب الحدائق في التقية حيث ذكر: فلم يعلم من أحكام الدين على اليقين إلا القليل؛ لامتزاج أخباره بأخبار التقية

Translation: “Not much was known for sure from the rulings of the religion because their narrations were mixed with the narrations of Taqqiyah”.In another place he also said:

قال: فإن جُلَّ الاختلاف في أخبارنا بل كله عند التأمل والتحقيق إنما نشأ من التقية

Translation: “The majority of contradictions in our narrations after observation and research or even all of the contradictions originate from Taqqiyah.”

Source: al-Hadaeq al Nadirah by Yusuf al Bahrani 1/5,8.

The biggest scholar of the Shia sect “Shaykh al taefa” at-Tusi says:

لا يكاد يتفق خبر إلا وبإزائه ما يضاده، ولا يسلم حديث إلا وفي مقابله ما ينافيه.. إلى أن ذكر أنه وبسبب ذلك ترك الكثير من الشيعة مذهبهم

Translation: “There is no information that we agree on which doesn’t have another that contradicts it, and no narration is safe from another which denies it …(until he said)… and this is why many of the shia left the Madhab.”

Source: Tahtheeb al Ahkam 1/8 by sheikh of the sect al Tusi.

2- The Shia after the death of Imam Abu Abdullah Ja’afar al-Sadiq (died 148 hijri):

The Shia of Imam Ja’afar bin Muhammad split to various groups: A group said: Ja’afar bin Muhammad is alive he does not die until the one responsible for the affairs of the people appears, they said that he was al Mahdi.  They also narrated from him that he said: “If you see my head roll from atop a mountain then do not believe this for I am the ONE”, and that he said to them: “If one comes to you saying that he stood by me in my illness then washed me then put a shroud (Kafan) over my body then do not believe him,  because I am your companion (Mahdi) the possessor of the sword.” This team was called al-Nawoosiyah. A group said that the Imam after Ja’afar bin Muhammad is his son Ismael bin Ja’afar, they denied the death of Ismael in the life of his father, they said: “His father did this just to confuse the enemies, he feared from them so he hid his son in occultation”. They said that Ismael will not die until he rules the earth and the affairs of the people and that he is al Qa’em; because his father has pointed to him as the succeeding Imam and told them that he was their companion. They argued that Imam can only say the truth and when his death came we knew that he was truthful and that he was al Qa’em and that he never died. This team is called al-Ismailiyah. A group said that the Imam after al Sadiq was Muhammad bin Ismael bin Ja’afar, they said: The matter (Of Imamah) was given to Ismael in the life of his father but when he died before his father al Sadiq made this affair with his son Muhammad bin Ismael.  The right was his and it is impremissible for anyone else to claim it; because the Imamah cannot be transferred from one brother to the other after al Hassan and al Hussein and it must be in the progeny. His two brothers Abdullah and Musa have no right to it just like Muhammad Ibn al Hanafiyah had no right in the time of Ali Zain al Abideen bin al Hussein. This team was called al-Mubarakiyah. A group said: “The Imam after al Sadiq is Muhammad bin Ja’afar” and they were called al-Sumtiyyah. A group said: The Imamah after Ja’afar was in his son Abdullah ibn Ja’afar who was known as “Al Aftah”, this was because he was the eldest son after the death of al Sadiq and he used to always sit in the Majlis (gatherings) of his father and because he claimed this matter as it was in the will of his father. This team was called al-Fathiyyah. The majority of the Sheikhs and scholars of jurisprudence of the Shia were of the opinion of this team and they never doubted that the Imamah was given to Abdullah bin Ja’afar until he died and didn’t leave a son to succeed him.  So the majority of the Fathiyyah turned back from the belief that he was the Imam. A group said that the Imamah belonged to Musa after his father and they denied the Imamah of Abdullah. They found fault in him for sitting in the Majlis of his father and his claim of the Imamah…As well as other teams and then these teams split into other teams as well.

Sources: look for details of each team in the book “Firaq al Shia” Pages 66-79 by Al Hassan bin Musa Abu Muhammad al Nawbakhti, also in the books al Fusoul al Mukhtarah Pages 247-253 by Muhammad bin Muhammad bin al Nu’uman known as al Mufid, Bihar al Anwar 47/258 by Muhammad Baqir al Majlisi.

3- The Shia after the death of Imam Musa bin Ja’afar al-Kathim (died 183 hijri):

The Shia of Imam Musa bin Ja’afar split to various groups: A group said that he passed away in the prison of al Sindhi bin Hashik.  They said  Yahya bin Khaled al Barmaki has poisoned him by some dates and grapes which he sent to him, and that the Imam after him is Ali al Reda. This team is called al Qat’iyah because they passed his death to the Imamah of al Reda. A group said that Musa al Kathim did not die and that he is alive, and will never die until he rules the east of this earth and its west, and fill it with justice like it was filled with oppression and that he is al Qa’em al Mahdi.  They claimed that he left the prison and no one saw him on that day neither did they know about him.  They said that the sultan and his comrades only claimed his death as a diversion and they lied to the people.  They said he was occluded from the people and he disappeared and they narrate narrations about this from his father al Sadiq that he said: “He (Musa) is al Qa’em al Mahdi and if his head fell down from atop a mountain do not believe this as he is al Qa’em.” Some of those said: He is al Qa’em and he died, The Imamah is for no one other than him until his return then they claimed that he returned after his death but he has disappeared and is in occultation in some land and he is alive and that his companions (emissaries) meet up with him and see him.  They used narrations from his father to prove this such as: “Al Qa’em is called a Qa’em because he makes Qiyam after he dies” (Qiyam meaning he rises after his death). Others amongst them said:  He has died and he is al Qa’em and he is like the prophet of Allah Isa bin Mariam (alaihi salam). He will not return until his time when he shall fill the earth with justice as it was filled with oppression. They claimed that Allah said: “He has a likeness to Isa bin Mariam and he will die by the hands of the children of bani al-Abbas”.  When he died and some of them denied his death by saying: “He died and Allah raised him to himself and he shall return him in the time of his Qiyam”. All of these teams were called al-Waqifah because they made Wuquf (meaning they stopped) at Musa bin Ja’afar and claimed that he was the Mahdi. They never took an Imam after him and never passed from his Imamah to the others after him. Some of those who had claimed that he was alive said: “Al Reda and those who raised after him are not Imams but they are Caliphs one after the other until the time when He (Musa) shall rise again.” A group said: We do not know whether he is alive or dead because we narrated a lot of narrations that state that he was al Qa’em al Mahdi and it is impermissible to say they were lies.  We have also received the news of the death of his father and grandfathers before him and it is also impermissible to reject these famous clear narrations, death is truth and Allah does what he wills so we stopped from rejecting his death and confirming his life. They said: We are still following his Imamah and we will not accept another Imam until we verify the truthfulness of what he claims – they mean Ali bin Musa al Reda. They said: “If we find truth in his Imamah, like the Imamah of his father before him with the proofs and the signs of the Imam in which he confirms it for himself and confirms his father’s death and not from news and narrations coming from those who claim to be his companions, then we will submit to him and believe him”. A group said: Musa bin Ja’afar did not die nor was he imprisoned, he is alive but in occultation(Ghaybah), he is al Mahdi and during his time in occultation he appointed Muhammad bin Basheer making him his Wasi (Successor) and gave him his ring and knowledge and everything his followers need. When he died he made his son Sami’i bin Muhamad bin Basheer the successor and he in turn will name his successor until the rising of al Kathim.

Sources: Firaq al Shia pages 79-85, al Fusoul al Mukhtarah page 254 and after it.

A group said: The Imam is Ahmad bin Musa al Kathim and that al Kathim made a Wasiyah (Will) to him and to al Reda and they made it permissible in two brothers.  His father made him the Wasi(Successor) after Ali bin Musa.

Sources: Firaq al Shia (85,87) & Bihar al Anwar (48/279) in footnotes (308).

And so did Ibrahim bin al Kathim who came out in Yemen and called the people to give Baya’ah ( allegiance) to Muhammad bin Ibrahim TabaTaba. Then after this he called the people again to give him the Baya’ah.

Sources: Bihar al Anwar (48/307).

This Ibrahim was from amongst those who denied the death of his father as the shia narrate from Bakr bin Saleh that he said: I said to Ibrahim bin abu al Hassan Musa bin Ja’afar: What say you about your father? He replied: He is alive. I said: what say you about your brother abu al Hassan? He said: trustworthy and honest. I said: But he says your father has passed away? He replied: He knows best what he says. I repeated what I said so he repeated his answer.  Then I asked: Did your father make Wasiyah (Appointing a successor)? He said: Yes, I said: to whom? He said: to the five of us but made Ali above all of us.

Sources: Uyoun Akhbar al Reda (1/46) by Muhammad bin Ali bin Babaweih al Qummi, Ithbat al Hudat (3/239) by Muhammad bin al Hassan al Hurr al Amili, Bihar al Anwar (48/282)(49/22).

As for this Imamah it was narrated by the Shia from Yazid bin Sulayt al Zaidi that he said:

عن يزيد بن سليط الزيدي، أنه قال: لقيت موسى بن جعفر، فقلت: أخبرني عن الإمام بعدك بمثل ما أخبر به أبوك، قال: فقال: كان أبي في زمن ليس هذا مثله.
قال يزيد: فقلت: من يرضى منك بهذا فعليه لعنة الله، قال: فضحك، ثم قال: أخبرك يا أبا عمارة أني خرجت من منزلي فأوصيت في الظاهر إلى ابني، وأشركتهم مع علي ابني، وأفردته بوصيتي في الباطن، ولو كان الأمر إليّ لجعلته في القاسم ابني لحبي إياه ورأفتي عليه، ولكن ذلك إلى الله عز وجل يجعله حيث يشاء، وقد جاءني بخبره رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وجدي علي حيث قال لي: الأمر قد خرج منك إلى غيرك، فقلت: يا رسول الله، أرنيه أيهم هو؟ فقال رسول الله: ما رأيت من الأئمة أحداً أجزع على فراق هذا الأمر منك، ولو كانت الإمامة بالمحبة لكان إسماعيل أحب إلى أبيك منك، ولكن من الله

He said: I met Musa bin Ja’afar and told him: Tell me about the Imam after you like your father did. al Kathim said: My father’s time is unlike my time.  I said: If anyone accepts this (answer) from you then may the curse of Allah befall them. al Kathim laughed and said: I tell you O Abu Amarah that I left home today after making Wasiyah apparently to my sons making them partners in this with my son Ali. I had given secretly only him the Wasiyah and if this were up to me I would have appointed my son al Qassim because of my extreme love for him. But this is for Allah to decide. It had come to me with the news of the Prophet PBUH and my grandfather Ali bin abi talib who told me: this matter(Imamah) had been taken away from you and transferred to someone else, I asked: O prophet of Allah show me him? Which one of them(his sons) is he? The Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) said: I never saw anyone who was more fearful from leaving this matter than you, if it were a matter of love then your father would have appointed Ismael instead of you but this is from Allah.

Sources: Uyoun Akhbar al Reda (1/34), al Kafi (1/313) by Muhammad bin Ya’aqoub al Kulayni, I’ilam al Wara p306 by al Fadl bin al Hassan al Tabrasi, Bihar al Anwar (11/49)(48/310), Ithbat al Hudat (3/230).

4- The Shia after the death of Imam Ali bin Musa al Reda (died 203 hijri):

The Shia of Ali bin Musa split to a couple of groups among them: A group believed in his Imamah and the Imamah and death of his father Musa. But after al Reda died they went back to Waqf (meaning they went back to believing that Musa bin Ja’afar did not die and he is the Mahdi). This group is al Muallafah (المؤلفة). A group was called al-Muhdathah (المحدثة، كانوا من أهل الإرجاء من أصحاب الحديث) from the people of Irjaa of the people of Hadith (Murjiaah) and they entered in the belief of Imamah of Musa bin Ja’afar and Ali bin Musa after him and they became shia for worldly gains but when al Reda died they left and went back to what they were before. A group was amongst the strongest and most influential of the Zaidi Shia had accepted the Imamah of al Reda when they saw that he had really strong relations with the Abbasi Caliph al Maamoun. They joined only for worldly gains then left after the death of al Reda.A group had accepted Ahmad bin Musa bin Ja’afar as their Imam.

Source: Firaq al Shia page 86 and after it, al Fusoul al Mukhtara page 256.

5- The shia after the death of Imam Muhammad bin Ali al Jawad (died 220 hijri):

Some of his shia disagreed on their next Imam: His companions who stuck with him until the end followed his son and successor Muhammad bin Ali. Some of them left him to say that his brother Musa bin Muhammad is the Imam and after a short time they rejected the Imamah of Musa and went back to the Imamah of his brother Ali who died shortly after.

Source: Firaq al Shia page 91.

6- The Shia after the death of Imam Ali al Hadi al Askari (died 254 hijri):

Some of the shia of Ali bin Muhammad disagreed on who succeeds him: A group of his companions believed in the Imamah of his son Muhammad who had died in his father’s life in “Sirr man Ra’ā” (The name of the Mahdi’s Sirdab) they claimed that he was alive and did not die. The proof was that they said his father had pointed to his Imamah and that the Imam is forbidden from lying and badaa is impermissible. So even if it appeared that he died but in reality he did not die. Just his father feared for him so he sent him to occultation and he is al Qa’em al Mahdi. They said about him the same things which were said regarding Ismael bin Ja’afar, and the majority of Ali bin Muhammad’s companions went to the Imamah of his son Hassan bin Ali. They  proved the Imamah for him by his father’s will, he was called Abu Muhammad as his Kuniyah. A small group had leaned towards his brother Ja’afar bin Ali and they said: “His father appointed him by will after the passing of Muhammad and he showed that he must be obeyed and clarified his position”. They denied the Imamah of his brother Muhammad saying: “His father did this to protect him and the Imam in reality was Ja’afar bin Ali”.

Source: Firaq al Shia page 94.

7- The Shia after the death of Imam al-Hassan bin Ali al-Askari (died 260 hijri):

The shia of Imam al Hassan bin Ali split to more than ten groups:n A group said that Al Hassan bin Ali al Askari did not die but he is in occultation and he is al Qa’em (Mahdi), and it is haram to say he is dead. Because the earth will perish without an Imam, he also never had any children to succeed him. A group said that he died and then came back to life and he is al Qa’em al Mahdi. He is the Qa’em because he died and was resurrected and he has no children and if he did have a child then he wouldn’t have been resurrected because the Imamah would have been transmitted to his child. He didn’t give wasiyah to anyone thus he is surely the Qa’em .A group said Al Hassan bin Ali died and his successor is his brother Ja’afar whom he gave the wasiyah thus he is the Imam and his children after him. A group said that Ja’afar was the Imam but his brother Hassan wasn’t an Imam nor was his bother Muhammad. Because Muhammad died during the life of his father and al Hassan died without a son and he was a liar who claimed Imamah. The proof for them was that an Imam never passes away until he gives wasiyah to his successor thus al Hassan never had any children so his Imamah wasn’t correct. Also al Hassan & Ja’afar couldn’t be Imams at the same time because Abu Abdullah said “No two brothers shall become imams at the same time after Hassan & Hussein”.  So Ja’afar took the wasiyah from his father not his brother. A group said the Imamah goes to Muhamad Bin Ali who died in the time of his father and that Hassan and Ja’afar claimed what isn’t rightfully theirs, and that their father never appointed or assigned any of them as Imams.  And especially Ja’afar who has extremely negative qualities which make him unfit to receive it. As for Hassan he died without a son and that is unacceptable in an Imam. We now know that Muhammad is the Imam and his father pointed to him clearly.A group said that Al Hassan had a son who was born eight months after his death and all those who claimed he had a son during his life are liars because if he did then he wouldn’t hide this nor would his family.  And companions hide it nor would that be acceptable of an imam. His father in his wasiyah ordered to call him Muhammad and the proof of this is a narration from Abu al Hassan al Redah. A group said there is no son for Hassan because we searched for this and asked for it but never found anything to point to his son. We cannot claim that he had a hidden son because then we could claim this for every dead Imam or we could even say that the prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) had another son who was a prophet but is hidden. Also we could say Abdullah bin Ja’afar had a hidden son and that Abu al Hassan al Redah had three sons other thanAbu Ja’afar and one of them was the Imam.  Because the news of al Hassan’s death without a son is like that of the prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) dying without a son from his own blood.  Or Abdullah bin Ja’afar having a son or Abu al Hassan having four sons. A group said the death of Al Hassan’s father and grandfather is true thus the news of his death.  It is also true and there is no Imam after him and there is possibility that the Imamah will end at some point as we hear in the narration from the two Sadiqs that the earth will never be without an imam unless Allah is angry at the people because of their sins.  So the Hujjah will be lifted for some time and Allah does what he wants and this does not mean that the concept of Imamah is incorrect in any way. This had also happened in the time between Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam) and Jesus (alaihi salam). In that period there was no Imam or prophet  for 300 or 200 years, and al Sadiq said: The Period is the time when the earth will be without an Imam or a prophet. The earth today is without an Imam until Allah sends one from the progeny of Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam). A group said: Abu Ja’afar “Muhammad bin Ali” who died in his father’s life is the Imam by the order of his father who clearly mentioned his name. A group said when asked “Is Ja’afar or his brothers the Imams?”, they replied: We do not know if he is from Al Hassan’s brothers or from his progeny. Al Hassan was the Imam and he is now dead and the earth will never be without a hujjah. So we can’t say anything until this matter becomes clearer. A group said Al Hassan bin Ali was the Imam and he is dead so the Imamah goes to Ja’afar bin Ali,  just like Musa bin Ja’afar was an Imam after Abdullah bin Ja’afar, because it was narrated that after an Imam passes away then the Imamah will be for the elder son. What Al Sadiq said “There will be no two brother Imams after Hassan and Hussein” this is true, but if the first one didn’t have a son then it must necessarily go to his brother As for the narration which states that “An Imam will be washed only by another Imam”,  they said this is true and claimed that Ja’afar bin Muhammad was washed by Musa.  They also claimed that Abdullah ordered this because he was the Imam after him but it’s ok that Musa did it because he is a silent Imam in the presence of Abdullah. This team is the Fathiyah who allow the Imamah of two brothers after Hassan and Hussein, if the first never had a son and according to this their Imam was Ja’afar bin Ali. A group said the Imam after al Hassan is his son Muhammad and he is al Hujjah but he is currently dead and when he is resurrected he will carry the sword and fill the world with justice and love after it was filled with hatred and oppression. A group said that all the others were wrong and that Al Hassan did have a son during his life called Muhammad and he is al Qa’em and he is alive and he has two Ghaybas (occultations) a minor one when his father dies and a major one after the death of Abu al Hassan ali bin Muhammad al Samiri the final emissary, and this has been going since that time.

Sources: look for details of each team in the book “Firaq al Shia” Page 96 by Al Hassan bin Musa Abu Muhammad al Nawbakhti, also in the books “Al Fusool al mukhtara” page 261 & “Bihar al Anwar” (37/20) and (50/336).

I leave you to draw your own conclusions… Just quick note, if anyone in the time of first imam would have the clear text from prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa ala alihi wa sallam), where all imams would be mentioned by name, then shias wouldn’t break to pieces after death of each from their imams. This contradiction in the surroundings of shias in itself a good fact that no one, even those mentioned imams didn’t have any list with 12 names on their hands.

{But those who are unjust follow their [own] desires without knowledge. Then who can guide one whom Allah has sent astray? And for them there are no helpers.}[Holy Qur’an – 30:29]

و صلى الله علىسيدنا و حبيبنا محمد و على آله و صحبه و سلم