The Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) said:
لا يَزَالُ هذَا الدِّينُ عَزِيزاً مَنِيعاً إِلَى إثْنى عَشَرَ كُلُّهُمْ مِنْ قُرَيْش
This religion will always remain honorable and protected from the enemies under the leadership of twelve persons , all of whom belong to the Quraish.1
Clear and explicit traditions are narrated in respect of the twelve successors of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) in the most creditable books of the Sunnites including ‘Sahih Bukhari’, ‘Sahih Muslim’. ‘Aahih Tirmidhi’, ‘Sahih Abu Dawood’, ‘Masoud Ahmad’ and many others. The total number of these traditions narrated by Shias and Sunnites are estimated to be 271!
It is interesting to note that the profile of successors per these traditions fits only the twelve Shia Imams. Neither the first four caliphs nor the Umayyid or Abbasid caliphs meet the specifications of this tradition.