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Thank you for your question. The relationship Imam Ali (as) had with the first three Caliphs was cordial, but that doesn’t mean that he condoned their usurping the Caliphate. Rather, the Imam (as) was careful not to sow the seeds of discord in the Muslim Community and after the people had decided not to follow the advice of the Prophet (saw), he worked for Islam within the parameters of the situation he faced. The Shia disapprove of the actions of first three Caliphs as they went against what they consider the express guidance of the Prophet (saw).

May you always be successful.

In Sunni books as well as Shia books, it is narrated that The Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) has clearly said:  My successors will be twelve , all of them from Bani Hashim.

This is one of Sunni very important books which narrated this Hadeeth:

Yanabee' Al-Mawaddah by Al-Qundoozi Al-Hanafi, Vol 3, Page 445.

The narration of Quraysh is the ne which has been publicized by those who dont want to mention Ahlul Bayt (AS).

Many prominent Sunni scholars e.g. Al Qondoozi Al-Hanafi admit that the twelve successors of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) are the twelve Imams from Ahlul Bayt (AS) from Imam Ali (AS), then his son Imam Hasan (AS) , then Imam Husain (AS) till Imam Al-Mahdi (AS).

But many other Sunni scholars wrote about the twelve successors in different ways. Ibn Taymiyyah after admitting that the twelve successors of the Prophet Muhammad are mentioned in Torah and Bible, claimed that Yazeed, son of Mo'awiyah is one of the twelve successors.

Ibn Arabi Al- Makki who is a well known Sunni Sufi scholar claimed that Al-Mutawakkil Al-Abbasi is one of them.

You find in Sunni books different claims about the twelve successors upto the extend that Ibn Al-Jawzi who was a prominent Sunni scholar said when he mentioned the Hadeeth of twelve successors:  I can not understand the meaning of it.

This mess among the Sunni scholars adds that the real twelve successors after of the Prophet are none but the 12 Imams from Ahlul Bayt (AS) about whom the Prophet himself mentioned with their names in many authentic Hadeeths including Hadeeth from Jaabir bn Abdillah Al-Ansaari who was told the names of the twelve successors by he Prophet himself.


The term al-khilafa al-rashida (the rightly guided caliphate) was coined around or soon after the time of the civil wars that took place between Imam ‘Ali b. Abi Talib and his opponents.

It was designed to contrast the period of the first 3 caliphs, who were promoted as rightly guided, against the rule of 'Ali who was being denigrated by this comparison.

This will probably come as a surprise to our Sunni friends who clearly believe that ‘Ali is very much a part of the rashidun caliphs.

Yes it’s true today, but it wasn’t the case when this term was coined and the fictitious hadith was invented, amongst so many others, in order to give power to this anti-’Ali propaganda.

Here’s that work of fiction referred to in the question:

“Adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided successors after me. Hold on to it and cling on to it stubbornly.”

This narration is recorded by Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah.

A study of the various chains of narration shows multiple weak and unreliable characters. But notice these ones in particular and see if you can find a pattern.

  • Khalid b. Ma’dan b. Abi Karib al-Kitabi - Belonged to Hims, a Syrian town under the rule of Mu’awiya that was notorious for its people's enmity towards ‘Ali, and he was the chief of police of Yazid b. Mu’awiyah!
  • Thawr b. Yazid - Belonged to Hims as mentioned by al-Dhahabi (Mizan al-I’tidal, vol. 1, p. 374). As mentioned by Ibn Hajar ‘al-’Asqalani (Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 2, p. 34) he hated ‘Ali who had killed his father in a battle. ‘Abd Allah b. Mubarak refrained from narrating from him and considered him a heretic (fasid al­-madhhab).
  • Hajar b. Hajar al-Kila'i - Belonged to Hims and was considered of unknown standing as mentioned by Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 3, p. 118.

So this fake hadith was put in circulation to undermine the legitimacy of ‘Ali. Later, after the fall of the Umayyads and the rise of the ‘Abbasid’s, Sunni theology and creed started to take shape. And the chapter of the hatred of ‘Ali was officially closed.

‘Ali was now considered the fourth of these rashidun caliphs.