The Twelve Imams In The Old Testament
Ibne Katheer says:
We see the following prophecy in the Tauraat which is in the hands of Jews and the Christians: Indeed Allah, the Exalted, has given Ibrahim (a.s.) the glad tiding of Ismaeel, and he has bestowed a favour and multiplied it and placed in his progeny twelve mighty (personalities).
And he says:
Ibne Taymiyyah said: And these are the same, regarding whom the Prophet (s.a.) has given the glad tidings in the tradition of Jabir bin Samarah and stated their number; indeed this is with regard to the Imams and the Hour will not come till they last.
And many of those who accepted Islam from among the Jews think that they are the same Imams of the Rafizi sect.1
The author says:
The afore-mentioned glad tiding is present in the section of Genesis 17-18:20) of our era. It is also present in the original Hebrew.
The words (of the Lord) to Ibrahim (a.s.) translated from the Hebrew are as follows:
"And as for Ismaeel, I have blessed him, and I have made him fruitful. And I have truly multiplied him, he will beget twelve leaders and I will provide for him a large nation."2
This also indicates that the blessings, fruits and multiplication is in the generation of Ismaeel (a.s.). Shanim Asaar’ means ‘twelve’; and the word ‘Asaar’ is used for a compound number when the counted things are masculine. The singular ‘naasi’ means: Leader, chief, head, etc.3
The Almighty Allah ordered Ibrahim (a.s.) to leave the city of Namrood and go towards Syria. So he left the city with his wife Sarah, and Lut (a.s.) and migrated according to the Divine Order. In the due course, they reached the land of Palestine.
By the Grace of Almighty Ibrahim (a.s.) was bestowed an excess of wealth. He said, "O my Lord what can I make by this wealth, and I do not even have a son ?" The Almighty revealed to him, "I will increase your progeny till it reaches the number of stars." Hajra was the slave girl of Sarah. Sarah bethroted her to Ibrahim (a.s.). She bore for him a son, Ismail (a.s.). The age of Ibrahim (a.s.) was 86 years when Ismail (a.s.) was born to Hajra.4
The Holy Quran mentions in the following words the prayer of Ibrahim (a.s.).
"O Our Lord ! Surely I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near Thy Sacred House, Our Lord ! That they keep up prayer; therefore make the hearts of some people yearn towards them and provide them with fruits; haply they may be grateful." (Surah Ibrahim 14:37)
The holy verse points to the fact that Ibrahim (a.s.) had settled some of his progeny, that is Ismail (a.s.) in the area of Mecca and he also prayed that the Almighty may bestow them with His Mercy and that they remain the medium of guidance for humanity till the end of time. The Almighty accepted his invocation by appointing Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) from his progeny, and after him his twelve successors as the leaders of humanity for the time to come.
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says, "We are that remnant of progeny. And that was the prayer of Ibrahim (a.s.) regarding us."
1Tarikh Ibne Katheer 6:249 and 250.
3Al Mojamul Hadith.
4Tarikh Yaqoobi 1:24-25 (Printed at Qum)