The Shi‘ah subscribe to the belief of the Imaamah of twelve Imaams. These personalities whom they claim to be their Imaams were from the Mubaarak household of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and many of them were born after the era of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
The following are the names of the twelve Imaams:
1. Hazrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)
2. Hazrat Hasan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)
3. Hazrat Husain (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)
4. Zain-ul-‘Aabideen, Hazrat ‘Ali bin Husain (rahimahullah)
5. Hazrat Muhammed Baaqir (rahimahullah)
6. Hazrat Ja’far Saadiq (rahimahullah)
7. Hazrat Musa Kaazim (rahimahullah)
8. Hazrat ‘Ali Al-Ridha (rahimahullah)
9. Hazrat Muhammed Al-Taqi (rahimahullah)
10. Hazrat ‘Ali Al-Naqi (rahimahullah)
11. Hazrat Hasan ‘Askari (rahimahullah)
12. Hazrat Muhammed Mahdi (rahimahullah)
The reality of the matter is that these abovementioned twelve personalities were not the Imaams of the Shi‘ah, Instead, they were from the Ahl-ul-Bayt and the Ahl-us-Sunnah-wal-Jamaa‘ah. They were the leaders of Islam in their eras and led pious and upright lives. Their entire lives are a testimony to the fact that they opposed the ways of the Shi‘ah. In fact, their teachings totally refute the beliefs and practices of the Shi‘ah.
One clear example to prove this is the Shi‘ah practice of mut‘ah. Mut‘ah is for a man to hire a woman for a specific period of time wherein he will satisfy himself with her in lieu of some wealth. According to Shari‘ah, this arrangement is zina (fornication) and is totally haraam.
On the contrary, according to the Shi‘ah, mut‘ah is not only permissible but an act of great virtue and reward. Hence, it is mentioned in the Shi‘ah kitaab “Burhaan-ul-Mut‘ah” (pg. 52) that if a person does mut‘ah once, he reaches the rank of Hazrat Husain (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), if he does it twice, he reaches the rank of Hazrat Hasan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). If he does it thrice, he reaches the rank of Hazrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), and if he does it four times, he reaches the rank of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) – May Allah Ta‘ala forbid!
The Shi‘ah regard Hazrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) as the first and greatest of their twelve Imaams. Hazrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) did not only discourage people from zina, but rather himself mentioned that mut‘ah is haraam.
It is reported in Tirmizi Shareef from Hazrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) that on the occasion of Khaibar, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) prohibited the ummah from practicing mut‘ah with women and from consuming the meat of donkeys. (Sunan Tirmizi #1121)
From this Hadith, we understand that the claim of the Shi‘ah that their Imaams have approved of mut‘ah is totally unfounded and their first “Imaam”, Hazrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), has himself refuted it.