“Allaah has promised to those of you who believe and do righteous actions, that He will certainly grant them succession (khilaafah) upon the earth, as He granted it to those before them; and that He will grant them authority to practice their Religion, the one that He has chosen for them and He will change their state from one of fear in which they lived, to one of peace and security. They will worship Me alone, not associating any partner with Me. But whosoever disbelieves after this, then they are the rebellious ones.” [Soorah Noor 24:55]
’Ubayy Ibn Ka’b relates that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “Give glad-tidings to this Ummah of high position, establishment upon this earth, victory and a lofty status in this world and in the Hearafter.” 
Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer (d.774H) – rahimahullaah – said: 
“This is a promise from Allaah – the Most High – to His Messenger, may the Prayers of Allaah and the peace be upon him, that he will make this Ummah the khulafaa‘ (successors) upon the earth. Meaning that they will be the leaders and rulers over mankind, by whom nations will be corrected and to whom mankind will submit. And that He will replace their state of fear in which they lived, to one of security and dominion. Allaah – the Blessed, the Most High – has fulfilled His promise, and to Him belongs all praise and thanks. For the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) did not die until Allaah made him conquer Makkah, Khaybar, al-Bahrain, the remaining lands of the Arabian peninsula and the whole of Yemen. He took jizyah (protection tax) from the Magians of Hajar and from the people of the surrounding areas of Syria. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) received gifts from Heraclius – the king of Rome; the ruler of Egypt and Alexandria – the Mawqawqis; the kings of Oman; and Negus, the king of Ethiopia, who became king after Ashamah died – may Allaah have mercy upon him and grant him nobility.
After the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) died, Allaah having chosen for him the reward that is with Him, Aboo Bakr as-Siddeeq was then established as his Khaleefah (successor), taking charge unwaveringly. Aboo Bakr took the Arabian peninsula and put it in order. He sent forth armies of Islaam to the lands of Persia, under the command of Khaalid Ibnul-Waleed (radiyallaahu ’anhu). They conquered parts of these lands, slaying a number of it’s inhabitants. A second army was sent to the lands of Syria, under the leadership of Aboo ’Ubaydah (radiyallaahu ’anhu) and those who followed him. A third army was sent to Egypt under the leadership of ’Amr Ibnul-’Aas (radiyallaahu ’anhu). It was during his time that the armies sent to Syria conquered the cities of Busra, Damascus and it’s environs from the land of Hawraan and it’s surroundings. Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – took the soul of Aboo Bakr – choosing for him the reward which is with Him. Allaah blessed the people of Islaam by inspiring as-Siddeeq to chose ’Umar al-Faarooq as a successor.
’Umar then stood up, taking charge completely. The heavens will not witness – after the Prophets – anyone like ’Umar, whether in the strength of his reign, or in the fulfillment of justice. It was during his time that the conquest of Syria was completed; as was that of Egypt to it’s farthest reaches, as well as the province of Persia. He destroyed Kisraa (Chosroes) and humiliated him to the utmost, forcing him to retreat back to the farthest reaches of his kingdom. Similarly, ’Umar destroyed Qaysar (Caesar), wrestling from his hands the lands of Syria and bottling him up in Constantinople. He spent the wealth (conquered from them) in the path of Allaah – as the Messenger of Allaah had informed and promised – may the most complete salaam and most purest salaat be bestowed upon the Messenger from his Lord.
Then there was the rule of ’Uthmaan, under whom the possessions of Islaam extended to the furthest eastern and western reaches of the earth. The lands of the west were conquered to the farthest reaches of what lies there – Andulus, Cyprus, the lands of Qayrawaan and the lands of Ceuta – which is next to the all encompassing ocean; and to the farthest lands of China. Kisraa was killed and his kingdom totally vanquished. The cities of al-’Iraaq, Khuraasaan and Ahwaaz were conquered and the Muslims slew a large number of Turks. Allaah having humiliated the Turks and their great king Kha-Khaan. The wealth of the east and the west was collected and brought to the Ameerul-Mu‘mineen (leader of the Believers) ’Uthmaan Ibn ’Affaan (radiyallaahu ’anhu). All of this came about as a result of his recitation, study and gathering the Ummah upon the preservation of the Qur‘aan.
It is confirmed in the Saheeh that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “Indeed Allaah gathered up the earth for me, so that I saw it’s east and it’s west. Indeed the dominion of my Ummah will reach what was gathered up for me, from it.”  We fluctuate in what Allaah has promised us with and in what His Messenger has promised. Allaah and His Messenger have spoken the truth. We ask Allaah to grant us eemaan (faith) in Him and His Messenger, and that we establish gratitude of what Allaah has given us, in the matter that He is please with.
’Umar related to us, that Sufyaan related to us from ’Abdul-Malik Ibn ’Umayr, from Jaabir Ibn Samurah who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) say: “The affair of the people will continue to be upright whilst twelve men are in charge in of them.” The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) then said something which I could not make not. So I asked my father: What did the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) say? He replied: “They are all from Quraysh.” This narration is also narrated by al-Bukhaaree. 
In this narration there exists a clear evidence that all twelve of these man must be leaders from Quraysh. They are not the twelve imaams claimed by the Shaee’ah, because many of them had no leadership over the Muslims. As for these twelve, they will be from Quraysh and they will be just rulers. The glad-tidings of their appearance have also occurred in the previous scriptures. Furthermore, it is not necessary that they succeed one another. Rather, their appearance in the Ummah could be successive or separate. Four of them were in order, namely, Aboo Bakr, ’Umar, ’Uthmaan and ’Alee (radiyallaahu ’anhum). After these four there was a gap. Others amongst the twelve appeared as and when Allaah willed. It is possible that some of them will appear during a time which only Allaah – the Most High – knows. Amongst them will be the Mahdee whose name will be that of the Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), and his kunyaa (nickname) that of his kunyaa. He will fill the earth with justice as it is filled with tyranny and injustice.
Imaam Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, at-Tirmidhee and an-Nisaa‘ee have all reported from the hadeeth of Sa’eed Ibn Juhmaan, from Safeenah – the mawlaa (master) of the Messenger of Allaah (sallalaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “The Khilaafah (successorship) after me will last for thirty years. Then kingship will appear.” 
Indeed ar-Rabee’ Ibn Anas has said that Abul-’Aaliyah has remarked concerning this aayah: “The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions were in Makkah for ten years afraid, secretly calling to Allaah and His worship alone, He has no partner. They remained in such a state that they were ordered to migrate to al-Madeenah. They were ordered by Allaah to fight. Whilst they were (in al-Madeenah) they were in constant fear (of attack). They would go to sleep armed and awake armed. They remained patient upon that state for as long as Allaah willed, until one day when one individual from amongst the Companions said: “O Messenger of Allaah! Will we remain in a state of fear until the end of time? Will there not come a time when we will be in a state of security, so that we may lay down our weapons?” The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) then said: “Be patient for a while, for there will come a time when any man from amongst you will sit in a crowd unharmed.” Allaah sent down this aayah and made his Prophet victorious over the Arabian Peninsula. The Companions of the Prophet were now safe and they could lay down their weapons. Allaah – the Most High – then took the soul of His Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and the Muslims remained in such a state during the leadership of Aboo Bakr, ’Umar and ’Uthmaan; until the Muslims fell into what they fell into from discord. So fear entered into their hearts and they took armies and guards for protection. For they had changed, so Allaah changed their state. One of the Salaf has remarked that the khilaafah of both Aboo Bakr and ’Uthmaan was true. He then recited this aayah, al-Baraa‘ Ibn ’Aazib has said: “This aayah was revealed whilst we were in a state of extreme fear.”
This noble aayah is similar in meaning to His statement – the Most High – :
“And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land and were afraid that men might kidnap you, but He (i.e. Allaah)provided a safe place for you, and strengthened you with His help and provided you good things so that you might be grateful.” [Sooratul-Anfaal 8:26]
And the statement of Allaah – the Most High – : “As he granted that to those before them.” This aayah is similar to what Allaah said about Moosaa (’alayhis-salaam) that he said to his people:
“It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you succeed (the present rulers) upon earth, so that He may see how you act.” [Sooratul-A’raaf 7:129]
Allaah – the Most High – said:
“And We wished to confer a favour upon those who were oppressed in the land; and to make them leaders and to make them heirs; and to establish them upon earth...” [Soorah Qasas 28:5-6]
And Allaah’s statement: “And that He will change their state after the fear in which they lived to one of security and peace.” This is similar to what the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said to ’Adee Ibn Haatim when ’Adee came as a delegation to the Messenger. The Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do you know Hira?” ’Adee replied: ‘I have not seen it, but I have heard of it.” The Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) then said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! Allaah will complete this matter (i.e. Islaam) until a woman will be able to travel from Hira, until she goes around the House not needing the protection of anyone. And you will surely conquer the treasure of Kisraa Ibn Hurmuz.” I (i.e. ’Adee) replied: “Kisraa Ibn Hurmuz!” The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) replied: “Yes! Kisraa Ibn Hurmuz. Money will be spent until no one will accept it.” ’Adee Ibn Haatim said: “Now here is the woman leaving from Hira until she goes around the House. And I was from amongst those who conquered the treasure of Kisraa. And by Him in Whose Hand is my soul! The third matter will come to pass because the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has said so.”
Ahmad reports upon ’Ubayy Ibn Ka’b who said that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has said: “Give glad tidings to this Ummah of ease of life, exalted stature, establishment of their Religion, and victory and leaderhsip upon the earth. Whoever does acts of the Hereafter for this world, he will have no portion of the Hereafter.” 
And the statement of Allaah: “They worship Me alone and do not associate anything with Me.” Ahmad reports upon Mu’aadh who said: ‘I was sitting behind the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and I except the end of his saddle. The Prophet said to me: “O Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal!” I said: “Here I am O Messenger of Allaah in your service.” The Prophet said: “Do you know what is the Right of Allaah upon His servants?” I said: “Allaah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “The Right of Allaah upon the servants is that they worship Him and do not associate anything with Him.” The Prophet continued to ride on for some time and then he said to me: “O Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal!” I said: “Here I am O Messenger of Allaah at your service.” The Prophet said: “Do you know what is the right of the servants upon Allaah if they worship Him alone?” I said: “Allaah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “The right of the servants upon Allaah is that He does not punish whomsoever does not associate anything with Him.” This narration is also narrated in the two Saheehs. 
And the statement of Allaah: “But whoever disbelieved after this, and they are the rebellious ones.” Meaning, whoever steps outside my obedience after that promise, has stepped outside the Command of His Lord, and sufficient is that as a sin. Since the Companions of the Prophet (radiyallaahu ’anhum) were the most upright and obedient of the people after the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in fulfilling the commands of Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – their victory was accordingly. The Companions of the Prophet made the Word of Allaah supreme, so Allaah Himself aided them in such a manner that He subdued for them the rest of mankind, as well as their lands.
When the people after the Prophet’s Companions fell short in adhering to some of Allaah’s Commands, their victory accordingly fell short. It is, however, affirmed in both Saheehs (i.e. al-Bukhaaree and Muslim) in many ways from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) that he said: “There shall not cease to be a group from my Ummah, victorious upon the truth, not being harmed by those who abandoned them or go against them, until Allaah’s favour comes, and they are like that.”  And in a narration: “Until the last of them fights the Anti-Christ (Maseehud-Dajjaal).”  All of these narrations are authentic and there is no contradiction between them.”
Imaam ’Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Naasir as-Sa’dee (d.1376H) said:
“This is one of His true promises whose meaning and accomplishment has been witnessed. He promised those who came with eemaan (faith) and ’amalus-saalih (righteous and correct actions) from this Ummah, that He will cause them to be successors upon this earth, so that they are the ones in authority and in charge of the affairs. Further, that He would establish their Religion – that which He was pleased with for them, which is the Religion of Islaam, which gained ascendancy over all other religions. He was pleased with it for this Ummah, due to its excellence, nobility and favours upon it, in that He enabled them to establish it, and to establish it’s laws and prescriptions – relating both to manifest and non-manifest matters – upon themselves and upon others, so that the people of other religions and the rest of the disbelievers conquered and humbled.
And that He would change their condition of fear to one of security, since it was previously the case that one of them would not be able to manifest his Religion, and they suffered harm and injury from the disbelievers. The united body of Muslims was very small in number, in comparison to the rest of the people of the earth, who combined to attack them and hope for their downfall. However, Allaah promised them these things when the aayah was sent down, at a time when they were not witnessing ascendancy and establishment upon this earth, nor the ability to fully establish the Religion of Islaam and full security – such as would enable them to worship Allaah, not associating anything with Him – in a state of not having to fear anyone besides Allaah.
So the first and foremost of this Ummah combined eemaan and righteous and correct action to a degree surpassing everyone else, so He established them in the land and gave them authority over the people, and granted them the conquest of the east and the west. They attained full security and complete authority and establishment – and this is one of the astounding signs of Allaah. This applies until the Hour is established – that whenever the Muslims combine eemaan (faith) and righteous and correct action – then that which Allaah promises will certainly occur. Indeed Allaah only grants that they be overcome by the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and that they suffer humiliation when the Muslims neglect eemaan and righteous and correct action.” 
 Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (5/134) and al-Haakim (4/311); and it was authenticated by al-Haafidh al-Mundhiree in Targheeb wat-Tarheeb (1/31).
 Tafseer Qur‘aanil-’Adtheem (3/311-313)
 Related by Muslim (8/171) and Aboo Daawood (no. 4252), from Thawbaan (radiyallaahu ’anhu).
 Related by al-Bukhaaree (6/416), Muslim (6/3-4) and Ahmad (5/101), the wording is from Ahmad.
 Saheeh: Related by Aboo Daawood (no. 4646), at-Tirmidhee (2/35) and others. It was authenticated by at-Tabaree in his I’tiqaad (p. 8), and by al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar in Fathul-Baaree (13/182).
 Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (4/134) and al-Haakim (4/311) and it was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Ahkaamul-Janaa‘iz (p. 52).
 Related by al-Bukhaaree (6/58) and Muslim (1/232)
 Related by Muslim (6/52-53) and at-Tirmidhee (2/36), from Thawbaan (radiyallaahu ’anhu).
 Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (4/492), Aboo Daawood (1/388-389) and al-Haakim (4/450), from ’Imraan Ibn Husayn (radiyallaahu ’anhu). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in as-Saheehah (no. 1959).
 Tayseerul-Kareemir-Rahmaan (4/123)
’Ubayy ibn K’ab relates that the Prophet - sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam - said:
“Give good-tidings to this Ummah of high position, establishment upon this earth, victory and a lofty status in this world and in the Hereafter.”
Related by Ahmad (5/134) and al-Hâkim (4/311) and authenticated by al-Hâfidh al-Mundharî in Targhîb wat-Tarhîb (1/31).