The Conditional Promise
"Allâh has promised to those of you who believe and do righteous actions, that He will certainly grant them succession (khilâfah) 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." [Sûrah Nûr 24:55]
'Ubayy Ibn Ka'b relates that the Messenger of Allâh (sallallâhu '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-Hâfidh Ibn Kathîr (d.774H) rahimahullâh said:  "This is a promise from Allâh the Most High to His Messenger, may the Prayers of Allâh and the peace be upon him, that he will make this Ummah the khulafâ` (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. Allâh the Blessed, the Most High has fulfilled His promise, and to Him belongs all praise and thanks. For the Prophet (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) did not die until Allâh 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 (sallallâhu '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 Allâh have mercy upon him and grant him nobility.
After the Messenger of Allâh (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) died, Allâh having chosen for him the reward that is with Him, Abû Bakr as-Siddîq was then established as his Khalîfah (successor), taking charge unwaveringly. Abû Bakr took the Arabian peninsula and put it in order. He sent forth armies of Islâm to the lands of Persia, under the command of Khâlid Ibnul-Walîd (radiyallâhu '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 Abû 'Ubaydah (radiyallâhu 'anhu) and those who followed him. A third army was sent to Egypt under the leadership of 'Amr Ibnul-'آs (radiyallâhu '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 Hawrân and it's surroundings.
Allâh the Mighty and Majestic took the soul of Abû Bakr choosing for him the reward which is with Him. Allâh blessed the people of Islâm by inspiring asSiddîq to chose 'Umar al-Fârûq 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 Kisrâ (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 Allâh as the Messenger of Allâh had informed and promised may the most complete salâm and most purest salât be bestowed upon the Messenger from his Lord.
Then there was the rule of 'Uthmân, under whom the possessions of Islâm 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 Qayrawân and the lands of Ceuta which is next to the all encompassing ocean; and to the farthest lands of China. Kisrâ was killed and his kingdom totally vanquished. The cities of al-'Irâq, Khurâsân and Ahwâz were conquered and the Muslims slew a large number of Turks. Allâh having humiliated the Turks and their great king Kha-Khân. The wealth of the east and the west was collected and brought to the Amîrul-Mu`minîn (leader of the Believers) 'Uthmân Ibn 'Affân (radiyallâhu 'anhu). All of this came about as a result of his recitation, study and gathering the Ummah upon the preservation of the Qur`ân.
It is confirmed in the Sahîh that the Messenger of Allâh (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Indeed Allâh 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 Allâh has promised us with and in what His Messenger has promised. Allâh and His Messenger have spoken the truth. We ask Allâh to grant us îmân (faith) in Him and His Messenger, and that we establish gratitude of what Allâh has given us, in the matter that He is please with.
'Umar related to us, that Sufyân related to us from 'Abdul-Malik Ibn 'Umayr, from Jâbir Ibn Samurah who said: I heard the Messenger of Allâh (sallallâhu '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 (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) then said something which I could not make not. So I asked my father: What did the Messenger of Allâh (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) say? He replied: "They are all from Quraysh."
This narration is also narrated by al-Bukhârî. 
In this narration there exists a clear evidence that all twelve of these man must be leaders from Quraysh. They are not the twelve imâms claimed by the Shî'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, Abû Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthmân and 'Alî (radiyallâhu'anhum). After these four there was a gap. Others amongst the twelve appeared as and when Allâh willed. It is possible that some of them will appear during a time which only Allâh the Most High knows. Amongst them will be the Mahdî whose name will be that of the Messenger (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam), and his kunyâ (nickname) that of his kunyâ. He will fill the earth with justice as it is filled with tyranny and injustice.
Imâm Ahmad, Abû Dâwûd, at-Tirmidhî and an-Nisâ`î have all reported from the hadîth of Sa'îd Ibn Juhmân, from Safînah the mawlâ (master) of the Messenger of Allâh (sallalâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) that the Messenger of Allâh (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:
"The Khilâfah (successorship) after me will last for thirty years. Then kingship will appear." 
Indeed ar-Rabî' Ibn Anas has said that Abul-'آliyah has remarked concerning this âyah: "The Prophet (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his Companions were in Makkah for ten years afraid, secretly calling to Allâh and His worship alone, He has no partner. They remained in such a state that they were ordered to migrate to al- Madînah. They were ordered by Allâh to fight. Whilst they were (in al-Madînah) 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 Allâh willed, until one day when one individual from amongst the Companions said: "O Messenger of Allâh! 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 Allâh (sallallâhu '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."
Allâh sent down this âyah and made his Prophet victorious over the Arabian Peninsula. The Companions of the Prophet were now safe and they could lay down their weapons. Allâh the Most High then took the soul of His Prophet (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and the Muslims remained in such a state during the leadership of Abû Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthmân; 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 Allâh changed their state. One of the Salaf has remarked that the khilâfah of both Abû Bakr and 'Uthmân was true. He then recited this âyah, al-Barâ` Ibn 'آzib has said: "This âyah was revealed whilst we were in a state of extreme fear." This noble âyah 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. Allâh) provided a safe place for you, and strengthened you with His help and provided you good things so that you might be grateful." [Sûratul-Anfâl 8:26]
And the statement of Allâh the Most High :
"As he granted that to those before them." This âyah is similar to what Allâh said about Mûsâ ('alayhis-salâm) 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." [Sûratul-A'râf 7:129]
Allâh 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..." [Sûrah Qasas 28:5-6]
And Allâh'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 Allâh (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said to 'Adî Ibn Hâtim when 'Adî came as a delegation to the Messenger. The Messenger (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Do you know Hira?" 'Adî replied: “I have not seen it, but I have heard of it."The Messenger (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) then said: "By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! Allâh will not complete this matter (i.e. Islâm) 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 Kisrâ Ibn Hurmuz." I (i.e. 'Adî) replied: "Kisrâ Ibn Hurmuz!" The Prophet (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) replied: "Yes! Kisrâ Ibn Hurmuz. Money will be spent until no one will accept it."'Adî Ibn Hâtim 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 Kisrâ. And by Him in Whose Hand is my soul! The third matter will come to pass because the Messenger of Allâh (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) has said so."
Ahmad reports upon 'Ubayy Ibn Ka'b who said that the Messenger of Allâh (sallallâhu '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 Allâh: " They worship Me alone and do not associate anything with Me." Ahmad reports upon Mu'âdh who said:
`I was sitting behind the Prophet (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and I except the end of his saddle. The Prophet said to me: "O Mu'âdh Ibn Jabal!" I said: "Here I am O Messenger of Allâh in your service." The Prophet said: "Do you know what is the Right of Allâh upon His servants?" I said: "Allâh and His Messenger know best." He said: "The Right of Allâh 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'âdh Ibn Jabal!" I said: "Here I am O Messenger of Allâh at your service." The Prophet said: "Do you know what is the right of the servants upon Allâh if they worship Him alone?" I said: "Allâh and His Messenger know best." He said: "The right of the servants upon Allâh is that He does not punish whomsoever does not associate anything with Him."
This narration is also narrated in the two Sahîhs. 
And the statement of Allâh: "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 (radiyallâhu 'anhum) were the most upright and obedient of the people after the Prophet (sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) in fulfilling the commands of Allâh the Mighty and Majestic their victory was accordingly. The Companions of the Prophet made the Word of Allâh supreme, so Allâh 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 Allâh's Commands, their victory accordingly fell short. It is, however, affirmed in both Sahîhs (i.e. al-Bukhârî and Muslim) in many ways from the Messenger of Allâh (sallallâhu '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 Allâh's favour comes, and they are like that." 
And in a narration: "Until the last of them fights the Anti-Christ (Masîhud-Dajjâl)."  All of these narrations are authentic and there is no contradiction between them.
Imâm 'Abdur-Rahmân Ibn Nâsir as-Sa'dî (d.1376H) said:
"This is one of His true promises whose meaning and accomplishment has been witnessed. He promised those who came with îmân (faith) and 'amalus-sâlih (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 Islâm, 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, andthey 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, Allâh promised them these things when the âyah 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 Islâm and full security such as would enable them to worship Allâh, not associating anything with Him in a state of not having to fear anyone besides Allâh.
So the first and foremost of this Ummah combined îmân 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 Allâh. This applies until the Hour is established that whenever the Muslims combine îmân (faith) and righteous and correct action then that which Allâh promises will certainly occur. Indeed Allâh only grants that they be overcome by the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and that they suffer humiliation when the Muslims neglect îmân and righteous and correct action." 
 Sahîh: Related by Ahmad (5/134) and al-Hâkim (4/311); and it was authenticated by al-Hâfidh al-Mundhirî in Targhîb wat-Tarhîb (1/31).
 Tafsîr Qur`ânil-'Adthîm (3/311-313)
 Related by Muslim (8/171) and Abû Dâwûd (no. 4252), from Thawbân (radiyallâhu 'anhu).
 Related by al-Bukhârî (6/416), Muslim (6/3-4) and Ahmad (5/101), the wording is from Ahmad.
 Sahîh: Related by Abû Dâwûd (no. 4646), at-Tirmidhî (2/35) and others. It was authenticated by at-Tabarî in his I'tiqâd (p. 8), and by al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajar in Fathul-Bârî (13/182).
 Sahîh: Related by Ahmad (4/134) and al-Hâkim (4/311) and it was authenticated by al-Albânî in Ahkâmul-Janâ`iz (p. 52).
 Related by al-Bukhârî (6/58) and Muslim (1/232)
 Related by Muslim (6/52-53) and at-Tirmidhî (2/36), from Thawbân (radiyallâhu 'anhu).
 Sahîh: Related by Ahmad (4/492), Abû Dâwûd (1/388-389) and al-Hâkim (4/450), from 'Imrân Ibn Husayn (radiyallâhu 'anhu). It was authenticated by al-Albânî in as-Sahîhah (no. 1959).
 Taysîrul-Karîmir-Rahmân (4/123)