Answered by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad
Wa alaykum as-Salam wa rahmatullah wa-barakatuh:
The narrations on "the Sufyani" are too weak to be part of the Muslim creed. They come for the most part through Nu`aym ibn Hammad and no-one
The Prophet supposedly said, upon him blessings and peace: "I warn you
against seven kinds of dissension" mentioning, among them, a dissension that hails from the East – that is, Najd – and a dissension that hails from within Sham – and that, the Companion-narrator supposedly said, is al-Sufyani.
Narrated from Ibn Mas`ud by Nu`aym ibn Hammad in Kitab al-Fitan (1:55) and, from him, by al-Hakim in the Mustadrak (4:468-469=1990 ed. 4:515) who declared it sahih, while al-Dhahabi said: "This is one of the marvels of Nu`aym ibn Hammad." The chain also contains al-Walid ibn `Ayyash who is unknown. In his chapter on Nu`aym in the Siyar, al-Dhahabi said: "Nu`aym is among the huge receptacles of knowledge but there is always a nagging suspicion as to his narrations."
A forgery on al-Sufyani is mentioned in the book "Al-Mahdi al-Muntazar" by Abu Fadl Abd Allah ibn Muhammad as-Siddiq al-Ghumari. It is the long hadith (on page 46 of the first edition, printed 1405 hijri) in the section of ahadith transmitted by Abu Hudhayfa, starting with the words:
wa qala rasulullahi –sallaAllahu alaihi wa sallam: "Idha kharajat as-sudan talabat al-arab fayuksafuna hatta yulqaw bibatni l-ard, aw qala bibatni l-urdun, fabaynama hum kadhalik, idha kharaja as-Sufyanu fi sittina wa thalathamiatin min rakib . . ."
This translation of the above report was circulated: <<"When the Ethiopians come after the Arabs they will be defeated and thrown into the lowest part of the earth. While these circumstances exist, As-Sufyani will come with three hundred and sixty riders until he reaches Damascus. After a month, he will be followed by thirty-thousand from Kalb, so he will send an army to Iraq and kill a hundred thousand in Az-Zawra. Then they will go to Kufa and pillage. When this occurs a banner will come from the east led by a man from Tamim called Shuayb, the son of Salih who will restore what is in their hands from the captured people of Kufa and he will kill them. Then, another army from As-Sufyani will go to Al Medina and pillage it for three days and thereafter proceed towards Mecca until they find themselves in a desert. Then, Allah will send Gabriel and say to him, 'Chastise them!' So he will beat them with his leg once and Allah will cause them to be swallowed up. None will remain except two men who will return to As-Sufyani to inform him of the swallowing-up of his army, but this will not scare him. Several men from the Koraysh will escape to Constantinople and As-Sufyani will send to the leader of the Romans who will return them to him and he will slit their throats together with their followers. At that time a voice will come from Heaven saying: 'O people, surely Allah prevents dictatorship, tyrants and their followers for you and gives leadership to the best of the nation of Muhammad. So join him in Mecca -- he is Al Mahdi!" Then, Hudhayfah asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, how shall we know him?' He replied: "He is a man from my children, he looks like the men from the children of Israel, upon him are two white cloaks with frayed edges. His face is like a colorful, glittering star, upon his right cheek there is a black mole and he is forty years old. Al Abdal and those looking like them will come to him from Syria. An-Nujaba will come to him from the dwellers of Egypt and groups of dwellers from the east, and those looking like them until they all gather together in Mecca and so they will pledge their allegiance to him between Al Rukn and Al Makam. Then he will direct himself towards Syria with Gabriel at his front and Michael at his middle and the dwellers of Heaven and Earth will be joyful because of him. Water will be plentiful in his country and the river will be spread and treasures found. When he reaches Syria he will slay As-Sufyani under the tree, the branches of which grow in the direction of Lake Tiberias
and he will kill Kalb. So the loser of that Day of Kalb is he who does not gain even a rein." Hudhaybah asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, praise and peace be upon him, how is it permitted to kill them when they believe in the Oneness?' The Messenger of Allah, praise and peace be upon him, replied: "O Hudhayfah, they are at that time apostates, they claim that wine is permitted and do not pray." The preceding Hadiths were narrated by Hudhayfah and are found in the references of Abu Nuaym, At-Tabarani, and Abu Amru Ad Dani.>>
This hadith is forged. The Prophet, upon him peace, supposedly mentions al-Kufa in it without anyone asking, "What is al-Kufa?" - decades before it existed. Other signs of forgery include the inordinate length of the hadith, its emphasis on factual details in journalistic fashion, and the fact that *no one* narrates it except a string of unknowns.
It would be safer to stick to the similar but unspecific hadiths of Hudhayfa in the Sahihayn or those from Umm Salama, Abu Hurayra, and Abu Sa`id al-Khudri in the Sunan. All of them mention the Mahdi without naming the Sufyani. And Allah knows best.
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