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Last Updated: 2010/01/19
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Do the ahadith explain who the Sofyani, Yamaani, Khorasani, Shu’ayb Ibn Saleh, and Zarghawi exactly are?
I read this book that had explained the ahadith related to the end of time and the twelfth Imam's Dhuhur (Emergence), it said that there is a great possibility we are living in the last era of human life and that this is the era in which the twelfth Imam will reappear. Please explain who the Sofyani, Zarghawi, Yamaani, Khorasani and Shu’ayb Ibn Saleh are and mention the ahadith that show how we can recognize these individuals.
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Detailed Answer

The ahadith have not mentioned all of the signs of the "end of time", the time of Imam Mahdi's Dhuhur, instead they have only made mention of some of them which we will explain:

1- The Appearance of the Sofyani: One of the signs of Imam Mahdi's Dhuhur is the appearance of the one named Sofyani. [1] The ahadith mention that the Sofyani is among the descendants of Utbah Ibn Abi Sofyan and that he is an evil person. [2] The Sofyani which is one of the enemies of Imam Mahdi will rise against him but will be swallowed by the earth by Allah’s (swt) decree along with his followers in a place named "Beyda" (which today is located in Yemen or between Mecca and Medinah). [3]

2- Yamaani: There are several ahadith that mention the appearance of the Yamaani before the Dhuhur of the twelfth Imam. In this regard Imam Sadiq says: "There are five signs for our Dhuhur (the Dhuhur of the twelfth Imam), the appearance of Sofyani and Yamaani, the loud cry in the sky, the murder of 'Nafse Zakeyyah' and the earth swallowing [a group of people] in the land of 'Beyda'." [4] In another hadith by Imam Baqir, the imam says: "The appearance of Sofyani, Yamaani and Khorasani will take place in one year, one month and one day (at the same time), they will take place as a series of events that are all connected by one string… among these individuals the Yamani is the closest to guidance, for he calls the people to join the Imam.  When he rises the trading of weapons will be prohibited for every Muslim. When he rises join him immediately, for his flag is the flag of guidance and prosperity and no Muslim should oppose it. Any one who does so will go to hell, because the Yamaani calls to the right path.” [5]

Therefore according to the ahadith narrated from the prophet's household the Yamani symbolizes a movement that opposes the deviations that will take place during the absence of Imam Mahdi. [6]

3- Khorasani: Another sign of the Imam's Dhuhur is the rising of black flags from the land of Khorasan (located in Iran today).

In a hadith by Imam Ali he says: "You should expect the Dhuhur (of the Twelfth Imam) when three things happen." The Imam was asked: "What are they?" He responded: "… and the rising of black flags from Khorasan." [7]

Imam Baqir (as) says: "The black flags will rise from Khorasan and move until they reach the city of Kufah, there they will wait, when the Imam appears, he will send for them to get their bey’ah (allegiance)." [8]

This hadith indicates that the rising of the black flags will take place close to the Imam's appearance.

It has also been narrated that the Khorasani is one Imam Hossein's descendants. [9]

4- Shu’ayb Ibn Saleh: The ahadith say that Shu’eyb Ibn Saleh will rise from the city of "Samarqand". [10]  He is a righteous individual who along with his army, according to the ahadith, are eager to do Jihad in the way of Allah. [11]

When the Imam appears the Khorasani and his troops will move ahead of the Imam and his army to protect and shield them, and will be of the first to sacrifice their lives for him. [12]

As for the name Zarghawi, it hasn’t been mentioned in the ahadith, not as a sign of the Dhuhur and not for anything else.

One important point that must be remembered is that because these individuals have not been introduced in detail in our ahadith, the attributes ascribed to them can cover many people because of their broadness, and identifying exactly who the ahadith are speaking of is very taxing, therefore just because for instance a good person in Yemen rises against tyranny doesn’t necessarily mean that it is he whom the hadiths are referring to, the same goes with the Sofyani, Khorasani, Shu’eyb ibn Saleh, etc.

What is misleading for many is when certain individuals apply these hadiths to whom they think they are speaking of, and after a while it turns out that it was a wrong application of the hadiths; this undermines the faith of others and is also an embarrassment for those who have made such claims.

For more information you can refer to Question 3534 (website: 3827), The signs of the emergence of Imam Mahdi (aj) and the book, Ba Gamhaye Sabze Entezar” (Farsi).

[1] Al-Kafi, vol. 8, pg. 310, hadith 483.

[2]   ، [الغیبة للشیخ الطوسی‏] رَوَى حَذْلَمُ بْنُ بَشِیرٍ قَالَ قُلْتُ لِعَلِیِّ بْنِ الْحُسَیْنِ صِفْ لِی خُرُوجَ الْمَهْدِیِّ وَ عَرِّفْنِی دَلَائِلَهُ وَ عَلَامَاتِهِ فَقَالَ یَکُونُ قَبْلَ خُرُوجِهِ خُرُوجُ رَجُلٍ یُقَالُ لَهُ " عَوْفٌ السُّلَمِیُّ بِأَرْضِ الْجَزِیرَةِ وَ یَکُونُ مَأْوَاهُ تَکْرِیتَ وَ قَتْلُهُ بِمَسْجِدِ دِمَشْقَ ثُمَّ یَکُونُ خُرُوجُ شُعَیْبِ بْنِ صَالِحٍ مِنْ سَمَرْقَنْدَ ثُمَّ یَخْرُجُ السُّفْیَانِیُّ الْمَلْعُونُ مِنَ الْوَادِی الْیَابِس وَ هُوَ مِنْ وُلْدِ عُتْبَةَ بْنِ أَبِی سُفْیَانَ فَإِذَا ظَهَرَ السُّفْیَانِیُّ اخْتَفَى الْمَهْدِیُّ ثُمَّ یَخْرُجُ بَعْدَ ذَلِکَ"

[3] Biharul-Anwar, vol. 52, pg. 252, hadith 142; Ali Asghar Rezvani, Mo’ud Shenasi, pg. 524. Adopted from Question 3534 (website: 3827).

[4]   - أخبرنا محمد بن همام قال حدثنا جعفر بن محمد بن مالک الفزاری قال حدثنی عبد الله بن خالد التمیمی قال حدثنی بعض أصحابنا عن محمد بن أبی عمیر عن أبی أیوب الخزاز عن عمر بن حنظلة عن أبی عبد الله ع أنه قال للقائم خمس علامات ظهور السفیانی و الیمانی و الصیحة من السماء و قتل النفس الزکیة و الخسف بالبیداء Gheybah of Nu’mani, chapter 14, pg. 352, hadith 9.

[5] Muhammad Ibrahim Nu’mani, Gheybah Nu’mani, chapter 14, pg. 369.

[6]    سیف بن عمیرة عن بکر بن محمد عن أبی عبد الله ع قال:" خروج الثلاثة السفیانی و الخراسانی و الیمانی فی سنة واحدة فی شهر واحد فی یوم واحد و لیس فیها رایة أهدى من رایة الیمانی لأنه یدعو إلى الحق ".  Muhammad ibn Nu’man Mufid, Al-Irshad, vol. 2, pg. 375.

[7] Gheybah Nu’mani, chapter 14, pg. 363.

[8] Tusi, Al-Gheybah, pg. 274.

[9] Seyyid Asadullah Shahidi, Zamineh Sazane Enqelabe Jahaniye Mahdi, pp. 439 and 445.

[10]   ،[الغیبة للنعمانی‏] مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ هَمَّامٍ عَنِ الْفَزَارِیِّ عَنْ عَلِیِّ بْنِ عَاصِمٍ عَنِ الْبَزَنْطِیِّ عَنْ أَبِی الْحَسَنِ الرِّضَا ع أَنَّهُ قَالَ قَبْلَ هَذَا الْأَمْرِ السُّفْیَانِیُّ وَ الْیَمَانِیُّ وَ الْمَرْوَانِیُّ وَ شُعَیْبُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ فَکَیْفَ یَقُولُ هَذَا هَذَا ( بیان أی کیف یقول هذا الذی خرج إنی القائم یعنی محمد بن إبراهیم أو غیره Biharul-Anwar, vol. 52, pg. 213, hadith 65; Biharul-Anwar, vol. 52, pg. 233, hadith 99.

[11]   - ما یکون عند ظهوره (ع) بروایة المفضل بن عمر:"... لَکَأَنِّی أَنْظُرُ إِلَیْهِمْ عَلَى الْبَرَاذِینِ الشُّهْبِ بِأَیْدِیهِمُ الْحِرَابُ یَتَعَاوَوْنَ شَوْقاً إِلَى الْحَرْبِ کَمَا تَتَعَاوَى الذِّئَابُ أَمِیرُهُمْ رَجُلٌ مِنْ بَنِی تَمِیمٍ یُقَالُ لَهُ شُعَیْبُ بْنُ صَالِحٍ فَیُقْبِلُ الْحُسَیْنُ ع فِیهِمْ وَجْهُهُ کَدَائِرَةِ الْقَمَرِ یَرُوعُ النَّاسَ جَمَالًا فَیَبْقَى عَلَى أَثَرِ الظُّلْمَةِ فَیَأْخُذُ سَیْفَهُ الصَّغِیرَ وَ الْکَبِیرَ وَ الْعَظِیمَ وَ الْوَضِیعَ ثُمَّ ....؛ Biharul-Anwar , vol. 53, pg. 35, chapter 28

"... إذا حان وقت خروجه اقتلع من غمده فناداه السیف اخرج یا ولی الله فلا یحل لک أن تقعد عن أعداء الله یخرج و جبرئیل عن یمینه و میکائیل عن یساره و شعیب بن صالح على مقدمته إن الله انزل علی اثنتی عشرة صحیفة باثنی عشر خاتما اسم کل إمام على خاتمه و صفته فی صحیفته‏..." . Al-Khara’ij wal-Jara’ih, vol. 2, pg. 551 and: Qutbuddin Rawandi, Al-Khra’ij wal-Jara’ih, vol. 3, pg. 1167.

[12]   ،:" إذا حان وقت خروجه اقتلع من غمده فناداه السیف اخرج یا ولی الله فلا یحل لک أن تقعد عن أعداء الله فیخرج و جبرئیل عن یمینه و میکائیل عن شماله و شعیب بن صالح على مقدمته إن شاء الله تعالى إن الله تعالى.." Qutbuddin Rawandi, Al-Khra’ij wal-Jara’ih, vol. 3, pg. 1167 and: Ali ibn Yunus Nabati Bayadhi, Al-Siratul-Mustaqim, vol. 2, pg. 155.

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