For this verse, Shaykh Tabarsi reports traditions which interpret the verse as concerning the fate of the army of the Sufyani. 2 Indeed, Shaykh Tabarsi 3 reports from Abu Hamza Thumali who said: "I heard Ali ibn al-Husayn and Hasan ibn Hasan ibn Ali saying that they are the army of the desert of Bayda 4 where the earth will swallow them starting by their feet." He added:" `Amr ibn Marah and Hamraan ibn A'yan
1 æ áæ ÊÑí ÅÐ ÝÒÚæÇ ÝáÇ ÝæÊ æ ÂÎÐæÇ ãä ã˜Çä ÞÑíÈ.
2 Among the signs of the Mahdi's reappearance in the traditions is the emergence of the Sufyani (a short time before the Mahdi's appearance) from the region of Syria, who will massacre the Shi'ites, and whose army will be swallowed up by the earth in the desert on the way to Mecca where he planned to destroy the Ka'ba. See Ali Kurani, Asr-e Zuhur, p.90.
3 Majma' al-Bayan, Vol. 20, p.294
4 a desert between Mecca and Medina
told me that they heard from Muhajir ... who said that he heard from Umm Salama who said that the Prophet said: "He will take refuge in the House of God, then God will guide an army towards him until they reach the desert of Bayda' and get swallowed up by the earth."
Also Shaykh Tabarsi reports a tradition from Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman that the Prophet once reminded that: "Discord and unrest between the Westerner and the Asians will occur, and at that time of war between them, the Sufyani will come out with a big army from the valley of Yabes and will reach Damascus. Then he will raise two armies, one toward the East and the other one toward Medina. They (the army toward the East) will enter in the land of Babylon next to Bagdad. They will start killing more than three thousand people, and rape more than a hundred women, and will kill three hundred people from the nobles of Bani al-Abbas (Abbasids). They will then move to Kufa and destroy the areas of Kufa and will move toward Sham. At the same time, a well-guided army will come out of Kufa and will reach them and kill them, and they will not even leave an informant and they will take their captives, goods and booty. The second army will attack Medina and will pillage the city for three days and nights. They will finally move toward Mecca until they enter the land of Bayda'. God will call Jibril (Gabriel) and tell him: '0 Jibril, Go and destroy them!' Then Jibril will go and hit the land of Bayda with his
foot and the army will be swallowed up by the earth and only two men among them will survive from Juhayneh." 1 The author says that this tradition is reported by Tha'labi in his tafsir and similar traditions are also reported by the Shi'ites among the traditions concerning the Mahdi from Abi `Abdillah al-Sadiq (sixth Imam) and Abi Ja'far al-Baqir (fifth Imam).