Banu Amin 2 reports from ibn 'Abbas the cause of the revelation of that verse and says: "The verse concerns the people who will sink in the desert of Bayda' and who will be eighty thousand from Sufyani's 3 army and will march from Damascus with the intention of destroying the Ka'ba. When
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2 Tafsir Makhzan al- Irfan : Vol. 8, p. 311
3 See note 17 concerning the Sufyani.
they are close to the desert of Mecca, all of them will be swallowed up by the earth, and the meaning of "they will be seized from a position (quite) near" in the verse is that they will be in danger right under their own feet (which is the closest place to them) and these will be the people of Sufyani who will live again at the End of Time. Sufyani will send an army to demolish the Holy Ka'ba and among the eighty thousand people, only two will survive. One of them will bring the news to the people of Mecca and the other one will go back to inform Sufyani about the event."
Banu Amin also reports from the Minhaj al-Sadiqin a tradition from Hudhayfah, who said that: "I heard from the Prophet who said while giving information about the events of the End of Time: `Sufyani will come out and will send an army from the arid land to Damascus (toward the East) and another one to Medina. When they (the army toward the East) reach Babylon, which is located between the lands of Medina and Bagdad, they will kill more than a thousand people, open up the women's wombs and kill three hundred well-known men from the family of the Bani 'Abbas; then they will move toward Kufa and will destroy the whole area; after that, they will go to Sham while a guided army emerges from Kufa who will follow them and after two days of traveling they will kill most of its members, pillaging and taking captives. And Sufyani will send one of his armies to Medina and for three days and nights, they will pillage the city, then move to Mecca, and then they will reach Bayda', God will send Gabriel
to destroy them. Gabriel will hit the earth with his feet and all of them will at once be swallowed up by the earth and this is the meaning of the words of God : "If thou couldst but see when they will quake with terror; but then there will be no escape (for them), and they will be seized from a position (quite) near" and among them two people will survive, Bashir and Nadhir; Bashir will inform the people of Mecca and Nadhir will frighten Sufyani, informing him of the annihilation of his people; and both of these survivors will be from Juhayna.' This tradition is reported by our Companions from Abi Ja'far and Abi `Abdillah among the traditions of the reappearance of the Mahdi"