Al-Khasf bi l-Baydāʾ (Arabic: الخَسف بالبَیداء) or Khasf al-Baydaʾ (Arabic: خَسف البیداء) is an incident in which the Earth will swallow the land, al-Bayda', that is, the collapse and defeat of the army of Sufyani in the land of al-Bayda', a desert between Mecca and Medina. In some hadiths, this incident is regarded as a decisive sign of the uprising of Imam al-Mahdi (a). This incident is supposed to occur after the Reappearance and before the uprising of Imam al-Mahdi (a).
Meaning and the Geographical Location
The word, "khasf", is used to mean to be engulfed by or to be concealed, and "al-Bayda'" is an arid desert between Mecca and Medina. According to some sources, it is located a mile away from Dhu l-Hulayfa Mosque towards Mecca.
A decisive sign of the uprising of Imam al-Mahdi (a) is said to be "Khasf al-Bayda'" or "al-Khasf bi l-Bayda'". It points to the incident in which Sufyani sends a huge army to Mecca to combat Imam al-Mahdi (a), but they will be swallowed up by the Earth in a miraculous way in a place known as "al-Bayda'" between Mecca and Medina. This incident has been regarded as a sign of Imam al-Mahdi's (a) Reappearance and uprising in both Sunni and Shiite hadiths some of which emphasize it as a decisive sign thereof.
There are no details in hadiths about how the army of Sufyani will be swallowed up by the Earth. Imam al-Baqir (a) said:
- "Sufyani will send a group of people to Medina, and al-Mahdi (a) will move from there to Mecca. The commander of the army of Sufyani will be informed that al-Mahdi (a) has moved to Mecca. He sends an army to chase the Imam (a), but they will not be able find him. Al-Mahdi will enter Mecca with anxiety and fear, just like Moses (a). When the army of Sufyani enters the land of al-Bayda', a herald from the sky cries out: "O the desert! Destroy these people." The Earth will then swallow up the army of Sufyani, and they will all disappear except three."
One survivor of the army, who is referred to in some hadiths as "Bashir", will go to the Imam (a) in Mecca and give him the good news of the disappearance of the army of Sufyani and a brief account of the incident.
Number of the Armed Forces
The incident will occur after the Reappearance but before the uprising of Imam al-Mahdi (a). According to some hadiths, it will happen after the Reappearance, and according to others, it will occur after the allegiance of Imam al-Mahdi's (a) close companions with him. The incident is clearly mentioned in 'Abd al-Razzaq's al-Musannaf, Musnad Ahmad, Musnad Ibn Abi Shayba, and some other sources.
Some people have estimated the incident to occur about one month after the Reappearance.
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