I located these documents and links online and include them for other Christian researchers who are also trying to understand more about the myth, legend and lore of the expected Islamic Messiah who is called the “Imam Mahdi.” – Chase Hunter 01.10.2010
Signs that will Precede the Imam Mahdi
The people will be troubled to such an extent that they will long for death. It is then that Imam Mahdi will be sent.
1) A General Sign
There are many signs that will precede him, a general and very important sign is that he will come at a time when there is great confutation, intense disputes and violent deaths. When people are afflicted by disturbance and experiencing great fear. Calamities will fall upon the people, so much so that a man shall not find a shelter to shelter him self from oppression. There will be battles and fitnaas before his appearance. Every time a fitnaa has come to end, another will start, spread and intensify. The people will be troubled to such an extent that they will long for death. It is then that Imam Mahdi will be sent.
Abu Saeed Al-Khudri has repoted that the Messenger of Allah said “He will be sent at a time of intense disputes and differences among people and earthquakes…” (Ahmed)
2) The Double Eclipse In Ramadan
Note. The Double Eclipse In Ramadan statement quoted from Darequtni is NOT verified, indeed it’s authenticity is questionable. It is NOT to be considered as authentic Hadith.
3) The Battle in Mina
Before Imam Mahdi emerges an inter-tribal fight will take place. In the same year hajis will be looted and a battle will erupt in Mina in which many people will be killed. Ameer bin Shauaib reported from his grandfather that the messenger of Allah said:
“In Dhul Qaidah (Islamic Month) the tribes will fight, Hajis will be looted and there will be a battle in Mina in which many people will be slain and blood will flow until it runs over the Jamaratul Aqba. Their companion (referring to Imam Mahdi) will flee to a point between the corner and the Maqaam and will be forced to accept people’s allegiance.”
(Al-Fitan, Nuaim ibn Hammad)
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4) The Euphrates will Disclose a Mountain of Gold
The Final Hour will not come until the river Euphrates (which flows through Syria and Iraq and finally opens in the Gulf) will disclose a mountain of gold over which people will fight and die Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
“The shall not occur until the Euphrateswill disclosea mountain of gold, over which people will fight. 99 out of every hundred shall die, and every one of them shall say, ‘perchance I shall be the one to succeed”
In another narration we have been told that who ever is present at the time when the Euphrates discloses a mountain of gold should not take the gold.
5) Emergence of the Sufyani
The Sufyani (a descendant of Abu Sufyan) will emerge before Imam Mahdi from the depths of Damascus. According to some weak narrations, his name will be Urwa bin Muhammad and his kunniya ‘Abu Utbah’. The Ahadith regarding the Sufyani specify that he is a tyrant who will spread corruption and mischeif on the earth before Imam Mahdi. He will be such a tyrant that he will kill the children and rip out the bellies of women. When he hears about the Mahdi, he will send an army to seize and kill him. However the earth will swallow this army before it even reaches Imam Mahdi. Abu Hurairah has narrated that the Prophet said:
“A man will emerge from the depths of Damascus. He will be called Sufyani. Most of those who follow him will be from the tribe of Kalb. He will kill by ripping the stomachs of women and even kill the children. A man from my family will appear in the Haram, the news of his advent will reach the Sufyani and he will send to him one of his armies. He (referring to Imam Mahdi) will defeat them. They will then travel with whoever remains until they come to a desert and they will be swallowed. None will be saved except the one who had informed the others about them.”