Is Bashar Assad the Sufyani? I believe so. In a Hadith the Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said:
يَخْرُجُ رَجُلٌ يُقَالُ لَهُ : السُّفْيَانِيُّ فِي عُمْقِ دِمَشْقَ ، وَعَامَّةُ مِنْ يَتْبَعُهُ مِنْ كَلْبِ ، فَيَقْتُلُ حَتَّى يَبْقَرَ بُطُونَ النِّسَاءِ ، وَيَقْتُلُ الصِّبْيَانَ ، فَتَجْمَعُ لَهُمْ قَيْسٌ ، فَيَقْتُلُهَا حَتَّى لا يُمْنَعُ ذَنَبَ تَلْعَةٍ ، وَيَخْرُجُ رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ بَيْتِي فِي الْحَرَّةِ ، فَيَبْلُغُ السُّفْيَانِيَّ ، فَيَبْعَثُ إِلَيْهِ جُنْدًا مِنْ جُنْدِهِ ، فَيَهْزِمُهُمْ ، فَيَسِيرُ إِلَيْهِ السُّفْيَانِيُّ بِمَنْ مَعَهُ ، حَتَّى إِذَا صَارَ بِبَيْدَاءَ مِنَ الأَرْضِ ، خُسِفَ بِهِمْ ، فَلا يَنْجُو مِنْهُمْ إِلا الْمُخْبِرُ عَنْهُمْ
“There shall emerge a man called the ‘Sufyaani’ from the depths of Damascus. Most of those who follow him will be from Kalb (tribe). He will murder and even rip open the bellies of women and kill little children. Qays (tribe) shall gather against him, but he will kill them. And a man shall emerge from my Ahli Bait (Household) in Harra, and (news of it) will reach the ‘Sufyaani’. So he will send against him [Mahdi] a force from among his forces, but he [Mahdi] will defeat them. Then the ‘Sufyaani’ will march towards him accompanied by those who are with him, then when he is in a plain, they will be swallowed up by the earth and none of them will be saved except the one who will tell others about them” (Mustadrak al-Hakim)
Imam al-Hakim stated that this Hadith is authentic according to the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim. Imam al-Dhahabi agreed with him in Talkhis.
This critical Hadith informs us that the time for the emergence of the promised Mahdi is at hand. As the civil war in Syria winds down and Assad consolidates his victory, we can expect the Mahdi to now appear in the Hejaz any minute now – In Sha Allah. This Hadith also accords with the more well-known prophecy of the awaited Fatimid Mahdi that he shall leave Medina for Mecca, where he shall be recognized and given the pledge of allegiance by the Muslims under the shade of the sacred Ka’ba. Then an army shall come up against him in the direction of the north but will suffer an amazing natural disaster as the Earth collapses under them before they can reach their target.
Coming back to the Sufyani, this is the title of an evil man who will slaughter many people, and commit horrible atrocities against women and children. Assad definitely fits this description as even the international community horrified by his unspeakable war crimes, massacring of innocent women and children, in order to strike fear into the hearts of the Syrians and maintain his harsh, despotic rule. The title Sufyani indicates that this evil dictator is an enemy of Islam, and enemy of the emerging Mahdi, and following in the footsteps of the Sufyanid Umayyads, particular Yazid, the grandson of Abu Sufyan. It should be remembered that the wretched Umayyad dynasty were based in Damascus, Syria. Assad’s Baathist regime is a Middle Eastern adaption of European fascism and highly influenced by the deeds of genocidal dictators Hitler and Stalin. Saddam of Iraq was also a Baathist known for his murderous treatment of the Iraqi Shi’ites, the ethnic Kurds, and all political opposition to his regime. But while Saddam was thankfully toppled in 2003 and Iraq liberated from his iron fist rule, Assad has survived the civil war largely by depending on support from Russia, Iran and so-called “Hizbullah” of Lebanon. Like Saddam before him, Assad has ruthlessly used chemical weapons against his own people, including little children, shocking the conscience of the whole world and fulfilling the dreadful prophecy of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
But Muslims should not lose heart, because the prophecy has not yet been completely fulfilled. It was predicted that the Sufyani would decimate the opposite that initially gathered against him, described as people from the Qays tribe – referring to the largely Sunni rebels like the FSA. But this victory for the Sufyani will be short lived as the promised Mahdi will now soon rise up in Mecca and represent the hope for the oppressed and weak Muslims of the world.