نحمده ونصلي ونسلم على رسوله الكريم
(The Great War)
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ spoke of a future great war, the Malhamah, which would be faught between the Muslims and a confederation of eighty banners, under each banner a battalion of twelve thousand troops (Bukhari sharif). This confederation is described as being that of Bani al-Asfar, the common Arab reference for the Romans. The Prophet ﷺ said:
سَتُصَالِحُونَ الرُّومَ صُلْحًا آمِنًا فَتَغْزُونَ أَنْتُمْ وَهُمْ عَدُوًّا مِنْ وَرَائِكُمْ فَتُنْصَرُونَ وَتَغْنَمُونَ وَتَسْلَمُونَ ثُمَّ تَرْجِعُونَ حَتَّى تَنْزِلُوا بِمَرْجٍ ذِي تُلُولٍ فَيَرْفَعُ رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّصْرَانِيَّةِ الصَّلِيبَ فَيَقُولُ غَلَبَ الصَّلِيبُ فَيَغْضَبُ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَيَدُقُّهُ فَعِنْدَ ذَلِكَ تَغْدِرُ الرُّومُ وَتَجْمَعُ لِلْمَلْحَمَةِ
“You shall make a peace treaty with Rome, a secure truce, and you and they will fight an enemy who is behind you, and you will be victorious, seize spoils of war, and be safe. Then you will return, and camp in a meadow where there are mounds. A Christian man will raise the cross and will say: ‘The cross has prevailed’. A man from among the Muslims will be enfuriated and break it [the cross] at which point Rome will betray (the truce) and gather for the Malhamah (battle).” (Sunan Abi Dawud: #4292)
Hence the Great War, spoken of as ‘Armageddon’ in Christian eschatology, will be faught between the Muslims and Rome, which at the time will gather as a confederation of eighty banners, under each banner twelve thousand troops, meaning an army of nearly one million troops!
Now there has been a great deal of speculation in identifying, especially in modern times, who exactly “Rome” refers to, and who is the third party, the enemy that is 'beyond' the Muslims, against whom the Muslims and Romans shall fight as an alliance?
Our first clue is that Rome is described as a Christian power or civilization. Perhaps it is the Christian nations of Europe, but is it Western Europe (Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Spain) or Eastern Europe (Russia)? If it is one of these, then perhaps the ‘third party’ is the other. Meaning a Muslim alliance with Western Europe and perhaps by extension the United States of America against Russia and her allies, or a Muslim alliance with Russia against the forces of Western Europe and America. The appelation of ‘Rome’ can definitely be applied to either of them. Though Rome is literally a city in Italy, in Islamic terminology it refers to the Christian/Edomite civilization that was until a few centuries ago based in Constantinople, the last remnant of the ancient Roman empire.
It is also possible that the ‘third party’, if it is not either Russia or Western Europe/America, may refer to the Zionist State ‘Israel’, China, or a renegade state or confedaration which is ‘Muslim’. For example, Iran, Baathist Syria, or possibly even Turkey. Perhaps the third power is the United States which is literally ‘beyond’ the shores of the Old World, in an alliance with the State of Israel. As events continue to unfold toward fulfilment of this prophecy we will be able to more accurately identify who the ‘third party’ is and consequently whether or not ‘Rome’ is referring to the Christian powers of Russia, Western Europe, or even both, and Allah knows best.
But the point to remember is that this ‘third party’ will be defeated by the Roman-Muslim alliance, and that will lead the way for the breakdown of the alliance and a great and final war between Rome and the Muslims, in which Rome shall gather to fight the Muslims with a massive army of nearly one million troops.