“...At the head of his army ... there is one called Shuaib ibn Salih [Shuaib ibn Salih is one name of Hazrat Mahdi (as)]. That commander will inflict defeats on the Sufyanis... People will be hoping for and seeking the Mahdi at that time.”
(Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyya, 40)
This hadith handed down from our Prophet (saas) notes that thanks to Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) appearance and subsequent intellectual struggle, people will be entirely freed from the influence of the thinking of the sufyan.
Allah will use Hazrat Mahdi (as) as His instrument in intellectually defeating the mindset of the antichrist and the sufyan, that rejects religious moral values and the spirit of the Qur’an, turns its back on the existence and oneness of Allah and wages an open campaign against the system of the Mahdi. As a result of this great moral and intellectual struggle of Hazrat Mahdi’s (as), Muslims who have for centuries been oppressed because of their belief in Allah, who have been subjected to persecution and violence, who have been exiled from their homes and begged Allah to send them a savior and a guide to salvation, will be completely freed from the pernicious effects of this system of the sufyan.
The hadith also notes that another name of Hazrat Mahdi (as) will be Shuaib ibn Salih. The great Islamic scholar Haytami stated that the word shuaib, which our Prophet (saas) employs in the hadith in reference to Hazrat Mahdi (as), is used in the sense of small unit; by using this term Haytami said that this meant that Hazrat Mahdi (as) will have only a very small group of followers to wage an intellectual struggle against vast numbers of unbelievers. The term ibn Salih also notes that Hazrat Mahdi’s (as) father will be a highly virtuous person.
Hazrat Mahdi (as) will bring his intellectual struggle to a successful conclusion and eliminate the thinking of the sufyan together with this Muslim community of a very small number of virtuous people who have submitted to Allah and strive with all their might to tell people of the existence and oneness of Allah. With the neutralization of the system of the sufyan and the antichrist across the world, the moral values of the Qur’an will reign and Muslims and all believers will attain a climate of peace and tranquility.