Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.
This is a sound Hadith. Al Bukhari reported it as follows: (The Prophet) said, "O Allah! Bless our Sham and our Yemen". People said, "Our Najd as well". The Prophet again said, "O Allah! Bless our Sham and Yemen". They said again, "Our Najd as well". On that the Prophet said, "There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there will come out the side of the head of Satan".
Muslim also reported part of it. This Hadith is a clear evidence of the high status of Yemen and Al Sham (Syria) as the Prophet implored Allah to bless them.
There are yet more Ahadith proving this and proving that it is good to live in them especially during the last days of this life when temptations and afflictions have become widespread.
Abu Dawood and Ibn Hibban reported that the Prophet said: "There will be a time when you be divided into strong armies. An army in Syria, an army in Yemen and an army in Iraq. Ibn Hawalah said to the Prophet "Choose for me, O Messenger of Allah, if I happen to live until that day". The Prophet said: "Go to Syria as it is the land Allah has chosen on this earth. Allah sends to it the best of His people. But if you do not do that, go to your Yemen and let people drink from your streams. Indeed Allah has promised me to look after Sham (ancient Syria) and its people.
For more details about this subject you can consult the books of Hadith under the chapter of "likable deeds".
This Hadith is also an evidence that the Fitan (temptations) will arise from the direction of Najd which is East of Medina.
The scholars are not agreed about what is meant by Najd: But the most preponderant opinion as reported from Ibn Hajar is that it is the direction of the East. Therefore, the Najd of Madinah is the countryside of Iraq and the area surrounding it. So, temptations, afflictions and other Fitan will emerge from the East according to this Hadith.
He also reported from many scholars that the eastern people at the time were non-Muslims, so the Prophet predicted that the severe afflictions would be from that side.
In fact, history proved what he predicted. The origin of the first Fitnah (trouble) which took place in the Muslim Ummah and which caused many harms was from the eastern side. Also many innovations emerged from that place.
Furthermore, whoever considers the words of Hadith and their meanings knows that Najd mentioned in the Ahadith means the countryside of Iraq. The Hadith reported in Sahih Muslim also supports this opinion. The Prophet said while he was facing the East: "Know! That the Fitnah (affliction) will be there, know that the affliction will be there where the horn of Satan emerges". [Reported by Imam Muslim]
There is a clear Hadith reported by Tabrani, proving that the Fitnah will be in Iraq. In this narration the word of Iraq is mentioned instead the word of Najd.
Moreover, in the above Hadith the Prophet urged us to join the troops of Syria and Yemen but he did not advise to join the troops of Iraq; that means that something would happen in that side and which is disliked in Shariah.
In addition the history of Muslim Ummah is a living proof for what is mentioned above since this place has always been a source of big distress for Muslims throughout the ages.
Finally, we conclude that Najd means part of Iraq. Anyway it does not mean at all that this place is disparaged totally and that those who live there are dispraised. But whoever lives there should be patient during hardships and keep himself away from afflictions. No doubt, such persons will be considered amongst the best people of this Ummah. There are numerous eminent scholars of Qur'an, Hadith, Fiqh and other fields of Shariah who belong to that place thanks to Allah. Allah knows best.