Assalamualaikkum to all our shuyukhs.
With regard to the “Hadiths of Abdals” such as, Tabarani said in his “Mu`jam al-awsat“: Anas said that the Prophet said: “The earth will never lack forty men similar to the Friend of the Merciful [Prophet Ibrahim], and through them people receive rain and are given help. None of them dies except Allah substitutes another in his place.”
Qatada said: “We do not doubt that al-Hasan [al-Basri] is one of them.”
Also another hadith talks about 30 of them living in Syria.
My question is, Were there such Zahids before or during the Prophet Muhammed Sallahualahiwasallim’s time as well? Because we thought there should be a linage- Silsila for spiritual developments, but this seems to be not the case. Please explain?
wa `alaykum salam,
Since the hadith states “the earth will never lack them” then they are always there. Lineages exist for all the Awliya‘ but they are not necessarily known. This is one of the explanations of the saying the Sufis cite on behalf of Allah Most High: “My Awliya are under My domes; no one knows them but Me” (Kashf al-Mahjub). One of the Awliya explained the Divine domes to mean the veils of normalcy by which Allah Most High hides His Awliya from His creation, so that if you were to see them you would say: X is a humble cobbler, not a wali; Y is busy with the sultan, he can’t be a wali; Z is the soul of ordinariness, he can’t be a wali; etc.
It is the easiest thing for the Wali to hide himself from others. It never means they do not exist or are missing a lineage. And Allah knows best.
Hajj Gibril Haddad