It seems a narration similar to the one mentioned Ad-Darimi where Ibn Masood (r) apparently speaks out against circles of dhikr, is also present in Abd al-Razzaq’s Musannaf, vol 3, p. 221, hadeeth 5408 and Mu`jam al-Kabeer of al-Tabarani (9/125-128).
Do these variations narrations explain the context of the supposed incident better? The narration of Ad-Darimi is not clear as to what exactly is being objected and it could be read as an objection against using stones or maybe against gathering in circles as such or being led by a leader or the timing and so forth. Do the other reports clarify what specifically is being objected?
Real dhikr for them would have been to sit with Ibn Mas’ud (r) and his like while they still could. They would have benefited from his knowledge and spiritual station as an inheritor of the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) but they thought they knew better. Similarly today the khawarij-type juniors think they have a direct connection to Allah swt and think they don’t need the intermediary and guidance of the seniors i.e. awliya. “Everyone will be pleased with their own opinion” (hadith).
Hajj Gibril Haddad