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Land of the Abdāl (Part 2)
Mawlana Asif Iqbal Attari Madani
Among the elite saints is a group called the Abdāl. This very name of theirs is derived from their ever-changing positions. They are sometimes in the North, then the South; East or perhaps West. Having mentioned this, their headquarter is Syria, which is where they most commonly reside. People of deep spiritual gnosis (maʿrifa) can recognise them. The following hadith discuss the Abdāl and describes some of their characteristics.
1. The fourth Caliph of Islam, Sayyidunā ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم say, “The Abdāl are in Syria and they are 40 men. When one of them passes away, Allah substitutes another in his place. It is through their blessings that rain falls, it is through them that victory is gained over enemies, and it is by their blessings that punishment is distanced from the people of Syria.”
Mufti Aḥmad Yār Khān Naʿīmi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه comments, “We come to know from this statement that the mediation (wasīlah) of saints is valid. Allah Almighty removes the difficulties of the disobedient for the sake of the righteous, and he averts calamities by means of them.”
2. Another report states, “The Abdāl are in Syria. The people of Syria attain aid through their blessings and receive sustenance by means of them.”
3. Sayyidunā ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ narrated that the noble Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated regarding the Abdāl, “In my Ummah, they are more precious than red sulphur.”
Specialities of the Abdāl
Imam Muhammad Ghazālī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه says, “The earth is folded for the Abdāl. They are called out to with salam, as well as gifted various forms of goodness and miracles.”
Some of the Abdāl
A contemporary of Sayyidunā Wahb b. Munabbih رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه mentions:
I was blessed with the vision of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم in my dream, so I asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Where are the Abdāl of your nation?” He gestured with his blessed hand towards Syria. I then asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Are some of them found in Iraq too?” “Yes,” he replied, “Muhammad b. Wāsiʿ, Ḥassān b. Abī Sinān, and Mālik b. Dīnār.”
Sulṭan Nūr al-Dīn Zangī, Ḥammād b. Salama, and Wakīʿ are also considered Abdāl.
Signs of Judgement Day and the Plains of Resurrection
Many hadith inform us of how select signs of Judgement Day are connected with Syria, and how the Plains of Resurrection will be established there.
1. The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “When corruption appears among the people of Syria, then no goodness will remain within you. One group from my Ummah will always be victorious. He who withdraws his hand from aiding them will be unable to harm them, which shall remain the case until Day of Judgement takes place.”
This incident will take place near the Day of Judgement. Syria is the centre of the Abdāl, and faith will remain rooted there until the very end. When disbelief spreads there and no believer remains, then know that the Abdāl of Syria are no more, and the world has become bereft of Allah’s saints. The world being empty of saints signals the advent of Judgement Day. By the time this Day occurs, there shall be nobody on the earth who says “Allah.”
2. Sayyidunā ʿAbdullah b. ʿUmar رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا narrates, the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated, “Before the Day of Reckoning, a fire will erupt from the sea of Haḍramawt which shall drive people away.” The Companions asked, “What do you instruct us to do at that time?” He replied, “Reside in Syria.”
3. The final Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم indicated towards Syria with his blessed hand and said, “You will be gathered on that land whilst walking, riding and being dragged upon your face.”
4. One sign of Judgement Day is the arrival of sayyidunā Imam Mahdi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, who shall lead people towards Syria. The incident will take place somewhat as follows:
During Ramaḍān, the Abdāl will be circumambulating the Kaʿba. The saints there will recognise Imam Mahdi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه and ask to take a pledge of allegiance (bayʿah) at his hands, but he will refuse. A voice from the unseen will announce, “This is the Mahdi, the vicegerent of Allah. So listen to his command and obey him.” People will pledge allegiance at his blessed hand, and he will then travel with the Muslims to Syria. His era will be one of goodness and blessings, with justice widespread.
5. On the Day of Judgement, after the Muslims buried in the graveyards of Makkah and Madina, the people of Syria and everyone else will exit their graves.
May Allah raise us with His beloved people on the Day of Judgement.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم
 Mirāt al-Manājīḥ, vol. 8, p. 584; Al-Raud al-Faiq, p. 189
 Musnad Ahmad: hadith 896
 Mirāt al-Manājīḥ, vol. 8, pp. 583,584
 Al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr, vol. 8, p. 65, hadith: 120
 In the alchemist tradition, red sulphur was the legendary substance that transforms base metals into gold.
 Mawsu’ah li-ibn abī al-Dunya, vol. 2, p. 388, hadith: 8
 Minhāj al-ꜤĀbidīn, p. 41
 Hilyat al-Awliya, vol. 3, p. 136
 Mirāt al-Jinan, vol. 3, p. 292; Meezan al-‘Itidaal, vol. 1, p. 577; Tareekh Ibn ‘Asakir, vol. 63 p. 104
 Jāmi’ al-Tirmidhi: 2,199; Musand Ahmad: 1,597
 Mirāt al-Manājīḥ, vol. 8, p. 595
 Muṣannaf ibn Abī Shaybah: 38,475; Muṣannaf Abī Ya’la: 5,526
 Musand Ahmad: 20,042, 20,051
 Bunyadi ‘Aqaid o M’molat-e-Ahlesunnat, p. 37
 Sharh al-Ṣāwi ‘ala Jawharat al-Tawheed p. 373