The System of Takween and Tashri’ – The Secrets of Divine Operations [Part 2]

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The greatest proof of the system of Takween is the incident of Hadhrat Musa and Hadhrat Khizar (alayhimussalaam) in the Glorious Qur’an which has been discussed in detail. The books of Hadith and other authentic literature has many incidents of the existence of Takweeni saints narrated. Great scholars like Imam Sakhawi and Shaykh Isma’eel Ibn Muhammad have discussed ‘Abdaals’ in detail and have mentioned that in this regard many different versions of Ahadith has been narrated and even if some are weak individually, but become strong when together. ‘Allamah Jalaludeen Suyuti has written a book on this subject refuting those who do not accept such narrations at all. There opinions are far from being correct.

Hadhrat Allamah Sahib writes that: “I have become aware of some ignorant people who reute that amongst great pious scholars, there are Takweeni saints as well as some are ‘Abdals, Nuquaba, Nujaba, Autaad and Aqtaab. Ahadith have been narrated regarding this matter and in it the reality of this system of Takween has been confirmed in the Shariah. I have gathered Ahadith and historical traditions so that people may benefit from it and do not get inclined to the incorrect views of those who claim to have knowledge but are stubborn / obstinate. May Allah Ta’ala guide us all, Aameen.

From amongst the Sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) who have narrated Ahadith regarding Takween are Hadhrat ‘Umar, ‘Ali, Anas, Hudhayfah, Ubaadah, ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar, ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood, ‘Awf Ibn Malik, Wathilah, Abu Sa’id Khudri, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Darda’ and Umme Salamah
(Radhiyallahu Anhum).

From amongst those after them there are innumerable traditions and incidents.

Few narrations are now presented so that people may understand.

1. Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that: “I asked Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) regarding ‘Abdaals, Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied that there are seventy of them. I requested that  he show me some significant signs whereby I could recognize them. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “They are not those that taunt and ridicule, they do not innovate acts in Islam, they do not delve into fine and delicate issues, people will not find general saintly signs in them like extra Salaah, fasts and charity, etc, but,  they are generous, of sound self and heart, and are well-wishers of their leaders.”

2. Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Do not abuse and revile the people of Syria because there are Abdaal amongst them.”

3. Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) says: “Do not revile the people of Syria because there are Abdaals amongst them, nevertheless onr can discuss the bad and evil of their oppressors.”

Hadhrat ‘Allamah Saheb (rahimahullah) then writes down a few couplets of poetry which means:-

1. Some people have attributed faults in the Science of Hadith and said that the person who acquires this knowledge is illiterate.

2. When it became difficult for them to understand the known facts then they avoided from discussing this science and began to say:

3. Certainly O Brother! Religion and Shariat is only the Noble Qur’aan, in which book there is no ambiguity and worthless thing;

4. Thereafter is the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) which is such a judge that decrees the end result;

5. And the manner of narrations and traditions as understood by history of passing on from one to another, And for this ypu must understand well! There are perfect men of knowledge;

6. Their entire efforts and concentration is dedicated to this channel of proper narrations and they have erased all such narrations which misleading groups have fabricated.

7. They (misleading groups) have fulfilled the flavor of life in envy and spite, in writing fabricated narrations;

8. And in turn they were pleased to sacrifice everything else. By the Oath of my life! This exchange of theirs, is best of all

9. And we have been informed by the leader of saints who attained high status. That there is objection in their narration;

10. This leader of saints is none other than Hadhrat Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rahmatullah alayh). Whose rank is high in this science  and knowledge of Hadith, and for him this is an honour of great elegance.

11. He has mentioned that in the followers of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam, There are Abdaal when Abdaals were discussed before him.”

Hadhrat ‘Allamah Ibn ‘Abideen al-Shaami (rahimahullah) wrote a booklet on the system of Tashree’ and Takween. A complete translation of this book is presented for general benefit of all.

“All praises for Allah Ta’ala who honoured Ummat-e-Muhammadiyyah with different types of nobilities and excellences, and who established clear commandments and a complete way of life and who made easy and granted facilities for those commandments, and then who created such saints  who gave and sacrificed everything for Him, and who made from amongst his servants, Autaad, Nuquabaa, Aqtaab, Abdaal, Nujabaa and Akhyaar (pious people), and by means of these great people have mercy on the weak and helpless, and who made such saints whose conditions are concealed from everyone and are know as ‘Maktumeen’.

And salutations and Durood  upon that being from where everyone obtains the brightness from the rays of his lustre, and from whom the entire creation is deairious to derive the benefit from the favours and bounties of his hidden and mysterious matters and his knowledge and wisdom, and from whose rivers of guidance and Shariah everyone is filling themselves, and from whose orchards  of kindness and generosity everyone are gleaning.

And salutations upon his family and companions also, who have the greatest dignity in acquiring the favours and bounties from the lantern of prophethood.

After praises and salutations, this servant who is a prisoner of the disease of sins, and who has full hope in the attribute of forgiveness and pardoning of Allah Ta’ala, and he whose name is Muhammad  Ameen and well known as “Ibn ‘Abideen”. May Allah Ta’ala forgive his sins and cover up his faults, humvly says says that I begun work of compiling this booklet at the request of honorable scholars. The book titled “Qutub”, who are found in every era and time, have been used and I promised to add the discussion of Abdaal, Nujabaa and Nuquabaa.

I hastened to compile this booklet after consulting and getting permission from my seniors to do so. It is hoped that Allah Ta’ala will fragrance us with its scents and odours, and reflect upon his great blessings and favours.

In this booklet I have gathered all those issues upon which I have became aware of from the writings and speeches of authentic scholars and to gain more skill, I have derived benefit from the works and books of trained and polished scholars.

This booklet is compiled upon four chapters and an epilogue. I seeked assistance from Allah Ta’ala who is close and who listens to and grants requests.


In this chapter discussions regarding the number of Aqtaab, ‘Abdaal, Autaad, Nujabaa and Nuquabaa’, their qualities and whereabouts will be presented.

1. Aqtaab:- Aqtaab is the plural form for Qutb. In the terminology of the Sufis, an internal caliph is a Qutb. A Qutb is the leader of his time. He is known / called as Qutb because he is made aware of conditions of different places.

Shaykh Sharfudden (rahmatullah alayh) has written that amongst the public a Qutb is a perfect and learned human being who has reached / obtained the position of ‘Fardiyyah’ (a high and noble status). The events and affairs of the creation circulate upon him.

A Qutb is either only for all the creation living on earth that are visible or for the invisible creation as well. The Qutb for both the creations is known as ‘Qutbul Aqtaab’ and that was and is only one who is none other than Muhammadur Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

The Qutb of the visible creations has a successor after his demise and the Badal who is closest to the status and rank of the Qutb
from amongst the Abdaal takes his place.

‘Aarif Billah Sayyid Muhiyyud Deen Ibn ‘Arabi (rahmatullah alayh) has mentioned that sometimes the word Qutb is used widely for such persons who are outstanding in groups, communities, towns etc.  In reality a Qutb is only one and he is known as ‘Ghaus’ as well. Some Qutbs are comprehensive of the inward and outward successors like the four rightly-guided caliphs, Hadhrat Abu Bakr, Hadhrat ‘Umar, Hadhrat ‘Uthmaan and Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhum). Many are Qutbs of the inner state only.

Ibn Hajr (rahmatullah alayh) had mentioned: “Qutbs are concealed men and they are known by this name because most people do not know them.

Their leader is such who is made to move around and circulate in all directions, and their conditions / affairs are secret.

One amazing thing is that he perceives a learned person to be ignorant, a fool as intelligent, far as near, soft natured person as hard anf safe as dangerous. His rank amongst saints is like a dot in a circle and he becomes the centre for all and the reformation of all revolve around him. Hadhrat Mulla Ali Qari (rahimahullah) has said: “In my opinion, the Qutb of the era of Rasulullah was Hadhrat Oways Qarni (rahmatullag alayh).”

Shaykhul Masaa’ikh Hadhrat Shihaab Ahmad (rahimahullah) says that after the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum), Hadhrat ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd al Azeez (rahimahullah) was the first Qutb.

2. Abdaal:- Abdaal is plural of Badal and they are known as Abdaal because in one narration (Hadith) it is mentioned that when a pious person passes away, then another pious person is appointed in his place. Another reason for calling them Abdaal is that they have changed their bad character.

‘Aarif Billah Ibn ‘Arabi (rahimahullah) said: “When a Badal leaves any place, he leaves some spirituality behind and the souls of that place gather at the new place where the Badal has gone. Thus if the people of that place become inclined to the person who was replaced by the Badal that left, then this is the result of that spirituality. They communicate with each other. Sometimes this is possible with other saints as well, but the difference is this that when a Badal leaves, then he knows that he is leaving his representative behind.

‘Allamah Jalaluddeen Suyuti (rahimahullah) has written that Abdaal is that group of Saints whose substitute Allah Ta’ala continuously creates. The people of the world is never void of their presence. One passes away and another replaces him. Due to this unbroken chain of alternation they are called Abdaal.

‘Allamah Quashanee (rahimahullah) has mentioned in his book that Abdaal are kind and loving people and they receive divine inspiration. They are a group of followers of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) who call people towards Allah Ta’ala and His obedience. Calamities are put off and evaded due to their presence. It has been narrated in a Hadith Qudsi, “Allah Ta’ala said that when my servants are more engaged with me, then I create more sweetness / pleasure and consideration for him in my remembrance, and when I care for his pleasure and concern then he begins to love me, amd I begin to love him and I remove the veil between us, and when people neglect me then he is not neglectful, their speech is like that of the prophets (alayhimussalaam), and such people are true Abdaal. These are such personalities that when I intend to punish people then I remember them, thereafter I evade / put off punishment from others because of them.” Abdaal are totally forty men, and each one has a special rank. This number is always maintained until when the final hour of resurrection will approach, then all will pass away.

In the kitaab, Ihyaa’ Uloom Al-Deen, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (rahimahullah) wrote a discourse of Abu Darda’ (radhiyallahu anhu) where he says: “There are some servants of Allah Ta’ala whom are called Abdaal and they are successors of the prophets. These people are like pegs of the earth. When the chain / series of prophethood ended upon Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then Allah Ta’ala placed a group of people from his followers in substitution. They are not very outstanding from others by excessive prayers, fasts or features, but yes they have outstanding piety, good intentions, clean heart, very staunch in admonishing / advising and well-wishing all the muslims, and very humble. This is such a group which Allah Ta’ala chose especially for Himself and they are forty faithful and sincere servants from amongst whom thirty are men. They have faith as Hadhrat Ibraheem (alayhissalaam). None of them pass away until Allah Ta’ala does not creates successor. O Brother!. Remember, they do not curse, do not annoy or cause inconvenience anyone, do not scorn or despise anyone, do not declare excellence or superiority over others, they do not harbor jealousy, they are not desirous of others wealth, they are best in good and very gentle and considerate. They are naturally very generous and bountiful. Their sign / mark is generosity. They are cheerful by nature. Safety and peace is their attribite. They are even / level in their outward appearance and condition. Today in fear, tomorrow neglectful is not their situation. They are delighted are pleased with themselves and their Lord. Swift winds and fast going horses cannot challenge them. Their hearts wears out in the desire and eagerness to meet Allah Ta’ala and they are always forward in good. These people are the party of Allah Ta’ala and know well that verily the group of Allah Ta’ala are successful.”

The narrator says that, “I mentioned to Hadhrat Abu Darda’:- “I did not hear such a discourse from you before, tell me, how can I find such people??”

Hadhrat Abu Darda’ replied:- “There is a vast distance between you and them. Nevertheless, it is possible that you abhore and dislike this world. When ypu abhore this world, then you will most certainly desire the hereafter and then in comparison with your love for the hereafter you will abstain from the world. Thereafter ypu will witmess yourself how much this will benefit you because Allah Ta’ala sees the good desires of any servant, then He fullfils his wish and secures him. O Nephew! Remember the verse of Allah Ta’ala where He says:-

Verily Allah is with the pious and with those who do good”

Hadhrat Yahya Ibn Kathir says says that when we pondered over this then we realized and understood that the pleasure and joy experienced in obtaining the love and pleasure of Allah Ta’ala cannot be found in anything else.

Four gruelling practices of the Abdaal:-

“Aarif Billah Hadhrat Ibn ‘Arabi (rahimahullah ) has written an incident of one of his companions who narrated thus:- ” I was sitting on my prayer mat one night and since I had completed my daily routine of worship, I had my head between my knees and was engaged in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala. Suddenly I sensed the sound of footsteps. The person pulled the prayer mat from beneath me  and spread it out for himself. He either sat down or began performing Salaah. The amazing part of it is that my door was closed. I was very confused and perplexed. He said to me that whoever wishes to attain love and affection of Allah Ta’ala they do not become agitated. Thereafter I managed to say something and said: “O my commander! How do Abdaal receive their rank?” In reply he mentioned four things, 1. Silence, 2. Hunger, 3.  Wakefullness, 4. Solitude. Thereafter this person disappeared.”

Hadhrat Ibn ‘Arabi (rahimahullah) said that this person was from amongst the Abdaal and he was Mua’dh Ibn Ashrath. The four things he mentioned are the fundamental in this blessed path.
In this regard, I have composed a fee couplets:

Those people that desire to reach the status of Abdaal.
But do not make efforts towards it.
Do not be ambitious or have temptations because you are not capable
Come what may, in all conditions, until you do not adhere firmly onto their practices
Be silent with your heart, retreat and seclude from all such people who take you close to such people who are not lovers and friends of Allah Ta’ala.
And when you will stay awake and remain hungry,
Stay in their company always, then you will obtain their status.
Senior Abdaal have shown the office of a saint to be on four pillars,
1. Silence, 2. Seclusion and Solitude, 3. Nightly wakefullness and 4. Hunger.

3. Autaad:- Autaad is the plural of Watad.

Hadhrat Ibn ‘Arabi (rahimahullah) has written that:- “Autaad are sometimes interpreted as ‘Jibaal’ as mentioned in the Noble Qur’aan, “Wal Jibaala Autaada” (And the mountains and Pegs). Their position in the world is as the position of mountains on earth. The earth is still and settled due to the means of the mountains.

Shaykh Shihaab Ahmad has said that Autaad are always four at a time. Each one is distributed in one of the four directions. North, South, East and West.

Hadhrat Ibn ‘Arabi says that for each Watad, one corner of the house of Allah Ta’ala (Ka’bah) is appointed, and each one is close to the heart of a prophet. The Watad who is close to the heart of Hadhrat Aadam (alayhissalaam) is appointed with Rukn e Shaami. The one close to Hadhrat Ibraheem (alayhissalaam) is appointed with Rukn e Iraqi. Rukn e Yamaani is one for the close to Hadjrat ‘Eesa (alayhissalaam) and lastly the one close to Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is at Rukn e Hajr e Aswad and Alhamdulillah that is for us.

4. Nujabaa:- Nujabaa is the plural of najeeb. Sometimes on the same scale as Aqtaab and Abdaal. Anjaab is used.

Hadhrat Ibn ‘Arabi (rahimahullah) has mentioned that from amongst the Saints, some are Nujabaa who are always eight at a time. Their position is the Throne of Allah Ta’ala and they are endowed with eight attributes:-

1. Life, 2. Knowledge, 3. Strong will / determination, 4. Power, 5. Speech, 6. Vision / sight, 7. Hearing, 8. Comprehension/Perception/understanding.
They are well acquainted and experts in the science of the stars.

5. Nuquabaa:- Nuquabaa is the plural of Naqueeb, ‘Areef’ is also used for Naqueeb who is in charge of and monitors people.

Hadhrat Ibn ‘Arabi (rahimahullah) writes that these Nuquabaa are the bearers of the flag / banner of the ninth heaven, and also the bearers of the banners  of the eight heavens below the ninth.

Ibn ‘Arabi (rahimahullah) had also mentioned elsewhere that one type / group of Saints are known as Nuquabaa whom are always 12 at a time, the same as the amount of towers  in each heaven (sky). Each Naqueeb has knowledge of the peculiar natural disposition of one tower. They also have the knowledge of the secrets and mysterious matters and effect that Allah Ta’ala has put in that place. They are also aware of the movements of the stars and planets. Astronomists are also not aware of such movements which occur in thousands of years only. It should also be known that Allah Ta’ala has kept the Knowledge of all revealed legislation (Sharee’ats) in the possession of these Nuquabaa. Allah Ta’ala also gave them the ability of removing fraud, deceitfulness, cheating, cunningness, plots and tricks of the lowly self and they also know of the private affairs and matters of people. Iblees (Devil/Satan) is presented to them and they know things about Iblees which he does not know about himself.

6. Afraad:- One group of saints are known as ‘Afraad’.

Hadhrat Ibn ‘Arabi (rahimahullah) has written that their example is like the high ranking status of the angels. They are always engrossed in the worship of Allah Ta’ala and are not aware of anything else. When they obtain the recognition of Allah Ta’ala by means of anything, then they remained focussed on that. They have no control over themselves also. Nobody else knows them besides themselves. Their position and rank is between Siddiquiyaat (faithfulness and sincerity) and prophethood.

Discussion of the number of saints and their places of residence:-

It is mentioned in Tarikh Baghdad that Nuquabaa are three hundred, Nujabaa seventy, Abdaal forty, Akhyaar seven, Autaad four and One Ghaus.

The habitation of Nuquabaa is North Africa/Morocco; of Nujabaa is Egypt; of Abdaal is Syria; Akhyaar roam around the earth; Autaad are in the four directions and Ghaus is in Makkah.

When any need/wish/requirement of the creation has to be  introduced, then the Nuquabaa engage in supplicating to Allah Ta’ala with great humility thereafter the Nujabaa, then the Abdaal, then the Akhyaar and lastly the Autaad.

The supplication/dua’ of any group individually is accepted or all of their supplication together. If it is not being accepted as yet, then the Ghaus also engages in supplicating and before he completes, it is accepted.

Hadhrat Zun Noon Misri (rahimahullah) says that the Nuquabaa are 300, Nujabaa are 70, Abdaal 40, Akhyaar 7, Autaad 4 and 1 Ghaus.

Shaykh Abu Bakr narrates from a person who met and had a conversation with Hadhrat Khidr (alayhissalaam) that he told him, “When Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) passed away, the earth cried and pleaded with Allah Ta’ala:- “I have reached such a state that now until the day of Qiyamah (the day of resurrecrion) no prophet will ever walk on me’, Then Allah Ta’ala revealed to the earth that I will continue tp create such personalities from amongst the followers of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), this nation whose hearts would be like that of the prophets (alayhimussalaam) and until Qiyamah I will not leave you void of any such personalities. The earth inquired as to  ow many will these people be? Allah Ta’ala answered that 300 will be aulithaa, 70 Nujabaa’, 40 Autaad, 10 Nuquabaa, 7 ‘Urafaa‘, 3 Mukhtaar and 1 Ghaus.

When anyone from any group passes away, they are replaced from one of the group after them.”

‘Allamah Shaami (rahimahullah) says that there is a difference in the number of saints of different groups mentioned here now and previously. There are many possibilities for this which may be that those who mentioned more than others have counted all of them and where lesser numbers are mentioned they only counted the important leaders only.

Some say it is best to say that their numbers are not fixed or not known definitely. Other have given different views as well.


Existence of these saints and their Excellences

Ahadith (narrations) wherein the existence and virtues of the saints of Takween has been mentioned.

Great scholars like Hafidh Ibn Hajr, Shaykh Shihabudeen Ahmad, ‘Allamah Suyuti, Imam Nawawi and Hadhrat Mulla ‘Ali Qari (rahimahumullah) have discussed this topic of Takween and presented Ahadith also.

From amongst them is a narration by Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) where he says that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Do not reproach/revile the people of Shaam (Syria), because there are Abdaal amongst them.

In other narrations the following wordings are also found:

“Reproach their tyrannies”; “Do not reproach them with generalization because there are Abdaal amongst them” ; Abdaal are found in Shaam (Syria) and Nujabaa in Kufah”; “Listen/know well! Autaad are from the people of Kufah and Abdaal from Syria”; “Nujabaa are in Egypt, Akhyaar from the people of Iraq, Qutb in Yemen and Abdaal are in Shaam (Syria) and they are few.”

‘Allamah Shaami (rahimahullah) says that in some narrations it is menyioned that Nujabaa are in Egypt, and in some narrations, they are in Kufah. It means that they are not specifically found in one place. Sometimes in Egypt, sometimes in Kufa, and Allah Ta’ala knows best.

Imam Ahmad (rahmatullah alayh) relates from the authority of Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) that he has narrated:- ‘I heard Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say, ‘Abdaal are in Syria and they are forty, rain is sent due to them and by their virtue, aid and assistance is given against enemies, and with their blessing, punishment is lifted from the people of Shaam (Syria).” ‘Allamah Shaami (rahimahullah) says that in other narrations evading of punishment is mentioned without confinement to the people of Syria.

Ibn Abi Dunya (rahimahullah), has related a narration of Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu):- “I Inquired from Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) in regards to Abdaal.” In that narration it is mentioned that “They are sixty persons” I asked, “O Rasulullah! Explain their qualities, describe them?” Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) answered, “They do not pass prescribed limits, They are not innovators in the religion, they are not tyrants/oppressors, and they are not very flattering in speech.”

Whatever status they reach is not by virtues of excess Salaah, fasting or reciting the noble Qur’aan, but they reach lofty status because of their generosity, well-being at heart and good advice.

Hadhrat ‘Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) has narrated that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Abdaal are forty men, from whom twenty-two are in Shaam (Syria) and eighteen are in Iraq. When any one of them passes away, then Allah Ta’ala replaces him with another one, when the day of judgement is about to approach,  then all will be caused to die, and then Qiyaamah will take place.” Hakim Tirmidhi narrated this.

In one narration, Hadhrat ‘Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) says that Abdaals are forty men and forty women. When a male Badal passes away another male Badal replaces his place, and when a female Badal passes away another female Badal is replaced. This has been extracted by Daylami in Musnadul Firdous.

Hadhrat ‘Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) has also quoted, “The Budala (Abdaal) of my Ummat will not enter Paradise due to excessive fasting and prayers, but they will be entered by virtue of having a clean heart and being generous.” This has been narrated by Ibn ‘Adi.

In a narration by Khallaal (rahimahullah) the following sentence is an addition:- “They will enter paradise due to sympathy and well-wishing with Muslims.”

Abother narration by Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) is that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The earth will not be void of forty such men who will resemble Khaleelur-Rahman (Hadhrat Ibraheem alayhissalaam), it will rain because of them. By virtues of their blessings, assistance will be achieved  against the enemies, when any one of them, Allah Ta’ala replaces it.”

Hadhrat Qatadah says, “We do not have doubt that Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) is from amongst them.”

Hadhrat Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that, “After Hadhrat Nooh (alayhissalaam), the earth will never be void of seven such persons that by their virtues Allah Ta’ala will remove misfortunes and calamities from the earth.”

Hadhrat Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The best amongst people in each era are five hundred, and forty amongst them are Abdaal. Neither will these best of people be less than five hundred and nor will the Abdaal be less than forty, when any one of them (Abdaal) passes away, then forty is completed amongst those five hundred.”

The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) asked, “O Messenger of Allah!, what are their special actions, tell us! Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “They forgive those who oppress and do wrong, they are good to those who  are bad with them, and whatever Allah Ta’ala has bestowed them with, they assist people from it.”

In another narration from Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) it has been mentioned, “In every era, there will be Saabiquoon (great, eminent, virtuous and superior people) from my Ummat.”

Hadhrat ‘Abd Allah Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Undoubtedly in the creation of Allah Ta’ala there are three hundred special people whose hearts are inclined to the heart of Hadhrat Aadam (alayhissalaam) and forty are such whose hearts are inclined to the heart of Hadhrat Ibraheem (alayhissalaam) and five are inclined to Hadhrat Jibraeel (alayhissalaam), three to hadhrat Mikaeel (alayhissalaam) and one from the creation of Allah Ta’ala  is such that his heart is inclined to the heart of Hadhrat Israfeel (alayhissalaam). When one passes away then he is replaced. By their means Allah Ta’ala gives life and death, crops grow and calamities removed.”

Hadhrat Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallahu anhu) was asked: “What is meant by life and death will be given because of them?”  He replied: “They supplicate to Allah Ta’ala for increase in the Ummat then they are increased, they curse oppressive people and they are destroyed, they supplicate for rain and it rains,  they beg from Allah Ta’ala then form and orchards grow and they supplicate in favour of the creation, then Allah Ta’ala removes calamities.” This has been narrated by Ibn Asakir.

The heart of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has not been mentioned because it is exclusive and unique which is impossible to compare with anyone else. A comparison of the hearts of all prophets, angels and saints to that of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is given like that of the stars and planets against the sun. The status and rank of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is so great and high, that it is very difficult to make a rough estimate.

Hafidh Maulana Doctor Tanweer Ahmad Khan Saheb D.B writes in the footnote, “The inspiration of a saint is not a conclusive proof. If there was anyone who could be inclined to the heart of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then it should be Hadhrat Abu Bakr or Hadhrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhum) regarding whom great excellences and virtues have been narrated. Whatever was contained in the blessed heart of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), even a hundredth part cannot be in anyone elses heart. It has been narrated in one Hadith: “The scholars of my nation are like the prophets of Banu Isra’eel.” Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) had made reference to the hearts of other prophets and did not mention his own, proves that it is not possible.

What is meant by a Saints heart being inclined  to the heart of a certain prophet/ angel is that divine knowledge and sciences are conferred upon heart. So whatever has been conferred upon the hearts of Peophets and Angels mentioned. Saints and honoured in the same manner the likes of that which is conferred to them. Thus subject is sometimes interpreted as “So and so is in the footsteps of so and so prophet or Angel. Both have the same meaning.

Note: Some scholars do not accept the narrations regarding Adbaal etc as authentic.

‘Allamah Suyuti (rahimahullah) says that these narrations are authentic and after lengthy discussion he proves his claim.

‘Allamah Sakhawi (rahimahullah) says that the narration of Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) quoted by Imam Ahamd Ibn Hanbal is the most authentic.

Ibn Hajr (rahimahullah) says that Abdaal have veen mentioned in many narrations. In some narrations, amongst the signs of Abdaal, it has also been mentioned that they do not have any children and they do not curse anyone.

Hadhrat Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) has explained that Qutb means Ghaus, which is a sufficient proof to believe in the existence of Abdaal etc. Many saints and scholars mention these incidents of Abdaal, Qutb etc which also is ample proof of their existence.

Imam Yafi’i says that some saints have discussed the term ‘Waahid’ used in one Hadith, speaking of people of Takween, and agree that it refers to Qutb (who is one and only) and in the same manner ‘Ghaus’  and ‘Fard’ refer to the same category of Qutb. Thereafter he mentions that this is an authentic Hadith and many benefits are hidden in it.

Hadhrat Imam Yafi’i mentions an interesting incident which ocvurred with him. He says that he was brought up in a company of saints who were very particular and would not curse or revile anyone. Since his heart was very clear and empty, their discourse and manners were imbued in him. Further he says, ‘When I went to study, I was only thirteen years old. I was reading a book for Shaykh Abu Abdullah. At that time, Shaykh Muhammad Juwayni was the teacher in Jami’  Azhar in Egypt, and I was in his company for some time. One day the discussion was on Qutb, Nujabaa, Nuquabaa, Abdaal etc. and Shaykh disagreed severely and said that there is no such thing, it has no reality and nothing of this has been from Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Although I was the youngest of all present in that gathering, I said, “This is perfectly true and there is no doubt in it because Pious saints have informed and discussed them and Allah Ta’ala forbid! They are not liars.” (Imam Yafi’i was speaking about such saints who were blessed with outer and inner knowledge). Suaykh Muhammad opposed and contradicted even more upon my remarks. I had no option except to remain silent and kept quiet. I had thought to myself that in this matter, Shaykhul Islam, Imamul Fuqaha Wal Aarifeen Abu Yahya Zakariyyah Ansari (rahmatullah alayh) is the one who can assist me.

It was my habit to take Shaykh Muhammad wherever he wanted to go since his eyesight had become weak. Once I was taking Shaylh to the Majlis (gatherings of discourse) of Shaykhul Islam (rahmatullah alayh). When we neared the residence of Shaykhul Islam, I said to Shaykh Muhammad, ‘If we mention the matter of Qutb etc to Shaykhul Islam, then what harm is there? We will see what he says regarding it.”

Accordingly, we reached there, Shaykhul Islam welcomed Shaykh Muhammad and was very hospitable and requeated him to make dua’ from him. Amongst his many dua’s was, “Oh Allah! Grant him understanding of Deen (religion).’ He should make this Dua’ abundantly.

When we were about to take leave and Shaykh Muhammad intended to return then I asked Shaykhul Islam, Hadhrat! Is there any reality in what the pious saints discuss about Qutb, Autaad, Nujabaa’, Abdaal etc?

Shaykhul Islam replied, “Son! By the Oath of Allah! This is true.” I then pointed to Shaykh Muhammad and said, “Shaykh does not believe this and opposes it severely.” Upon hearing this Shaykhul Islam repeatedly informed Shaykh Muhammad, “O Shaykh Muhammad! This is reality” until such a time that Shaykh Muhammad said, “I believe in that matter and verify it and indeed I repent, Shaykhul Islam said, “O Shaykh Muhammad! This is exactly my opinion of you that you would accept.” Thereafter we left and Shaykh Muhammad didn’t reprimand me in any way.”

Shaykh Usmaan (rahmatullah alayh) has written in his book a narration by Hadhrat Mua’dh (radhiyallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Whoever has three qualities he will be amongst the Abdaal by the virtue of whom this world will be lasting: 1. Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala, 2. To abstain from those things that Allah Ta’ala has made forbidden and 3. Anger for the sake of Allah Ta’ala.”

Some facts regarding Ghaus and Aqtaab

It has been mentioned that the Qutb’s abode is Makkah Mukarramah or Yemen. It is evident that this has been mentioned either regarding sometimes or most times. This can be confirmed by what Imam Abdul Wahhab Sha’rani  (rahmatullah alayh) has written in his book Al-Jawaahir Wad Durar.

He writes in relation to his discussion with his Shaykh ‘Arif Rabbani Sayyid ‘Ali al-Khawwas (rahimahullah) when he asked him regarding Qutbs and Ghaus whether they are always settled in Makkah Mukarramah as generally understood. Shaykh (rahimahullah) replied that the heart of a Qutb is always with Allah Ta’ala. He senses Allah Ta’ala in every place he is and from every direction just as people in the Haram are busy always with the Ka’bah.

It is for this reason that they are aware of all what descends upon the creation. A sign of burden is visible at all times due to the influx and weight of events and occurrences. The physical body of Qutb is not specific to any place. Wherever Allah Ta’ala wishes, that is where they are found. Note:- They are also born wherever Allah Ta’ala wishes.

He goes on to say that he heard Shaykh (rahimahullah) say: Makkah Mukarramah is the most perfect city, the Ka’bah most perfect house and a Qutb the most perfect of all creatures.

He also asked Shaykh (rahimahillah) whether a Wali can comprehend the virtues and morals of a Qutb. Shaykh (rahimahullah) replied, Very few can even recognize a Qutb, let alone comprehending his morals and virtues. Some saints say that a Qutb is possibly visualized according to the capacity and ability of the person.

He further states that he asked Shaykh (rahimahullah), is there any duration fixed for a Qutb? Can he be dismissed from his position? Does he bevome dismissed due to death?

Shaykh (rahmatullah alayh) said that it is the opinion of one group that the condition of a Qutb is like other saints. Whatever duration Allah Ta’ala desires, they remain and they can be dismissed.

Shaykh (rahmatullah alayh) says that, “I am of the opinion that there is no fixed duration for this post and once someone has been bestowed with this position, then he cannot be dismissed until death.”

All are unanimous that Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) is the best after Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) who held the office of a Caliph of two years and a few months. He is the very first Qutb of this nation (Ummat). Likewise was the era of Hadhrat ‘Umar, Hadhrat ‘Uthmaan and Hadhrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu anhuma). This succession will continue till Imam al-Mahdi will appear who will be the last Qutb from amongst the successors of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). Thereafter Hadhrat ‘Eesa (alayhissalaam) will descend and rule for forty years. The burden of being a Qutb is heavy like Mountains. There is no calamity of the heavens or earth that descend upon anyone without descending on the Qutb first, therefore, he remains constantly with a heavy head as though someone is hitting him day and night.

He also asked whether it is necessary for a Qutb to be from amongst the family of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)?
Shaykh (rahimahullah) replied, “No, there is no condition of such a nature. It is something that Allah Ta’ala grants to whomsoever He desires, so therefore a Qutb can be from the noble or ordinary Creation from Allah Ta’ala.”


Qutb normally remain hidden from the public. Only some people really recognize a Qutb. It is possible that due to the great burden Allah Ta’ala has bestowed and the awe within, the rest of the creation cannot bear the sight.

Imam Sha’rani (rahimahullah) mentions in his book that his shaykh said, “Many saints neither gather by them nor recognize them, let alone others, because their conditions are hidden. If anyone do recognize them then they will not be able to see them in the face.”

Once a person was introduced to Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). He began trembling due to the awe he experienced. Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Be calm, I am the son of such a woman of the Quraysh clan who should eat dry meat.”

This is the state of the person who saw Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) whereas he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) is the most humble of the creation and a Qutb is definitely his deputy on earth.

Shaykh Uthman (rahimahullah) asked his Shaykh, Abu Bakr Quddusi (rahimahullah) when on a Hajj trip to show him a Qutb in Makkah Mukarramah.

Shaykh (rahimahullah) explained that it was quite not possible as Shayku Uthman (rahimahullah) insisted and took an oath between Zam-Zam and Maqaam-e-Ibraheem that Shaykh (rahimahullah) has to show him and he is not leaving here till a Qutb comes.

After a while, Shaykh Uthman’s head began getting heavy and bent so much that his head was between his knees. A Qutb came and sat for sometime with Shaykh Abu Bakr (rahimahullah). After discussing some issues the Qutb finally mentioned to Shaykh (rahimahullah), “treat Uthman well because if he lives then he will become from amongst the saints.”

When the Qutb was about to leave he recited Surah Fatihah and Surah Quraysh and then departed. When Shaykh Abu Bakr (rahimahullah) returned after bidding farewell to the Qutb, Shaykh Uthman’s head remained down for long.

Shaykh (rahimahullah) later told Shaykh Uthman (rahimahullah) that this has been your condition by just listening to the Qutb . What could have happen to you had you seen the Qutb?!

Whenever Shaykh Uthman (rahimahullah) met anyone thereafter, then he would recite
Surah Fatihah and Surah Quraysh before departing.

Allamah Shaykh Shobri (rahimahullah) quotes Imam Yafi’i (rahimahullah) that Allah Ta’ala conceals the conditions of the Qutb due to some sense of honour.


Allamah Shaami (rahimahullah) writes, “I asked my Shaykh whether those calamities that are to be descended upon the creation, does it descend on the Qutb also just as bounties and assistance descends upon the Qutb first, then distributed as Allah Ta’ala desires?”

Shaykh (rahimahullah) says, “Yes! All those calamities decreed for the people of earth, also descends on the Qutb. When any calamity descends the Qutb accepts it with outer-fear. Then he awaits to see if any changes to be made in the Preserved Tablet where all that has been decreed is recorded. There are possibilities of respite for some and after that stage the command of Allah Ta’ala is carried out. The calamity descends upon the Qutb which is passed on to the Autaad and the chain continues. If the calamity still continues, then it is distributed over the saints of the General Muslim public. By virtue of their tolerating the burden, Allah Ta’ala sometimes removes the calamity. It is for this reason that some people experience hardship and difficulty without understanding anything about it.

Sometimes one is so restless that he does not seem to get much sleep or sometimes he remains in the state of unmindfulness and carelessness. Sometimes he is so quite that not one word is uttered. All this is due to the calamity that has been divided. If the calamity is not divided, then the person upon whom the calamity is to be descended will be destroyed instantly.


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