|The ahaadeeth on the Abdaal (The Substitutes)|
as-Sakhaawee said, "it has a number of different routes from Anas (RA) from the Prophet (SAW), with contradictory wording, all of which are da'eef."
a. the hadeeth related by al-Khalaal in 'Karaamaat al-Awliyaa', "the Abdaal are forty men and forty women, each time a man dies Allaah substitutes another in his place, and each time a woman dies Allaah substitutes another in her place"
b. the hadeeth related by at-Tabaraanee, "there will always be on the earth forty people like al-Khaleel (Ibraaheem), alayhis salaam, and by them the people will given to drink (or have rain come down), and by them the people will be aided, not a single one of them dies except that Allaah substitutes another in his place."
c. the hadeeth related by ibn Adee in 'Kaamil', "the Abdaal are forty, 22 from Shaam, and 18 from Iraaq, each time one of them dies Allaah substitutes another in his place. And when the Command comes then all of them will be taken (qubidoo) and at that time the Hour will be established."
d. the hadeeth related by Ahmad, al-Khallaal and others from Ubaadah bin Saamit (RA) from the Messenger (SAW), "There will always be thirty people in this Ummah like Ibraaheem, each time one of them dies Allaah substitutes another in his place."
e. at-Tabaraanee has the wording, "and by them the earth will be established, and by them it will rain, and by them they will be aided."
f. the hadeeth of Abu Nu'aym in 'al-Hilya' from ibn Umar from the Messenger (SAW), "the chosen ones of this nation are 500, and the abdaal are 40 in every generation, and neither the 500 or the 40 will decrease, each time one of them dies Allaah substitutes another in his place." The Companions said, "tell us of their actions" He said, "they forgive those that do dhulm to them, and they behave well with those that behave badly to them"
g. al-Khallaal has the wording, "There will always be forty people by whom the earth is preserved, each time one of them dies Allaah substitutes another in his place."
h. the hadeeth in al-Hilya from ibn Mas'ud (RA), "there will always be 40 people from my Ummah whose hearts are like the heart of Ibraaheem, Allaah will drive away (evil from?) the people of the earth by them, they will be called the Abdaal. Indeed they will not attain it (the position of Abdaal) by (a great deal of) prayer or fasting or giving in charity." So they asked, "so how will they attain it O Messenger of Allaah?" He said, "through generosity, and by advising the Muslims."
i. The hadeeth reported by at-Tabaraanee in 'al-Ajwaad' from Anas (RA) from the Messenger (SAW), "indeed the Abdaal of this ummah will not enter Paradise due to (a great deal) of prayer or fasting, but they will enter due to generosity and secure hearts and advising the Muslims."
j. and the similar hadeeth of al-Kharaa'itee in 'al-Makaarim' related by Abu Sa'eed
After mentioning these as-Sakhaawee goes on to say, "and some of them are more severely weak than others."['Maqaasid al-Hasanah' (pp 26-28 no.8)]
There are other hadeeth as-Sakhaawee mentions after this but fails to give a clear verdict on them, some of these will be discussed below.
al-Albaanee talking about hadeeth f) above says, Maudu (fabricated) related by Abu Nu'aym in 'al-Hilya' (1/8) from the route of at-Tabaraanee. And from him by ibn al-Jawzee in 'al-Mawdoo'aat' (3/151 his book on fabricated hadeeth).[biographical detail on narrators omitted]
Adh-Dhahabee said in 'al-Meezaan' , 'it is not known, and the story to do with the manners of the Abdaal is a lie' talking about this hadeeth. And ibn Hajr endorsed this in 'al-Lisaan'." ['Silsilah ad-Da'eefah' (2/339 no.935)]
As-Suyuti incorporated this hadeeth in his 'Jaami as-Sagheer' and declared it hasan. But al-Munaawee followed this up by pointing out the defects of the hadeeth, then after quoting the aforementioned words of adh-Dhahabee he said, "and ibn al-Jawzee ruled it to be fabricated, and the author (as-Suyutee) agreed with him in 'Mukhtasar al-Mawdoo'aat' and he endorsed ibn al-Jawzee's verdict and did not follow it up."
Al-Albaanee concludes his discussion on the hadeeth by saying, "and know that there is no hadeeth to do with the Abdaal which is authentic, all of them are defective, and some of them are more severely weak than others. And I will mention a few of them for you, and unveil their defect, if Allaah the Exalted and Blessed Wills."[Ibid]
He then discusses hadeeth d) and e) above and declares them to be munkar (rejected). [Silsilah ad-Da'eefah (2/339+ no.936) for a detailed discussion.]
Al-Haafidh ibn al-Qayyim states in 'al-Manaar az-Muneef', "the ahaadeeth concerning the Abdaal, Aqtaab, Nuqabaa, Agwaath, Najabaa and Awtaad are all false (baatil)"
Imaam Ahmad follows up hadeeth d) up by saying, "it is a munkar hadeeth".
As for this same hadeeth al-Haythamee said, "reported by Ahmad, and it's narrators are that of the saheeh except for Waahid bin Qais who has been declared thiqah by al-Ijlee and Abu Zur'ah but weak by other than these two" (Mujma 10/62)
Waahid bin Qais has been declared to be da'eef by a group of scholars amongst them ibn Ma'een (in one of two reports from him), Abu Haatim, and Saalih bin Muhammad al-Baghdaadee. Adh-Dhahabee points out that Waahid bin Qais only met some taabi'een so according to this the isnaad is also munqati as he reports directly from the Companion Ubaadah bin Saamit. As for hadeeth e) then ibn Hajr al-Haythamee declared this da'eef in his 'Mujma az-Zawaa'id' (10/63) due to it's isnaad containing two unknown narrators.
Al-Albaanee then discusses another hadeeth not mentioned above to do with the Abdaal related from Shahr bin Hawshab from Awf bin Maalik (RA) and declares it to be severely weak, and likewise he declares a hadeeth related from Alee to be da'eef.
Adh-Dhahabee quotes hadeeth, d) and one similar to e) and others and concludes by saying, "by Allaah there is no one in the Ummah of Muhammad like Abu Bakr, and the distance between him and Ibraaheem in excellence cannot be measured. But this is from the fabrication of Abdurrahmaan bin Marzooq at-Tarsoosee may Allaah not give him victory." Then he endorses ibn al-Jawzees verdict on hadeeth c) that it is fabricated. [Tarteeb al-Mawdoo'aat (pg.272 no.'s 974-977)