Encyclopaedia Islamica

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Abdāl, the plural of badal or bidl meaning ‘substitute’ or ‘successor’, which can also mean ‘generous’ (karīm) and ‘noble’ (sharīf). This name is given to a group of God's servants who, amongst the awliyāʾ (‘friends of God’, saints), have attained a special spiritual station. The term attained particular importance in Sufi literature. The abdāl are deemed to comprise a group of a fixed number of individuals, such that whenever one of them dies, his place is filled by someone fr…

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La-Shay', Hussein and Translated by Farzin Negahban, “Abdāl”, in: Encyclopaedia Islamica, Editors-in-Chief: Farhad Daftary. Consulted online on 03 March 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-9831_isla_COM_0023>
First published online: 2015

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