Walī Allah develops other unconventional readings of history. The superiority of the first community, he argues, is a functional concept, but not necessarily an exclusive one. For later generations to accept the transmitted tradition, they had to develop an idealized view of its transmitters. Later generations, however, are not doomed to be inferior to earlier ones, and they are capable of producing people who are, in some respects, better than their earlier counterparts.  This reading is clearly inspired by a strong commitment to the living community of Muslims.-Ahmad Dallal, "The Origins and Objectives of Islamic Revivalist Thought, 1750-1850," Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 113, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1993), p. 346-7.
e: See discussion and commentary [by al-Mūnāwī for ex. in Fayḍ al-Qadīr] on ḥadīth:
(مثل أمتي مثل المطر لايدرى الخير في أوله أو آخره )
See some discussion about the takhrīj of this ḥadīth at http://www.ahlalhdeeth.com/vb/showthread.php?t=2188.