The following question was brought forward regarding the High Ranking Saints who have both temporal and spiritual authority:
As-Salaamu `Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,
I ask that Allah give you a long life and much blessing in it. I also ask that He give you more opportunity to bless us with your knowledge. May Allah reward you with every good the best reward.
I would like to begin by saying that I heard you in one of your lessons that there are four authentic ahadith on the High Ranking Saints. Perhaps you could mention these ahadith to us as I find that many people that state that these ahadith are incorrect.
We have also found that these people have made statements warning from these ahadith and that there are no authentic narrations mentioning the High Ranking Saints.
All of this is said with the knowledge that we full well know that these narrations exist and that this information has come to us from our trustworthy teachers.
Could you please supply me with more evidence in order to answer this doubt. I thank you abundantly and respectfully ask for this question to be answered. Was-Salaamu `Alaikum.
The marja`, Imam Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan al-Bouti, may Allah preserve him, said of the matter:
The Ahadith on the High Ranking Saints are many. The authentic reports include the following:
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,
“The High Ranking Saints of this Ummah are 30 men and their hearts are like the heart of Khalil ur-Rahman, Ibrahim, peace be upon him. Whenever one of them dies, Allah then puts another in his place.” This is collected by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal from the narration of `Ubadah ibn as-Samit and it is authentic. 
He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, further proclaimed,
“The High Ranking are thirty and due to them the Earth is established and you receive help.” This is collected by Imam At-Tabarani from the narration of `Ubadah ibn as-Samit and it is authentic.
He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, also informed us,
“The High Ranking Saints are in Sham. It is due to them that the people receive help and it is due to them that they are sustained.” This is collected by Imam At-Tabarani from the narration of `Awn ibn Malik and classed as sound.
There is also a narration where he, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, stated,
“The High Ranking Saints are in Sham and they are 40 men in number. Whenever one man dies, Allah replaces him with another. The Earth receives its’ rain due to them and the land receives help against its’ enemies due to them. It is also due to them that the punishment gets kept away from the people of Sham.” This is collected by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad as narrated from `Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah ennoble his face and classed as sound. 
 Al-Musnad, vol. 16, pp. 410-411
 Al-Mu`jam ul-Kabir, vol.10, pp. 179-181
 Al-Mu`jam ul-Kabir, vol.18, pp. 64-66
 Fada’ il us-Sahabah, vol. 2, pp. 905-907
Taken from the website of the maraji`