His search invites outside acquaintances who he hopes may be able to tell him where he can find Zaabalawi. At this point in the story it is not really clear if he is a real man, or is simply an idea or a symbol for something greater. Being that Zaabalawi represents a solution to his greater problem at this point, it is clear he has decided that he is the absolute answer. Nevertheless, he is determined to seek out Zaabalawi, a man who he believes will be able to cure his ailment, and ultimately cure his affliction by whatever means necessary.
He told me, I continued, of a devout saint named Zaabalawi whom he met at your honor. (Naguib Mahfouz, Zaabalawi, pg 553 line 6) and was he really a Saint? We used to regard him as a man of miracles. (Naguib Mahfouz, Zaabalawi, pg 553 line 12) are lines in the short story that made believe that the whole theme of this story was religion. These lines show that Zaabalawi is seen as a healer and miracle worker who is highly praised about. Basically the people see him as a God that lives in the land of the living.