Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA)
“Keep Maut under your pillow when sleeping. When you wake up, don’t cherish hope of life. Never consider sin as being minor. If you consider sin as being minor, know that you are considering Allah Ta’ala as being insignificant.”
“A man who loves three things, Jahannum is closer to him than his jugular vein: Delicious food; fine garments and association with the rich.”
-Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA)
Regarding Uwais Qarni (رضی اللہ عنہ), Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) said: “Uwais Qarni is the noblest of the Tabieen with ihsaan.” (The highest stage of ihsaan is to worship Allah Ta’ala as if you are seeing Him.)
Sometimes Rasulullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم would turn in the direction of Yemen and say: “I perceive the fragrance of love from Yemen.”
Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) said: “Tomorrow on the Day of Qiyaamah Allah Ta’ala will create 70,000 malaa-ikah in the image of Uwais Qarni who will enter in their midst into Jannat. No one will recognise him except those whom Allah wishes.” Since he engrossed himself in ibaadat in concealment, fleeing from people, Allah Ta’ala will preserve his concealment even in the Aakhirah. Allah Ta’ala has said: “My Auliyaa are under My Mantle. None besides Me knows them.”
Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) said: “In my Ummat is a man whose shafaa’at (intercession) will be accepted on behalf of so many people whose number equals the hairs on the sheep/goats of the tribes of Rabeeh and Mudhir.”
These two Arab tribes possessed the most sheep and goats, hence the analogy. When the Sahaabah enquired about the identity of this man, Rasulullah (b) said: “A servant among the servants of Allah.” The Sahaabah responded: “We all are the servants of Allah. What is his name?”
Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) said: “Uwais Qarni.”
Sahaabah: “Where is he?”
Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ): “In Qarn.”
Sahaabah: “Have he seen you?”
Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ): “Not with his physical eyes, but he has seen me with his spiritual eyes.”
Sahaabah: “Such an ardent lover, but why has he not entered into your companionship?”
Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ): “There are two reasons. The first is ghalbah haal (i.e. he is always in a high spiritual state which makes him oblivious of everything besides Allah Ta’ala). The second is his profound observance of my Shariat. His mu’minah mother is extremely old and blind. He tends to camels and with his earnings he supports his mother.”
Sahaabah: “Can we see him?”
Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) said to Hadhrat Abu Bakr (d): “You will not see him, but Umar and Ali will see him. His entire body is covered with hair. On the palm of his hand and left side is a white spot, the size of a dirham, which is not the mark of leprosy. When you meet him, convey my salaam to him and tell him to make dua for my Ummat. Among the Auliyaa those who are the Atqiyaa (a very loft category of Auliyaa), he is the holiest.”
Sahaabah: “Where shall we find him?”
Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ): “In Yemen, he is a camel-herd known as Uwais. You should follow in his footsteps.”
As Rasulullah’s ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) demise neared, the Sahaabah asked: “To whom shall we give your jubbah (cloak)?”
Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) said: “To Uwais Qarni.”
After the demise of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Ali (dma) journied to Kufa. After delivering a Khutbah, Hadhrat Umar (d) said: “O people of Najd, all of you stand up.” Everyone obeyed. He then enquired: “Is any among you from Qaran?” When they said, ‘yes’, he asked for information about Uwais Qarni.
They replied: “We do not know him. However, there is a madman who has become estranged from people. He flees from people. When Hadhrat Umar (d) enquired of his whereabouts, he was told that he (Uwais Qarni) tends to camels in Wadi Urnah. At night he eats dry bread. He does not enter the town. He does not speak to anyone. He does not eat what people generally eat. He does not know what is grief and happiness. When people laugh, he cries. When they cry, he laughs.”
Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Ali (ra) travelled to that valley (Wadi Urnah). Ultimately when they discovered him, he was engaged in Salaat. By the command of Allah, angels were tending to the camels. On perceiving the presence of human beings, Uwais terminated his Salaat, and said “Assalaamu Alaikum”.
Hadhrat Umar Farooq () replied: “Wa-Alaikum Salaam”, and asked: “What is your name?”
Uwais: “Abdullah (i.e. a slave of Allah).”
Hadhrat Umar: “We all are the servants of Allah. What is your specific name?”
Hadhrat Umar: “Show me your right hand.”
When Hadhrat Uwais showed his hand, Hadhrat Umar (d) seeing the mark indicated by Rasulullah (b), kissed his hand, and said:
“Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) has conveyed salaams to you; sent this cloak for you and commanded that you make dua for his Ummah.”
Uwais: “You are more qualified to make dua because there is no one nobler than you.”
Hadhrat Umar: “I am always engaged in this duty of dua. However, you have to comply with the order of Rasulullah (b).”
Uwais: “O Umar! Think carefully. Perhaps Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) had in mind someone else besides myself.”
Hadhrat Umar: “All the signs indicated by Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) exist in you.”
Uwais: “Give me the cloak of Rasulullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم so that I may make dua.”
Taking the cloak, Hadhrat Uwais said: “Wait here.”
He went a distance, fell into Sajdah and supplicated: “O Allah! I shall not don this mantle as long as You do not forgive the entire Ummah of Muhammad ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ), for he has presented this cloak. Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ), Umar Farooq and Ali Murtaza have discharged their duties.”
A Voice exclaimed: “We have forgiven a number by virtue of your intercession.”
Uwais: “O Allah! As long as You do not forgive all, I shall not don this mantle.”
The Voice: “I have forgiven thousands.”
Uwais: “I am petitioning for the forgiveness of all.”
This performance was enacted several times. Each time, The Voice announced an increase in the number of persons forgiven by virtue of Hadhrat Uwais’ intercession. Meanwhile Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Ali () unable to hold their patience came near to Hadhrat Uwais to see what was happening. When Hadhrat Uwais saw them, he exclaimed: “Why have you come? I would not have donned this mantle as long as Allah Ta’ala had not forgiven the entire Ummah of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ).”
Gazing at Hadhrat Uwais with deep intent and concern, Hadhrat Umar () perceived 18,000 spiritual kingdoms under the simple shawl Hadhrat Uwais was wearing at the time. Hadrat Umar (), now overwhelmed by spiritual enthusiasm, lost complete interest in himself and his Khilaafat. In an ecstatic mood he cried out: “Is there anyone prepared to accept my Khilaafat in exchange for a piece of bread?”
Hadhrat Uwais said: “Only a man lacking in intelligence, will purchase it. What are you talking of buying and selling! Abandon it! Whoever wishes, can pick it up.”
Then donning the mantle of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ), Hadhrat Uwais said: “As a result of the barkat of this mantle and my intercession, the number of people of the Ummah of Muhammad (b) forgiven, equals the number of hairs on the bodies of the goats of the tribes of Rabeeah and Mudhirr.”
Hadhrat Umar: “O Uwais, why did you not meet Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم )?”
Uwais: “Perhaps you saw the blessed forehead of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ). Tell me, were Rasulullah’s (b) eye-brows fine or broad?” [Arabic in manuscript margin, bk 1, pg 31]
Surprisingly, neither Hadhrat Umar () nor Hadhrat Ali () was able to describe Rasulullah’s ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) eye-brows.
Uwais: “You are he Companions of Muhammad ( صلى الله عايه وسالم )?”
Hadhrat Umar: “Most certainly we are.”
Uwais: “On the day when the blessed tooth of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) was martyred, why did you not martyr your own teeth? The requirement of love was that you conformed.”
Hadhrat Uwais opened his mouth and they observed that all his teeth were missing. He said: “I broke my teeth without seeing the mubaarak face of Rasulullah (b). After having broken a tooth, I was not satisfied. Perhaps another tooth of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) was martyred, not the one I broke in my mouth. In this way I continued breaking my teeth until all were removed.
Both Hadhrat Umar and Hadhrat Ali () were overcome with emotion. Now they learnt a new concept of love and devotion. They resolved to learn this devotion from Hadhrat Uwais. Hadhrat Umar () then said: “O Uwais, make dua for me.”
Uwais: “I have already made dua. You should not desire more. In the Tashahhud of every Salaat I say: “O Allah! Have mercy on all the believing men and women and forgive them.”
If you reach the grave with the safety of Imaan, then most certainly, you have obtained my dua. I do not want to destroy my dua.
Hadhrat Umar: “Counsel me.”
Uwais: “Umar, have you recognized Allah Ta’ala?”
Hadhrat Umar: “Yes, I recognized Him.”
Uwais: “It is best that you recognize only Allah Ta’ala and no one besides Him.”
Hadhrat Umar: “Say something more.”
Uwais: “Allah Ta’ala knows you. It is best that besides Allah Ta’ala, no one else knows you.”
Hadhrat Umar () then attempted to present a gift of some money to Hadhrat Uwais. Hadhrat Uwais producing two dirhams from his pocket, said: “This is my earning for tending camels. If you can vouch that these dirhams will be depleted before my death, I shall then accept more.”
Obviously, Hadhrat Umar () could not comply, hence Uwais refused the gift.
Hadhrat Uwais: “Both of you had undergone considerable hardship to reach me. Now return. Qiyaamat is near. We shall then meet where there shall no longer be any separation. Presently I am in a dilemma. I am concerned with the preparations for this journey.”
They bid farewell and took leave with heavy hearts.
2. After the departure of these two eminent Sahaabah, people began to honour Hadhrat Uwais. Since their excessive veneration agitated him, he fled from that place. Thereafter he was not seen again by anyone except once by Hiram Ibn Hibbaan (rahmatullah alayh) who gave the following account of his encounter with Hadhrat Uwais (rahmatullah alayh):
“When I heard of the status of the Shafa’at (Intercession) of Hadhrat Uwais, I was overtaken by an intense yearning to meet him. I went to Kufaa and set out in search of him. It was my great fortune to locate him making wudhu on the banks of the river Euphrates. I found him fitting the description of him I had heard. After exchange of Salute actions, he looked intently at me. I desired to shake his hands, but he refused. I said:
“Uwais, may Allah have mercy on you and forgive you.”
His physical weakness and forlornness reduced me to tears in profusion. Uwais (rahmatullah alayh) also wept and said:
“Hiram Ibn Hibban, may Allah Ta’ala grant you a good reward. What has brought you here? Who showed you the road to me?”
Hiram Ibn Hibban: “How do you know my name and the name of my father? You have never met me before.”
Hadhrat Uwais: “He Whose Knowledge is all-encompassing has informed me. My rooh has recognized your rooh because the arwaah (souls) of the Mu’mineen recognize each other.”
Hiram: “Narrate a Hadith of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) to me.”
Hadhrat Uwais: “I did not meet Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ), but I have heard of his attributes from others. I have no desire to be a Muhaddith or a Mufti or a narrator because I am engrossed in an abundance of activity.”
Hiram: “Recite an aayat of the Qur’aan so that I hear it from your blessed tongue.”
Uwais: After reciting
اعوذ باللہ من الشیطٰن الرجیم
he wept uncontrollably and recited:
وما خلقت الجن والانس الالیعبدون
“I did not create jinn and man except that they worship Me.”
Then he let out such a frightening screech that I thought he had become insane. He said: “O Ibn Hibban, what has brought you here?” I replied: “To become your friend and to reform myself.” Hadhrat Uwais commented: “I cannot even think of a man who has recognized Allah Ta’ala, having any love and desire for others and deriving comfort from others besides Allah.” I said: “Give me some naseehat”.
He replied: “Keep Maut under your pillow when sleeping. When you wake up, don’t cherish hope of life. Never consider sin as being minor. If you consider sin as being minor, know that you are considering Allah Ta’ala as being insignificant.”
I asked: “Where should I take up residence?” He said: “In the Land of Shaam.” I said: “How shall I earn my living there?”
Hadhrat Uwais said: “Alas! Pity those souls who are beset with doubt and uncertainty and refrain from accepting naseehat.”
I said: “Give me more naseehat.” He said: “O son of Hibban! Your father has died. Aadam, Hawwaa, Nooh, Ibraaheem, Musaa, Daawood (alayhimus salaam), all have died. Muhammad ( صلى الله عايه وسالم
) too have died. Abu Bakr, the first Khalifah has also died and my brother Umar has departed from this earthly abode. Oh Umar! Oh Umar!”
I said: “May Allah have mercy on you. Umar has not yet departed.” Hadhrat Uwais said: “Allah Ta’ala has informed me of his demise. You and I are among the dead.”
He then recited Durood and made some dua, and added: “It is my advice that you cling to the Kitaab of Allah and adopt the path of Islaah (moral reformation). Never for a moment be forgetful of Maut. Never take even one step beyond the fold of the Jama’ah of the Ummah of Muhammad ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ), for then, Allah forbid, you will become without Deen and land in Jahannum.”
After making dua, he said: “Son of Hibban, go! Neither will you see me again, nor will I see you. Remember me in your dua. I too shall remember you in my dua. Now don’t follow me, I am going.”
I desired to accompany him a few steps, but he refused. He wept and so did I. I gazed long after him until he disappeared from sight. Thereafter, I never again heard of him.
3. Hadhrat Rabee’ (rahmatullah alayh) gives the following narrative of his encounter with Hadhrat Uwais Qarni (rahmatullah alayh): “I set out with a yearning to meet Uwais. I found him engaged in Fajr Salaat. As he completed his Salaat, he immediately commenced thikr. He continued with thikr until Zuhr. After Zuhr he again became involved in thikr until Asr. In this way he continued until Fajr of the next day. He maintained this practice for three days. During this entire period he neither ate nor slept. On the fourth night he took a short nap. He suddenly awoke with a start, jumped up and supplicated:
“O Allah! I seek Your protection from sleeping to the satisfaction of the eyes and from eating to the satiation of the stomach.”
On hearing this, I decided that I had seen enough and returned.”
4. His practice was to remain awake in ibaadat the entire night. He would say: ‘Tonight is the night of Sajdah; tonight is the night of Ruku’; tonight is the night of Qiyaam.’ In the way would he spend the nights worshipping Allah Ta’ala.
5. Someone asked: “How should Salaat be performed?” Hadhrat Uwais said: “I desire that before completing in Sajdah (during the night) it is already morning. Ibaadat should be like the worship of the Angels.”
6. Someone asked: “What is khushu’ (concentration in Salaat)?” He replied: “If you are struck with a spear, you remain oblivious of it.”
7. He was asked: “How are you?” He said: “Like one who gets up in the morning, not knowing if Maut will grant him respite until the evening.”
8. Hadhrat Uwais said: “A man who loves three things, Jahannum is closer to him than his jugular vein: Delicious food; fine garments and association with the rich.”
(This naseehat does not apply to the masses who find it difficult to abstain from even haraam on account of extreme deficiency of Imaan. The advice of Hadhrat Uwais–(rahmatullah alayh)–is directed to Auliyaa of high rank. As far as weaklings engrossed in material pursuits are concerned, the minimum demand is to eat, drink and participate in worldly affairs within the permitted confines of the Shariah–in moderation.)
9. People said to Hadhrat Uwais: “There is a man nearby who has been sitting in a grave with a kafan for the past 30 years, weeping profusely.”
On his request, Uwais was taken to view this man in the grave. The man was reduced to a skeleton. He was like a dried out weed and was crying. Hadhrat Uwais said: “The kafan and the qabar have diverted you from Allah. Both these objects constitute a veil for you in the Path (leading to Allah Ta’ala).”
His statement struck a responsive chord in the heart of the man. His spiritual eyes opened and he realised his folly. He let out a terrible scream and expired in that grave in which he had spent 30 years.
If even the grave can become a veil and an obstacle in the path of spiritual progress, what is the effect of the numerous other pursuits and objects of the material world?
10. Once for three days he was without food. On the fourth day he found a dinaar (gold coin) laying on the ground. Thinking it to be the lost property of someone, he left it. As he walked on, a wolf with a loaf of bread in its mouth approached him. The wolf left the bread infront of him. Uwais thought that the wolf had snatched the bread belonging to someone. As he thought, the wolf said: “I am the servant of the Same Being Whose servant you are.” The wolf then disappeared. Hadhrat Uwais realising that the bread was sent by Allah Ta’ala, ate it.
11. Hadhrat Uwais said: “Nothing remains hidden from a person who has recognized Allah Ta’ala.” “Safety is in solitude. True solitude is that there is no room in the heart for thinking of others. Solitude in which the mind is occupied with the thoughts of others is defective.”
“When two people gather to indulge in futility, shaitaan departs because he has achieved his objective. There is no longer a need for his presence since these two are sufficient to deceive each other. Both are forgetful of Allah Ta’ala.” “Keep your heart alert so that aliens do not gain entry.” (i.e. Always remember Allah Ta’ala, for Thikrullah prevents shaitaan from entering the heart of man.)
“I searched for glory and I found it in humility. I searched for kingdom and I found it in admonishing people (i.e. giving them naseehat). I searched for culture and found it in truth. I searched for holiness and found it in poverty. I searched for Nisbat and found it in piety. (Nisbat refers to a special relationship of proximity with Allah Ta’ala.)
I searched for honour and I found it in contentment (i.e. contentment with whatever Allah Ta’ala has ordained). I searched for comfort and found it in zuhd (abstinence –renunciation of the world). I searched for independence and found it in tawakkul (trust in Allah).”
12. When Hadhrat Uwais walked in the road, mischievous children considering him to be a mad man would pelt him with stones, mocking and jeering. He would say: “Pelt me with small stones. Big stones draw blood which breaks my wudhu.”
13. It is narrated that towards the close of his life he joined Hadhrat Ali (d) in the Battle of Siffeen and was martyred. Among the Auliyaa there is a category called Uwaisiyyah. Those in this class do not need a Shaikh (Spiritual Mentor). Just like Hadhrat Uwais, they acquire spiritual elevation without the medium of a Shaikh. Hadhrat Uwais (rahmatullah alayh), despite not having physically associated with Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم ) gained spiritual elevation by virtue of Nabi-e-Kareem’s (b) baatini (spiritual) medium. This pedestal occupied by these Auliyaa is extremely lofty. Only Allah Ta’ala decides who is to be favoured with this rank.
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