By Sadia Dehlvi
May 21, 2014
Hazrat Uwais Quarni lived during the time of the Prophet; unable to meet him physically due his blind mother’s failing health. The Prophet had written to the mystic saying that the duty to his mother had to take priority over an audience with him.
Though Uwais of Qaran never met Prophet Muhammad, both were fully aware of each other’s spiritual presence, bound by the love of the one God. The Uwaisi form of spiritual transmission in vocabulary of Islamic mysticism was named after Uwais Quarni, as it refers to the transmission of spiritual knowledge between two individuals without the need for physical interaction between them. The story of Hazrat Uwaiz remains a favourite amongst Sufi circles.
Sometimes the Messenger of God would turn in the direction of Yemen and say: “I perceive the fragrance of love from Yemen,” referring to the presence of a great lover of God living in that region.
So great was Uwais’s love for Prophet Muhammad, that upon hearing that the Prophet had lost two teeth in the battle of Uhud, he broke all his teeth as he did not know which two had been affected. The Prophet said, “There is a man who on the Day of Judgment will intercede for a multitude of my people, as many as the sheep of Rabia and Madhar.” He would add, “Get Uwaiz Quarni to pray for your forgiveness.” The Prophet instructed Hazrat Omar and Hazrat Ali to find Uwaiz and present his cloak to him. After the Prophet passed on, they found him in the desert engaged in prayer.
Somebody once offered Hazrat Quarni some coins. He refused to accept them saying that he had two Dirhams, which was enough. The eager donor said, “But how long will that trifling sum serve you?” he replied, “Assure me first that I shall live longer than this moment and I shall accept your gift.” The man became silent.
The mystic would say, “Keep your contemplation of death under your pillow when sleeping. When you wake up, don’t cherish hope of life. Never consider sin as being minor. If you consider any sin as being minor, know that you are considering Allah as insignificant.”
When Hazrat Ali fought against the forces of Muawiyah, Hazrat Uwais accompanied him and became martyred at the battle of Siffin. His mausoleum in the city of Raqqa in Syria has been detonated by the extremist rebel forces a few days ago. Nothing could be more shocking and sad. It had been my heart-felt desire to visit Hazrat Uwaiz someday, one of the greatest figures of early Islamic history.
Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam.