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The love of Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra)

The Companion (Ra) who never met Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW)

 

Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) said about Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) : "In my Community (Ummah) is a man whose intercession (shafaa'at) 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) 

 

When true love is described, then the words below explain this emotion in such a beautiful way;

“Love is a chain of continuation. When you fall in love with Laylā, then the love is not restricted to her. You also love her family, her streets with its corners, walls and thresholds. Even with the dogs who pass through her streets. Love is all about connections.

O lovers of our Master; Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam), when you love the Beloved you don't only love Him — you also love his blessed family - Ahl al-Bayt. You become the servants of the Holy Progeny of Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) and of the Companions (Ridwanullah majmaeen), and those who madly love the beloved Messenger (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam). Then you love Madīnah al-Munawwarah and its streets,  the Ahadīth (plural of hadīth), the Sunan (plural of Sunnah), Every blessed act and deed of the most elevated of Messengers’ Sayyidina Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam), and the paths he must have crossed. You end up loving the grains of the sand that kissed the blessed feet of Rasulullah (SAW). Thus Love is then not restricted within a boundary, but it expands like oceans”! SubhanAllah Ya Rasulullah.

Shaykh al-Islām Muhammad Tahir Ul’Qadri

 

There are certain qualities that when found in an individual to such a great degree becomes the reason for them being known and mentioned. When the true lovers are mentioned of our beloved Messenger; Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam), we must mention ‘Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique (Ra)’ whose love has been defined as ‘Siddiqiyat’. The ‘truthful’ one; Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique (May Allah be pleased with him) had such a closeness to the beloved Messenger (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) that it resulted in him adopting every action and manner of the Beloved Messenger (SAW), which is the true meaning of annihilation – fanaa, into the love and obedience of another. However there is another love, which has been given the title of ‘Nisbah-e-Owaisiyyat’. This was the annihilation of Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) into a love not based on the physical presence but his yearning for the beloved Messenger (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam). Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) rose through the spiritual ranks earning him the honour of being a Companion (Ra) even though he never actually met Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi Wasallam) in his lifetime.

 

Nisbah-e-Owaisiyyat

The full name of Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) was ‘Abu Amar Owais Bin Harb Bin al Muradi bin al Qarn’.  Though Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) never met Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW), yet both were fully aware of each other's spiritual presence and Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) 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 his living in that region.

Once the Companions asked the Beloved Prophet (SAW): “Has Hasrat Owais Qarni ever visited you? The Beloved Prophet (Peace & Blessings upon him) replied: “No, He never met me physically, but spiritually we have met through spiritual revelation - Kashf.” This is the unveiling through reaching great heights in spiritual ranks only attained after constant Dhikr of Allah (SWT) and complete pre-occupation in loving His beloved Messenger (SAW). This connection or link between the Beloved Prophet (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) and Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra), is known as “Nisbat-e-Owaisiyyat” in Sufi texts.

 

The love of Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra)

Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) used to live in a village called ‘Qarn’ in Yemen and had extreme love for Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi Wasallam). He famously shattered all his teeth upon hearing that our beloved Messenger (SAW) lost a blessed tooth in the battle of Uhud.  Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) continuously saw Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi Wasallam) through his strength in spirituality and yearning for the beloved Messenger (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam).

Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) also knew of Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) and would often directed his blessed face to Yemen and say to his Sahabah (Ra) that he is feeling the pleasant air of Al Jannah from Yemen. When asked by the blessed Companions (Ra) about Yemen, Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) answered that a person named Owais Qarni is living in Yemen who keeps me most beloved to him over everything.

During the battle of Uhud, Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) sustained injury to his blessed face and lost a blessed tooth. Upon hearing of this and in some narrations, Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) miraculously witnessed this injury even though he was miles away, picked up a rock and began to break his teeth one by one, to ensure that he removes the same tooth that our beloved Messenger (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) lost.  Then Hazrat Jibreel-e-Ameen (AS) appeared with ample quantity of Banana and stated: ‘O Owais Qarni (RA), you have broken all your teeth in the love of Almighty Allah’s beloved Prophet (SAW) and now how will you eat to maintain your health to be able to do Ibaadah’. It was this act of extreme love by Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) that earned him the rank he has today, as Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) witnessed Owais Qarni’s grief and supplicated to Allah (SWT) to raise his mention amongst the believers from then till the end of time. This is the reason why lovers of our beloved Messenger (SAW) continue to relate this incident over 1400 years later and will continue to do so, may Allah (SWT) bless us with even one drop in the ocean of the unparalleled love of Owais Qarni (Ra). 


Title of Sahaabi


Hazrat Owais Qarni was a very pious and noble person, a fakir who embraced Islam in the time of the beloved Messenger (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam). As a reward of his service to his mother, he was given the title and status of a Sahabi (companion of Holy Prophet SAW) by our Beloved Prophet (SAW) even though he could not meet him personally.

Upon occasion, Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) wished to go to Medina Munawwrah to physically meet Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam), he got permission from his mother who was elderly and blind. She happily gave permission and advised him to go to the blessed home of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam). After a long journey, Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) reached Medina Munawwarah and standing at the blessed door of the blessed house of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) asked for the blessed Prophet (SAW). He was informed by Umm-e-Momineen; Hazrat Ayesha Siddique (RA) that the blessed Messenger (SAW) was not at home. So Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) returned. When Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) returned home from the Masjid, he found the radiance of Hazrat Owais Qarni (Ra) outside his house. Hazrat Ayesha (R.A) told him what had happened, and conveyed Hazrat Owais Qarni’s salutations. Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) looked towards Yemen and said, “The fragrance of our friend is reaching us.” When asked: “If Owais is your friend, why did he not stay to see you?” Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) replied: “He complied with a promise given to his mother and he is serving her.”

 Hasrat Owais Qarni returned to Qarn, and his blind mother asked: ‘O my son! Did you meet Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi Wasallam), he replied: ‘O mother, I could not meet our Master; Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) as he had gone to the Masjid for Salaat and I considered it your disobedience to go to the Masjid without your permission.

Time kept passing and Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) again wished to meet Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) and got permission from his blind mother again. Now his mother said: ‘O my son! Go to the Masjid to meet the blessed Messenger (SAW)’. After a long journey, Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) again reached Medina Munawwarah and rushed to Masjid-e-Nabi, upon asking someone about Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW), he was informed that the blessed Messenger (SAW) had returned to his blessed home after offering Salaat. Hazrat Owais Qarni again considered it disobedience to go to the blessed home of Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi Wasallam) without his mother’s permission. So he had to return to Yemen. When he reached his home, his blind mother asked: ‘O my son! Have you now met the Messenger (SAW) of Allah (SWT)? Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) replied with sadness that this time again he could not meet Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi Wasallam) once again as he remained obedient to his blessed mother’s command.

The Beloved Messenger (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) later said “Owais will come back to Medina Munnawwarah to meet me but we will not meet physically, for when he returns I shall have been united with my Lord “

 

Glad tidings from the beloved Messenger (SAW)

 

Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) said: "In my Community (Ummah) is a man whose intercession (shafaa'at) 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."  

When the companions inquired about the identity of this man, Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) said: "A servant among the servants of Allah." 

The companions responded: "Please excuse us O Messenger of Allah, we all are the servants of Allah. What is his name?"

Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) unveiled the name saying: "Owais Qarni."

The companions (Ra) then asked: "Where is he?"

The beloved Messenger (SAW) replied: "In Qarn (a place in Yemen)."

The companions (Ra): "Has he seen you, O Messenger of Allah?"

The beloved Messenger (SAW) answered: "Not with his physical eyes, but he has seen me with his spiritual eyes."

The companions (Ra): "Such an ardent lover, but why has he not entered into your companionship?"

Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) replied: "His faithful mother is extremely old and blind."

The Companions (Ra) asked: "Can we see him O Messenger of Allah?"

The Messenger (SAW) of Allah (SWT) turned to his faithful companion Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique (Ra): "You will not see him, but Umar and Ali will see him. His entire body is covered with bodily hair. On the palm of his hand and left side is a white spot, the size of a dirham (coin), which is the mark of leprosy. When you meet him, convey my greetings of peace to him and tell him to make supplication for my Ummah (community).

The Companions (Ra) further asked: "Where shall we find him?"

Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) unveiled more: "In Yemen, he is a camel-herd known as Owais. You should follow in his footsteps."

Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) called Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) before he passed away and gave him his blessed Jubbah - gown. This was the same Jubbah, that Hasrat Jibrail (As) brought Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) on the night of Al Miraaj – The Ascent to the Heavens. This blessed gown came from Al Jannah and Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) wore it and travelled to Masjid Al Aqsa to lead all the Prophets (As) in Jamaat and then Ascended through the heavens to be in the Divine Presence of Allah (SWT). Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) gave his instructions to Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) to go to Yemen and hand this Jubbah to his faithful lover and follower; Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) and also ask him to pray for forgiveness of the Ummah.

During the Caliphate of Hasrat Abu Bakr Siddique (Ra), effort was made to hand this blessed Jubbah to Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) in Yemen but without success as Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) was a Fakir and could not be found. Then the second Caliph; Sayyidina Umar ibn Khattab (RA) he himself along with Sayyidina Ali ibn Talib (Ra) went to Yemen and searched for Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA).  Hasrat Umar Ibn Khattab (Ra) had been given signs by Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) of how they would recognise Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA). Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) had the sickness of Leprosy and on praying to Allah (SWT) was relieved of his sickness but supplicated that Allah (SWT) leaves a sign of this sickness on his hand so that he may keep remembering Allah (SWT) as being Most Merciful. Another prominent sign was that Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) had long hair.

Upon arriving in Qarn, they asked the people where Hazrat Owais Qarni was. The villagers answered their questions, but were very surprised to see the the prominent Companions (Ra) asking for a camel shepherd.

When the ‘Ameer-ul-Momineen’; Sayyidina Umar Ibn Khattab and Sayyidina Ali Ibn Talib (Ra) reached him, they saw him praying. Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) completed his Ibaadah and turned to say “It is the first time anyone has ever seen me praying.”
“What’s your name?” Sayyidina Umar Ibn Khattab (Ra) asked.
“Abdullah (the servant of Allah).”
“Tell us your real name?”
“Owais.”
“Show us your hand,” Sayyidina Umar Ibn Khattab (Ra) and Sayyidina Ali Ibn Talib (Ra) immediately kissed the white patch mentioned by Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam). Then they
handed the blessed Jubbah granted by Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) over to Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) and also requested that he pray for the forgiveness of the Ummah of Rasulullah (SAW).

After taking the blessed Jubbah, Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) bowed at his place of prayer and started praying to Allah (SWT) to forgive the sins of the Ummah. Hazrat Owais Qarni rubbed the blessed cloak over his face and eyes, and kissed it. Then he asked to be left alone. When he was alone, he held the cloak close and began to pray, “Ya Allah, the cloak of Your Beloved Messenger (SAW) has been presented it to me, but I will only wear it when You pardon the Ummah of our Master; Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam)”.

He was in prostration for a long time and the Companions (Ra) who had come feared that Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) had passed away in this state. They approached Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) who then raised his head and said that if they had more patience, Allah (SWT) would have forgiven the entire Ummah of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam). However, according to an authentic hadith of the Messenger of Allah, ‘The Ummah as per the number of hairs of the goats of the two Tribes of Yemen namely Ummayah and Midhar, whose goats are greater in number, would be forgiven by Almighty Allah on one request of Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA)’.

 

Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) Visits Medina Munnawwarah

After the demise of his blind mother, Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) went to Medina Munawwarah and first of all met with Sayyidina Ali Ibn Talib (Ra) giving his Oath of Alliegance. Thereafter, some of the Sahabah (Ra) recognized Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) and they took him to Hazrat Umar Bin Khattab (RA).

The blessed Companions (Ra) curiously asked Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) as to why he could not meet with Sayyidina Rasulullah (sala lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam). Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) answered that he was looking after his blind mother and therefore he was not able to reach Medina Munnawwarah upon many occasion. But Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) immediately asked them that if they always remained near Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) especially during the battles and questioned:

“Tell me which blessed tooth of my beloved Messenger (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) was lost in Uhud”?  When they failed to reply, Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) said: “I know which tooth of Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) broke and I also know how many blessed hairs in the blessed beard of Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) were white and black”. Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) further added: “I also know where the Seal of Nubuwwah on the blessed back of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) was located. I even know the distance between the blessed eyebrows on the beautiful face of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam)”. SubhanAllah

 Upon listening to this, the Sahabah (Ra) began to weep in the love of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam). They all kissed the hands of Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA). When Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) was leaving, the Caliph requested him to stay for a while. He went to his back room and offered five dinar as a gift to Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA). Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) then took out two dinar from his pocket and asked the Caliph: If you assure me of my life till the utilization of these two dinars, then I can take your five dinars as gift – otherwise I don’t need anymore. 

Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) was martyred while fighting in the army of Sayyidina Ali ibn Talib (Ra) during the battle of Siffeen.

The blessed cloak of Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) which was presented to Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) is preserved in Istanbul, Turkey.

 

The legacy of Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra)

An authentic hadith states that the Messenger (SAW) of Allah (SWT) said ‘Owais Qarni is the noblest of the Tabieen with ihsaan." (Ihsan is the highest spiritual stage where one worships Allah Ta'ala as if one sees Allah (SWT))

In an authentic hadith, it is also mentioned;

"Tomorrow on the Day of Qiyaamah (Day of Resurrection) Allah (SWT) will create 70,000 angels in the image of Owais Qarni who will enter in their midst into Paradise. No one will recognize him except those whom Allah wishes." Since Owais Qarni engrossed himself in worship in concealment, fleeing from people, Allah will preserve his veil even in the Hereafter.

Many times in the company of his followers, the Beloved Prophet (Peace & Blessings upon him) stated: “I can smell the beauty of my friend from the land of Yemen'”. This statement is in direct reference to the spiritual greatness of Hadrat Owais. The blessed Prophet (SAW) also said: “I feel a sweet, peaceful breeze (naseem-e-rehmat) from Yemen”.

 

Translation of the Invocation of Owais al-Qarni:

“O Allah, You created me when I was not worthy of mention;
And You provided for me when I had nothing;
And I wronged my soul and sinned, and I confess my guilt.
If You forgive me, that will in no way diminish Your sovereignty;
And if You punish me, that will in no way augment Your authority.
You can find others to punish besides me,
But I can find no one to forgive me but You.
Truly, You are the most Merciful of those who show Mercy.”

Uwais al-Qarni says, “Keep watch over thy heart”,  “Alayka bi-Ghalbik”.

Uwais al-Qarni said, “Hidden invocation (al-du’a fi dhahr al-ghayb) is better than visiting and meeting,” because hypocrisy (riya) might enter in the latter two.

It is mentioned in books of Islamic literature “during his life in this world, he (Owais) was hiding from all in order to devote himself to acts of worship and obedience” (‘Attar 1976, p. 2).

It is also relates that when the ‘Ameer-ul-Momineen’: Sayyidina Umar Ibn Khattab (Ra) asked about Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) during his stay in Kufa, he asked a native of Qarn and was answered “there was one such man, but he was a madman, a senseless person who because of his madness does not live among his fellow countrymen (…) He does not mingle with anybody and does not eat nor drink anything that others drink and eat. He does not know sadness nor joy; when others laugh, he weeps, and when they weep, he laughs” (ibid., p. 29).

 

Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) and his Mother

There are lovers of Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) and then there is Owais Qarni (Ra). The spiritual connection – Kashf, between Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) and Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) was such that they described each other in fine detail despite never having been in each other’s company. Ofcourse in the case of our beloved Prophet (SAW), Allah (SWT) Bestowed upon him ‘ilm-e-ghaib’, knowledge of the unseen, and with Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra), his connection was due to the immense love he had for Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW) and as Maulana Rumi (Rh) wrote that when he sacrificed his teeth in the love of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam), our beloved Messenger (SAW) who gives greater than what he receives, supplicated to Allah (SWT) to raise the rank of Hasrat Owais Qarni (Rh) so that every believer from then to the day of Qiyaamah, will know him and he will be given the honour to intercede for the Ummah of our beloved Messenger (SAW).

 The life of Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) show us that true love / Al Hubb for Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) can be gained without having physically been in the blessed presence of our Beloved Messenger (SAW). But beware O’ Seekers, do not think we can attain the rank of even the dust that touched the feet of someone like him, a true lover of Our Master; Sayyidina Rasulullah (SAW), as there can be no other like ‘Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra)’.

Yet by serving our mothers with love and humility, our spiritual rank can also be raised. Hasrat Owais Qarni (Ra) was granted the title of ‘Sahaabi’ due to his obedience to his mother.

Zulfiqar Raja