Hazrat Owais Qarni (R.A) was born in the village of “Qaran” in Yemen. Owais Qarni’s father Abdullah, was very religious and pious person. He wanted to bring up his son in the strict principles of Islam. He passed away leaving Owais an orphan at a young age. The family was so poor that there was no money to send him to Maktab or a teacher.
Bondage with the Holy Prophet (SAW)
This was a miracle that Hadrat Owais Qarni (RA) never met that Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) because he was busy attending his sick mother but Hazrat Muhammad (SA) became the spiritual guardian of this Owais Qarni (R.A). Though they never met, Hazrat Muhammad (SA) guided him at all times – such was their bondage.
Hazrat Muhammad (SA) often used to look towards Yemen, and said :
“I am getting the beautiful fragrance Allah’s blessings in the breeze. It is for Owais Qarni.”
After the battle of Uhud, when Owais Qarni (R.A) came to know that the Prophet (S.A) had lost a few teeth during the encounter, he broke all his teeth one by one till none was left – as he did not know exactly how many or which ones were lost by the Prophet (SA).
Hazrat Owais Qarni (R.A) never met the Holy Prophet (SAW)
Hadrat Owais Qarni (R.A) could never meet the Holy Prophet (PBUH) though he trid to meet him (SAW) a lot. One day, he took permission from his mother to visit Rasulallah (s.a.w), and his mother said:
“You have my permission to go, see him once, and come straight back. If our Beloved Prophet (s.a.w) is at home, you may meet with him; if not, come straight back here.”
Hazrat Owais Qarni (RA) then completed a journey of three months on foot, from Yemen to Madinah Munawara. When he reached Rasulallah (s.a.w)’s house, he knocked on the door and Hazrat Aisha (R.A) opened the door. She told him that Rasulallah (s.a.w) was in the Mosque. Hazrat Owais Qarni remembered his promise to his mother and replied,
“Please convey my Salam to my Beloved Rasulallah (s.a.w). Kindly inform him that Owais came from Yemen, did not find him at home and is now returning to Yemen, since he does not have permission from his mother to meet him in the Mosque.”
When Rasulallah (s.a.w) returned home from the Mosque, he found the radiance of Hazrat Owais Qarni in his house. Hazrat Aisha (R.A) told him what had happened, and conveyed Hazrat Owais Qarni’s salutations. Holy Prophet (SAW) looked towards Yemen and said,
“The fragrance of our friend is reaching us.”
Title of Sahabi
Hazrat Owais Qarni was a very pious and noble person. He had embraced Islam while Rasulallah (s.a.w) was still alive. 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 (s.a.w) even though he could not see him personally.
Status of Hazat Owais Qarni (R.A)
During Prophet (s.a.w)’s last days, he asked Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Ali to take his blessed shirt to Hazrat Owais Qarni, and ask him to pray for the forgiveness of the Muslim Ummah. The reason for this was to demonstrate the exalted status of Hazrat Owais Qarni.
Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Ali then asked the people of Madinah if there was anyone present from Qarn. One man came forward and told them how to find the place, so they set out for Qarn. When they arrived, they asked the people where Hazrat Owais Qarni was. The villagers answered their questions, but were very surprised to see the two prominent Companions asking for an unknown camel shepherd.
When Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Ali reached him, they saw him saying his prayers. As he finished his prayers, he said, “It is the first time anyone has ever seen me praying.”
“What’s your name?” Hazrat Umer and Hazrat Ali asked.
“Abdullah (the servant of Allah).”
“Tell us your real name?”
“Show us your hand,” Hazrat Umer and Hazrat Ali immediately kissed the white patch the Holy Prophet had talked about.
The Holy Shirt of Prophet (PBUH):
They presented to him the holy dress and asked him to pray for the Ummah as directed by the Holy Prophet. When they handed Hazrat Owais Qarni, the blessed shirt of Rasulallah (s.a.w), he was reluctant to accept.
“Surely, there is some mistake!”, he exclaimed, in his desire to hide himself. Seeing the light upon his hand, however, they cried,
“You are the saint described to us by Allah’s Beloved Messenger (s.a.w), for he told us about the light on your hand.” They then informed him of Rasulallah (s.a.w)’s message, asking Hazrat Owais Qarni to pray for the forgiveness of the Ummah. This he did, and after a while he said, “Allah has forgiven and rewarded as many of Rasulallah (s.a.w)’s followers as the hair of the sheeps from the Rabia and Mazhar tribes.”
They asked Hazrat Owais Qarni, “If you loved Rasulallah (s.a.w) so much, why didn’t you visit him more often during his lifetime?” Hazrat Owais Qarni did not answer, but instead asked if they took part in the battle of Uhud, and if so, to provide information about which tooth it was that Rasulallah (s.a.w) had lost.
Pray for forgiveness:
Hazrat Umar was greatly impressed by this simple person and asked Hazrat Owais Qarni to pray for him. Hazrat Owais Qarni replied,
“I pray for the forgiveness of everyone at the end of every prayer. If you keep your faith in Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w), you will receive my prayers in your graves.”
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,
“O Allah, this cloak (The Holy Shirt of Prophet PBUH) is the cloak of Your Beloved Messenger (s.a.w). He has presented it to me, but I refuse to wear it unless You pardon the Ummah of Rasulallah (s.a.w).”
He then repeated his prayer in exactly the same words. As he was about to repeat his prayer a third time, Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Umar (R.A) appeared beside him. He cried, “Oh, you came too soon! Upon my first supplication, Allah granted me forgiveness for one third of the Ummah. On my second, He forgave two-thirds of the Ummah. In my third request, I was pleading for pardon for the entire Ummah, then you came along!”
Death of Owais Qarni (RA)
After the meeting with Hazrat Umer (RA) Uwais left his homeland of Qaran and came to Kufa, in modern day Iraq. One day he was seen by Harim ibn Hayyan, but after that nobody saw him until the period of the first Muslim civil war (656-661). He fought for Ali ibn Abi Talib against the army of Muawiyah and was martyred at the Battle of Siffin in 657. Other accounts relate that he died in an expedition accompanying `Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, to Azerbaijan.
Lesson from His Life:
The life of this Holy Saint gives us the lesson that the love of the Holy prophet is the thing that can be gained without meeting him. Today living in this age one can love Holy Prophet and go close to him spiritually In Sha Allah.
Hazrat Awais Qarni (RA) always left praying to God in the deserts after attending his mother. He considered worldly life a temporary thing. He often said;
“Sleep with the remembrance of death, and rise with the thought that you will not live long.”
He received spiritual training directly from the Holy Prophet. Often the Holy Prophet said:
“Awais is the best amongst Ta’beens (the successors of the companions of the Holy Prophet).” May Allah be pleased with him.