By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.
Dear brothers and sisters, Uwais Qarni’s is a story that sets an example for all the Muslims as how even without meeting the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), one may still earn Allah’s favour and His pleasure, on account of his unflinching love for the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
Uwais Qarni (may Allah bless him) could never meet the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in person, but he is arguably the only person in Islamic history who is said to have been accorded the status of Sahabi (Companion) by none other than Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) himself. (To be a companion, it required the criterion of meeting the Prophet while having faith).
Imam Muslim named one full chapter in his one of the most reliable tomes of Hadith in Qarni’s name: “The Virtues of Uwais Qarni” in Sahih Muslim. It records a Hadith quoting Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, who said:
“I heard Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) saying: ‘There would come to you Uwais Bin Amir, of Qarn, a branch of the Murid tribe, along with the reinforcement of the people of Yemen. He had been suffering from leprosy which would have been cured but for the space of a Dirham. His good treatment with his mother would have been very kind. If he would take an oath in the name of Allah (for something), Allah would honour it. Ask him to beg forgiveness for you (from Allah) in case it is possible for you.”
Qarni was born in Asir region of Saudi Arabia, 594 CE. His father, Aamir, was an Allah-fearing person. He gave Islamic education to his son but died leaving Uwais an orphan at a young age. The family was poor and could not afford higher education for him. He devoted him to praying, fasting and service to his mother. Uwais had profound love for Islam and its Prophet (Peace be upon him).
Uwais learned that there is a great reward in Islam for serving parents. His mother was sick and blind. So he devoted himself solely to the service of his mother.
He was 28 years of age when noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) had migrated to Madinah Munawwarah. He had a keen desire to visit him, but was preoccupied with the service of his sick mother. Yet he would keep a tab on the developments in Hijaz.
When he heard about the sad news of the Battle of Uhud (625 CE), when a tooth of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was martyred, Qarni out of love for him, broke all his teeth. Thus was his love for the noble Prophet (Peace be upon him).
The noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) knew about Qarni and his love for him. He once told Imar Ibn Khattab about Qarni and had predicted that Umar would meet Qarni after his (the Prophet’s) departure from the world. He gave all the details about him and advised him to seek prayers for his forgiveness and for the whole Ummah.
The Companions asked if they could see him, but the noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied:
“No, only Umar Bin Khattab and Ali would meet him.”
And he gave identity marks of Qarni. He directed Umar and Ali:
“When you see him, convey to him my salaam and ask him to pray for my Ummah.”
During the Prophet (Peace be upon him)’s last days, he asked Umar and Ali to pass his Jubbah (the blessed cloak) to Qarni and ask him to pray for the forgiveness of the Muslim Ummah. This demonstrates the exalted status of Qarni.
Qarni, the Prophet is said to have remarked, is the best among tabi’in, (second generation of the companions). Qarni rubbed the blessed cloak over his face and eyes, and kissed it, when he finally received it. The blessed cloak, it is said, is preserved in Istanbul, Turkey.
Referring to Qarni, the noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) once told his companions:
“There is a person in my Ummah whose prayers would bring forgiveness to as many sinners as the number of the sheep in the tribes of Rabi’ah and Mudar.”
The two tribes of Rabi’ah and Mudar were well known for raising sheep during the time of the noble Prophet (Peace be upon him).
Usair Bin Jabir reported that when people from Yemen came to help (the Muslim army during battle), Caliph Umar would ask them:
“Is there among you Uwais Bin Amir? (He continued finding him out) until he met Qarni. He told him the saying of noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) about him and asked him for his prayer and said: “Where do you intend to go? He said: To Kufah. Umar said: Let me write a letter for you to its governor, But Uwais said: I love to live among the poor people. Umar was impressed with his simple personality and asked Uwais Qarni to pray for him. He replied, “I pray for the forgiveness of everyone at the end of every prayer. If you keep your faith in Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him), you will receive my prayers in your graves.”
Here is the famous invocation of Uwais 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 reduce 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. The noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) said “Uwais will come to Madinah to meet me, but he will not find me physically, for I shall then be united with my Lord.”
When the people in Qarn began revering him and considering him a saint (Waliyi), on account of his status in Islam, he left Qarn for Kufah where he engaged in imparting Islamic education.
Later, he took part in the unfortunate Battle of Siffin (37 AH) where he was fatally wounded, subsequently dying at the age of 63. He was buried at Al-Raqqah, Syria. A grand Aal-Zaria Mosque as Jaami Uwais Qarni stands at Qarn in Asir region and another Uwais Qarni Mosque in Ilford UK.
Respected brothers and sisters, the love of the noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) is the boon that can be achieved without meeting him. This opens the door for millions of Muslims living in different areas and eras of the world.
The life of Uwais Qarni encourages us to love the noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) though we have not seen him and to get higher ranks as got by Uwais.
May Allah send His Salah and Salam upon our noble Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
And all praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: email@example.com or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Rajab 21, 1442 AH (March 05, 2021).
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