A True Lover of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam)
Hazrat Awais Qarni (Radhi Allahu Anhu) is another eminent Taba’ee (one who has had the company of the Sahaba) and a glimpse of true love for the Holy Prohet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) could be seen in his life. The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) honored Awais Qarni (r.a) by saying great things about him. Some of these are reproduced below:
“Awais is amongst the best Taba’een in being generous in good deeds.”“I can feel a breeze of beneficence coming from the direction of Yemen.”“On the day of Judgment, Awais will be admitted into Paradise in the company of seventy angels all of whom would look exactly like Awais. This would be done so that people are unable to recognize the real Awais but only those would recognize him whom Allah wills. This special status would be bestowed on him because he lived life in solitude, hidden from the eyes of people, only to worship Allah Almighty in a way that the people do not consider him to be pious.”“There is a man amongst my followers, whose intercession would result in the forgiveness of sinners whose count would be similar to the hair of the sheep of Rabiya and Mudr.”
When the Sahaba asked about this special person and where he could be found, the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“He is a servant of Allah Almighty.”
But on the insistence of the Sahaba, the Holy Prophet revealed that it was indeed none other than Hazrat Awais Qarni (r.a).
When the Sahaba inquired of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) whether Hazrat Awais (r.a) had had the honor of meeting the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam), the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied:
“No he hasn’t met me. Although he has not seen me with his physical eyes but he has seen me with the eyes of his soul. He has not been able to come to me for two reasons.
The first is his condition that he remains hidden from the people and avoids recognition. The second is that he strictly adheres to the Islamic law, and it is the observance of Shariah that has occupied him, as his mother is old and blind and Awais has to take care of her.”
Then the Sahaba asked:
“Can we have the honor of meeting him?”
The Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) told them that they would not be able to meet him, but only Umar (r.a) and Ali (r.a) will meet him, and the signs of Awais are that his entire body would be hairy and the palm of his hand would have a white mark of the size of a coin, and the mark would not be due to leprosy.
The Prophet said further:
“So when he is found, give him peace and blessings from me and a message to pray for my Ummah.”
It was during the Caliphate of Hazrat Umar (r.a) that the Caliph himself along with Hazrat Ali (r.a) arrived at the city of Kufa, and questioned the people of Yemen as to the whereabouts of Hazrat Awais Qarni (r.a). One of them said:
“I am not really sure but bizarre man lives in solitude far from the village and shepherds camels. He eats dry bread. When he sees people laughing he weeps, and when he sees people crying, he laughs.”
So when both eminent Sahaba reached the place, Hazrat Awais was busy in prayer while his camels were being shepherded by angels.
When Hazrat Awais finished his prayer, Hazrat Umar (r.a) asked his name and confirmed that all the signs mentioned by the Holy Propet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) were manifest in him. After the verification, Hazrat Umar (r.a) kissed his hand and gave him the most lovely gift, the clothes of the Holy Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam)! Then he was given the Holy Prophet’s (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) message of praying for the forgiveness of the Ummah.
Hazrat Awais Qarni (r.a) said:
“I think you need to confirm whether I am the man you’re looking for. Surely, O Umar! Your prayer will be much better than mine.”
But when Hazrat Umar (r.a) insisted on the issue, so Hazrat Awais (r.a) took the sacred clothes with him and moved into a corner of the room and prayed in the following words:
“O Allah! I will not wear the sacred clothes of the Holy Prophet (saw) until you bestow the Ummah with your forgiveness on my intercession. Because your Beloved Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) has handed over this affair to me.”
Then a voice was heard saying:
“We have forgiven some people from the Ummah on your intercession!”
Hazrat Awais (r.a) was busy praying for the Ummah in this way when the Sahaba went over to him. Awais (r.a) asked of them:
“Why have you come over to me? I would have not worn this sacred dress until Allah the Merciful had forgiven every single person of the Ummah!”