Sufi Order on the Path
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Uwaiys-ibn-Amir Moradi-al-Gharani (also spelled Uways and Uwais) was born in Najd, Yemen. The date of his birth is not known. He took the name of Gharan for one of two reasons: after Gharan, a place or a mountain near Najd, where he was born, or after Gharan, his group from the Bani Amir Tribe.
Uwaiys was a devotee and a follower of the Prophet Mohammad and was martyred at the battle of Saffein, a battle between Amir-al Momenin Ali and Moavieh ibn Abysofiyan.
Uwaiys was a slim man of medium height who had a white spot on the palm of his hand. He ate very little, and sold dates to earn a living, eating only to break his fasts and giving the remainder to the needy. He wore an old robe, which he knitted himself, to keep warm. He was a shepherd, and supported his elderly mother, whom he cared for. (ref. to: Tazkerat-al-Ulia by Sheikh Fariddedin Attar; Safin-tul-Ulia; Majales-al-Momenin; Haft-Iqlim.)
Uwaiys was a pious man and has also been referred to as one of the zuhad-somanieh, the eight pious ones. He was so well respected that the Prophet Mohammad asked that, after his passing, his robe be given to Uwaiys.
Sheikh Farid-e-din Attar writes in his Tazkerat-al-Ulia:
How can I write about a man who was praised by the Prophet who said: the fragrance of the Divine comes from the side of Yemen, where Uwaiys lived; and on the Day of Resurrection, Divine will create seventy thousand angels looking like Uwaiys to bring Uwaiys to the celestial sphere. They will bring him to Paradise and no one would know which one is the Uwaiys, as Uwaiys prayed for God in his solitude, far away and hidden from the eyes of people, so shall he go to paradise, and no one will know him; only the ones loved by Allah. God said, “My friends are under My Dome where no strangers can see them.”
Ali ibn Usman al Hujwiri, a Persian Sufi and author of the eleventh century, writes in his book, Kashf-ol Mahjub:
Uwaiys is like the sun to Ommat, and the candle of religion. Uwaiys Gharani is one of the great teachers who lived during the time of the Prophet, but did not physically see the Prophet for two reasons. First, he was in the state of Divine ecstasy and rapture, and second, he was caring for his aged mother. The Prophet said to his devotees, “There is a man in Gharan whose name is Uwaiys. At the day of Resurrection he shall intercede for my people to as many as the number of sheep of the Rabia and Muzzer tribes.” (These two tribes had the largest herd of sheep during that time.) Then the Prophet turned to Omar and Ali and said, “You will see him and recognize him; he is a firm, thin man, of medium height and there is a white scar the size of a coin on the palm of his hand but it is not leprosy. When you see him, give him my greetings and ask him to pray for my Ommat, my people.”
Sheikh Najmed-din-Kubra known as Tamat-ol-Kura, one of the great Uwaiysi masters writes:
If the generosity of the Generous is close, the apparent distance does not matter; and if the tenderness of the Tender is far, what is the benefit of apparent closeness? Uwaiys Gharani brought his life to the fire of his heart, and the Master of existence (referring to the Prophet) felt this fragrance and said: I feel the fragrance of God from the side of Yemen. People are blind in the covers of darkness, and in the limited world of you and I light cannot be seen, unless, to the eyes of those for whom by the will of the Lovers of God the curtain of unawareness will be torn off and hence, by this blessing whatever was invisible shall be seen.
Shushtari, quoting from Manb-al-Abrar by Heydar ibn Ali al Amoli, writes in his Majales-al-Momenin:
Dignity and glory of Uwaiys Gharani and his awareness of the divine secrets brought the fragrance of Divine to the side of the Prophet who said, “I feel the spirit of God from the side of Yemen.” Salman asked the Prophet, “Who is this person?” and Prophet answered, “There is a man in Yemen called Uwaiys Gharani who on the day of Resurrection shall unite with the Ommat whom he had prayed for.”
Uwaiys was martyred in the year 37 L.H., in the battle of Saffein while accompanying Amir al Momenin Hazrat Ali. Ibn Battoteh mentions that his tomb is in Damascus and is a place of pilgrimage for people of all classes.
Hajwiri writes in his Kash-ol-Mahjub:
In the battle of Saffein, in agreement with Amir-al Momenin Ali, he fought with the enemies until he was martyred in that Battle. He lived a praiseworthy life and died in prosperity.
Many words of advice have been left from Uwaiys:
Your heart returns to you. Guard your heart: be sure no one but God enters your heart.
He who knows Allah, nothing will remain hidden from him.
Health is in solitude.
Do not look at the smallness of your sin, look at the greatness of the Creator who sees you committing your sin.
I do not know a person who knows God, but makes friends with others.
Whoever loves three things, hell shall be nearer to him than the vein in his throat: tempted by good food, attracted to luxury, and associating with the rich.
Many of the great Sufis joined him in his way of understanding, and they are called Uwaiysis.
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