The history of the Uwaiysi Path goes back to the legendary figure, Uwaiys-i-Gharan, who lived during the time of the Prophet Mohammed (swa). Uwaiys did not see the prophet but nonetheless became one of his outstanding followers and students. His way of understanding – receiving inspiration and teaching from a physically absent teacher – became a way known as Uwaiysi Mashrab, the way of Uwaiys.
According to historians, no one knows how the Uwaiysi tariqat developed. Some related themselves to Uwaiys yet it is not clear how a tariqat developed through Uwaiys, as he was in the state of ecstasy and annihilated in the Divine, and there is no evidence that he permitted any one to guide people after his death.
We read in the history of Islam that Uwaiysi Sufis did not establish a regular tarighat, in the traditional sense, since their affiliation with the teacher is not through the usual transmission of a chain. It is based on the guidance from the invisible teacher rather than a physical human teacher.
In the Memorial of the Friends, a biography of Uwaiys, it states:
There is a whole class of people called the Uwaysis. They do not need an ‘elder,’ because they acquire their instruction from Muhammad directly.
(From Julian Baldick’s Imaginary Muslims: The Uwaysi Sufis of Central Asia, 1993).
At present, Uwaiysi Sufis live around the world, from the boarders of Bangladesh to South Russia, Europe and the United States. Many do not have a physical elder and have remained close to the spirit of the Uwaiysi mashrab, seeking guidance from the heart of the Prophet, swa.
Among the well known practices for the Uwaiysis Sufis is being watchful over the heart, as it was said by the Uwaiys himself: your heart will return to you.
Currently, the Uwaiysi Tariqat covers many lands and nations including China, Southern Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
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