The Example for Long-Distance Mureeds
When trying to understand the connection between Mureed and Sheykh, the story of Uways al Karani (R) is a key which will open up understanding, especially in these days where students are often seperated by their teacher in many physical ways.
In the example of Uwaysal Karani (R) we find also the power of spiritually connecting to the teacher, which is possible even over vast distances.
It is interesting to note here that the key of Uwaysal Karani’s (R) example is closeness and attachment to the Prophet (S), not attempts at independence and de-emphasis.
It is with emphasis on the teacher and love for the teacher he never met which gave Uwaysal Karani (R) his particularly high status.
One chapter of Sahih Muslim is dedicated to the hadith of Uwaysal Karani (R)
So my advice to you is stick to your own guide like Uwaysal Karani (R), who loved his guide deeply from afar.
‘Umar bin Khattab reported: I heard Allah’s Messenger (S.A.W.) as saying: Worthy amongst the successors would be a person who would be called Uways. He would have his mother (living with him) and he would have (a small) sign of leprosy. Ask him to beg pardon for you (from Allah). [Saheeh Muslim, Book 31, Number 6171]
His name was Uways, he was known as Uways al-Qarani because he lived in a village called “Qaran” in Yemen. Uways bin ‘Amir al Muradi al-Qarani (Radia-Allahu’anhu) was a very pious and noble person. Although his life was insignificant from a worldly point of view, he is renowned and honored amongst all Muslims, Sufis in particular, for his piety, practice of zuhd (asceticism) , as well as a deep love and affection for the Beloved Messenger of Allah (Salla’llahu’ alayhi was salaam). It is said that he spent all his hours in solitude, fasting, night vigil and salat (prayers). Uways al-Qarani was presented the blessed cloak of Rasulullah (S.A.W.) on the Holy Prophet’s instruction. It is preserved in Istanbul, Turkey. He had embraced Islam while the Beloved Prophet was still alive. He naturally had a very strong desire to see the Prophet but since his mother was very old and she needed his constant care and attention, he could not visit the Beloved of Allah. As a reward of his service to his mother, he was treated as a Sahabi (Companion of Prophet) by the Prophet even though he could not see him personally. His name entered the list of Sahaba only because of his strong intention to see the Allah’s Beloved Messenger. When Uways al-Qarani received a message about the Beloved Prophet, that he had lost a tooth in the battle of “Uhud”, Uways pulled one of his own teeth out (because of his love towards the Beloved Prophet).
Once the Companions asked the Beloved Prophet: “Has Uways Qarani ever visited you? The Beloved Prophet replied: “No, He never watched me physically, but spiritually he met me.”
He had asked his mother’s permission to visit Allah’s Most Beloved Messenger Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam, and she said: “You have my permission to go, see him once, and come straight back. If the Messenger Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam is at home, you may meet with him; if not, come straight back here.” Uways made a journey of three months on foot, from the Yemen to Madinah the Illuminated. When he reached Rasulullah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam’s house, he knocked on the door and Hadrat Aisha Radi allahu Anha, wife of the Chosen Prophet and Mother of the Believers opened the door. She told him that Rasulullah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam was in the Masjid.
Uways Radi allahu Anhu remembered his promise to his mother and replied: “Please convey my salaams to my Beloved Rasulullah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam. Kindly inform him that Uways came from the Yemen, did not find him at home, and is returning to the Yemen, since he does not have permission from his mother to meet him in the mosque.”
When the Rasul Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam came home from the mosque, he found the radiance of Uways in his house. Hadrat Aisha Radi allahu Anha told him what had happened, and conveyed Uways’s salutations. His blessed eyes looked towards Yemen and the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam said: “The fragrance of our friend is reaching us.” The noble Companions asked: “If Uways is your friend, why did he not stay to see you?” Rasulullah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam replied: “He complied with a promise given to his mother and he is serving her.”
The Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam said “Uways will come back to Madinah the Illuminated, to meet me, but we will not meet physically, for I shall then be united with my Lord ”
Rasulullah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam said that when Uways Radi allahu Anhu came back to Madinah he was to be given his cloak, and asked to pray for the Community of Muhammad Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam. He also mentioned that a light was visible on one of Uways’s hands.
During Hadrat Umar Radi allahu Anhu’s Caliphate, a number of Yemeni’s visited Madinah the Illuminated and Hadrat Ali and Hadrat Umar Radi allahu Anhu ajmain approached them and enquired about the Saint, Uways Radi allahu Anhu, from the village of Qaran. The Yemenis said they knew of no such saint, but they did point out that a camelherd from that village, who seldom mixed with other people, preferring to spend his time in worship, alone among the camels. Hadrat Ali and Hadrat Umar Radi allahu Anhu ajmain then approached Hadrat Uways Radi allahu Anhu, greeted him, conveyed the greetings of the Messenger Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam, and presented him with his blessed cloak. But 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 MessengerSalla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam, for he told us about the light on your hand.” They also reported to him the wish of the blessed MessengerSalla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam that he should pray for the Community of Muhammad.
Hadrat Uways Radi allahu Anhu 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 and began to pray: “0 Allah this cloak is the cloak of Your beloved Messenger. He has presented it to me, but I refuse to wear it unless You pardon the Community of Muhammad Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam.” He then repeated his prayer in exactly the same words. As he was about to repeat his prayer a third time, Hadrat Ali and Hadrat Umar Radi allahu Anhu ajmain came beside him. He cried: “Oh, you came too soon! Upon my first supplication, Allah granted me forgiveness for one third of the Community; on my second, He forgave two-thirds of the Community. In my third request I was pleading for pardon for the entire Community of Muhammad – then you came along!”
As with people in every age, the Yemenis were unaware of the presence in their midst of such a saint, whose prayers were accepted. They imagined him to be an ordinary camelherd. The Friends of Allah, do not seek fame, and as such hide themselves away from other people.