Umar ibn al-Khattab narrated,
“I heard Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, saying: ‘There would come to you Owais bin Aamir, of Qarn, a branch of the Murad 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 treatment with his mother would have been very kind. If he would take an oath in the name of Allah (for something), He would honor it. Ask him to beg forgiveness for you (from Allah) in case it is possible for you.”
Source: Sahih Muslim
This is the man who is known as Owais al-Qarni. He was not a companion, rather he was a Tabi’een. Tabi’een are those who came in the generation after the Prophet (saw) and never met him. Owais al-Qarni was one of the most prominent Tabi’een and he came from the land of Yemen in southern Arabia. Owais al-Qarni had a very special love for Islam and the Prophet (saw). He actually lived at the same time as the Prophet (saw) but was unable to meet him in his lifetime. Owais al-Qarni had learned that in Islam, one gets a very special reward for serving parents. His mother was sick and blind and so Owais al-Qarni decided to dedicate his life in serving his mother. It is reported that at the time of the Prophet’s (saw) hijrah to Madinah, he was 28 years old. He had a very strong desire to go to Madinah and be in the service of the Prophet (saw), however he did not want to leave his mother.
It’s amazing how the Prophet (saw) knew about Owais al-Qarni. His righteousness and piety made him so elevated in the sight of the Prophet (saw). The hadith above is when the Prophet (saw) predicted the meeting between Umar (ra) and Owais. The Prophet (saw) also mentioned that the meeting would happen after his (Prophet’s) death. He advised Umar (ra) to seek prayers for his (Umar) forgiveness and for the whole Ummah.
He participated in the famous Battle of Siffin (37 AH) where he was fatally wounded and died soon after at the age of 63. He was buried in Raqqah, Syria. In his honor, a grand Masjid Jaami Owais al-Qarni was constructed in the southern Asir region of Saudi Arabia. The Asir region was historically part of Yemen.
The story of Owais al-Qarni shows that one can indeed love Allah’s (swt) Messenger (saw) even without meeting him. This can open doors for the more than billion Muslims around the globe. We can all learn to follow the Prophet’s (saw) teachings and his ways if we want to. The Qur’an and his sunnah are the guide for all of us to follow. In today’s digital age, there is no excuse for us to be ignorant. The life of Owais al-Qarni encourages us to love and respect the Prophet’s (saw) teachings. The Prophet (saw) taught everyone to respect and take care of their parents no matter what. If Owais al-Qarni had wanted to, he could’ve gone to Madinah and been with the Prophet (saw), however he valued and cherished the teachings of the Prophet (saw). And Allah (swt) knows best.