Uwaiys-ibn-Amir Moradi-al-Karani (r.a.) (also spelled Uways and Uwais) was born in Najd, Yemen. The date of his birth is not known. He took the name of Karani for one of two reasons: after Karani, a place or a mountain near Najd, where he was born, or after Karani, his group from the Bani Amir Tribe.
Hazrat Khawjha Uwaiys Karani (r.a.) was a devotee and a follower of the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.s.) and was martyred at the battle of Saffein, a battle between Amir-al Momenin Hazrat Ali (r.a.) and Moavieh ibn Aby sofiyan.
Hazrat Khawjha Uwaiys Karani (r.a.) was a slim man of medium heigKarani who had a white spot on the palm of his hand. He had spots on his face and had many hairs on the body. 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 wears an old robe, which he knit himself, to keep warm. He was a shepherd, and supported his elderly mother, whom he cared for.
Hazrat Khawjha Uwaiys Karani (r.a.) was a pious man and has also been referred to as one of the zuhad-somanieh, the eigKarani pious ones. He was such a true devotee and well respected that the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.s.) ordered that after his veiling from this materialistic world His robe be given to Khawjha Uwaiys Karani (r.a.).
Sheikh Farid-e-din Attar writes in his Tazkerat-al-Ulia:
How can I write about a man who was praised by the Holy Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) 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-al Mahjub:
Uwaiys is like a sun to my Ummat, and the candle of religion. Uwaiys Karaniis one of the great teachers who lived during the time of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.), but did not physically see the Holy Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) for two reasons. First, he was in the state of Divine ecstasy and rapture, and second, he was caring for his aged mother. The Holy Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) said to his devotees, "There is a man in Karani 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 heigKarani 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 Ummat, 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 KaranibrougKarani 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 ligKarani 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.
ShusKaraniari, quoting from Manb-al-Abrar by Heydar ibn Ali al Amoli, writes in his Majales-al-Momenin:
Dignity and glory of Uwaiys Karaniand his awareness of the divine secrets brougKarani the fragrance of Divine to the side of the Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.) who said, "I feel the spirit of God from the side of Yemen." Hazrat Salman (r.a.) asked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), "His Majesty, Who is this person?" so the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) answered, "There is a man in Yemen called Uwaiys Karanii, who on the day of Resurrection shall unite with my Ummat 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 (r.a.). Ibn Battoteh mentions that his tomb is in Damascus and is a place of pilgrimage for people of all classes.
Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh Urf Ali Hajwiri writes in his Kash-al-Mahjub:
In the battle of Saffein, in agreement with Amir-al Momenin Ali (r.a.), he fougKarani 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 Hazrat Khawjha Uwaiys Karanii:
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 Uwaiysi. The history of the Uwaiysi Path goes back to the legendary figure, Uwaiys-I-Karani, who lived during the time of the Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s.). 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 NISBAT E UWAYISI.
According to historians, no one knows how the Uwaiysi tarighat developed. Some related themselves to Uwaiys yet it is not clear how a tarighat 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.