earth, skies, and Divine Throne existed.
We said that the question was invalid from
the outset because God is, by definition,
that which has no place.”
Birth Name:Hazrat Rabia al-Adawiyya al-Qaysiyya
Born in: between 95 and 99 Hijri. In Basra, Iraq.
She was born between 95 and 99 Hijri in Basra, Iraq. Much of her early life is narrated by Farid al-Din Attar. Many spiritual stories are associated with her and it is sometimes difficult to separate reality from legend. These traditions come from Farid al-Din Attar, a later Sufi saint and poet, who used earlier sources. Hazrat Rabia herself did not leave any written works.
Throughout her life, her Love of God, poverty and self-denial did not waver. They were her constant companions. She did not possess much other than a broken jug, a rush mat and a brick, which she used as a pillow. She spent all night in prayer and contemplation, chiding herself if she slept because it took her away from her active Love of God.
The prayer of Hazrat Rabia
Once while she was in the service of her Sheikh, she was sent on an errand. Along the way a man pursued her. In fright she fled, slipped and broke her hand. Praying to Allah Ta’ala she cried, “O Allah! I am forlorn, without mother and father. Now my hand too is broken. But I do not mind these things if Thou be pleased with me. But make it manifest to me that you are pleased with me. “
Once, Hazrat Rabia, overcome with tiredness, fell asleep. A thief entered and took her shawl, but he was unable to find his way out. When he replaced the shawl, he saw the exit. Again, he took the shawl and lost the way. He replaced the shawl and again saw the way out. He repeated this process several times.
Once when Hazrat Rabia was on a mountain, the wild beasts of the jungle gathered around her and stared at her in wonder. Coincidentally, Hazrat Hassan Basri appeared on the scene. All the animals scattered and disappeared into the jungle. In surprise, he said: “The animals fled when they saw me. Why did they stay with you?” Hazrat Rabia asked, “What did you eat today?” Hazrat Hassan Basri replied, “Meat and bread.” Hazrat Rabia then said, “When you have eaten meat, why should they not flee?”
It was said to Hazrat Rabia, “Hazrat Hassan says that if on the Day of Qiyamah he is deprived of Allah’s Vision for even a moment, he will lament so much that the inmates of Jannat will take pity on him.”
People asked: “Why do you not take a husband?”
She was asked, “From whence have you come and whither are you going?” Hazrat Rabia said: “I came from that world and I am returning to that world.” The people asked: “What are you doing in this world?” Hazrat Rabia let out a cry of lament. They asked, “Why are you lamenting?” Hazrat Rabia said: “I obtain my rizq (provisions) from that world while I am doing the work of this world.”
When asked for the cause of her constant crying, Hazrat Rabia said: “I fear separation from Allah Ta’ala. I fear that at the time of death, I may be rejected and it be announced, “You do not deserve to be in Our Presence.”
She was asked: “When is Allah pleased with a person?” Hazrat Rabia replied: “When he expresses gratitude for the effort (on His Path) just as he expresses gratitude for bounties.”
”As long as man’s heart is not alert, his other limbs cannot find the path of Allah. An alert heart is a heart lost in divine absorption. Such a heart is not in need of the aid of other limbs. This stage is called Fana (annihilation).”
Love of God
One day, she was seen running through the streets of Basra carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When asked what she was doing, she said:
At one occasion she was asked if she hated Satan. Hazrat Rabia replied, “My love for God has so possessed me that no place remains for loving or hating any save Him.”
When Hazrat Rabia Basri would not come to attend the sermons of Hazrat Hassan Basri, he would deliver no discourse that day. People in the audience asked him why he did that. He replied, “The syrup that is held by the vessels meant for the elephants cannot be contained in the vessels meant for the ants.”
Once Hazrat Rabia was on her way to Makkah, and when halfway there she saw the Kabah coming to meet her. She said, “It is the Lord of the house whom I need, what have I to do with the house? I need to meet with Him Who said, ‘who approaches Me by a span’s length, I will approach him by the length of a cubit.’ The Kabah which I see has no power over me; what joy does the beauty of the Kabah bring to me?”
Then, having performed the pilgrimage, she returned to Basra and occupied herself with works of devotion.
One day Hazrat Hassan Basri saw Hazrat Rabia near a lake. He threw his prayer rug on top of the water and said, “Rabia, come! Let us pray two rakats here.” She replied, “Hassan, when you are showing off your spiritual goods in the worldly market, it should be things which your fellow men cannot display.” Then, she threw her prayer rug into the air and flew up onto it saying, “Come up here, Hassan, where people can see us.” Then she said, “Hassan, what you did fishes can do, and what I did flies can do. But the real business is outside these tricks. One must apply oneself to the real business.”
“Repentance which is only verbal is the act of liars. When a vain person repents, he should repent again (for the sin of vanity).”
Once Hazrat Rabia kept seven fasts and spent the entire night in Ibaadat. On the seventh day, someone presented her a bowl of milk. When she went to fetch the lamp, a cat came and drank the milk. She decided to break fast with water. When she brought a cup of water, the lamp was extinguished. As she lifted the cup, it slipped and broke. She drew a sigh and said, “O Allah! What are You doing to me?” A Voice said, “O Rabia! If you desire the bounties of the world, We shall bestow it to you, but then We shall remove Our love from your heart. Our love and worldly bounties cannot coexist in one heart.”
Once when Hazrat Hassan Basri went to visit Hazrat Rabia, he found one of the wealthy and prominent citizens of Basra standing with a bag of money, weeping at her door. On enquiring, he said, “I have brought this gift for Hazrat Rabia. I know she will refuse it, hence, I am crying. Do intercede for me. Perhaps she will accept it.” Hassan Basri went inside and delivered the message. Hazrat Rabia said, “Since I have recognized Allah, I have renounced the world. I am not aware of its source–whether halal or haram.”
Malik Bin Dinaar went to visit Hazrat Rabia. He found in her home only a partly broken jug which she used for wudhu and drinking water, a very old straw-mat on which she slept and a brick which she used as a pillow. Malik Bin Dinaar said, “I have many affluent friends. Shall I ask them to bring some items for you?”
Hazrat Rabia supplicated, “O Allah! My duty and my desire on earth are Your remembrance and in the Aakhirah, Your Vision. You are the Master. O Allah! Maintain the presence (i.e. concentration) of my heart or accept my ibaadat, devoid of concentration.”
When her time to depart from earth was near, the illustrious Mashaikh gathered by her. She said, “Go away and leave place for the Angels.” They all went out and closed the door. While they were waiting outside, they heard from within a voice reciting:
In a dream someone asked her, “What happened when Munkar and Nakeer came to You?” Hazrat Rabia said, “When they asked me, “Who is your Rabb?” I said, “Go back! Say to Allah: When You had never forgotten this weak woman despite Your remembrance of entire creation, how can she forget You when on earth You were her only remembrance? Why do you send Angels to question her?”
Muhammad Aslam Toosi and Nu’maa Tartoosi (R.A) stood at her graveside. One of them said:
From inside the grave, Hazrat Rabia (R.A) spoke, “May Allah grant me barkat (blessings) in what I have seen and am seeing (i.e. of the wonders of the spiritual realm).”