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In depth: 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.

She was born free in a poor but respected family. Her mother asked her husband to borrow some oil from a neighbour, but he had resolved in his life never to ask for anything from anyone except the Creator.

On his return, he told his wife that the door was not opened. Grief-stricken, he fell asleep. In a dream, he saw Rasulallah s. By her intercession 70, people of my Ummah will be forgiven. Last Friday night you forgot to recite the Durood. As a compensation for this omission, give this person dinars.

He wrote out the message and went to meet the governor. He handed the letter to a guard. When the governor read the letter, he was moved by the fact that Rasulallah s. He ordered 10, dirhams to be given to the poor as a token of gratitude.

Legend has it that she was accompanying a caravan, which fell into the hands of robbers. The chief of the robbers took Hazrat Rabia captive, and sold her in the market as a slave. The new master of Hazrat Rabia used to make her work hard with household chores. She would pass the whole night in prayer, after she had finished her household jobs. She spent many of her days observing fast. Once the master of the house got up in the middle of the night, and was attracted by the sorrowful voice in which Hazrat Rabia was praying to her Lord.

You know well that my keen desire is to carry out Your commandments and to serve Thee with all my heart, O light of my eyes. If I were free I would pass the whole day and night in prayers. But what should I do when you have made me a slave of a human being? He decided to serve her instead. In the morning, he called her and told her his decision; he would serve her and she should dwell there as the mistress of the house.

If she insisted on leaving the house, he was willing to free her from bondage. She told him that she was willing to leave the house to carry on her worship in solitude.

This the master granted and she left the house. 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. 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. The donkey died along the journey. I did not come relying on you. Even before completing her dua, the donkey came to life. Hazrat Rabia continued her journey and reached Makkah Mukarramah. I lack the power for Your Tajalli. I wish for the rank of Faqr i.

Faqr is the famine of My Wrath. We have reserved it exclusively for those Men Awliyah who have completely reached Us. There remains not even the distance of a hair between them and Us.

At that juncture, We rebuff them and distance them from Our Proximity. Inspite of this, they do not lose hope in Us. They again commence their journey towards Us. While this is their condition, you are still wrapped in the veils of time.

As long as you are with the folds of these veils and have not entered into Our Path with a true heart, it is improper for you to even mention Faqr. As she complied, she observed a vast rolling ocean of blood suspended in space.

This is their first stage in their journey to reach Allah. 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. She whose shawl this is, has handed herself over to another Being. Even Shaitaan cannot approach her.

A thief is not able to steal her shawl. Leave it and depart. Coincidentally, Hazrat Hassan Basri appeared on the scene. All the animals scattered and disappeared into the jungle.

Why did they stay with you? If you remove these worries from me, I shall take a husband. One: Tell me, will I die with Imaan? Three: On the Day of Qiyamah, will I be among the people of the right side or the left side? 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. They block the way to God.

I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God. People in the audience asked him why he did that. He had spent fourteen years making his way to the Kabah, because in every place of prayer he performed two rakats.

What has happened? It maybe that some injury has overtaken my eyes. It is you who have disturbed the world, because you delayed fourteen years in arriving at the Kabah. Let us pray two rakats here. But the real business is outside these tricks.

One must apply oneself to the real business. When a vain person repents, he should repent again for the sin of vanity. 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. What are You doing to me? 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.

A stood at her graveside. One of them said:. By: Al Husayn on May 14, at


Was Rabi’a Basri – The Single Most Influential Sufi Woman – A Feminist?

She herself left no written works about her life. Her mother asked her husband to borrow some oil from a neighbor, but he had resolved in his life never to ask for anything from anyone except God. He pretended to go to the neighbor's door and returned home empty-handed. At night Muhammad appeared to him in a dream and told him,. You should approach the Amir of Basra and present him with a letter in which should be written this message: 'You offer Durood to the Holy Prophet one hundred times every night and four hundred times every Thursday night. However, since you failed to observe the rule last Thursday, as a penalty you must pay the bearer four hundred dinars'". However, after the death of her father, famine overtook Basra.


Rabia of Basra

She made one of the greatest contributions towards the development of Sufism. She was a teacher of women as well as of men; a woman who called no man her master. Her reputation excels that of many Muslim men within the early days of Sufism. After her parents died, she was sold into slavery. It is believed that one night her master saw a light surrounding her which left him captivated and in the morning he freed her. Thereafter, she paved her own way. Her extended hours of prayer were not devoted to asking things of God, but in talking with him.





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