Anecdotes: Rabi’a Al-Adawiyah

June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

List of anecdotes from the great Rabi’a Al-Adawiyah:

  • 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,”I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to Allah. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of Allah.”
  • At one occasion she was asked if she hated Satan. Rabi’a replied: “My love to Allah has so possessed me that no place remains for loving or hating any save Him.”
  • When Rabi’a would not come to attend the sermons of Hasan 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.”
  • When Hasan al-Basri proposed to Rabi’a al-Adawiyah, she replied “The tie of marriage applies to those who have being,” she replied. “Here being has disappeared, for I have become naughted to self and exist only through Him. I belong wholly to Him. I live in the shadow of His control. You must ask my hand of Him, not of me.”
  • Once Rabi’a was on her way to Makkah, and when half-way there she saw the Kaaba 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 Kaaba which I see has no power over me; what joy does the beauty of the Kaaba bring to me?”
At the same time the great Ibrahim bin Adham arrived at the Kaaba, but he did not see it. He had spent fourteen years making his way to the Kaaba, because in every place of prayer he performed two rakaats.Ibrahim bin Adham said, “Alas! What has happened? It maybe that some injury has overtaken my eyes.” An unseen voice said to him, “No harm has befallen your eyes, but the Kaaba has gone to meet a woman, who is approaching this place.” Ibrahim Adham responded, “O indeed, who is this?” He ran and saw Rabi’a arriving, and that the Kaaba was back in its own place. When Ibrahim saw that, he said, “O Rabi’a, what is this disturbance and trouble and burden which you have brought into the world?”
She replied, “I have not brought disturbance into the world. It is you who have disturbed the world, because you delayed fourteen years in arriving at the Kaaba.” He said, “Yes I have spent fourteen years in crossing the desert (because I was
engaged) in prayer.” Rabi’a said, “You traversed it in ritual prayer (Salat) but with personal supplication.” Then, having performed the pilgrimage, she returned to Basra and occupied herself with works of devotion.
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