August 7, 2012 § 2 Comments
June 27, 2012 § 2 Comments
Once when Rabi`a, may Allah be pleased with her, was asked, “Where have you come from?” She said, “From that World.” They then asked her, “Where are you going?” She replied, “To that World.” They asked, “What are you doing in this world?” She said, “I am sorrowing.” They asked, “In what way?” She said, “I am eating the bread of this world and doing the work of that World.”
Then someone said, “One so persuasive in speech is worthy to keep a guest-house.” She replied, “I myself am keeping a rest-house. Whatever is within I do not allow to go out, and whatever is without I do not allow to come in. If anyone comes in or goes out, he does not concern me, for I am contemplating my own heart, not mere clay.”
Rabi`a’s companions spoke about how she was always weeping and when she was asked, “Why do you weep like this?” she said, “I fear that I may be cut off from Him to Whom I am accustomed, and that at the hour of death a voice may say that I am not worthy.”
She, may Allah hallow her secret, told of how when she was making the Pilgrimage, and upon reaching the standing on `Arafat she heard a voice saying to her, “O you who call upon Me, what request have you to make to Me? If it is Myself that you desire, then I will show you one flash of My Glory, but in that you will be absorbed and melt away.” She said then, “O Lord of Glory, Rabi`a has no means of reaching to that degree, but I desire one particle of Poverty.” The voice said, “O Rabi`a, Poverty is the drought and famine of Our Wrath which We have placed in the way of men. When but a hair’s breadth remains between them and Union with Us, everything is changed and Union becomes separation. As for you, you still have seventy veils of existence, and until you have come forth from beneath these veils you will not benefit even to speak of that Poverty.”
It is said that someone once said to her, “I have committed many sins; if I turn in repentance (tawba) toward Allah, will He turn in His Mercy toward me?” She said, “No, but if He will turn toward you, you will turn toward Him.” For Rabi`a, repentance was a Gift from Allah. As she said, “Seeking forgiveness with the tongue is the sin of lying. If I seek repentance of myself, I shall have need of repentance again.” Or as she also said, “Our asking for forgiveness of Allah itself needs forgiveness.”
She, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “O God, my whole occupation And all my desire in this world, Of all worldly things, Is to remember You. And in the Hereafter It is to meet You. This is on my side, as I have stated. Now You do whatever You will.” In her nightly prayers she loved to commune with her Beloved God, saying, “O God, the night has passed and the day has dawned. How I long to know if You have accepted my prayers or if You have rejected them. Therefore console me, for it is Yours to console this state of mine. You have given me life and cared for me, and Yours is the Glory. If You want to drive me from Your Door yet would I not forsake it for the love that I bear in my heart towards You.”
As for the rest of the story of her life in this world, it is said: About seven years before she died, she traveled to Jerusalem with a woman companion and attendant, and she bought a small house with some land surrounding it on top of the holy Mountain of Olives (at-Tur). There she lived, and from there she used to walk down, every day, to Al-Aqsa Mosque where she prayed and gave Teachings to the people, both men and women, who came to listen to her. Although she was a woman, nobody could prevent her from doing this because it was Allah who moved her in this way to be the means of manifesting Himself to the people who sought Him through her. Then after praying and teaching in the Mosque she would walk back up the mountain to her house. This she did every day until she died in the year 185 A.H. / 801 C.E.
After she died her followers built a tomb for her which still exists near the Christian Church of the Ascension on top of the Mountain of Olives. It is visited by those who remember her and thank Allah for the blessing which He granted through her life-the example of a holy soul filled with Him
End of Roses of Islam: Rabi’a Al-Adawiyah [consists of 7 parts]
June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
It was part of her faith that she welcomed an asceticism which accepted everything as a Gift from Allah, the Lover to his beloved slave. Therefore, she regarded misfortune in the same way as she regarded favors and happiness, and this was the ultimate of bondsmanship to her. About this she said, “You have given me life and have provided for me, and Yours is the Glory.” And she added, “You have bestowed upon me many favors, and gifts, graces and help.” In this she acknowledges her bondsmanship to the Giver and Bestower of all Bounty.
There is a story related that she once said, “I praised Allah one night with the praises of dawn, then I slept and I saw a bright, green tree, not to be described in size and beauty, and lo, upon it were three kinds of fruit, unknown to me amongst the fruit of the world, like virgins’ breasts, white, red and yellow and they shone like spheres and suns in the green spaces of the tree. I admired them and said, ‘Whose is this?‘ And one said to me, ‘This is yours, for your praises aforetime.’ Then I began to walk around the tree, and lo, underneath it were eighteen fruits on the ground of the color of gold, and I said, ‘If only these fruits were with the fruits on the tree it would be better.’ That person said to me, ‘They would have been there but that you, when you offered your praises, were thinking, ‘Is the dough leavened or not?‘ So this fruit fell off. This is a warning to those of insight, and an exhortation to those who fear Allah and worship Him.”
And has the Provider of the poor forgotten the poor on account of their poverty? And does He remember the rich because of their riches?
Her attraction to a life of poverty was also part of her need not to be distracted from her inner journey by the necessity for material considerations. There is a story about this poverty of hers, as one of her companions said, “I went to visit Rabi`a and saw her in her house with nothing but a broken water pitcher out of which she drank and made her ablution. There was also an old reed mat and a brick which she sometimes used as a pillow. When I saw this, I felt very sad and I said to her, ‘I have rich friends. If you wish I will get something from them for you.’ She said, ‘You have committed a grievous error. Is not my Provider and theirs one and the same?‘ I replied, ‘Yes.’ Then she said, ‘And has the Provider of the poor forgotten the poor on account of their poverty? And does He remember the rich because of their riches?‘ I replied, ‘No.’ She said, ‘Then since He knows of my state, how should I remind Him? Such is His Will and I too wish what He wills.‘”
Rabia’s love, which was passionate and all-consuming was also full of humility, fear and reverence for her Beloved, and when she was asked about how she had such a degree of intimacy, she said, “By constantly saying: I take refuge in You from everything which has distracted me from You and from every hindrance which has hindered me from You.” She also said, “You must conceal your good deeds as you conceal your evil deeds.” In the same way, she said, “What appears of any (good) works, I count as nothing at all.”
There is a story that Rabi`a was once on her way to Mecca. When she was half-way there she saw the Kaaba coming to meet her and 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: ‘Whoso 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 does the Kaaba bring to me?”
And again, a story of the same nature is as follows: It is related that Ibrahim ibn Adhan, a very holy person, spent fourteen years making his way to the Kaaba because in every place of prayer he prayed two raka’ats and at last when he reached the Kaaba he did not see it. He said to himself, “Alas, what has happened to my eyes. Maybe a sickness has come to them.” Then he heard a voice which said, “No harm has befallen your eyes, but the Kaaba has gone to meet a woman who is approaching.” Ibrahim was seized with jealousy and said, “O indeed; who is this?” He ran and saw Rabi`a arriving, and the Kaaba was back in its place.
June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
Rabi`a once said that there are three kinds of men: The first believes that his hands and his sons’ hands are all that is necessary to succeed in the only world they know-the material world. The second kind prays with his hands so that a reward will be earned in the next life. The third kind has his hands tied at the wrist, bound with love to serve without thought of return. Her life and sayings became a source of deep inspiration and yearning (himma) for all those who were drawn to her and followed her, both in her time and afterwards.
One of the early stories about Rabi`a relates how she set about making the Pilgrimage to Mecca. She joined a caravan of other pilgrims and she had a small donkey on which she put her baggage for her journey. However, in the middle of the desert the donkey died. Some of the people in the caravan offered to carry her baggage for her, but she said to them, “Go on your way for I must not depend upon you for help, but I trust myself to Allah.” So, seeing that they could not persuade her otherwise, the other pilgrims continued and Rabi`a remained behind alone in the vast desert all around her. She prayed to her Lord, saying, “O my God, do kings deal thus with a woman, a stranger who is weak? You are calling me to Your House (the Kaaba) but in the middle of my way You have suffered my ass to die, and You have left me alone in the desert.” Hardly had she finished praying when her ass began to move, and finally it stood up. Rabi`a put her baggage again on it and continued on her way. The person who related that said that he saw the same little donkey for sale in the market-place.
“Everyone prays to You from fear of the Fire;
And if You do not put them in the Fire, This is their reward.
Or they pray to You for the Garden, Full of fruits and flowers. And that is their prize.
But I do not pray to You like this, For I am not afraid of the Fire, And I do not ask You for the Garden.
But all I want is the Essence of Your Love, And to return to be One with You, And to become Your Face.”
Once Rabi`a fasted for a whole week, neither eating nor sleeping. All night she prayed and became very hungry. Then a visitor came bringing her a bowl of food. She accepted it and went to fetch a lamp. When she returned, she found that a cat had overturned the bowl of food. She then said to herself: “I will fetch a jug of water and break my fast by drinking.” But by the time that she had fetched the jug, the lamp had gone out. She then tried to drink the water in the dark, but the jug slipped from her hand and broke into pieces. She lamented and sighed so much, as the story-teller said, “that it was to be feared that the whole house would be consumed with fire!” “O Allah!” she cried, “What is this that You are doing with this helpless slave?” Then she heard a voice say, “Be careful lest you desire Me to bestow on you all worldly blessings, but take away from your heart the caring for Me, for care for Me and worldly blessings can never be together in a single heart. Rabi`a, you desire one thing and I desire another. My desire and your desire can never be joined in one heart.” She said then, “When I heard this admonition I so cut off my heart from the world and curtailed my desires that whenever I have prayed during the last thirty years I have thought it to be my last prayer.”
Continue… Part V
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.