July 4, 2012 § 17 Comments
Dark and silent nights
On the mat of love I sit
Could we ever be lovers?
: Night air is chilling
Tears of regret come rolling
Unworthy of your kindness
: Stillness of the night
I stood still ever with hope
Your Mercy and Grace
: Streaks of warm dawn lights
Intimacy nears its end
Sadly I depart
Hopefully, our tender moments will continue, everlastingly. By Your Mercy, Grace and Blessings.
June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
It was told of Rabi`a that she was seen one day carrying a brand of fire in one hand and a pitcher of water in the other, and that she was running very fast. When they asked her what she was doing and where she was going, she said, “I am going to light a fire in the Garden and pour water onto it so that both these veils may disappear from the seekers, and that their purpose may be sure, and that the slaves of Allah may see Him, without any object of hope or motive of fear. What if the Hope for the Garden and the Fear of the Fire did not exist? Not one would worship his Lord, nor obey Him. But He is worthy of worship without any immediate motive or need.”
And she said: “ I love You with two loves: A Selfish love and a Love that You are worthy of. As for the selfish love, it is that I think of You, To the exclusion of everything else. And as for the Love that You are worthy of, Ah! That I no longer see any creature, but I see only You! There is no praise for me in either of these loves, But the praise in both is for You.” It was said that Rabi`a was the first person to teach about the necessity for truthfulness and sincerity in the lover’s bondsman-ship to the Beloved Who is Allah. She was one of those referred to as the spies of the heart for she often spoke out clearly against all who claimed to be lovers of Allah, but whose hearts were not always pure in intention and devotion.
This was the case of those who could not unquestioningly surrender to the Will of the Beloved in everything. She said to them, “You rebel against Allah, yet you appear to love Him. I swear by my faith that this is most strange. For if your love were truthful you would have obeyed Him, since the lover obeys the one whom he loves.” So that whenever someone said to her, “Alas, for my sorrow (my sins),” she replied, “Do not lie, but say rather, ‘Alas for my lack of sorrow,’ for if you were truly sorrowful, life would have no delight for you.”
One of her companions, Sufyan al-Thawri, asked her, “What is the best thing for the servant to do who desires proximity to his Lord?” She said, “That the servant should possess nothing in this world for the Next, save Him.” Rabi`a, may Allah preserve her secret, never had any doubts about her Beloved being present or absent, because she was not concerned only to have His good pleasure and bounties. She lived for a Love which does not seek for any answer, reward or reciprocity.
“O God, if I worship You for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell, And if I worship You in hope of Paradise, Exclude me from Paradise. But if I worship You for Your Own sake, Grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty.”
It was related how one day one of her followers said in her presence, “Oh Allah, may You be satisfied with us!” Whereupon Rabi`a said, “Are you not ashamed before Him to ask Him to be satisfied with you, when you are not satisfied with Him?” By this she meant that first we must be truly satisfied with Allah, Most High, before we can ask Him to be satisfied with us. Then this was followed by the question to her, “When then is the servant satisfied with Allah Most High?” She replied, “When his pleasure in misfortune is equal to his pleasure in prosperity.”
Someone asked Rabi`a, “What is Love?” She, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “Love has come from Eternity and passes into eternity, and none has been found in seventy thousand worlds who drinks one drop of it until at last he is absorbed in Allah, and from that comes His words: “He loves them, and they love Him.” (5:59).
Once when she was sick a number of people went to visit her. They asked her, “How are you?” She replied, “By Allah! I know of no reason for my illness except that Paradise was displayed to me and I yearned after it in my heart; and I thank that my Lord was jealous for me and so He reproached me; and only He can make me happy again.” She said: “O God, whatsoever You have apportioned to me of worldly things, Give that to Your enemies, And what You have apportioned to me in the Hereafter, Give that to Your Friends, For You suffice me.”
When Rabi`a was urged to speak, her words perfectly manifested her love, her belief and her faith, for she was so totally immersed in her Lord that she became a shining Light which attracted many people to her presence to drink from the same Spring from which she drank. She said, “If I will a thing and my Lord does not will it, I shall be guilty of unbelief.” So that her faith came from her total surrender to her Beloved God, as she said, “I have fled from the world and all that is in it. My prayer is for Union with You; that is the goal of my desire.” Then, since she always attributed her illnesses and misfortunes to the Will of her Beloved God, how could she oppose Him in trying to rid herself of them? Once she was heard to say, “If You had not set me apart by affliction, I would not have increased Your lovers.”
June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
From that moment she left everything that she had been doing before, and she refused either to sing or to dance, or to play any music for anyone except for her Beloved God. This made her master very angry because he could no longer use her to make money for himself. He began to ill-treat her, to beat her, and even to put burns on her body hoping that this would frighten her into returning to her former ways. But she refused everything that her master tried to do to her.
She had begun to pray all through the night, crying to her Beloved God to help her in her desperate state. After a time her master, seeing that he could not influence her in any way, and because she was no longer of any use to him, decided to sell her. So he put a cord around her neck and took her to the slave market of Baghdad. There a holy man took Rabi`a to his home, gave her food and simple clothes, and told her that he did not want anything from her, except that she could pray and be free in his house. Rabi`a thanked him with all her heart and said, “If you want anything from me for the Face of Allah, He will give you your reward, but if you want anything from me for yourself only, I have nothing to give you. I have everything that I need from my Beloved God and I do not need anything from any human being.”
The holy man replied that he would like to marry her, and to free her from being a slave, but that he did not ask anything from her except what she wanted to give. Rabi`a thanked him for his kindness and consideration, and she said that she did not want to marry anyone, but was grateful for the way that he cared for her in her deep need. Then Allah, the All-Mighty, sent a very holy person to Rabi`a, some say that it was Hasan al-Basri. There seems to be some doubt about who this holy person was, because it is recorded that Hasan al-Basri was born in al-Madina in the year 21 A.H./642 C.E. to a servant of the Prophet’s wife, prayers and peace be upon him, Umm Salamah. As a young child he had lived with his mother in Umm Salamah’s household. In manhood he followed a follower (at-tabi’un) of `Ali ibn Abu Talib, the Prophet’s cousin and close Companion, and the fourth of the ‘Righteous Caliphs’ (Al-Khulafa Ar-Rashidun) from whom the Line of the Prophet’s Inheritors descended. It is recorded that Hasan al-Basri died in 110 A.H, at which time Rabi`a would have been about eleven years old and had perhaps just arrived in Baghdad as a slave-girl for her master.
How did you come to know Him?
You know of the How but I know of the How-less.
In spite of this discrepancy of dates, Hasan al-Basri is usually referred to as being one of the closest of the Beloveds of Allah around Rabi`a in her early life. It is he who is recorded as being the person who said to Rabi`a, “Do you desire for us to get married?” To which she replied, “The tie of marriage is for those who have being. But here being has disappeared for I have become as nothing to my self, and I exist only through Allah for I belong wholly to Him, and I live in the shadow of His control. You must ask for my hand from Him, and not from me.” Hasan then replied, “How did you find this secret, Rabi`a?” She answered him, “I lost all found things in Him.” Hasan then replied, “How did you come to know Him?” She said, “You know of the how but I know of the how-less.” For Rabia`s case was that she had heard the Voice of her Beloved Who was Allah and none other than He, and she had no need for any earthly husband because the only true marriage for her was with Allah Himself alone. Like many of the ascetic sufis, Rabi`a made no separation in her love between man and woman if they lived for the Face of her Beloved God.
Many people loved her and needed her and wanted to take from her something of the special Gift which she had been given from Allah. She had many followers who yearned to feed themselves from her Love which she gave to all those whom she loved. Allah himself was her real Beloved but she kept company with her fellow beings, as she said, “Everyone who obeys (and she meant by this the true lover) seeks intimacy.” Then she recited these lines: “I have made You the Companion of my heart. But my body is available to those who desire its company, And my body is friendly toward its guest, But the Beloved of my heart is the guest of my soul.”
Continue… Part III
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.