Author Topic: The Sufi Lady Rabi’ah al ‘Adawiya (100-180 AH)  (Read 150 times)


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Rabi’ah al ‘Adawiya (100-180 AH) the daughter of Isma’il al-‘Atakiyah, is one of the most famous ascetic Sufi woman. She lived in the second hijri century and was from the city of Basra in Iraq.

In Tabaqat al-Awliya’, a bioghraphy book about the highly righteous people, Rabi’ah al-‘Adawiyah is entered as "the woman of goodness (أم الخير). She was among the notable people of her time and her benevolence is well-known."
During her early days, she was known for singing, then her situation changed to obedience and detachment from this world. Rabi'ah did not get married. In addition to her piety, she was a beautiful woman. Prominent men asked for her hand in marriage, but she declined so that she could have all her time devoted to worshiping God.

It was said in her house there were only an old mat she used to sleep on, a brick which she took as a pillow, and a broken jug. She became famous for her piety at a time when highly righteous and knowledgeable people such as Sufian at-Thawri lived. She was highly respected by the people of merit who used to visit her. She was extremely modest and did not wish to be known. Once a man asked her to make du'a (supplication). She stood very close to the wall (like she retreated out of humbleness), and said, "Who am I? May God have mercy on you. Obey your Lord and make du'a to Him; He answers those in need.

Ibn Abid-Dunya related that 'Abdah the daughter of Abi Shawal, a woman who served her, said that Rabi^ah used to pray all night; once Dawn was in she would sleep lightly until the dawn brightened. At which time she hear her say, “O self how much you sleep and till when do you expect that you will continue to wake up; soon you will sleep a sleep from which you will not awaken till the day of judgement.”
‘Abdah said that this was Rabi’ah’s way until she died. When she was about to die she called to me and said, “Don't tell others about my death, and shroud me with this Jubbah ( an outer garment)." Her Jubbah was made of hair (like wool). She used to wear it when she used to pray and make Zikr at night when people were asleep. ‘Abdah said, “We indeed shrouded her with that garment and a wool scarf which she wore".
‘Abdah continued saying that within a year or so I saw her in my dream wearing a fine silk green covering and silk scarf, but of different types which were so lovely; I have not seen anything like them. I asked her what she did with her shroud and wool head-covering? She swore by God saying that they had been taken away from her and she had been given that what I see her now wearing. Her shrouds were folded and taken up to ‘iliyeen *
( عليين) so they complete her reward on the day of Judgement. I said, "This is what you were working for in this life." I continued and asked her to order me with something by which I will gain reward. She replied, “Mention God often for you will be happy because of that in your grave."
She lived till 80 years of age. Her grave
is said to be in Jerusalem, on the top of the Mountain of Olive. Rabi’ah left this world, the one she detached herself from during her life,
leaving behind a fragrant memory that endured throughout the centuries as an inspiration and a symbol of asceticism and devotion to loving and worshipping God.

May God detach our hearts from this world and make us attached to the Hereafter.

* ‘iliyeen is a place in the seventh sky where the names of the pious people are written after death.
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