The Epitome Of Sufisim And Power, Rabia Al Basri (Rah).

(S. Maliha Sehar, Karachi)

Hazrat Rabia Al Basri (Rah) was a sufi, saint and religiously one of the highest ranked women in history. Her life is filled with spiritual stories. She was thrilling, mind-blowing and a powerful being.

Let’s extricate some major inspiration from the epitome of Sufism and Power, Hazrat Rabia Al Basri (Rah) by rewinding a brief exordium of her great life tale.

Hazrat Rabia Al Basri (Rah) belonged to a poor-class but dignified family. At her birth, there was not even any oil or cloth to cover her. 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 the Creator. However, to satisfy his wife, he went to the neighbor’s house, knocked on the door and came away before anyone opened it. On his return, he told his wife that the door was not opened. Grief-stricken, he fell asleep.

In a dream, he saw Rasoolalah (PBUH) telling him, “Do not grieve; this girl born to you is exceptionally fortunate and holy.

Growing up, she was brought apart from her family and enslaved to a commoner. She used to work all day long for the household and engage in prayers nightlong. Once the master of house saw her praying at night and her face surrounded by white light asking for freedom from slavery so that she can freely pray day and night; upon hearing it, the master at once decided set her free and even offered himself instead to serve her while she can be the master. From stories of Kaaba reaching Hazrat Rabia Al Basri (Rah) herself to her remarkable comments and philosophies of loving Allah solely for Allah, are utterly moving and inspiring.

In a dream someone asked her, “What happened when Munkar and Nakeer came to you?” Hazrat Rabia said, “When they asked me, “Who is your Rabb?” I said, “Go back! Say to Allah: When you had never forgotten this weak woman despite your remembrance of entire creation, how can she forget You when on earth You were her only remembrance? Why do you send Angels to question her?”

“I will not serve Allah like a laborer, in expectation of my wage.”
- Rabia Al Basri (Rah)

Hazrat Rabia (Rah) in her yearning for Allah, prayed to be shown His Vision.

A Voice said to her, “If you desire Me, I shall reveal a manifestation (Tajalli) of myself and in a moment you will be reduced to ash.”

Hazrat Rabia said: “O Allah! I lack the power for Your Tajalli. I wish for the rank of Faqr (i.e. an extremely lofty spiritual status of divine proximity).”
The Voice said: “O Rabia! 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.”

The Voice then commanded Hazrat Rabia (Rah) to lift her gaze towards the heaven. As she complied, she observed a vast rolling ocean of blood suspended in space. The Voice said, “This is the ocean of tears of blood of My Lovers who are lost in My Absorption. This is their first stage (in their journey to reach Allah).”
“Go after the Gardener, not after the garden.”
- Rabia Al Basri (Rah)

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 God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God.”

We do not see such epitome of strength, courage, ranking and power in religious history other than a handful of women. Hazrat Rabia Al Basri (Rah) is definitely someone we all need to study about and draw inspiration from.