Sufi Poets A wonderful collection of powerful words and thoughts
Hazrat Rabia al Basri r.a (717–801) is one of the first female Sufi Poets who helped to leave a rich teaching of Divine love through her mystical poetry.
Not much is known about Rabia al Basri, except that she lived in Basra in Iraq, in the second half of the 8th century AD. She was born into poverty. But many spiritual stories are associated with her and what we can glean about her is reality merged with legend. These traditions come from Farid ud din Attar a later Sufi saint and poet, who used earlier sources. Rabia herself though has not left any written works. However, her oral poems were later written down, they frequently express themes of intense Divine Love.
Without You — my Life, my Love –
I would never have wandered across these endless countries.
You have poured out so much grace for me,
Done me so many favors, given me so many gifts –
I look everywhere for Your love –
Then suddenly I am filled with it.
– Rabia al Basri, (excerpt from, My Joy)
After her father’s death, there was a famine in Basra, and during that she was parted from her family. It is not clear how she was traveling in a caravan that was set upon by robbers. She was taken by the robbers and sold into slavery.
Her master worked her very hard, but at night after finishing her chores Rabia would turn to meditation and prayers and praising the Lord. Foregoing rest and sleep she spent her nights in prayers and she often fasted during the day.
There is a story that once, while in the market, she was pursued by a vagabond and in running to save herself she fell and broke her arm. She prayed to the Lord .
“I am a poor orphan and a slave, Now my hand too is broken. But I do not mind these things if Thou be pleased with me. “
and felt a voice reply:
“Never mind all these sufferings. On the Day of Judgement you shall be accorded a status that shall be the envy of the angels even”
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