Islamic Sufism Spirituality

Archive for the ‘Islam and Women – مكانة المرأة في الإسلام’ Category

Once a woman has confirmed her pregnancy, she should express her gratitude before Allah Ta’ala as this is indeed a great bounty of Allah Ta’ala. This is such a boon that many people beseech Allah Ta’ala throughout their lives for pious children but Allah Ta’ala has destined otherwise. In fact one of the greatest Nabîes of Allah Ta’ala, Hadrat Ibrahim (Alayhis salaam) used to supplicate to Allah Ta’ala most profoundly and frequently. Even Hadrat Zakariyya (Alayhis salaam) used to supplicate for children most passionately and fervently during the latter part of his life.

Hence, a Muslim woman is required to express her gratitude unto Allah Ta’ala for this great bounty. Gratitude may be expressed in the following ways:

1. Recite the following Du’aa very frequently:

Allahummâ Lakal Hamdû Wa Lakash-Shukru
Translation: O Allah! All praises are due to You alone and I express my gratitude unto You alone (for granting me the honour of motherhood).

2. Allocate a fixed time for two Rak‘aat of Nafl Salaat. Whilst in Sajdah, make Du‘aa abundantly. Recite the following Du’aa as well:

Rabbi Hab Liy Min-Ladunka Zurriyatan-Tayyibah Innaka Sam‘iud-Du’aa
Translation: O my Lord! Bless me from your side with pure children. Verily You are all-hearing of the Du’aa.

3. Recite the following Du’aa as well:

Rabbi-j‘alniy Muqeema-Salaati wa min Zurriyatiy Rabbanaa wa Taqabbal Du’aa
Translation: O my Lord! Render me as well as my progeny as establishers of Salâh and accept our Du’aas.

4. Similarly, express your gratitude from the heart in such a manner that you stay happy and try to stay happy at all times. Try to forget all your past sorrows. Build your dreams and keep your hopes and spirits high. Ponder over the bounties of Jannat.

Instead of embroiling yourself in the daily disputes with the mother-in-law and sisters-in law and instead of involving yourself with the unbecoming behaviour of your husband, maintain strict silence. On the impending happiness of the birth of your child, maintain a friendly and trouble-free relationship with all. If you do tend to hurt anyone, apologise immediately and try to forget about the dispute. If you continue vexing others, the evil effects of this nature will fall on the unborn child as well. The conditions of the mother during pregnancy, in fact even her spirit and perceptions during this state has a profound effect on the unborn child.

Hence, a Muslim woman should express gratitude at all times especially during the period of her pregnancy. This gratitude should in turn develop in her the love of Allah Ta’ala. She should ponder that since Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with so many bounties, we should also devote ourselves to Him. To disobey such a majestic benefactor – by strutting about veil-less, watching television, videos, backbiting etc. – at any time and especially during pregnancy is not acceptable. Allah Ta’ala showers His bounties upon us and we in turn disobey Him!?
The first month of pregnancy

Remember that you are not a single entity now. Now a child is being nourished within your own body. With a bit of precaution on your part, this child may become healthy, intelligent, understanding, pious and religious. However, with your negligence and indifference, the child may turn out to be weak, sickly and incompetent.

Hence, your life should not be the same as it was before you fell pregnant. Every moment should be passed with caution and concern over the well-being of yourself as well your child. Therefore, pay careful attention to the following points:

1. Be careful with your diet. Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. Avoid over-eating and abstain from food that can cause constipation.

2. Eat green, fresh vegetables, like salads, cucumbers etc. in abundance. Make sure that they are clean and washed before use.

3. Drink lots of sour-milk and milk. Drink as much milk as your digestive system can handle. Milk is a very blessed form of nutrition. After consuming other types of food, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) would utter:

Allahummâ At‘imnâ Khayran-Minhu
Translation: O Allah! Grant us food better than this (in Jannat).

However, milk is of such a blessed nature that there is no food better than milk since after drinking milk Rasûlullâh ? recited the following Du’aa:

Allahummâ Bârik Lanâ Fîhî wa Zidnâ Minhu
Translation: O Allah! Bless us in this and increase it for us.

In other words, whilst drinking milk, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) did not ask for something better (as he did in the case of other foods), because there is no better food than milk. This is why he beseeched Allah Ta’ala for Barkat (blessing) and increase in it.

In short, a pregnant woman should drink lots of milk because Allah Ta’ala has placed the vitamins and proteins required by the human body in milk.

If pure or raw milk is detrimental to you, consume it in other forms like Lassî (curds), sour-milk, custard, Khîr etc. This is beneficial to the mother as well as the child.

4. Abstain from tea, coffee, Pân (betel leaf), oil, Ghee, chillies and oily foods. Besides affecting the digestive system, these foods are detrimental to the muscles and nervous system of the mother and may also affect the child.

5. Ensure that you refrain from all types of medication during pregnancy especially pain-relievers. If you are really desperate, consult a reliable female (or male) doctor explaining your pregnancy and conditions to her. It should not be such that you are prescribed medication that is injurious to pregnant women. Some medication clearly states on the lable that it is not advisable for pregnant women. Hence, if you are really desperate to use some medication, make sure you scrutinize the lable and make thorough investigation before use.

6. In the first three months and the last month, in fact from the seventh month onwards, avoid sexual contact with your husband. This at times, adversely affects the mother and the child.

7. Avoid sleeping late. Try to get at least eight hours of peaceful sleep. This will ensure that your body and mind is well rested. This in turn is beneficial for the child as well and it may simplify delivery of the child.

8. Avoid excessively hard work and picking up very heavy objects as this may lead to a miscarriage. If your cruel mother-in-law or hard-hearted sister-in-law compels you to pick up heavy objects or forces you to carry out some difficult task, then excuse yourself very politely and explain to them that this task is beyond you and that you will pay a labourer to carry out this task.

However, if your cruel mother-in-law or hard-hearted sister-in-law fails to take pity on your condition, explain your helplessness to your husband and with his permission, go to your mother’s house to rest. If you are a sister-in-law to another woman (your brother’s wife), don’t be cruel to her as well. The moment she falls pregnant, try to make her comfortable and relaxed at all times. Your benevolence won’t be directed to your sister-in-law alone but you will be showing mercy to a sinless child, a priceless gem, a blossoming flower, the coolness of your brother’s eyes, a luminance of this worldly life and a source of perpetual reward for the hereafter. The degree of happiness and comfort of your sister-in-law or daughter-in-law will, Inshâ Allah Ta’ala, determine the well-being, health, robustness and happiness of the new arrival.

[Source: Madrasa In’aamiyyah]


Allah, the Most High, says:

“The men have authority over the women due to the excellence which Allah has given to the man over the women, and due to the wealth that they spend upon them.”[1]

Ibn Katheer says,”The man is in charge (qayyim) of the woman, i.e. he is the one in-charge of her, her chief, the one having authority over her and the one who corrects her if she inclines away from what is correct.”[2]

Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sa’dee said (regarding the above mention Aayah). “That is due to the excellence of men over women, and the eminence which they have given over them. So the pre-eminence of the men over the women is from many aspects: holding positions of leadership and authority is particular to men, likewise Prophethood and Messengership. They are also particularized by many acts of worship such as jihaad, the eids and the Jum’ah prayers. Also due to the characteristics given to them by Allaah, the like of which are not possessed by women such as sound intellect, composure, patience and endurance.

Likewise they are particularized with having to spend upon their wives, and indeed spending in many ways which are particular to the men – which distinguish them from the women. So perhaps this is the reason for His saying: “…due to the wealth that they spend…” – and exactly what they spend is not stated to indicate that the spending referred to is general. So from all this is known that the man is like a governor and master for his wife, and she is with him like a captive. So his role is to take care of that which Allaah has placed him in-charge of, and her role is to be obedient to her Lord and to obey her husband.[3]

Al-Qaasimee said. “The men have authority (qawwaamoon) over the women”[4] – qawwaamoon is the plural of qawwaam. Qawwaam is the one who is responsible for taking care of their welfare, managing their affairs and disciplining them. That is, they are in-charge of and are to take care of all manners and behavior of the women; ordering them and forbidding them, just as the ruler is responsible for his subjects. This is due to two reasons: (i) Due to the nature, which Allaah gave them, and (ii) due to the role, which they carry out.

The first is indicated by the Sayings of Allah:

“Due to the excellence which Allaah has given to the man over the woman.”[5]

This refers to the relation between the men and the women, and means that the men have a position of dominance over them due to the superiority which Allaah has given to the men over the women.[6]

Allah, the Most High, says:

“Men have a degree over the women.”[7]

Ibn Katheer said, “Meaning: in excellence; in the nature given to them; in manneres; in status; in the obedience to then; in their spending and taking care of the (women’s) welfare; and in excellence in this life and Hereafter.”[8]

The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said, “Every soul from the children of Aadam is a master; so the man is the master of his family, and the woman is the mistress of her household.”[9]

Allaah’s Messenger (S.A.W.) said, “If I were to order anyone to prostrate to other than Allaah, I would have ordered the woman to prostrate to her husband. By Him in whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the woman will not fulfil the rights of her Lord until she fulfils the rights of her husband; and even if he were to request her for herself (i.e. to have intercourse with her) whilst she was sitting upon a camel’s saddle[10], she should not refse him.”[11]

The Messanger of Allaah (S.A.W.) said, “It is not right that any human being should prostrate to another human being I would have ordered the woman to prostrate to her husband due to the greatness of his rights upon her. By Him in whose Hand is my soul, if from his foot to the crown of his head there was a wound pouring forth pus, and she (the wife) came and licked that, then she would (still) not have fulfilled
his right.”[12]

The Messenger of Allaah (S.A.W.) said, “The right of the husband over the wife is such that if he had a wound, or his nostrils were pouring forth pus or blood, then she were to swolloe that down – then she would (still) not have fulfilled his right.”[13]

Aboo Hurayrah, radiyallaahu ‘anhu, reports that Allaah’s Messenger (S.A.W.) said, “It is not right for a woman to fast[14] whilst the husband is present except with his permission;[15] and whatever wealth she spends in charity without his order, then half of the reward is for him.”[16]

Shaykh al-Albaanee said, “Since it is obligation upon the woman to obey her husband with regard to fulfilment of his desire with her, then it is even more fitting that it is obligatory upon her to obey him with regard to that which is even more important than that – such as what pertains to bringing up the children, correcting her family and the like – all such rights and obligations.[17]

Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr said, “The hadeeth shows that the right of the husband upon the wife has priority over her performing optional good deeds, since his right is an obligation, and fulfilment of an obligation, takes precedence over carrying out something optional.”[18]

Also Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, raheemahullaah, was asked about a man who has a wife who fasts during the day and stands in prayer throughout the nights. Whenever he calls her to his bed she refuses and gives precedence to praying in the night and fasting during the day over the obedience to the husband. So is this permissible? Shaykhul- Islaam replied, “That is not permissible for her by agreement of the Muslims. Rather it is obligatory upon her to obey when he calls her to bed, this is a binding obligation upon her. How ever standing the night in prayer and fasting during the day is optional over an obligation… and there is no right, after the rights of Allaah and His Messenger (S.A.W.) more binding upon the woman than the rights of the husband.[19]

Mu’aadh ibn Jabal, (RA), said that the Messenger of Allaah (S.A.W.) said, “If the woman knew the right of the husband, she would not sit when his morning and evening meals were presented until he finished.”[20]

1. Soorah an-Nisaa’ (4):34
2. Tafseerul-Qur’aanil-Adheem (1/194)
3. Tayseerul-Kareemir-Rahmaan (1/344)
4. Soorah an-Nisaa’ (4):34
5. Soorah an-Nisaa’ (4):34
6. Mahaasinut-Ta’weel (abridged) (5/130)
7. Soorah al-Baqarah (2):228
8. Tafseerul-Qura’aanil-Adheem (1/271)
9. Reported by ibn as-Sunnee in ‘Amalul Yawm wal Laylah and it occurs in Saheehul Jaami’ is Sagheer (no.4565)
10. They used to sit upon that whilst giving birth – as mentioned in an-Nihaayah: “Its meaning is an exhoration for the women to be obedient to their husbands, and that it is not for them to refuse even if they are in that state – so how about at other times?!”
11. Reported by Ibn Maajah (no.1853), Ibn Hibbaan (6/186 – Ihsaan) and Ahmad (4/381) from ‘Adullaah ibn Awfaa. Shaykh al-Albaanee declared the chain of narration of Ahmad to be saheeh to the standard of the Muslim in as-Saheehah (3/202).
12. Reported by Ahmad (3/159) and others. It’s of narration is declared to be good by al-Mundhiree in at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb (3/75), and it occurs in Saheeul Jaami’ (no. 3148)
13. Al- Bazzaar reports it (no. 1465: al-Kashf) from Aboo Sa’eed al-Khudree, (RA) with a good chain of narration whose narrators are reliable and famous – as declared by al-Mundhiree in at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb (3/74). Also reported Ibn Hibbaan (6/184, Ihsaan), al-Haakim (2/189) and others, and it occurs in Saheehul-Jaami’ (no.3148)
14. Translator’s note: i.e. optional fast.
15. An-Nawawee said (Sharh Shaheeh Muslim [7/115]), “It’s reason is that the husband has the right to enjoy his wife on all days, and his right is an immediate obligation and not to be denied him due to optional nor something obligatory which may be performed at anytime.”
16. Reported by al-Bukhaaree (Eng. Transl. 7/94/no. 123)
17. Aadaabuz Zifaaf p.282 1st Edition.
18. Al-Fath (9/296)
19. Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa (32/274-275)
20. Reported by al-Bazzaar (al-Kashf, 2/180) and others. It occurs in Sheehul Jaami’ (no.5259)

Letting the fingernails grow is something that goes against the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) He said:

“From the acts of the fitrah (natural state of a human) are five: Circumcision, Removing the public hairs, Trimming the mustache (so that it does not go over the lip), cutting the (finger and toe) nails and plucking the hair from under the arm pits.”

It is not allowed to leave them (the nails) for more than 40 nights. This is based on the Hadith of Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) who said “The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings Be upon him) set a time limit for us for trimming the mustache, trimming the nails, removing armpit hairs, and removing public hairs. They cannot be left for more than 40 nights.”

Letting them (the nails) grow long resembles the animals and some of the disbelievers. As for nail polish, it is better to avoid it. One must remove it when making wudu since it prevents the water from reaching the nails

The marital life is an interesting and necessary institution. If one fails to understand the core of the conjugal relation between man and woman he will lead a life of oblivion and disorientation.

I hope that the prospective spouse study the technique of marriage before getting into it. Unless we teach our prospective spouses the correct way of their new marital life, they may resort to erotic books or stories that mislead them. There are many misconceptions about marriage and man-woman relationship.

Therefore, I decided to write this beneficial treatise and authenticated treatment clearly explaining the way to a happy marital life. I pointed out certain issues important to everyone who marries, and with which many wives in particular have been tested. I ask Allah Most High to bring about some benefit from this treatise, and to accept this work solely for His glorious countenance. Surely, He is the Righteous, the Merciful.

It should be known that there are many etiquette in the area of marriage. All that I am concerned with here in this quickly compiled work is the Qur’anic verses and that which is authenticated of the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, that which is irreproachable from the standpoint of its chain of narration and upon which no doubt can be cast in terms of its constructions and meanings. In this way, whoever reads and follows this information will be on a clearly established basis in religion, and will have full confidence in tl1e source and validity of his actions. I hope for him that Allah will put the final seal of felicity on his life, in reward for beginning his married life with the following of the Sunnah, and to make for him among His slaves.

I openly discussed sexual relation between husband and wife. No wonder, Islam is a realistic religion. Sex is a natural and creative urge. Hence, Islam lays down great importance on marriage and the constitution of a new family. When talking about sex, the Glorious Qur’an is very euphemistic though clear. Particularly, the Qur’an uses euphemism and figurative speech when dealing with matters pertaining to sex and man-woman relationship.

The Qur’an deals with the human life and all what it contains. It permeates into the personal relationship between husband and wife to organize it. It further provides the remedy to one’s passion and passionate love.

When recounting the story of Yusuf (pbuh), the Qur’an highlights the conflict between the blazing sexual urge and the suppression of that urge by adhering to Allah’s Guidance. Allah Almighty says: {But she in whose house he was, sought to seduce him and she fastened the doors, and said: ‘Now come,” He said: “Allah forbid! Truly (thy husband) is my lord! he made my sojourn agreeable! Truly to no good come those who do wrong and (with passion) did she desire him, and he would have desired her, but that he saw the evidence of his Lord: thus (Did you order) that We might turn away from him indecent deeds: For he was one of Our servants chosen.}} [Yusuf: 23-24]

The evidence which Yusuf saw was the evidence of faith. In the Prophetic Hadith we have also another story which emphasizes that faith is the safety belt that protects man against whatever he might face of worldly appeals.

Allah’s Messenger said, “While three persons were traveling, they were overtaken by rain and they took shelter in a cave in a mountain. A big rock fell from the mountain over the mouth of the cave and blocked it. They said to each other. ‘Think of such good (righteous) deeds which, you did for Allah’s sake only, and invoke Allah by giving reference to those deeds so that Allah may relieve you from your difficulty.

One of them said, ‘O Allah! I had my parents who were very old and I had small children for whose sake I used to work as a shepherd. When I returned to them at night and, milked (the sheep), I used to start giving the milk to my parents first before giving to my children. And one day I went far away in search of a grazing place (for my sheep), and didn’t return home till late at night and found that my parents had slept. I milked (my livestock) as usual and brought the milk vessel and stood at their heads, and I disliked to wake them up from their sleep, and I also disliked to give the milk to my children before my parents though my children were crying (from hunger) at my feet. So this state of theirs and mine continued till the day dawned. (O Allah!) If you considered that I had done that only for seeking Your pleasure, then please let there be an opening through which we can see the sky.’ So Allah made for them an opening through which they could see the sky.

Then the second person said, ‘O Allah! I had a she-cousin whom I loved as much as a passionate man loves a woman. I tried to seduce her but she refused till I paid her one hundred Dinars. So I worked hard till I collected one hundred Dinars and went to her with that But when I sat in between her legs (to have sexual intercourse with her), she said, ‘O Allah’s slave! Be afraid of Allah! Do not deflower me except legally (by marriage contract). So I left her O Allah! If you considered that I had done that only for seeking Your pleasure then please let the rock move a little to have a (wider) opening.’ So Allah shifted that rock to make the opening wider for them.

And the last (third) person said ‘O Allah! I employed a laborer for wages equal to a Faraq (a certain measure: of rice, and when he had finished his ,job he demanded his wages, but when I presented his due to him, he gave it up and refused to take it. Then I kept on sowing that rice for him (several times) till managed to buy with the price of the yield, some cows and their shepherd Later on the laborer came to me and said. ‘(O Allah’s slave!) Be afraid O Allah, and do not be unjust to me an give me my due.’ I said (to him). ‘Go and take those cows and their shepherd. So he took them and went away. (So, O Allah!) If You considered that I had done that for seeking Your pleasure, then please remove the remaining part of the rock.’ And so Allah released them (from their difficulty).”

This book consists of a scientific and realistic discussion of man woman relationship. Spouses should know each other spiritually, physically and sexually. They must not feel shy when discussing such matters that to sex. They should feel that they are one entity. Platonic love is not enough to unify the spouse hearts. Sexual satisfaction may be the fruit of their physical and spiritual unity. Therefore, they must be creative and cooperative.

Man-woman relationship is not only innate but also acquired. It needs much study to be understood. It needs developing and renovating so that the partners might not feel bored or monotonous.

Mahmud Mahdi Al-Istanbulli

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Once there was a very handsome, pious, well educated young man, whose parents emphasized for him to get married. they had seen so many marriage proposals, and he had turned them all down. The parents thought it was becoming a little ridiculous or suspected that he may have someone else in mind.

However every time the parents left the girls house, the young man would always say ‘she’s not the one!’

The young man only wanted a girl who was religious and practicing, however one evening his mother arranged for him, to meet a girl, who was religious, and practicing. On that evening, the young man, and girl, were left to talk, and ask each other questions. (As one would expect).

The young man, being a gentleman that he was allowed, the lady to ask first.The young girl asked the young man so many questions, she asked about his life, his education, his friends, his family, his habits, his hobbies, his lifestyle, his enjoyment, his pastime, his experiences, his shoe size..

The young man replied to all of her questions, without tiring, and politely, with a smile the young girl took up nearly all of the time, over an hour, and felt bad, and asked the young man do you have any questions?

The young man said, it’s ok. I only have 3 questions…The young girl thought, wow, only 3 questions okay, shoot.

The young man’s first question was, Who do you love the most in the world, someone who’s love nothing would ever overcome?

She said, this is an easy question; my mother.

He smiled second question, he asked, you said that you read a lot of qur’an, could you tell me which surahs you know the meaning of?

Hearing this she went red and embarrassed and said, I do not know the meaning of any yet, but I am hoping to soon insha’allah I’ve just been a bit busy.

The third question the young man asked, was I have been approached for my hand in marriage, by girls that are a lot more prettier than you, why should I marry you?

Hearing this the young girl was outraged, she stormed off to her parents with fury, and said I do not want to marry this man he is insulting my beauty, and intelligence. And the young man and his parents, were once again, left without an agreement of marriage.

This time, the young mans parents were really angry, and said what did you do to anger that girl, the family were so nice, and pleasant, and they were religious like you wanted. What did you ask the girl?? Tellus!

The young man said, firstly I asked her, who do you love the most?

She said, her mother, The parents said so, what is wrong with that?? The young man said, ‘no one, is Muslim, until he loves Allah, and his messenger (saw) more than anyone else in the world’

If a woman loves Allah and the Prophet (pbuh) more than anyone, she will love me and respect me, and stay faithful to me, because of that love, and fear for Allah (swt). and we can share this love, because this love is greater than lust for beauty.

The young man said, then I asked, you read a lot of qur’an, can you tell me the meaning of any surah?

And she said no, because I haven’t had time yet. so I thought of that hadith ‘ALL humans, are dead except for those who have knowledge’ She has lived 20 years and not found ANY time, to seek knowledge, why would I marry a woman, who does not know her rights, and responsibilities, and what will she teach my children, except how to be negligent, because the woman IS the madrasa (school) and the best of teachers. And a woman who has no time for Allah, will not have time for her husband.

The third question I asked her was, that a lot of girls, more prettier than her, had approached me for marriage, why should I choose you?

That is why she stormed off, getting angry. The young man’s parents said that is a horrible thing to say, why would you do such a thing, we are going back there to apologies. The young man said I said this on purpose, to test whether she could control her anger.

The Prophet (saw) said ‘do not get angry, do not get angry, do not get angry’ when asked how to become pious; because anger is from Satan. If a woman cannot control her anger with a stranger she has just met, do you think she will be able to control it with her husband??

So, the moral of this story is, a marriage is based on:

  • knowledge, not looks,
  • practice, not preaching,
  • Forgiveness, not anger,
  • spiritual love, not lust.
  • and compromise

One should look for a person who

  • Has love for Allah (swt) and the messenger (saw)
  • Has knowledge of the deen, and can act upon it.
  • Can control their anger
  • and willing to compromise.

And it goes both ways, so women seeking a man, should look for the same things.

Translator’s Foreword

As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum

Verily the praise and thanks is due to Allah. We offer to Him all praise and gratitude, and we seek His assistance and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our souls and the wickedness of our deeds. Whoever Allah guides there is none who can lead him astray and whosoever Allah misguides there are none who can bring him to the path. I bear witness that there is nothing truly worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave servant and Messenger. May Allah send his salaat and salaam upon His Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and all those who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Resurrection. Ameen

We thought it prudent to preface the translation of this brief work by our sister Nawaal Bint Abdullah (may Allah preserve her) with a few words about the background and context of the booklet. This is because the author is describing a common phenomenon in Muslim countries, especially in the Arabian Gulf region. It is an appeal that is full of emotion and concern and even a bit of outrage that may not be readily understood by not only non-Muslims but Muslims living in other parts of the world. Her outrage may seem strange to many in places where what she is complaining of and describes commonly occurs and largely goes unnoticed. Such behavior however, has far more of an impact where the Islamic environment or local culture is relatively more conservative than in most places. The author’s evident dismay and distress at what would seem a relatively mild lack of adherence may indeed appear extreme to those outside her context. Indeed we realize that perhaps most Muslim women would find absolutely nothing wrong with what she describes and may even view some women whom she even points to who wear niqaab in their midst as quite conservative considering that most other women in their locale may not consider a face veil at all necessary as opposed to the majority view in Saudi Arabia from where the author wrote. Many commonly wear merely a scarf and slacks, dresses that do not reach the ankles, no abaayah (A lightweight overgarment worn by Muslim women that covers the dress underneath. It is commonly black in Gulf countries) or jibaab (see the Appendix: Requirements of Women’s Hijaab) some make-up, perfume, or maybe nothing close to Islamic hijaab and often interact with members of the opposite sex.

What should be considered is if the author is comparing the state of affairs to the actual requirements of Islamic Hijaab, and not merely local culture, and if those requirements are being adhered to or not by the majority. If they are not, what does that tell us about the state of the ummah and its women as a whole?

We must also mention that in a relatively conservative Islamic environment, men often become far more sensitive to the attractions of women and the sight of merely a woman’s hands or even feet, much less a pretty face, can be enough to cause a great trial upon them! The great Imaam, Muhammad Idrees Shaafi once remarked that he was in the marketplace when he happened to see a woman’s ankle and thought he would lose half of his knowledge! Imagine the impact on such people of the satellite dish, videos, magazines and other media where the beauty of women is highlighted and exploited!

Sister Nawaal fervently points to the dangers and the negative influence of western culture and moral values upon the habits and thought processes of many Muslim women. She asserts that such influence is neither passive nor haphazard and that it is a serious and substantial threat not just to Islamic values but to livelihood and values once held precious by mankind as a whole. Can it not be so when the evidence of reality is before our eyes! Could a clear-thinking believer see otherwise? Ours is a world where pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry. Sexual practices of all types are commonly and openly broadcast on television. Men and women speak openly on talk shows and other venues of the most graphic and lurid details of their sexual exploits, and women suffer more physical and sexual abuse than any other group. Even the president of the most revered nation on the earth has his most illicit sexual encounters graphically described for the world to read.

Those living in Islamic environments are in stark contrast to those (including Muslims) living in places wherev women are almost always uncovered and beautified and often practically naked in public places. The latter are usually far less sensitive and even rarely shocked at anything. Western civilization is built upon the appreciation of the naked form in art and in life. (Even ancient eastern cultures heavily emphasized sexuality such as the Indian Karma Sutra)

It is well known that in the west, today’s “modern and progressive” women are encouraged to be as unashamed of their bodies as possible and to never allow themselves to be restricted. Every day life is full of images and interaction between the sexes involving every type of woman. Sexual openness is considered healthy while anything limiting that is considered repressive and backward. How must such a woman like the author feel in light of this reality? Additionally, she is seeing these things in the Heartland of Islam where there is relatively easy access to many scholars whom one can listen to and speak with (women included) in person or by phone, through audio tapes, or even the radio and television. Not to mention the treasure trove of good Islamic books, the presence of institutions of learning and memorizing the Qur’aan and hadeeth for women. On top of all that she sees it among women whose native tongue is Arabic and whose heritage is Islam and should therefore have little excuse to be uninformed.

There is a hadeeth that goes: This world is like a prison to the believer but it is the paradise of the disbeliever. [Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah, Ahmed & others] Our sister Nawaal, and many other men and women like her, face a seemingly unwinnable battle to stem the tide of western influence in Islamic areas. They are painted as fanatics and regressive while those who advocate relaxation of Islamic shari’ah are deemed reasonable and progressive, especially with regards to women, and their usual first target is
observance of Islamic hijaab.

We ask Allah to reward the author and we are grateful to her for granting permission to translate and publish her work in English. We have attempted to do justice to her Arabic style though we have always found this almost unrealistic due to the vast difference between Arabic and English prose. In this regard my greatest thanks goes to Mr. Ahmed Ezzat whose revision of the translation was invaluable. We hope to have successfully overcome most of the difficulties of translating such a work like this and pray that we are successful in conveying the meaning of this heartfelt message from a member our most precious and respected Islamic sisterhood to her sisters in faith.

Abdul-Qaadir Abdul-Khaaliq

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The first of the stories of the holy people of Allah is that of Rabi`a al-Adawiyya, or Rabi`a al-Qaysiyya who was born in Basra, Iraq between the years 95 A.H. and 99 A.H. (about 717 C.E.).

In those turbulent years of the first century after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, may prayers and peace be upon him, records of the lives of the early Sufis were not always accurate and were sometimes even based on supposition. This led to certain variations in the details of the events in their lives and in the case of Rabi`a al-Adawiyya, a confusion on occasion between her story and that of the Rabi`a bint Isma`il of Syria. It is generally agreed, however, that her father’s name was, nevertheless, Isma`il who was a very poor and holy man.

The account which has been used for the main events of Rabi`a’s life is as follows: Isma`il married and went to live with his wife on the edge of the desert not far from the town of Basrq.

After a while Allah, the All-Mighty, gave them a daughter whom the father named Rabi`a. Then they had another daughter whom the father named Rabi`a ath-thani, and a third daughter he named Rabi`a ath-thalata, and yet again another daughter whom he named Rabi`a ar-rabi`a who was to become the beloved Saint of Allah.

It is said that on the night that Rabi`a was born there was not even a drop of oil in their house with which to anoint the navel of the new-born daughter and no cloth in which to swaddle her. So in despair, Rabi`a’s mother told her husband to go to their neighbor’s house and to beg them for some oil so that she could light their lamp.

The father Isma`il had made a promise never to ask a human being for anything. So he went out and put his hand on the neighbors’ door and without saying anything to them, returned to his own house. “They will not open the door,” he said.

Upon hearing this, Rabi`a’s mother wept bitterly. Full of anxiety and feeling helpless in the matter, Rabi`a’s father put his head on his knees and fell asleep.

While he was sleeping he dreamed that the Prophet Muhammad, prayers and peace be upon him, came to him and said, “Do not be sad. The girl child which has just been born is a queen amongst women who shall be the mediator for seventy thousand of my Community. Tomorrow you must go to `Isa Zadan, the Governor of Basra. Write this message on a piece of paper which you will take to him: Every night you send upon me a hundred blessings and on Friday night four hundred. Last night was Friday night and you forgot me. To set right your forgetfulness, give this man four hundred dinar, which he has lawfully earned.”

When he awoke and remembered his dream Rabi`a’s father burst into tears, but he got up straight away and wrote exactly what the Prophet had told him to write, then took his letter and presented it to one of the Governor’s chamberlains.

As soon as the letter reached the Governor and he had read it, he said to his Minister, “Give two thousand dinar to the poor people immediately because I thank the Master for reminding me of my forgetfulness. Also give four hundred dinar to the old man and say to him: I would like you to come to me so that I may see you. But I do not hold it proper for a man like you to come to me. I would rather come to you and rub my beard on the floor of your threshold. But I swear by Allah that whatever you need you may let me know about it.”

Rabi`a’s father was overjoyed and took the money, thanking Allah and his Prophet, and he bought all that was necessary for his holy daughter.

The story continues: As the four girls grew up, their father Isma`il worked, as he could, to make a living for his family in the desert. When the eldest daughter was about twenty years old and Rabi`a ar-rabi`a was about eleven, their father died, leaving behind him his wife and four daughters, all of whom were very poor.

The mother, now finding herself alone and the life of the desert being very hard for them, decided to take her four daughters and set out for Basra where she hoped to make a better living for herself and her children.

However, on their way they were set upon by bandits and in the resulting fray the mother was killed, and each of the daughters was taken as a slave by the robbers.

Rabi`a’s master took her to Baghdad where he immediately set about using her in the way that was most profitable for himself. She was very beautiful and she also had a lovely voice, so her master taught her how to sing and play the `oud, made her dance and entertain people, and above all, to make money in this way for himself.

He sent her to weddings and celebrations where she would dance and sing, and the people would give her money for whatever they wanted from her. In this way she came to have many bad habits and ways, living a very low life amongst all sorts of people and not caring about anything that she did. This continued until she was about thirty-six years old, when one day as she was singing at a wedding she found herself singing in a different way. Songs were coming from her heart for her Beloved Who was her true Love because now Allah, the All-Mighty, had awakened Rabi`a.

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.

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 howless.”

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.”

She never married nor did she have any children but as she, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “My peace is in solitude but my Beloved is always with me. Whenever I witness His Beauty He is my prayer niche (mihrab); toward Him is my qibla. Oh Healer of souls, the heart feeds upon its desire and its striving towards Union with You has healed my soul. You are my Joy and my Life to Eternity. You were the Source of my life; from You came my ecstasy. I have separated myself from all created beings, for my hope is for Union with You; for that is the Goal of my searching.”

Not only did Rabi`a never marry but she also never had a Shaykh to guide and instruct her. She received everything that she knew directly from Allah (the Most High) without the intermediary of any Shaykh.

At about this time she left Baghdad and returned to Basra where she remained for many years, until she finally travelled to Jerusalem where she died and is buried. She, may Allah be pleased with her, had a long life in this dunya (material world) during which she continued, to her last days, to give of everything that Allah inspired her to give to all who loved her, because she was His special Light for them all.

She is often referred to as the first true Saint (waliya) of Islam and was praised, not because she in any way represented womankind, but because as someone said, “When a woman walks in the Way of Allah like a man she cannot be called a woman.”

The same writer also said that Rabi`a was “That one set apart in the seclusion of holiness; that woman veiled with the veil of sincerity; that one enflamed by love and longing, lost in union with God; that one accepted as a second spotless Mary.”

Although, as she said herself, she was always busy with her Beloved God all the time and she did not have any moment for anybody or anything else but Him, she also knew the meaning of what she said, for her Beloved Allah revealed Himself to her in every face around her. She said,

“The groaning and yearning of the lover of Allah will not be satisfied until it is satisfied in the Beloved.” And Rabi`a was, for many people, that Beloved. May Allah protect her secret, and that of all His true holy lovers. Many of the incidents recorded about Rabi`a’s early life are said to concern her relationship with Hasan al-Basri, in spite of the discrepancy in the dating of their lives. Nevertheless it is the sayings themselves that are important, and the incidents which brought them about are, in themselves, irrelevant.

It is said that she, may Allah be pleased with her, once sent Hasan al-Basri a piece of wax, a needle and a hair, and said, “Be like wax and illumine the world and burn yourself. Be like a needle and work naked. When you have done these two things a thousand years will be for you like a hair.”

Another story tells of how one day Hasan al-Basri saw Rabi`a near a lake. Throwing his prayer rug on top of the water, he said, “Rabi`a come! Let us pray two ruk`u here.” She replied, “Hasan, when you are showing off your spiritual goods in the worldly market, it should be things which your fellow men cannot display.” Then she threw her prayer rug into the air and flew up onto it. “Come up here, Hasan, where people can see us,” she cried. But seeing his sadness Rabi`a sought to console him, so she said, “Hasan, what you did fishes can do, and what I did flies can do. But the real business is outside these tricks. One must apply oneself to the real business.”

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. This was because her love, manifesting directly from the Spirit and for the Face of her Beloved alone without any trace of self in it, brought a special fragrance from the deep Secret Love into the more austere teachings of those early Sufis. She was the Word which gave life to the hearts of those beloved people of Allah who followed after her in the same Line of the Love of God, as she had done. Particularly, this was the case later for Abu Bayazid al-Bistami, Abu ‘lHusayn an-Nuri, Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, and Abu Bakr ash-Shibli, may Allah be pleased with them, who, around their leader and Master al-Junayd, came to be known as The Baghdad School.

Someone said, “The ascetics regard the beauty of the Unknown with the light of belief and certainty and they despise the world, but they are still veiled by a sensuous pleasure, namely-the thought of Paradise, whereas the true Sufi is veiled from both worlds by the sight of the Primordial Beauty and the Love of the Essence.”

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 Ka`ba) 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.

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.”

Our Shaykh, may Allah benefit us by him, has said, “This is the state of the Essence of the lovers of Allah in the station (maqam) of the Special of the special ones (al-hawass al-hawass) of the Sincerity, or Integrity (al-ikhlas). These lovers are those who are nearest to Him and their Order is La ilaha illa ‘llah. Their offering and trust is to be dying for the Truth and to kill themselves so as to live in Allah, and to be like wool in His Hands until they reach the station (maqam) of completion. Then they rest face-to-Face with their Mighty King. The tongue of their asking is Rabi`a, who said:

“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.”

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.”

Here Rabi`a was referring to the Love which is of the complete integrity, steadfastness and patience, which is for nothing but the Face of Allah Who is the only true Beloved. It is the worship of the heart which only witnesses the perfect Union of the Beloved and the Lover.

It was said that Rabi`a was the first person to teach about the necessity for truthfulness and sincerity in the lover’s bondsmanship 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. 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.”

She also said:

“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.”

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.”

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.

The sole object of Rabi`a’s life was bound up in her yearning and passionate love (shawq) for her Beloved, which meant not merely the destruction of her self (nafs) but surrender to Allah every moment in the perfect Union in which there is no Lord and slave, no Creator and created being, only He in Himself. In that state she came to realize that she existed in Him without any possibility of separation from His indivisible Oneness.

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.”

One day a man, who was said to be a knower of Allah, met Rabi`a who asked him of his state, whereupon he replied, “I have trod the Path of obedience and I have not sinned since Allah created me.” She, may Allah be pleased with her, said to him, “Alas my son, your existence is a sin wherewith no other sin may be compared.”

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 (shawq) and all-consuming was also full of humility, fear (hawf) and reverence (taqwa) 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 Ka`ba 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 Ka`ba which I see has no power over me. What does the Ka`ba 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 Ka`ba because in every place of prayer he prayed two ruk`u and at last when he reached the Ka`ba 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 Ka`ba 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 Ka`ba was back in its place.

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.”

We can perhaps find both the inner depth and the height of the meaning of her need for poverty in a story relating to a period in the early days of Rabia’s walking on the Path of Allah. This was always to be a reminder to her of the need to strive and surrender all her existence to her Beloved Lord if she was to reach to the Goal of what He desired of her. 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.”

The key to Rabi`a’s reaching and living in the loving Presence of her Lord was her constant praying, remembrance and asking for forgiveness for all her shortcomings, and a knowing that her Union with her Beloved God could not come in the way that she desired, but only in the way that He desired for her. She was also well aware that her remembrance and repentance did not come from herself, but from Him, her Beloved God. 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.”

Our Shaykh says that 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 travelled 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 Hi.


I would like to make clear all the visitors of my blog that I am not Rqaqi, Aamil, or Spiritual Healer. Any Raaqi you contact via my blog, know they do not represent this blog or me.


In my knowledge these are few dedicated places where you can get your spiritual healing according to Quran and Sunnah. I can recommend these places as in my knowledge they works according to Quran and Sunnah; but I cannot be made responsible either individually or severally for any untoward incidents.


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