Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rabiah Al-Adawiyya: She-Saint

I'm sorry it's been so long, Internet.

You see, I haven't quite been myself recently. There's this girl, and she's taken my affections quite by storm.

Her name is Rabiah Al-Adawiyya, or Rabiah Al-Basri, and she was born in 713 AD in Basra. She is the saint of my heart. Supposedly, she looks something like the picture below.

As I get older and the Proverbs 31 woman gets gradually hotter and hotter to me, Rabiah, like a fine, fine wine just gets sweeter to me with time. Rather unfortunately for me and all other spiritually-minded suitors, her body died about 1,208 years ago, making consummation unlikely.

Consumed with zeal for God, she could regularly be seen running around the streets of Basra (Modern-day Iraq) with a torch in one hand and a pale of water in the other. When asked by the local moon-faces what she was doing, she dropped it on them: "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."

Another anecdote recounts her prayers attracting the most timid and sly of wild beasts (it worked on me) to her in the wilderness, joining around her to pray to their common Father. When her clingy friend, Hadhrat Hasan Basri approached, the animals fled. When he asked, amazed, why they fled at his approach and not hers, she asked what he had eaten that day.

"Why, bread and meat," he replied.

"When you have eaten bread and meat, why should they not flee?" was her answer. In this reproof, she speaks of man's disconnect with the ones he is supposed to protect and carefully consider, instead consuming them without thought. The lesson learned is that Rabiah is so in tune with God and His creation that there is no barrier between them and they worship together in unity.

And I just want to tear down the boundaries between me and HER. Get to know her some. Go out for coffee and dates some time.

Unfortunately, I'm not the first. She is a coy mistress, cutesy animal prayer-gatherings and gutsy demonstrations of insane-psycho-God-loving, aside. Others (probably less suitable and genuine than me) approached her, too.

"People asked Rabiah: "Why do you not take a husband?" Rabiah responded: "I am saddled with three concerns. If you remove these worries from me, I shall take a husband. One: Tell me, will I die with Imaan ("Faith," or a measure of the extent to which a Muslim is in "Islam", or "Surrender")? Two: On the Day of Qiyaamah ("Day of Judgment" or "Day of Resurrection") will my Record of Deeds be given in my right or left hand? Three: On the Day of Qiyaamah will I be among the people of the right side or the left side?" The people said that they were unable to give her assurances regarding these issues. She said: "A woman who has these fears has no desire for a husband.""

Which are clearly the right questions to be concerned with when thinking about entering a God-centered relationship. The irony is that they also nullify any hope for a God-centered relationship.

This is a conundrum that, in and of itself, only increases my attraction to the saint.

Her most important statement, though, was this:

"My love to God has so possessed me that no place remains for loving or hating any save Him."

Rabiah al-Adawiyya: Please come down now and marry me.