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Thursday, March 19, 2015

(females) or Rabia: One of Many Who Deserve More Than a Parenthetical Reference

Original picture found here
I had planned to post Rabia's poetry today with very little introduction. The plan changed this morning while I was listening to a recorded lecture about Islam. As the lecturer was discussing Sufism, he said something about how Sufis often organized themselves into brotherhoods and added, in what felt like a parenthetical addition, that there were prominent female Sufis as well. He continued with his lecture. At that point, I knew I needed to give the person of Rabia some attention before sharing her words.

According to her biography in Love Poems from God, "Rabia of Basra (c. 717-801) is without a doubt the most popular and influential of female Islamic saints and a central figure in the Sufi tradition. She was born nearly five hundred years before Rumi, and although it is rarely said, she, perhaps more than any other poet, influenced his writings."

She was born to a poor family and early in life, either because she was separated from her parents or they died, she was stolen and sold into slavery. It is believed that she was forced to live and work in a brothel for many years and wrote, "What a place for trials and transformation did my Lover put me, but never once did He look upon me as if I were impure. Dear sisters, all we do in this world, whatever happens, is bringing us closer to God." When she was about fifty, she was freed and spent the rest of her life in meditation and prayer and as a spiritual guide to others.

What a place for trials and transformation did my Lover put me, but never once did He look upon me as if I were impure. Dear sisters, all we do in this world, whatever happens, is bringing us closer to God. 




Our Beauty

Live with dignity, women, live with dignity, men,
Few things will more enhance our 
beauty as 
much. 



Jealous of a Pond

When God said, "My hands are yours," I saw that I could heal any
creature in this world;

I saw that the divine beauty in each heart
is the root of all time
and space.

I was once a sleeping ocean
and in a dream became 
jealous of a
pond. 

A penny can be eyed in the street
and a war can break out
over it amongst
the poor.

Until we know that God lives in us
and we can see Him 
there,

a great poverty 
we suffer. 



It Acts Like Love

It acts like love - music,
it reaches toward the face, touches it, and tries to let you know
His promise: that all will be okay.

It acts like love - music, and
tells the feet, "You do not have to be so burdened."

My body is covered with wounds 
this world made, 

but I still longed to kiss Him, even when God said,

"Could you also kiss the hand that caused
each scar,

for you will not find me until
you do."

It does that - music - helps us
to forgive. 



Troublemakers

Since no one really knows anything about God,

those who think they do are just

troublemakers.  

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