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Life of a Saint

Venerated Sufi Saint Rabia of Basra (vegan): The Bliss and Pleasure of Divine Love, Part 2 of 2

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Born around the year 717 AD in Basra, a seaport city in southern Iraq, Hazrat Rabi’a al-Adawiyya al-Qaysiyya, widely known as Rabi’ah al-Basri, was one of foremost spiritual influences in the Islamic world. Although Rabia did not leave any written works by Herself, She is revered and beloved for Her faith, piety, and patience, and is considered to be the first female Sufi Saint of Islam.

After spending some time at a Sufi hermitage, Hazrat Rabia began a seven-year walk to Mecca to complete the pilgrimage known as the Hajj, “for the love of Allah.” There is no doubt that Hazrat Rabia held a strong faith and relied solely on Allah.

Hazrat Rabia was considered to be the first Sufi Teacher in Her own right and attracted many disciples as Her fame grew. It was widely accepted that She achieved self-realization and unity with the Divine Truth. Unlike many Sufi saints, Rabia did not learn from a master or teacher but turned to God Hirmself.

Hazrat Rabia devoted Her whole life to God, practicing absolute asceticism and self-denial. Rabia also taught the concept of Divine Love. She explained that God should not be loved out of fear, but should be loved for God’s own sake. Widad El Sakkakini mentions Hazrat Rabia was the first to explain the Higher Love in Islamic Sufism.

Hazrat Rabia taught that repentance is a gift from God to those who believe in Hirm and love Hirm. She Herself loved God unconditionally. Emotions like hope and fear are hindrances to God-realization. She taught that the spirit originated in “that other world” and had to return to God in the end. If the soul is purified, it could look upon God revealed in all Hiers glory and unite with Hirm.

Rabia of Basra is mentioned in Islamic sources as being vegan. Animal-people would frequently be present while Hazrat Rabia meditated in the woods. Rabia passed away around the age of 80. We now close today’s program with Hazrat Rabia’s poem entitled “Love.”
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