Rabe’a al-Adawiya Radi Allahu anha


The night when Rabe’a radi allhu anha came to earth, there was nothing whatsoever in her father’s house; for her father lived in very poor circumstances. He did not possess even one drop of oil to anoint her navel; there was no lamp, and not a rag to swaddle her in. He already had three daughters, and Rabe’a radi allhu anha was his fourth; that is why she was called by that name.

“Go to neighbour So-and-so and beg for a drop of oil, so that I can light the lamp,” his wife said to him. Now the man had entered into a covenant that he would never ask any mortal for anything. So he went out and just laid his hand on the neighbour’s door, and returned.

“They will not open the door,” he reported. The poor woman wept bitterly. In that anxious state the man placed his head on his knees and went to sleep.

He dreamed that he saw the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam. “Be not sorrowful,” the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam bade him. “The girl child who has just come to earth is a queen among women, who shall be the intercessor for seventy thousand of my community Tomorrow,” the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam continued, “go to Isa-e Zadan the governor of Basra. Write on a piece of paper to the following effect.

‘Every night you send upon me a hundred blessings, an on Friday night four hundred. Last night was Friday night, and you forgot me. In expiation for that, give this man four hundred dinars lawfully acquired.’”

Rabe’a radi allhu anha’s father on awaking burst into tears. He rose up and wrote as the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam had bidden him, and sent the message to the governor by the hand of a chamberlain.

“Give two thousand dinars to the poor,” the governor commanded when he saw the missive, “as a thanksgiving for the Master remembering me. Give four hundred dinars also to the shaikh, and tell him, ‘I wish 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 and rub my beard in you threshold. However, I adjure you by Allah Azzawajal, whatever you may need, pray let me know.”

The man took the gold and purchased all that was necessary.

Tadhkirat al-Auliya’
(Memorial of the Saints)
by Farid al-Din Attar

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