Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya, aka Rabi'a of Basra or Basri, Saint Rabia of Basra

Iraqi Female Sufi Poet, Muslim Saint and Mystic

"Conceal your good deeds as you conceal your evil deeds."

"Love of God hath so absorgbed me that neither love nor hate of any thing remains in my heart."

"I swear that ever since the first day You brought me back to life, The day You became my Friend, I have not slept -- And even if You drive me from your door, I swear again that we will never be separated-- Because You are alive in my heart."

"The real work is in the Heart. Wake up your Heart! Because when the Heart is completely awake, Then it needs no Friend. "

"Brothers, my peace is in my aloneness. My Beloved is alone with me there, always. I have found nothing in all the worlds that could match His love, This love that harrows the sands of my desert. If I come to die of desire and my Beloved is still not satisfied, I would live in eternal despair. To abandon all that He has fashioned and hold in the palm of my hand certain proof that He loves me That is the name and the goal of my search. "

"May God steal from you All that steals you from Him. I have two ways of loving You: A selfish one And another way that is worthy of You. In my selfish love, I remember You and You alone. In that other love, You lift the veil And let me feast my eyes on Your Living Face. That I remember You always, or that I see You face-to-face No credit to me in either: The credit is to You in both. How long will you keep pounding on an open door, begging for someone to open it? "

"In love, nothing exists between heart and heart. Speech is born out of longing, true description from the real taste. The one who tastes, knows; the one who explains, lies. How can you describe the true form of something in whose presence you are blotted out And in whose being you still exist? And who lives as a sign for your journey? "

"My peace, O my brothers and sisters, is my solitude, And my Beloved is with me always, For His love I can find no substitute, And His love is the test for me among mortal beings. Whenever His Beauty I may contemplate He is my "mihrab", towards Him is my "qiblah" If I die of love, before completing satisfaction Alas, for my anxiety in the world, alas for my distress, O Healer (of souls) the heart feeds upon its desire, The striving after union with Thee has healed my soul, O my Joy and my Life abidingly You were the source of my life and from Thee also came my ecstasy. I have separated myself from all created beings, My hope is for union with Thee, for that is the goal of my desire. "

"I am fully qualified to work as a doorkeeper, and for this reason: What is inside me, I don't let out, What is outside me, I don't let in. If someone comes in, he goes right out again. He has nothing to do with me at all. I am a Doorkeeper of the Heart, not a lump of wet clay. "

"I swear that ever since the first day You brought me back to life, The day You became my Friend, I have not slept And even if You drive me from your door, I swear again that we will never be separated Because You are alive in my heart. "

"Eyes are at rest, the stars are setting. Hushed are the stirrings of birds in their nests, Of monsters in the ocean. You are the Just who knows no change, The Balance that can never swerve, The Eternal which never passes away. The doors of Kings are bolted now and guarded by soldiers. Your Door is open to all who call upon You. My Lord, Each love is now alone with his beloved. And I am alone with You. "

"If I adore You out of fear of Hell, burn me in Hell! If I adore you out of desire for Paradise, Lock me out of Paradise. But if I adore you for Yourself alone, Do not deny to me Your eternal beauty. "

"Let me not love thee from fear of wrath. Let me not see thee from hope for gain. Let me look on thee for the beauty of thy face, beauty I cannot see with my eye, beauty I cannot know with my mind, beauty I can feel within my heart, where thou hast built thy marble temple, where thou hast lain red-yellow flowers where thou hast hid the treasure of thyself."

"You love the world very dearly. If you did not love the world, you would not mention it so much. It is always the purchaser who first disparages what he wants to buy. If you were done with the world, you would not mention it either for good or evil. As it is, you keep mentioning it because, as the proverb says, whoever loves a thing mentions it frequently."

"A pious friend one day of Rabia asked, How she had learnt the truth of Allah wholly? By what instructions was her memory tasked— How was her heart estranged from this world’s folly? She answered—‘Thou, who knowest God in parts, Thy spirit’s moods and processes can tell; I only know that in my heart of hearts I have despised myself and loved Him well.’ "

"With my Beloved I alone have been, When secrets tenderer than evening airs Passed, and the Vision blest Was granted to my prayers, That crowned me, else obscure, with endless fame; The while amazed between His Beauty and His Majesty I stood in silent ecstasy Revealing that which o'er my spirit went and came. Lo, in His face commingled Is every charm and grace; The whole of Beauty singled Into a perfect face Beholding Him would cry, 'There is no God but He, and He is the most High.' "

"In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church where I kneel. Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist. Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is illumined nothing, where ecstasy gets poured into itself and becomes lost, where the wing is fully alive but has no mind or body? In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church that dissolve, that dissolve in God."

"I have two ways of loving You: A selfish one And another way that is worthy of You. In my selfish love, I remember You and You alone. In that other love, You lift the veil And let me feast my eyes on Your Living Face. "

"In love, nothing exists between heart and heart. Speech is born out of longing, True description from the real taste. The one who tastes, knows; the one who explains, lies. How can you describe the true form of Something In whose presence you are blotted out? And in whose being you still exist? And who lives as a sign for your journey? "

"Let me hide in You From everything that distracts me from You, From everything that comes in my way When I want to run to You. The real work is in the Heart: Wake up your Heart! Because when the Heart is completely awake, Then it needs no Friend. "

"Rabia was once asked, "How did you attain that which you have attained?" "By often praying, 'I take refuge in You, O God, from everything that distracts me from You, and from every obstacle that prevents me from reaching You.'" "

"The source of my suffering and loneliness is deep in my heart. This is a disease no doctor can cure. Only Union with the Friend can cure it. Your hope in my heart is the rarest treasure Your Name on my tongue is the sweetest word My choicest hours Are the hours I spend with You – O God, I can’t live in this world Without remembering You– How can I endure the next world Without seeing Your face? I am a stranger in Your country And lonely among Your worshippers: This is the substance of my complaint. "

"I have two ways of loving You: A selfish one And another way that is worthy of You. In my selfish love, I remember You and You alone. In that other love, You lift the veil And let me feast my eyes on Your Living Face. That I remember You always, or that I see You face-to-face-- No credit to me in either: The credit is to You in both. "

"May God steal from you All that steals you from Him. "

"O God! If I adore You out of fear of Hell, burn me in Hell! If I adore You out of desire for Paradise, Lock me out of Paradise. But if I adore You for Yourself alone, Do not deny to me Your eternal beauty. O God, You know that the only thing I want in this life Is to be obedient to Your command. Even the living sight of my eyes Is service at your court. "

"I swear that ever since the first day You brought me back to life, The day You became my Friend, I have not slept -- And even if You drive me from your door, I swear again that we will never be separated-- Because You are alive in my heart. "

"My Joy My Hunger My Shelter My Friend My Food for the Journey My Journey's End You are my breath, My hope, My companion, My craving, My abundant wealth. The one who explains, lies. How can you describe the true form of Something In whose presence you are blotted out? And in whose being you still exist? I look everywhere for your love-- Then suddenly I am filled with it. O Captain of my Heart, Radiant Eye of Yearning in my breast... "

"You know of the how, but I know of the how-less."

"O God, I am a stranger, without father or mother; I have been sold in bondage, and now my wrist is broken. But despite all this, I am not distressed about anything that has befallen me. I only wish you to be content, so that I might know if I have gained your satisfaction or not."

"O God, You are aware that the sole longing of my heart is to be totally surrendered to your command. The very light of my eyes is service to Your court. If it were up to me, I would never cease serving you, even for an hour. Yet you have caused me to be subject to a creature. For this, I come late to your service."

"Do not mourn, for in the hereafter you will reach such a rank that even those nearest to God in heaven will be proud of your station."

"The marriage contract is bound to a 'being.' But here 'being' is absent. Of myself I am unaware; alone through Him I am, and under the shadow of His will I exist. My husband must be sought from Him."

"Just as abstinence (zuhd) in this world is a source of bodily comfort, likewise attention to the world results in worry and grief. Lay aside your excess wealth, dedicate your riches here to the life hereafter. Be trustee of your own soul now; do not let men administer and divide your wealth later on. Fast from life; let death break your fast. As for me, even if God were to place at my disposal as much as you offer, or even much more, it would not be possible for me to heed ought beside Him for as much as the wink of an eye."

"I carry a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other: with these things I am going to set fire to Heaven and put out the flames of Hell, so that voyagers to God can rip the veils And see the real goal. "

"I have been left bewildered by worry over three things. If you free me from having to worry about them, I will marry. First of all, at the moment of death, shall my faith be sufficient to bring me to salvation? Second, will the book of my deeds be given to me in my left or right hand?1 Third, upon that hour when a party of people are called forth on the left hand to Hell, and another group from the right hand are summoned to Heaven, which company will I belong to?"

"God, if I worship Thee in fear of hell, burn me in hell. And if I worship Thee in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise; but if I worship Thee for Thine own sake, withhold not Thine everlasting Beauty."