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Rabia of Basra-- The one who received her spiritual knowledge directly from God


Rabia of Basra was a Sufi saint and poet from the 8th century who emphasized the importance of a direct and personal relationship with God. She is known for her exceptional piety and spiritual wisdom, as well as her famous stories and teachings on love, detachment, and union with God. Her impact on Islamic mysticism and spirituality has been significant, and her teachings continue to inspire people around the world today.


  • Rabia of Basra was born in Basra, Iraq in the 8th century.

  • She was born into a poor family and was orphaned at a young age.

  • Rabia is known for her exceptional piety and spiritual wisdom.

  • One of the most famous stories about Rabia is that she was once seen walking through the streets of Basra with a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When asked what she was doing, she replied that she was going to burn down heaven and put out the fires of hell so that people would worship God for His sake alone, and not out of fear or desire for reward.

  • Another famous story is that a group of men once tried to harass Rabia in the street, but she responded by lifting up her skirt and saying, "I have a beauty that could seduce even God himself. Do you think I would be interested in the likes of you?"

  • Rabia was once asked if she loved God, and she replied, "No, but He loves me."

  • She was also known for her love of animals and once refused to light a fire in her home because there was a moth inside.

  • Rabia was famous for her humility and once said, "If I have done any good, it is because God has allowed me to do so."

Core teachings

  • Rabia emphasized the importance of a direct and personal relationship with God, and encouraged her followers to seek Him in all aspects of their lives.

  • She believed that love of God was the highest form of worship, and that all other forms of worship were secondary.

  • Rabia taught that the goal of spiritual practice was to become absorbed in God's love and to experience a state of union with Him.

  • She emphasized the importance of detachment from worldly desires and the cultivation of inner stillness and peace.

  • Rabia also believed that suffering and hardship could be a means of drawing closer to God, and that they should be accepted with patience and gratitude.

  • It is not clear who Rabia's spiritual teacher or guru was, as she is said to have received her spiritual knowledge directly from God.

  • However, she was influenced by the teachings of Hasan al-Basri, a famous early Sufi saint.

  • Rabia is considered one of the most important figures in Islamic mysticism, and her poetry and teachings have had a lasting impact on the development of Sufism.

  • She is also one of the few female Sufi saints whose teachings have been preserved and celebrated over the centuries.

  • Rabia's emphasis on the importance of a direct and personal relationship with God has had a profound influence on Islamic spirituality and has inspired countless Muslims throughout history.

  • Her poetry has been widely read and translated, and her teachings continue to be studied and practiced by Sufis around the world.

  • Rabia is remembered as a symbol of devotion, piety, and spiritual insight, and her life and teachings continue to inspire Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

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