Also known as RAABIAH ADAWIYYAH, she was the fourth daughter of her parents. Great saints and scholars have benefitted from her spirituality and piety and many books have been written about her virtues and qualities. The following is my collection of inspiring stories about her.
The night Raabiah bint Ismaeel Adawiyyah Basriyya was born there was no oil in the house with which to anoint her naval. Her mother asked her father to borrow some oil from the neighbours. He left the house but had no intention of asking anyone for anything as he had made a vow not to ask anything of anyone. He therefore knocked softly on the neighbours door and returned home saying they did not open the door.
He went to sleep filled with grief. That night he beheld the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam in a dream saying to him, Do not grieve. This daughter of yours is going to intercede on behalf of seventy thousand of my Ummatis. He then instructed him thus, Send a note to Ameer of Basra and tell him that each night he sends Durood upon me, and on Friday nights he sends four hundred Durood upon me. Last night he had forgotten to send Durood upon me. As a recompense for that he must hand over four hundred Dinars to the bearer of the note. When he woke up he cried and then did as instructed.
When the messenger handed over the note to the Ameer of Basra he read it and said, Give ten thousand Dirhams to the poor as a gesture of thanks that Rasulullaah sallallaahu alayhi wasallam has thought about me and give four hundred Dinars to this man.
AS A SLAVE
After she came of age her parents passed away. There was a great famine in Basra and the sisters were separated. A cruel man abducted her, enslaved her and finally sold her. All day she worked for her master and spent the night in worship. One night her master woke up and heard her supplicating. When he went to investigate he saw a lamp miraculously hanging in midair above her lighting up the entire room. She was saying, O Allah! You know that my hearts desire is to serve You, and the light of my eyes is in Your service. You have subjected me to be in the service of people. I am late for Your service.
Raabiahs master resolved to set her free. In the morning he said to her, You are free to go. If you choose to stay here you are welcome. However, then I shall serve you. Taking permission she departed to spend time in the worship of Allah taala.
ALLAHS SPECIAL PROTECTION
Once Raabiah, overcome with tiredness, fell asleep. A thief entered and took her shawl but he was unable to find his way out. When he replaced the shawl he saw the exit. Again he took the shawl and lost his way. He replaced the shawl and saw the way out. He repeated this process several times, then he heard someone saying, Why bring calamity on yourself? She whose shawl this is, has handed herself over to another Being. Even Shaytaan cannot approach her. A thief is not able to steal her shawl. Leave it and depart.
This great saintly woman was once seen walking the streets carrying a pail of water in one hand and a fire in the other. On being asked the reason she replied, I wish I could burn the gardens of Jannat with this fire and put out the fire of Jahannam with this water. Then people will worship Allah subhaanahu wataala for His pleasure alone and not for entry into Jannat or for safety from the fire of Jahannam.
Once she went to visit Hasan Basri, the great saint, to consult him about a religious matter. On arriving at his house she was told he had gone to the riverside outside the city to worship Allah taala undisturbed. At the riverside she observed the great saint immersed in prayers with his prayer mat spread on the surface of the water. To show him that this was no miracle, she spread her prayer mat in the air and started praying. Hasan Basri took the hint and stepped onto the shore. The great saintly lady did likewise and said, Offering prayers while floating on the surface of the water or praying while suspended in the air, thus imitating a fly or a straw is no miracle. What then is a true miracle? It is to obliterate completely the yearnings of the heart for the sake of the approval of your Creator.
AIDED BY ALLAH
When she went for Hajj she took along an emaciated donkey on which she loaded her few belongings. Along the journey it died and the people accompanying her offered to carry her belongings, but she refused saying, Proceed! I did not come relying on you. The caravan continued, leaving her behind. With her perfect trust in Allah taala she supplicated for His aid. Even before completing her dua, the donkey came to life and she continued her journey and reached Makkah Mukarramah.
DEPTH OF HER KNOWLEDGE
Hasan Basri ra the great saint would not deliver his discourses even if large numbers had attended unless Raabiah Basriyya was present. On being questioned he said, The drink which fills the water trough of elephants cannot be poured for ants.
LEVEL OF TAQWAA
Hasan Basri, upon hearing of Raabiahs final illness, decided to visit her and from behind the veil asked about her health and if she desired anything. She replied that she desired Maghfirat (forgiveness). He asked if she had any worldly desires and she replied that she desired dry dates as she had not eaten any for the past 30 years. He enquired about the reason for going without them for so long and she replied that once while in salaat her concentration was disturbed by a desire to eat them and so she punished her nafs and denied it the fulfilling of the desire to eat dry dates.
Hasan Basri went out wondering how he could get hold of them as it was not the season for them. Just then a bird flew by and dropped a fresh dry date in his lap. He immediately took it in and offered it to the saintly lady. She asked where he got it as it was not the season for dry dates. When he related the incident of the bird she refused to eat it even though she had such a desire for them since she did not know whose orchard the bird had got it from. Thereafter she asked everyone to leave the room. No sooner did Hasan Basri go out when he and the others heard a voice saying,
Fadkhuli fee ibaadee, wad khuli fee jannati
O contended soul! Return happily to your Lord while He is pleased with you.
Enter among My bondsmen and enter My Jannah. (Suratul Fajr)
They went in to find she had left this temporary world for the permanent abode of the Hereafter.
IN HER GRAVE
When this wonderful lady passed away someone saw her in a dream and asked what had transpired when the Angels Munkar and Nakir had arrived to question her. She revealed the following amazing conversation which had taken place...
Angels: Who is your Lord, what is your Religion?
Raabiah: I shall Insha Allah answer your question later. First, you answer my questions please. Where have you come from?
Angels: From the Heavens.
Raabiah: What is the distance between Heaven and earth?
Angels: A journey of 500 years.
Raabiah: Have you not forgotten Allah taala having travelled such a vast distance?
Angels: No, we have not forgotten Allah taala.
Raabiah: When after having sojourned such a long distance you claim not to have forgotten Allah taala, why...are you seriously contemplating that Raabiah would forget her Allah after being lowered just 6 feet below the earth...especially when I had not forgotten Him even for a second whilst on earth?
And another point, why are you asking me, Who is your Lord? Why do you not go and ask my beloved Lord, Who is Raabiah? He will reply, She is one of Our beloved servants!
This reply left the Angels completely amazed and speechless!
(from Ashrafs Orchards)
O Allah! Include us amongst them!