Rabia Basri is a well known lady saint who lived in the city of Basra, Iraq in the early stages of Islam. In her intense love of God, she was more interested in meeting Him after death than entering paradise or escaping hell.

Last night had I a dream
Close to real did it seem

Across the streets of Basra
Walking I in a state of doubt

My mind in pain was put
With Reason my heart was cut

Appeared then by my side
Who in His Love all nights cried

She saw the cloud in my eyes
As if faith’s sun not in me rise

“About paradise I am uncertain
Its blessings I cannot ascertain

Slaves of your stature, tell me
Why for paradise’ blessings no rapture?

For the inmates in His Book been promised
Drink of Honey and kiss of houri

But His lovers do not such desire
Nor do they fear the Hell fire

Why I find no mention of your like?
Or did Lord forgot those who Him like?

Tell me, O Rabia,
Lost in His aura

If not of the Right Hand
You belong to which band?

Tell me O fearless saint
Why His Book has not your count?

What is the reward for your love?
Not houri, honey and rivers if you love”

Feeling pity for my spiritual ignorance
She bestowed me pearls of Him-awareeness

“O the wise one fooled by the devil
Your heart with no love turned sterile

A truth known to this unlearned old lady
Why for your young wisehead turned not handy?

Have you really read His Book?
Or cast a ritual hasty look?

Did you dive deep?
Or just a casual peep?

We are those of sabiqoon band
Our greatest bliss to near Him stand

The rest of comforts after that follow
Honey and houri are for us shallow

O Jaihoon!
We are of sabiqoon

We worshipped Him for His sake
He alone remained our joy and ache

You moved your heads and hands
In desire to fly as heaven’s birds

For we lovers
Suffice is He

His nearness
Our Paradise”

Note

This poem is set around the Sura Waqia, the 56th chapter of Quran. It is especially referring to verses, And those Foremost (in Faith) will be Foremost (in the Hereafter). These will be those Nearest to Allah (verse 10,11). Sabiqoon, or the foremost ones, are those who prefer and crave for the closeness to Allah than the blessings in paradise.

Reason : The arrogant Intellect of man influenced by Satan as opposed to Heart which is full of faith in God

March 13 2008