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Two Poems from Rabia

Posted by Chris Dierkes in Uncategorized

Rabia al Basri, (717-801 CE) is considered the first woman Sufi saint. You can read more about her life and philosophy here. She is a favorite mystic of mine. Here are two poems of hers.


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?

If I Adore You

O Lord,

if tomorrow on Judgment Day

You send me to Hell,

I will tell such a secret

That Hell will race from me

Until it is a thousand years away.

O Lord,

Whatever share of this world

You could give to me,

Give it to Your enemies;

Whatever share of the next world

You want to give to me,

Give it to Your friends.

You are enough for me.

O Lord,

If I worship You

From fear of Hell, burn me in Hell.

O Lord,

If I worship You

From hope of Paradise, bar me from its gates.

But if I worship You for Yourself alone

Then grace me forever the splendor of Your Face.

(translation by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut, Perfume of the Desert.)

Source for both poems, here.

30 Nov 2012 no comments / READ MORE