Rabi'a al-Badawiya: a Muslim Woman Saint

Rabi'a al-Badawiya is often confused with the more well-known Rabi'a al-'Adawiya, but appears to be the same as Rabi'a bint Isma'il al-Shamiya, a Sufi woman well-known for becoming enraptured in spiritual states.  While in such states of love she would recite the following Arabic poem: 
 
                               Habibun laysa ya'diluhu habib 
                               wa-la siwahu fi qalbi nasib 
                               habibunghaba 'an basari wa-shakhsi 
                               wa-lakin 'an fu'adi ma yaghib 

                               A beloved whom no beloved can equal 
                               and for other than whom there is no share of my heart 
                               is a beloved who is absent from my vision and my person 
                               but who is present to my heart 

She was the wife of the well-known Sufi Ahmad ibn Abi al-Hawaari (d. 230 AH/ 844-45 AD). According to conclusion of the Egyptian scholar, 'Abd al-Rahman Badawi, she died in Jerusalem (al-Quds) in 235 AH/ 849-50 CE and not in 135 AH/ 752-53 CE--as had been noted by some scholars but which would be impossible considering that her husband died in 230 AH. She was buried in a cave in which the tombs of the Christian woman saint Pelagia (d. 457 CE) and the Jewish prophetess Hulda (see 2 Kings 22:14-20)  are  also located. The shrine is near the Chapel of Ascension (al-Mas'ad) and below Zawi'at al-As'adiyah (as of 1927 CE) on the Mount of Olives (Jabal al-Tur). The shrine has been described as follows: "Twelve steps lead from the upper room to the cave in which the tomb is shown, all hewn in the solid rock. A small room near the grave is said to be the place where she used to perform her daily devotions....  In the upper room there is a cistern whose water is said to have a specially pleasant taste."  

(Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifat al-Safwa, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'ilmiya, 1409/1989, vol. 2 (book 4), p. 249; Margaret Smith, Rabi'a The Mystic, pp. 140-43, 184;Taufik Canaan, Mohammedan Saints and Sanctuaries in Palestine, London: Luzac, 1927, p. 57; Ibn Khallakan, Wafayat al-a'yan, ed. Ihsan 'Abbas, Beirut, vol. 2, p. 287; 'Abd al-Rahman Badawi, Rabi'a al-'Adawiya, Shahidat al-'ishq al-ilahi, 1978, p. 47-52). (Additions and corrections made 5/22/98)

 
 
 

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