Download PDF: The Piety of Rabia Bassariyah

Sayyidah Rabia Basariyyah Radi Allahu ‘Anha is indeed one of the most famous female Saints in Islam.


When Sayyidah Rabia Basariyyah Radi Allahu ‘Anha was born, her father passed away. When there was extreme poverty and destitution in her local area, her three sisters also disappeared. She decided to travel to another area and while travelling she was captured as a slave. After a few days, she was then sold for a few Dirhams. Her new owner also began to treat her very badly and made her work very hard.


One day, while Sayyidah Rabia Basariyyah Radi Allahu ‘Anha was walking on the street, a stranger suddenly appeared in front of her. Due to this, she fell heavily and broke her hand. At that moment, she placed her head in Sajdah and cried out, “O Allah Almighty! Even before this I was helpless and now my hand has broken. Yet, I am happy and satisfied with whatever is Your Divine Pleasure.”


When Sayyidah Rabia Basariyyah Radi Allahu ‘Anha declared these words, a Voice from the Unseen was heard saying. “O Rabia! Do not become sad. In the future, you will be given such a stature and position that even the Angels will be awed by this state.” When she heard this, she happily returned to her master.


It was her habit to fast during the day and spend the entire night in Ibadah. One night, while she was in Sajdah, her master woke up and was shocked to see that there was a light or Nur which hung over her head. She was pleading with Allah Almighty, “O My True Master, if it was within my power, I would spend every moment in worshipping You. However, since you have made me the servant of another master, this is the reason that I always arrive late in Your Divine Court.”


When her wordily master heard these words, he became extremely concerned and he promised himself that in future, he would not allow her to do any work. In the morning, he freed her and then asked her, “If you decide to live in this house, I would consider it a great honour. If you wish to go anywhere else, that is also your choice.” When she heard this, she left this house and busied herself thereafter only with the remembrance of Allah Almighty. (Tadkiratul Awliyah, 46)




When a person reaches this lofty state, it does not mean that all trials and tribulations leaves a person. We see from this incident that when Allah Almighty wishes to test His beloved servants, He tests them with various trials to see their resolve and their sincerity.


The Holy Prophet May Allah send peace and blessings upon him has also stated, “When Allah Almighty wishes to befriend a certain nation, then He embroils them in various tests and trials.” (Ibn Maja)


In another statement, the Holy Prophet May Allah send peace and blessings upon him said, “Without doubt, the most amount of test and trial is placed upon the Prophets, then the Martyrs and then those who are closest to them and then on those who are closest to them.” (Ihya ul Uloom)


When a person passes these tests and trials, then he becomes the beloved servant of Allah Almighty. He continues to grace them with Divine Favour and He instils in the heart of creation, immense love and awe for these beloved servants.


But, we see that in the present age, the matter is completely different. When we perform a little Ibadah, we suddenly have this notion that from now on, no difficulty or trial should come upon us. When a person like this is suddenly faced with difficulty, he or she utters words such as, “what was the purpose of us making Ibadah. Allah Almighty has blessed another person with so much of power and wealth yet that person continues to disobey Allah Almighty every day andwe are not blessed with these things.” Perhaps the reason that these Muslim sisters have decided to perform Ibadah in the first place is so that they can gain some wordily benefit. This is the reason that they utter such words.


If this is the manner in which you think than remember that even when you perform this Ibadah, you will never receive any reward for this action of yours. Ibadah should only be for the Divine Pleasure of Allah Almighty and nothing else. One should not associate any wordily gain in one’s Ibadah. If ones does this, there will certainly be no benefit in your Ibadah.


Our Muslim sisters should also adopt the mannerisms of Sayyidah Rabi’a Basariyah Radi Allahu ‘Anha who was always happy and satisfied with the Divine Decree of Allah Almighty.


The meaning of this is that when we see something which we may not consider to be in our favour, we should not complain. If however, there is sadness experienced in one’s heart without intention, then this is excusable. However, even in this case, we should immediately recite the “La Hawla.”


Our Muslim sisters, besides performing any Nafil Ibadah as this great Saint used to perform, they make all types of excuses for the performance of even Fard and Waajib Ibadah. If they feel temporary relief and comfort in this type of behaviour, they should remember that this is only for this world and on the Day of Judgement, this comfort and relief would be transformed into discomfort and pain.