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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Fariduddin Attar (d. 1220) on Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya (d. 801)

In his Tadkhirat al-Awliya’, the great Sufi master Fariduddin Attar gave great prominence to the the life and teachings of Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya (may God have mercy upon her). He says of her inclusion in his hagiographical magnum opus, “If anyone asks “why have you included Rabi’a among the ranks of men?” my answer is, that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself said, “God does not regard your outward forms. The root of the matter is not form, but the inner intention. Mankind will be raised up according to their intentions.” Moreover if it is proper for us to derive two-thirds of our religion from a woman, the noble and blessed ‘A’isha bint Abi Bakr (may God be pleased with them both), then surely it is permissible to take religious instruction from [one who can be likened, in status, to] a handmaiden of ‘A’isha (may God be pleased with her).”