Rabia al-Adawiyyah and the Three Aqtab

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The following instance is extracted from Tazkiratul Awliya, Memorial of the saints of Shaykh Farid ud-Din Attar (r.a).

When the famous saint, Rabia al-Adawiyyah (r.a)fell ill her three contemporaries and saints went to pay her a visit. It is related that Shaykh Hasan al-Basri (r.a), Shaykh Malik ibn Dinar (r.a), and Shaykh Shaqiq al-Balkhi (r.a) went to visit Rabi’a (r.a.).  The conversation turned to the question of sincerity as they attempted to offer her solace.

Shaykh Hasan (r.a) said, “None is sincere is his claim to love God, unless he patiently endures the Blows of his Lord.”

Shaykha Rabia(r.a) said, “This talk stinks of egotism.”

Shaykh Shaqiq (r.a),  attempting to elevate the answer and definition, said, “None is sincere is his claim to love God unless he is not grateful for the Blows of his Master.”

Shaykha Rabia(r.a) said, “We need something better than this.”

Shaykh Malik ibn Dinar (r.a) said, “None is sincere is his claim to love God unless he does not delight in the Blows of his Master.”

Shaykha Rabia (r.a) said, “We need something better than this.”

They said, “Now you speak.”

Shaykha Rabia (r.a) said: “ No one is sincere in his claim to love God, unless he forgets the Blows in beholding his Lord, from enduring, to giving thanks, to delighting, to forgetting the tribulation in his love for God.”

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