She is an extraordinary woman named Rabia Al Adaweya, or better known in many books and online searches as Rabia Al Basri, as she was born and dwelled in the city of Basra in Iraq.
The reason she was named Rabia, or the Fourth is simply due to the fact that she was the fourth daughter of her parents.
Much of her early life and its details were narrated and passed on generations later on by a Sufi saint named Farid Al Din Attar.
She was born and raised in a very poor family. Following the death of her father, due to a famine that spread nation-wide, Rabia separated from her sisters and went to the desert where she turned to be a spiritual leader or a spiritual guru to spend the rest of her life in solitude and semi- seclusion.
She turned ascetic and devoted the her life to the love and the worship of Allah to set a new model of ultimate devotion and complete pure love of Allah.
And for many generations in the past and many to come, Rabia has been engraved in the Islamic history as one of the most influential spiritual female leaders and female sufi models who devoted her entire life to the love and worship of Allah.
She is best known for her Sufi and highly spiritual Munajah and prayers to Allah.
In one of her beautiful prayers, she was quoted as saying:
“O Lord, if I worship You because of Fear of Hell,
then burn me in Hell;
If I worship You because I desire Paradise,
then exclude me from Paradise;
But if I worship You for Yourself alone,
then deny me not your Eternal Beauty.
Asked about the reason behind her strong devotion to Allah and why she performed hundreds and thousands of prayers day and night, she was quoted as saying:
“I desire no reward for it; I do it so that the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, will delight in it on the day of Resurrection and say to the prophets, ‘Take note of what a woman of my community has accomplished'”.
She was and shall continue to be an exemplar of piety and pure love of God and devotion that we should look up to and heed lesson from.
Indeed purity of the heart does lead to the purity of life as a whole.
I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true.