For a whole week the saintly Rabia had taken no food
During the week she never sat down but prayed and fasted continously
When hunger had weakened her legs and utterly exhausted all her limbs and members.

A woman who lived near her happened to bring her a bowl of food.
Rabia in pain and suffering as she was, went to fetch a lamp.
When she returned it chanced that a cat had knocked the bowl upon the ground.
Again she departed to fetch a pitcher and break her fast with water.

The pitcher fell from her hand: she was still thirsty and the pitcher broke
That disconcolate one heaved such a sigh that it was as though the whole world had been consumed with fire
In utter bewilderment she cried: “Oh God, what wilt Thou of this poor helpless creature?
Thou has cast me into confusion – how long wilt Thou cause me to welter in my blood?”

There came a Voice saying: “If thou so wish I will this very moment bestow upon thee all that lies between the Moon and the Fish.
But I shall remove from thy heart the grief that thou hast borne for so many years for My sake. Consider this well.
For not in a hundered years will suffering for Me and this deceitful world meet together in a single heart.
If thou wouldst always suffer for Me thou must forsake the world forever.
Hast thou the one thou canst not hope for the other, for suffering for God is not to be had without paying for it.

~Farid al-Din ‘Attar (Ilahi-nama) Taken from Annemarie Schimmels “My Soul is a Woman”

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