About the Book
It is an humble and authentic presentation of the life story of Rabi’a Basri, who was one of the greatest Sufi saints in Islam. She gained high position and reputation amon her fellow-saints of her time. Her life of poverty, dedication, full dependence upon Allah’s Will, demureness, desirelessness, and proudlessness are good ideals and lessons for humanity. No doubt, shewasa renowned saint, but no more have been written about her life. The authoress has taken great pains in collecting authentic information about her life and teachings and presented a comparative study together with her fellow-saints and estimated her with great honour. She has given information of some women saints in India who gained Allah’s favour and have been benefiting humanity from a long time.
Simple language, lucid style and authentic references of this book will satisfy the readers.
Rabi’a of Basra, the subject of this memoir, has long been known to students of Sufism, and to a lesser extent to those interested in Mysticism generally, as a unique personality among the early Sufis, one who, in spite of her early date-she died in A.D. 80l-was a true mystic. The material’ for this account of her life and teachings is derived from one or two short biographical notices and from scattered references to be found in Arab and Persian writers on Sufism and is the first biography of this early Muslim saint to appear, which aims at being complete so far as the sources at present available make this possible.
In the compiling of this biography, originally undertaken for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University of London. I have been indebted for valuable references to Professor L. Masstgnon, of the College de France, and to Prof. Ritter of Constantinople, and I take this opportunity of offering my thanks to both of these distinguished scholars.
My grateful thanks are, due also to Sir Thomas Arnold, from whom I have had constant help and advice in the writing of this memoir, and to Professor Nicholson of Cambridge, whose writings first inspired me to study Sufism, and whose unrivalled knowledge of the subject has been most generously placed at my disposal for the purposes of this book.
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