There is a hadith that Gabriel quizzed the Prophet. He asked Muhammad about three increasingly higher and deeper levels of religiosity, which the Prophet answered sequentially as
Islam (wholehearted submission to God),
This third quality the Prophet identified as worshipping God as if we could see the Divine.The sequence is fascinating, as it reveals that what we think of as Islam (the attestation to Divine Unity, the performance of the prayers, the pilgrimage to Mecca, the paying of the alms tax, the fast of Ramadan) mark only the very first layer -- though the foundational layer -- of religiosity.
Above that is faith, and above faith is the spiritual and mystical layer of spiritual beauty, for ihsan is literally the realm of actualizing and realizing beauty and loveliness (husn), of bringing beauty into this world and connecting it to God, who is the All-Beautiful.
Sufi's are lovers of GOD.One of the most renowned and influential practitioners of IHSAN & divine love is Rabia Basri.
Sufism is the path of love. It is more dancing , it is more singing , it is more celebrating.
Rabia Basri wrote about divine love, she was an ascetic, who spent her life in worshiping the divine and annihilating herself.
She sang in ecstasy;
Rabia comes to understand the difference between the god of one's imagination and the Real God. The former is constructed perhaps by immersing oneself in meditation and contemplation of the divine to the point that one becomes completely oblivious to the rest of the world. Clearly, this is not satisfactory, for the simple reason that one's imagination is self-serving. It constructs a god out of one's psychological need or possibly as a projection of one's ideals. But ultimately it is constructed for one's own sake.
She addresses GOD;
One night she saw the Prophet (on whom be peace) in a dream. He saluted her and said, "Rabia, lovest thou me?" "O Prophet of God," she replied, "is there anyone who does not love thee? Yet the love of the Most High fills my heart to such a degree that there is no room for love or hatred towards anyone else."
On one occasion she was asked, "Dost thou see Him Whom thou servest?" "If I did not see Him," she said, "I would not serve Him." She was frequently found in tears, and, being asked the reason why, replied, "I fear that at the last moment a Voice may cry, 'Rabia is not worthy to appear in Our court.'" The following question was put to her, "If one of His servants truly repents, will the Lord accept it or not?" "As long as God does not grant repentance," she replied, "how can anyone repent? And if He does grant it, there is no doubt that he will accept it."
Once when Rabia had immured herself for a long while in her house without coming forth, her servant said to her, "Lady, come forth out of this house and contemplate the works of the Most High." "Nay," said Rabia, "enter rather into thyself and contemplate His work in thyself." Having kept a strict fast for seven days and nights in order to give herself to prayer, on the eighth night she seemed to hear her emaciated body say, "O Rabia, how long wilt thou torture me without mercy?" Whilst she was holding this soliloquy with herself, suddenly someone knocked at the door, and a man brought in some food in a bowl.
Rabia took it and set it down; then while she went to light the lamp, a cat came and ate the food. No sooner had Rabia returned and seen what had happened than she said to herself, "I will break my fast on water." As she went to draw water her lamp went out.
She then uttered a deep sigh, and said, "Lord, why dost thou make me wretched?" Whereupon she heard a voice saying, "O Rabia, if thou desirest it, I will give thee the whole world for thine own; but I shall have to take away the love which thou hast for Me from thy heart, for the love of Me and of the world cannot exist together." "Hearing myself thus addressed," said Rabia, "I entirely expelled from my heart the love of earthly things, and resolutely turned my gaze away from them. For thirty years I have not prayed without saying to myself, 'This prayer, perhaps, is the last which I shall pray,' and I have never been tired of saying, 'My God, let me be so absorbed in Thy love that no other affection may find room in my heart.'"
One day some men of learning and piety came to her and said, "The Most High has crowned His chosen saints with the gift of performing miracles, but such privileges have never been granted to a woman. How didst thou attain to such a high degree?" "What you say is true," she answered, "but, on the other hand, women have never been so infatuated with themselves as men, nor have they ever claimed divinity."
Another Day is rising --
Tell me that I have spent the Night well so I can be at peace,
Or that I have wasted it, so I can mourn for what is lost.
I swear that ever since the first day You brought me back to life,
The day You became my Friend,
I have not slept --
And even if You drive me from your door,
I swear again that we will never be separated.
Because You are alive in my heart.
Another merchant visiting Rabia found her house in ill repair. He presented her with a new house. Rabia had no sooner entered it than, seeing paintings on the wall, she became absorbed in contemplating them. Recovering herself, she quitted the house, and refused to re-enter it, saying, "I fear lest my heart may become attached to this house to such a degree that I neglect preparation for the other world."
One day Abdul Wahid and Sofiân Tsavri went to see Rabia in her illness. They were so touched by the sight of her weakness that for some moments they could not speak a word. At last Sofiân said, "O Rabia, pray that the Lord may lighten thy sufferings." "O Sofiân," she answered, "who has sent me these sufferings?" "The Most High," he said. "Very well," she replied, "if it is his will that this trial come upon me, how can I, ignoring His will, ask Him to remove it?" "Rabia," said Sofiân, "I am not capable of talking to thee about thy own affairs; talk to me about mine." "Well," answered Rabia, "if thou hadst not an inclination to this low world, thou wouldst be a man without fault." "Then," relates Sofiân, "I cried with tears, 'My God, canst Thou be satisfied with me?'" "O Sofiân," said Rabia, "dost thou not blush at saying to the Lord, 'Canst Thou be satisfied with me?' without having done a single thing to please him?"
Malik Dinar recounts the following: "I went to see Rabia, and found her drinking water out of a broken pitcher. She was lying stretched on an old mat, with a brick for her pillow. I was pierced to the heart at the sight, and said, "O Rabia, I have rich friends; if you will let me, I will go and ask them for something for you." "You have spoken ill, Malik," she replied; 'it is the Lord who, to them as to me, gives daily bread. He Who provides for the needs of the rich, shall He not provide for the necessities of the poor? If He wills that it should be thus with us, we shall gladly submit to His will.'"
On one occasion when Malik Dinar, Hasan Basri and Shaqiq were with her, the conversation turned on sincerity of heart towards God. Hasan Basri said, "He has not sincere love to God who does not bear with constancy the afflictions which the Lord sends him." "That remark savours of self-conceit," said Rabia. Shaqiq observed, "He is not sincere who does not render thanks for afflictions." "There is a higher degree of sincerity than that," said Rabia. Malik Dinar suggested, "He is not sincere who does not find delight in the afflictions which the Lord sends." "That is not the purest sincerity," she remarked. Then they asked her to define sincerity. She said, "He is not sincere who does not forget the pain of affliction through his absorption in God."
One of the learned theologians of Basra, once visiting Rabia, began to enlarge upon the defects of the world. "You must be very fond of the world," said Rabia, "for if you were not, you would not talk so much about it. He who really intends to buy something keeps on discussing it. If you were really disentangled from it, what would you care about its merits or its faults?"
Other sayings of Rabia were these, "My God, if on the day of judgment Thou sendest me to hell, I shall reveal a secret which will make hell fly far from me." "O Lord, give all Thou destinest for me of the goods of this world to Thy enemies, and all that Thou reservest for me in Paradise to Thy friends, for it is Thou only Whom I seek." "My God, if it is from fear of hell that I serve Thee, condemn me to burn in hell; and if it is for the hope of Paradise, forbid me entrance there; but if it is for Thy sake only, deny me not the sight of Thy face."
Rabia died a.d. 752, and was buried near Jerusalem. Her tomb was a centre of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages.