On one of these occasions a voice spoke to her and said, 'That we shall not do. Think not of us an ill thought.' Often in the silence of the night she would go on the roof of her house and say, 'The lover is now with his beloved, but I rejoice in being alone with Thee.'"
When Rabia grew up her father and mother died. At that time there was a famine in Basra. She came into the possession of an evil man, who sold her as a slave. The master who bought her treated her hardly, and exacted all kinds of menial services from her.
One day, when she was seeking to avoid the rude gaze of a stranger, she slipped on the path and fell, breaking her wrist. Lying there with her face to the ground, she said "Lord, I am far from my own, a captive and an orphan, and my wrist has just been broken, and yet none of these things grieve me. Only this one thought causes me disquiet; it is that I know not if Thou art satisfied with me."
She then heard a voice, "Vex not thyself, O Rabia, for at the day of Resurrection We shall give thee such a rank that the angels nearest Us shall envy thee." Rabia went home with her heart at peace.
After a life of hardship, she spontaneously achieved a state of FANA. When asked by Sheikh Hasan al-Basri how she discovered the secret, she responded by stating: "You know of the how, but I know of the how-less."
It is narrated in Fariduddin Attar's account that one night, Rabia's master being awake, heard the sound of her voice. He perceived Rabia with her head bent, saying, "My Lord, Thou knowest that the desire of my heart is to seek Thy approbation, and that its only wish is to obey Thy commands. If I had liberty of action, I would not remain a single instant without doing Thee service; but Thou hast delivered me into the hands of a creature, and therefore I am hindered in the same." Her master said to himself that it was not possible any longer to treat her as a slave, and as soon as daybreak appeared, he said to her, "O Rabia, I make thee free. If thou desirest, remain here, and we shall be at thy service. If thou dost not wish to to stay here, go whithersoever it pleaseth thee."
She wrote about her love;
Brothers, my peace is in my aloneness.
My Beloved is alone with me there, always.
I have found nothing in all the worlds
That could match His love,
This love that harrows the sands of my desert.
If I come to die of desire
And my Beloved is still not satisfied,
I would live in eternal despair
KAABA came to meet RABIA; a story of divine love.
Then Rabia departed from them and devoted herself entirely to works of piety. One day when she was making the pilgrimage to the Kaaba she halted in the desert and exclaimed, "My God, my heart is a prey to perplexity in the midst of this solitude. I am a stone, and so is the Kaaba; what can it do for me? That which I need is to contemplate Thy face."
At these words a voice came from the Most High, "O Rabia, wilt thou bear alone that which the whole world cannot? When Moses desired to see Our Face we showed It to a mountain, which dissolved into a thousand fragments."
At the same time the great Sufi wali Hazrat Ibrahim bin Adham arrived at the Ka'ba, but he did not see it. He had spent fourteen years making his way to the Ka'ba, because in every place of prayer he performed.
Hazrat Ibrahim bin Adham said, "Alas! What has happened? It maybe that some injury has overtaken my eyes."
An unseen voice said to him, "No harm has befallen your eyes, but the Ka'ba has gone to meet a woman, who is approaching this place.
" Ibrahim Adham responded, "O indeed, who is this?" He ran and saw Rabia arriving, and that the Ka'ba was back in its own place.
When Ibrahim saw that, he said, "O Rabia, what is this disturbance and trouble and burden which you have brought into the world?
"She replied, "I have not brought disturbance into the world. It is you who have disturbed the world, because you delayed fourteen years in arriving at the Ka'ba."
He said, "Yes I have spent fourteen years in crossing the desert (because I was engaged) in prayer.
" Rabia said, "You traversed it in ritual prayer but with personal supplication." Then, having performed the pilgrimage, she returned to Basra and occupied herself with works of devotion.
Being asked on another occasion why she did not marry, she answered, "There are three things which cause me anxiety." "And what are they?" "One is to know whether at the moment of death I shall be able to take my faith with me intact. The second is whether in the Day of Resurrection the register of my actions will be placed in my right hand or not.10 The third is to know, when some are led to Paradise and some to hell, in which direction I shall be led." "But," they cried, "none of us know any of these things." "What!" she answered, "when I have such objects to pre-occupy my mind, should I think of a husband?"