I have two ways of loving You

Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya, also known as Rabia Basri(c.717-801) was one of the early mystics from Basra a port city in Iraq. Being a woman she is the feminine voice in Sufi annals. For centuries she has been the torchbearer for the later Sufis and movements. Rabi’a began her ascetic life in a small desert cell and was attained self-knowledge without a spiritual guide. She was one of the first of the Sufis to teach that Love alone was the guide on the mystic path. Most of her life and thoughts have been chronicled by the Persian Sufi-poet Fariduddin Attar. More details can be seen here

Here are two poems by Rabia that are my old favourites translated by Charles Upton:

I have two ways of loving You

I have two ways of loving You:
A selfish one
And another way that is worthy of You.
In my selfish love, I remember You and You alone.
In that other love, You lift the veil
And let me feast my eyes on Your Living Face.

I carry a torch in one hand

I carry a torch in one hand
And a bucket of water in the other:
With these things I am going to set fire to Heaven
And put out the flames of Hell
So that voyagers to God can rip the veils
And see the real goal.

And this one is most profound, lamenting the hope for a reward or fear of punishment in the act of worship..

Eternal Beauty

O Lord, if I worship you out of fear of hell, burn me in hell.
If I worship you in the hope of paradise, forbid it to me.
And if I worship you for your own sake,
do not deprive me of your eternal beauty

translated by Paul Losensky in Early Islamic Mysticism

Love is purely about loving ….fear and avarice consume it!

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