The Real Work

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

One day Hasan of Basra (who took great pride in, and flaunted certain occult powers he had) saw Rabia al-ʻAdawiyya on the bank of the river. He threw his prayer rug on to the water and shouted to her, “Come Rabia! Let’s pray together!”
Rabia replied, “Is it really.necessary for you to sell yourself like this? If so, it’s because you’re weak!”
Then Rabia ascended into the air on her prayer rug and called down to Hasan, “Come up here! Everyone will see us!”
Hasan, who was not as advanced as she, remained silent.
Rabia then said to him, “A fish can do what you did…and a fly can do what I did. The real work goes beyond either of our tricks. The only necessary thing to do is the Real Work.”

Ya Haqq!


4 Responses to The Real Work

  1. Burhan says:

    Walikum Salam,
    A wonderful anecdote indeed. The fact that Hasan Al Basri was her Murshid makes this even more interesting. This was common in Sufi circles I guess. This is how they used to test each others level of achievement.
    My father told me a story about our great grand father that i would like to share. My great grandfather was looking for a suitable bride for my grandfather. He went to meet another gentleman who had a daughter. They were both practising Sufis. The two of them wanted to test each others’ level first. It was almost time for the Friday prayer. One gentleman suggested to the other person that they should pray Friday prayer at the grand mosque, which was far away from where they were at that moment. The other person agreed and they got into a boat by the lake. Normally this boat ride would take half a day. As the boat moved along the shore of the lake, they would hear the call to prayer from a nearby mosque. Eventually they reached the grand mosque and offered Friday prayers together. After the prayers they agreed that their children should get married. They were testing each other if they had control of “Time”. They came to the conclusion that both of them had indeed achieved that level.


  2. sonatano1 says:

    We always have to be careful about arrogance, even when we’re trying our best to be humble.

  3. Abduyah yaakub says:

    Ibn Ataillah: If you are aware of your humility than you are arrogant.

  4. S Chatterjee says:

    I am a Hindu as Mr. Darvish well knows. I am glad you are still writing Mr. Darvish. I was indisposed and now fine once more; and i see you still writing. Brahman ( as opposed to Brahma) be praised.

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