Rabi`a's gifts to Hasan of Basra

Once Rabi`a al-Adawiyya sent Hasan of Basra three things - a piece of wax, a needle, and a hair.

"Be like wax," she said. "Illumine the world, and yourself burn. Be like a needle, always be working naked. When you have done these two things, a thousand years will be for you as a hair."

"Do you desire for us to get married?" Hasan asked Rabi`a.

"The tie of marriage applies to those who have being," Rabi`a replied. "Here being has disappeared, for I have become naughted to self and exist only through Him. I belong wholly to Him. I live in the shadow of His control. You must ask my hand of Him, not of me."

"How did you find this secret, Rabi`a?" Hasan asked.

"I lost all `found' things in Him," Rabi`a answered.

"How do you know Him?" Hasan inquired.

"You know the `how'; I know the `howless'," Rabi`a said.

From the Tadhkirat al-Awliyya (Memorial of the Saints) of Fariduddin Attar.

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