Rabi'a Al-Adawiyya: Lover of Lovers (From Arabic)

This little poem (whose Sufi symbology is certainly no prerequisite for its enjoyment, tho it helps to know that the Beloved is quite likely not corporeal, or at least not only corporeal) is one of several which have come down to us under the name of Rabi'a al-Basri (or Rabi'a al-Adawiyya, or Rabi'a bint Isma'il al-Adawiy etc.), one of the earliest Sufis and, if the attributions are correct, one of maybe a dozen pre-Abbasid Arabic female poets whose name is known and whose works have survived in more than fragmentary form.

Lover of Lovers
Rābiˀa Bint Ismāˀīl Al-ˀAdawiyya Al-Qaysiyya
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original Arabic

My cup, my poured spirit      and companion are three.
I am Rabi'a the fourth,      fevered and longing
For the One I yearn for       who waits on me.
Round the clock, round the room,      in the cupbearer's hands
Goes the gratifying cup      of grace and jubilee.
If I stare, none see me      except by Him.
If I'm there, none see the Me     as separate from our We.
O small men who rebuke me,     His beauty has swept me!
By God, I block my ears     to your abuse. I can see.
How many a soulburning      night of surfeiting
Fixation made my head      like a fountainhead weep!
The drops won't dry away,      nor my oneness with Him
Abide, nor my eyes     find ease of sleep.

The Original

كأسي وخمري والنديم ثلاثة وأنا المشوقة في المحبة : رابعة
كأس المسرّة والنعيم يديرها ساقي المدام على المدى متتابعة
فإذا نظرتُ فلا أُرى إلّا له وإذا حضرتُ فلا أُرى إلّا معه
يا عاذلي! إني أحب جماله تالله ما أُذني لعذلك سامعة
كم بتّ من حرقي وفرط تعلقي أُجري عيوناً من عيوني الدامعة
لا عبرتي ترقا ولا وصلي له يبقى ولا عيني القريحة هاجعة

1 comment:

  1. Rahbia el adawiya is the one i admire and live her history ,she was a woman with lost soul.. until she found it with the love ,of Allah ... reading her poetry , it feed my soul !!!!


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