There have been a number of women Sufi mystics in this world, but due to strict societal regulations, only some could come forward. We have tried to compile some of those, not so remembered, yet great saints through this Blog.
Rabi’a of Basra, also known as Rabi’a al- Adawaiyya, is regarded as an ideal for Sufi women. We find a number of versions of Rabia’s existence according to her personality. For some she is the Second Mary, then for others, she is a miracle worker, yet others think of her as the originator of the concept of divine love.
Rabi’a Basri introduced the idea of ecstatic love in Sufism. She declared, “I want to throw fire into Paradise and pour water into hell so that these two veils disappear, and it becomes clear who worships God out of love, not out of fear of hell or hope for paradise.” In this way, she was the first saint to introduce the concept of “Divine Love” and said that God should be loved for God’s own sake, not out of fear- as earlier Sufis have done.
The discussion about female Sufi mystics is incomplete without mentioning the three names which were directly related to the last messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad. These ladies played an important role in preaching Islam and in propagating the message of Allah. They are:
- Bibi Khadija (first wife of Prophet Muhammad)
- Hazrat Fathima (daughter of Prophet Muhammad and Bibi Khadija), and
- Hazrat Aisha(the youngest wife of Prophet Muhammad).
These three epitomes of kindness, affection and piousness have inspired many and are still playing a vital role in motivating people to work for humanity through their life-stories.
It is said that there is a strong tradition of mystic poetry in Kashmiri Literature as well. Beginning with the first extant work in Kashmiri, Sitikanth’s Mahanay Prakash (1200 A.D.), this genre is remembered and is flourishing even in the modern time. Both the Shaivite and the Sufi mystic poets have contributed in enhancing the language and literature of kashmiri sufi poetry. They have tried their level best to put their thoughts and style significantly and aptly in explaining to the masses some very important metaphysical concepts through their poetry. The poetry by these Sufi saints is rich in metaphor and maxim
and is easy to recite. The reason for this being that these Sufis wanted their thoughts to reach the lay man, literate or illiterate, be it man or woman, irrespective of any caste and religion, so that they can get easily passed on from generation to generation and remembered forever.
There were a number of female Sufi poetesses in the beautiful valley of Kashmir.
Lal Ded, the Prophetess of Kashmir, is commonly known by many names. Like Lal Ded, Lal Didi, Mai Lal Diddi, lalla, lalleshwari etc. Lalleshwari (1320-1392) was a popular 14th century Kashmiri saint poetess who was born to a conservative Brahmin family of Pandrenthan (the ancient Puranadhishthana, the old capital) four miles to the south-east of Srinagar. Lal Ded conveyed herself and her thoughts in the form of ‘Rishi-Sufi’ Sayings popularly known as Lal Vakhs.
Habba Khatoon. Habba Khatoon, commonly khown as the ‘Nightingale of Kashmir’, was another great poetess of Kashmir who rose from humble beginnings and became the Queen in 1570 A.D. Habba Khatoon introduced ‘lol’ to Kashmiri poetry. As far as the meaning of ‘Lol’ is concerned, we find that it is more or less equivalent to ‘lyric’. It conveys one brief thought which is full of melody and love.
There was another mystic woman called ‘Rupa Bhawani’ whose life was a dawn bearing a new hope and awareness. Rupa Bhawani was born in 1625 A.D. at Didda-mar, Khankai Sokhta Nawakadal and died in 1721. Rupa Bhawani taught the basic principles of Sanatana Dharma and Nishkam Karmyoga and established the Supreme Truth where man is directly related to God and Universe. She was a seer poetess who spreaded her message of peace, love and higher experience of self to Kashmiris in her mother tongue.
Meera bai is considered to be one of the greatest epitomes of poetry in India. Meera’s padas are related to the eternal love and attachment to her Lord Krishna, whome she considers as her beloved. Meera Bai belonged to the northern part of India and Rajasthan. Therefore Meera’s poems are usually composed in Braj Bhasha, often using the local language of Rajasthan.
Raushan Ara (d. 1342 A.D.) is known to be the first known Muslim woman saint of Bengal. she was born in a Saiyyed family at Mecca.
This was just a short introduction about these divine personalities of the Sufi World. For details about these and many more Female sufi mystics you may write to us.