O God, Another Night is passing away

by Rabia al-Basri (Rabia al- Adawiyya)

English version by Charles Upton
Original Language Persian/Farsi

O God, Another Night is passing away,
Another Day is rising --
Tell me that I have spent the Night well so I can be at peace,
Or that I have wasted it, so I can mourn for what is lost.
I swear that ever since the first day You brought me back to life,
The day You became my Friend,
I have not slept --
And even if You drive me from your door,
I swear again that we will never be separated.
Because You are alive in my heart.

-- from Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure - Writings and Stories of Mystics Poets, Scholars & Saints, Edited by Camille Adams Helminski

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

When Rabi'a speaks of the "first day" when God has brought her "back to life," she is speaking of the profound sense of reawakening, of rebirth, of the radical shift of identity that occurs in the instant of spiritual ecstasy. That is the day that the Divine One becomes the "Friend."

Rabi'a proclaims that since that day she has not "slept," that she hasn't descended back into the sleep-like awareness that is the normal consciousness of the world around her.

And she further declares that, even if her blissful awareness dissipates, she now knows she can never be separated from God, for she has recognized the Divine Presence radiant and alive within her heart. When your very center is recognized as being the Divine, how then can you be separate from That?

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O God, Another