Loving in the night - a poem by Rabi'a

[O my Lord]

by rabi'A

Translated by Jane hirshfield

O my Lord,
the stars glitter
and the eyes of men are closed.
Kings have locked their doors
and each lover is alone with his love.

Here, I am alone with You

This poem reminds me of Guru Arjan's shabad, Bhinni Rainariye Chamkan Taare:

More on Rabi'a

Rabi'a al-Adawiyya (also known as Rabi'a al-Basri) was not primarily known as a poet but as a prominent Muslim mystic and saint. She was born in the 8th century CE in Basra, which is now present-day Iraq. Rabi'a is considered one of the early Sufi mystics and is revered for her profound spiritual insights and devotion to God.

While Rabi'a is primarily remembered for her teachings and spiritual practices, she did express her mystical experiences through poetry. Her poems often reflected her intense love and longing for union with the divine. Rabi'a's poetry is characterized by themes of divine love, the pursuit of spiritual closeness to God, and the renunciation of worldly attachments.

Although the exact corpus of Rabi'a's poetry is not widely known, her poems have been preserved and passed down through oral tradition and various Sufi texts. Rabi'a's spiritual teachings and poetry have had a significant influence on Sufism and Islamic spirituality. Her life and writings continue to inspire many seekers on the path of divine love and devotion.

More on Rabi'a's poem O My Lord

This poem by Rabi'a al-Adawiyya conveys her profound longing for a deep and intimate connection with God. Let's explore its meaning line by line:

"O my Lord,
the stars glitter
and the eyes of men are closed."

In these lines, Rabi'a addresses God, expressing her awareness of the beauty and radiance of the stars. The stars symbolize the magnificence and wonders of the universe. However, she contrasts this with the closed eyes of human beings, suggesting that despite the beauty around them, people are spiritually unaware or disconnected from the divine.

"Kings have locked their doors
and each lover is alone with his love."

Here, Rabi'a speaks metaphorically. The "kings" refer to those in power or positions of authority who have shut themselves away and isolated themselves. This can represent worldly distractions, ego, and attachments that prevent people from seeking a connection with God. The mention of "each lover" being alone with their love implies that everyone has their individual pursuit or object of affection, but Rabi'a acknowledges that true fulfillment and union lie in being alone with God.

"Here, I am alone with You."

In this final line, Rabi'a expresses her personal state of being. She emphasizes her spiritual solitude, highlighting the deep connection she feels with God. Rabi'a finds solace and fulfillment in her intimate relationship with the divine, recognizing that true union and companionship are found in her devotion to God.

Overall, this poem reflects Rabi'a's intense longing for divine connection and her belief that true fulfillment can only be achieved through a deep and personal relationship with God. It highlights her detachment from worldly distractions and her devotion to seeking spiritual closeness with the divine presence.