RabiʻA 'L-ʻAdawiyya: Legend or Woman?
41 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2016 Last revised: 1 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 15, 2016
This essay examines what has been written in Islamic biographical writings about Rabiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya, a legendary Sufi figure and one of the few women to feature prominently in Islamic biographical literature. Rabiʻa‘s exceptional role as a female character in a male dominated genre, and the contrast between a paucity of information about Rabiʻa‘s life versus a myriad of myths are analyzed to better understand how her biographers sought to use Rabiʻa to advance particular Sufi messages and values.
Keywords: Rabi'a, Islam, Sufi, female biographies, saints
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