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

Suggested Citation

Aiello, Steven, RabiʻA 'L-ʻAdawiyya: Legend or Woman? (October 15, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2852872 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2852872

Steven Aiello (Contact Author)

Tel Aviv University ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel-Aviv, 6997801

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