رابعة العدوية (717م – 801م)CE وتكنى بأم الخـير، عابدة ومتصوفة تاريخية وأحد الشخصيات المشهورة في عالم التصوف الإسلامي، وتعتبر مؤسسة أحد مذاهب التصوف الإسلامي وهو مذهب العشقي رابعة بنت إسماعيل العدوي، ولدت في مدينة البصرة، ويرجح مولدها حوالي عام (100هـ – 717م)، وكانت لأب عابد فقير، وكانت الأبنة الرابعة لوالدها ولهذا يرجع اسمها رابعة.
وقد توفي والدها وهي طفلة دون العاشرة ولم تلبث الأم أن لحقت به، لتجد رابعة واخواتها أنفسهن بلا عائل يُعينهن علي الفقر والجوع والهزال، فذاقت رابعة مرارة اليتم الكامل دون أن يترك والداها من أسباب العيش لها سوى قارب ينقل الناس بدراهم معدودة في أحد أنهار البصرة كما ذكر المؤرخ الصوفي فريد الدين عطار في (تذكرة الأولياء).
كانت رابعة تخرج لتعمل مكان أبيها ثم تعود بعد عناء تهون عن نفسها بالغناء وبذلك أطلق الشقاء عليها وحرمت من الحنان والعطف الأبوي، وبعد وفاة والديها غادرت رابعة مع أخواتها البيت بعد أن دب البصرة جفاف وقحط أو وباء وصل إلى حد المجاعة ثم فرق الزمن بينها وبين أخواتها، وبذلك أصبحت رابعة وحيدة مشردة، وأدت المجاعة إلى انتشار اللصوص وقُطَّاع الطرق، وقد خطف رابعة أحد اللصوص وباعها بستة دراهم لأحد التجار القساة من آل عتيك البصرية، وأذاقها التاجر سوء العذاب، ولم تتفق آراء الباحثين على تحديد هوية رابعة فالبعض يرون أن آل عتيق هم بني عدوة ولذا تسمى العدوية.
شخصية رابعة العدوية
اختلف الكثيرون في تصوير حياة وشخصية العابدة رابعة العدوية فقد صورتها السينما في الفيلم السينمائي المصري الذي قامت ببطولته الممثلة نبيلة عبيد والممثل فريد شوقي في الجزء الأول من حياتها كفتاة لاهية تمرّغت في حياة الغواية والخمر والشهوات قبل أن تتجه إلى طاعة الله وعبادته، في حين يقول البعض أن هذه صورة غير صحيحة ومشوهة لرابعة في بداية حياتها، فقد نشأت في بيئة إسلامية صالحة وحفظت القرآن الكريم وتدبَّرت آياته وقرأت الحديث وتدارسته وحافظت على الصلاة وهي في عمر الزهور، وعاشت طوال حياتها عذراء بتولاً برغم تقدم أفاضل الرجال لخطبتها لأنها انصرفت إلى الإيمان والتعبُّد ورأت فيه بديلاً عن الحياة مع الزوج والولد.
ويفند الفيلسوف عبد الرحمن بدوي في كتابه شهيدة العشق الآلهي أسباب أختلافه مع الصورة التي صورتها السينما لرابعة بدلالات كثيرة منها الوراثة والبيئة، بالإضافة إلى الاستعداد الشخصي. وكان جيران أبيها يطلقون عليه العابد، وما كان من الممكن وهذه تنشئة رابعة أن يفلت زمامها، كما أنها رفضت الزواج بشدة
رسالة رابعة لكل إنسان كانت: أن نحب من أحبنا أولاً وهو الله.
شعر رابعة العدوية
أنعم الله علي رابعة بموهبة الشعر وتأججت تلك الموهبة بعاطفة قوية ملكت حياتها فخرجت الكلمات منسابة من شفتيها تعبر عن ما يختلج بها من وجد وعشق لله وتقدم ذلك الشعر كرسالة لمن حولها ليحبوا ذلك المحبوب العظيم. ومن أشعارها في أحد قصائدها التي تصف حب الخالق تقول:
عـرفت الهـوى مذ عرفت هـواك واغـلـقـت قلـبـي عـمـن سـواك
وكــنت اناجيـــك يـــا من تــرى خـفـايـا الـقـلـوب ولسـنـا نـراك
احبـــك حـبـيــن حـب الهـــــوى وحــبــــا لانـــك اهـــل لـــذاك
فــاما الــذي هــو حب الهــــوى فشـغلـي بـذكـرك عـمـن سـواك
وامـــا الـــذي انــت اهــل لــــه فكـشـفـك للـحـجـب حـتـى اراك
فـلا الحـمد فـي ذا ولا ذاك لـــي ولـكـن لك الـحـمـد فـي ذا وذاك
أحبــك حـبـيـن.. حــب الهـــوى وحــبــــا لأنــــك أهـــل لـــذاك
واشتـاق شوقيـن.. شوق النـوى وشـوق لقرب الخلـي من حمـاك
فأمـا الــذي هــو شــوق النــوى فمسـرى الدمــوع لطــول نـواك
أمــا اشتيـــاق لقـــرب الحمـــى فنــار حيـــاة خبت فــي ضيــاك
ولست على الشجو أشكو الهوى رضيت بما شئت لـي فـي هداكـا
ومن أشعارها نقتبس ما يلي:
يا سروري ومنيتي وعمـادي وأنـيـسـي وعـدتـي ومــرادي.
أنت روح الفؤاد أنت رجائـي أنت لي مؤنس وشوقك زادي.
أنت لولاك يا حياتي وأنســي مـا تـشـتت في فـسـيـح البـلاد.
كم بدت منةٌ، وكم لك عنــدي مـن عـطـاء ونـعـمـة وأيـادي.
حبـك الآن بغيتـي ونعـيـمــي وجـلاء لعيـن قلبــي الصـادي.
إن تكـن راضيـاً عنـي فأننــي يا منـي القلب قد بـدا إسعـادي.
ما ورد قولها شعرها في العشق ليس صحيحا فهذه الابيان جزء من قصيدة ابي فراس الحمداني في الاسر، وهو وارد في كل طبعات دبوانه. للتنويه فقط
محب الله لا يسكن أنينه وحنينه حتى يسكن مع محبوبه.
اكتموا حسناتكم كما تكتمون سيئاتكم.
إني لأرى الدنيا بترابيعها في قلوبكم، إنكم نظرتم إلى قرب الأشياء في قلوبكم فتكلمتم فيه.
توفيت رابعة وهي في الثمانين من عمرها سنة 180 هـ . تقول دائرة المعارف الإسلامية في الجزء11 من المجلد التاسع: ” رابعة تختلف عن متقدمي الصوفية الذين كانوا مجرد زهاد ونساك، ذلك أنها كانت صوفية بحق، يدفعها حب قوي دفاق، كما كانت في طليعة الصوفية الذين قالوا بالحب الخالص، الحب الذي لا تقيده رغبة سوى حب الله وحدهShe was born between 95 and 99 Hijri in Basra, Iraq which is ~715 Julian . Much of her early life is narrated by Farid al-Din Attar, a later Sufi Saint and poet, who used earlier sources. Rabia herself did not leave any written works.
She was the fourth daughter of her family and therefore named Rabia, meaning “fourth”. Although not born into slavery, her family was poor yet respected in the community.
According to Farid al-Din Attar, Rabia’s parents were so poor that there was no oil in house to light a lamp, nor a cloth even to wrap her with. Her mother asked her husband to borrow some oil from a neighbor, but he had resolved in his life never to ask for anything from anyone except the Creator. He pretended to go to the neighbor’s door and returned home empty-handed.
In the night Muhammad appeared to him in a dream and told him, “Your newly born daughter is a favorite of the Lord, and shall lead many Muslims to the right path. You should approach the Amir of Basra and present him with a letter in which should be written this message: ‘You offer Durood to the Holy Prophet one hundred times every night and four hundred times every Thursday night. However, since you failed to observe the rule last Thursday, as a penalty you must pay the bearer four hundred dinars'”.
Rabia’s father got up and went straight to the Amir with tears of joy rolling down his cheeks. The Amir was delighted on receiving the message, knowing that he was in the eyes of Muhammad. He distributed 1000 dinars to the poor and joyously paid 400 dinars to Rabia’s father. The Amir then asked Rabia’s father to come to him whenever he required anything, as the Amir would benefit very much by the visit of such a soul dear to the Lord.
After the death of her father a famine overtook Basra and Rabia parted from her sisters. Legend has it that she was accompanying a caravan, which fell into the hands of robbers. The chief of the robbers took Rabia captive, and sold her in the market as a slave. The new master of Rabia used to take hard service from her.
She would pass the whole night in prayer, after she had finished her household jobs. She spent many of her days observing fast.
Once the master of the house got up in the middle of the night, and was attracted by the voice in which Rabia was praying to her Lord. She was entreating in these terms:
“Lord! You know well that my keen desire is to carry out Your commandments and to serve Thee with all my heart, O light of my eyes. If I were free I would pass the whole day and night in prayers. But what should I do when you have made me a slave of a human being?”
At once the master felt that it was sacrilegious to keep such a wali in his service. He decided to serve her instead. In the morning he called her and told her his decision; he would serve her and she should dwell there as the mistress of the house. If she insisted on leaving the house he was willing to free her from bondage.
She told him that she was willing to leave the house to carry on her worship in solitude. This the master granted and she left the house.
Rabia went into the desert to pray and became an ascetic. Her murshid was Hazrat Hassan Basri.
She did not possess much other than a broken jug, a rush mat and a brick, which she used as a pillow. She spent all night in prayer and contemplation.
As her fame grew she had many disciples. She also had discussions with many of the renowned religious people of her time. Though she had many offers of marriage, and (tradition has it) one even from the Amir of Basra, she refused them as she had no time in her life for anything other than God.
Rabia introduced the actual concept of Divine Love. She was the first to introduce the idea that God should be loved for God’s own sake, not out of fear—as earlier Sufis had done.
She taught that repentance was a gift from God because no one could repent unless God had already accepted him and given him this gift of repentance. She taught that sinners must fear the punishment they deserved for their sins, but she also offered such sinners far more hope of Paradise than most other ascetics did. For herself, she held to a higher ideal, worshipping God neither from fear of Hell nor from hope of Paradise, for she saw such self-interest as unworthy of God’s servants; emotions such as fear and hope were like veils—i.e. hindrances to the vision of God Himself.
She prayed: “O God! If I worship You for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell,
and if I worship You in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise.
But if I worship You for Your Own sake,
grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty.”
Rabia was in her early to mid eighties when she died, having followed the mystic Way to the end. She believed she was continually united with her Beloved. As she told her Sufi friends, “My Beloved is always with me” She died in Jerusalem in 185 AH. See Zirkali, al-A`lam, vol. 3, p 10, col 1, who quotes ibn Khalikan as his source.
She was the one who first set forth the doctrine of Divine Love and who is widely considered to be the most important of the early Sufi poets.
Much of the poetry that is attributed to her is of unknown origin. After a life of hardship, she spontaneously achieved a state of self-realization. When asked by Sheikh Hasan al-Basri how she discovered the secret, she responded by stating:
“You know of the how, but I know of the how-less.” 
One of the many myths that surround her life is that she was freed from slavery because her master saw her praying while surrounded by light, realized that she was a saint and feared for his life if he continued to keep her as a slave.
While she apparently received many marriage offers (including a proposal from Hasan al-Basri himself), she remained celibate and died of old age, an ascetic, her only care from the disciples who followed her. She was the first in a long line of female Sufi mystics.
It is also possible that she helped further integrate Islamic slaves into Muslim society. Because of her time spent in slavery early in life, Rabi’a was passionate against all forms of it. She refused a slave later in life. 
One day, she was seen running through the streets of Basra carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When asked what she was doing, she said,”I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to God. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of God.”
In his Life of St Louis, Jean de Joinville reports this story of a woman, but no name or religious affiliation is given to the woman, and the report appears to be contemporary (when in fact Joinville lived three centuries after Rabia).
At one occasion she was asked if she hated Satan. Rabia replied: “My love to God has so possessed me that no place remains for loving or hating any save Him.”
When Rabia would not come to attend the sermons of Hasan Basri, he would deliver no discourse that day. People in the audience asked him why he did that. He replied: “The syrup that is held by the vessels meant for the elephants cannot be contained in the vessels meant for the ants.”
Once Rabia was on her way to Makka, and when half-way there she saw the Ka’ba coming to meet her. She said, “It is the Lord of the house whom I need, what have I to do with the house? I need to meet with Him Who said, ‘Who approaches Me by a span’s length I will approach him by the length of a cubit.’ The Ka’ba which I see has no power over me; what joy does the beauty of the Ka’ba bring to me?”
At the same time the great Ibrahim bin Adham arrived at the Ka’ba, but he did not see it. He had spent fourteen years making his way to the Ka’ba, because in every place of prayer he performed two rakats.
Hazrat Ibrahim bin Adham said, “Alas! What has happened? It maybe that some injury has overtaken my eyes.” An unseen voice said to him, “No harm has befallen your eyes, but the Ka’ba has gone to meet a woman, who is approaching this place.” Ibrahim Adham responded, “O indeed, who is this?” He ran and saw Rabia arriving, and that the Ka’ba was back in its own place. When Ibrahim saw that, he said, “O Rabia, what is this disturbance and trouble and burden which you have brought into the world?”
She replied, “I have not brought disturbance into the world. It is you who have disturbed the world, because you delayed fourteen years in arriving at the Ka’ba.” He said, “Yes I have spent fourteen years in crossing the desert (because I was engaged) in prayer.” Rabia said, “You traversed it in ritual prayer (Salat) but with personal supplication.” Then, having performed the pilgrimage, she returned to Basra and occupied herself with works of devotion