Monday, 2 January 2012

How Hasan married Rabia

Kipling has written a poem showing how, when Jane Austen got to Heaven, Sir Walter Scott arranged her wedding there.
What about Hasan-of-the-pearls and Rabia, the beggar maid, of Basra? The story is she used to run around the streets with a flaming torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other so as to destroy the eternal rewards of Devotion which are so much less than Love, even Love of God, that too now, today, at this very moment, right here.
I once wrote a poem on the theme of her rejection of his marriage proposal-
What Hasan said to Rabia
Not that, flashing, they burn down Heaven
Nor that, flooding, they put out Hell
But that the wine of Thine eyes' Tavern
Alas! its Saqi loves too well.

We know she refused him on Earth- what happened in Barzakh?

Before I tell you, permit me a scholarly digression reflecting on my own solitary peek at Maryam's mirror.

Al Jahiz tells the following story. A comely woman appeared and importuned him by signs and gestures to accompany her to the shop of a goldsmith. She said 'Like this,' and departed. Al Jahiz asked what the woman meant. The goldsmith, who was Jewish, replied- 'this woman made me promise I would make the effigy of any person she desired. She said 'make one of the devil'. I replied 'I have not seen the Devil. How can I make an image of that which I have not seen?"

My own imagination supplies the rest- I disguise Hassan as myself and send him before Rabia. 'Wed me.' 'No!'. 'What? You reject me? No doubt, it is only because I am not of the Faith. What if I were to bring before you one poorer, uglier, more stupid than I- but of the Faith- would you marry him before you would marry me?' 'Yes!'. 'Then, now, that man is me who am, by a Cantor diagonalization of the but denumerable regress of your refusal, in consequence, your self-betrothed husband more infinitely!'

Rabia, poor darling, is caught.

I should open a Marriage Bureau.

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