500 million years ago the feeling of being aware of surroundings developed known as the consciousness with the evolutionary origin of brain. Mysticism requires a person to be self aware which is directly linked with the consciousness. Since the start of it both genders have been a seeker of the source of existence of this universe and beyond it. God made everything in pairs and everything has a duality, masculine and feminine but ultimately there is no male or female but only “soul “or “being”. In Sufism the recognition of this fact encourages every human despite their gender to find the spiritual truth of their soul. Since the early days of Islam women have played a significant role in the development of Sufism. In fact the introduction to the divine love was initiated by a woman, the greatest female Sufi known as Rabia Al Adawiyya. She was born in Basra around 717 CE, accounts of her life point out that she was sold as a slave and freed after her master found her praying and witnessed a golden light around her. After gaining freedom she led an ascetic life. She is considered among the founders of classical Sufi thought, her teachings and poetry were preserved by her numerous students and followers. She set forth the doctrine of divine love. She was the first woman to speak the realities of love outside this physical plane in a language which could be understood by everyone. She experienced many hardships of this life but her heart was free to love out of every hardship, this for her was neither a fear of hell or rewards of paradise but only divine love. “O Sons of Adam, from the eye, there is no way-station to the Real. From the tongue, there is no path to Him. Hearing is the highway of complainers. Hand and foot dwell in perplexity. The matter falls to the heart. Strive for a wakeful heart.” -Rabia al-Adawiyya Her teachings of mystic love were for everyone regardless of gender, a strong willed woman who helped other Sufi masters of her time to develop the destruction of “nafs” which every Sufi strives for. She did not literally speak about equality of both sexes but her path never fit the life of women of that time. Rabia Basri’s life as an independent female intellectual and spiritual leader shows an egalitarian example; her devotion to the divine with which she dealt with men around her has a very egalitarian effect. Another universally recognised female Sufi in 9th century is Fatimah Nishapuri, who deserted luxuries of life and chose the path of divine love. She obtained immense wisdom through travelling and was considered a respected master of esoteric interpretation of holy book Quran. Hazrat Bayazid Bastami, a Persian Zoroastrian who converted to Islam and pursued Sufism was astounded by her expertise that he once said, “Whoever would wish to see a true man disguised as a woman, let him see Fatimah.” Once Hazrat Fatimah Nishapuri visited Hazrat Bayazid with her husband, when they met him she removed her veil and conversed with Hazrat Bayazid without any fear. This seemed odd to her husband and he inquired why she behaved disrespectfully with the Sheikh, to which she replied, “Because you are my natural spouse, but he is my religious consort; through you I come to my desire, but through him to God. The proof is that he has no need of my society, whereas to you it is necessary.” Fatimah Nishapuri was very self confident and culturally rich in terms of mysticism and was known for her meetings with Sufi masters of that time for circle study and discussions on worshipping. “ God, through an infinite variety of subtle graces and goodness, invited people to Himself, but they did not respond to His call, so He afflicted them with diverse calamities, that by means of this torment they might return to Him, for He loves His creation.” -Fatimah Nishapuri Another great example of female Sufi is Jahanara Begum beloved daughter of Shah Jahan. She was the heir to the throne but was deeply spiritual. Her spiritual works include “Risala-e-sahibbiya” a biography of her teacher Mullah Shah and also of Moin uddin Chishti. She compiled the work by numerous sources. She sponsored the construction of Jama Masjid in 1648 and her most prominent architectural venture is Chandni Chowk, the principle bazaar of Shahjahanabad. In Sufism, one of the major principles is to love collectively and seek answers not based on any gender, race or religion. This is the concept of divine unity because everything is the mirror of the divine. The Sufi path is the destruction of nafs or ego. These wonderful women were brave enough to understand themselves and also the duality of universe. Their profound wisdom made them stand out and without any aggressive fight they fought with the language of love and wisdom. About writer: Najwa Aziz is a graphic designer, visual artist and a researcher with an interest in theology, cosmic creativity and sentience of internal existence through exploration of art, philosophy and scientific theories about objective reality.