Sitt Saada Salim Taki El Deen
Saada Salim Taki El-Deen was born in Baakline in the Chouf Mountain in Lebanon. Her parents were dedicated to the Druze Faith, and they lived their lives practicing their Faith to the fullest. When Saada was a child, she was already distinguished as having high spiritual feelings. She was well balanced and a polite girl. Always absorbed in her Druze Faith, she would ask her parents many questions regarding the religion. Her father decided that she was ready for the Druze sacred books, Al-Hikma, and he gave them to her to read and to find the answers to her questions. Her preference for living a pious life, and her religious devotion to the Druze Faith gave her an ideal life of realizing herself in God. Her father encouraged her, and he blessed her for she was following the examples of her ancestors. who also had been fervent believers in the Druze Faith.
Saada had many suitors who wanted to marry her, but Saada, determined to dedicate her life to God, refused each one who came to ask her hand in marriage. Her mother was disappointed for the decision that Saada had made, but her father blessed her, and he told her that he was in her service because she was in a state of self-realization with God. Before Saada had turned fifteen years old, she went to the Al Taki El Deen religious Home and in a sanctuary just for her, and she remained for five years. There, she prayed, worshipped God, and read the sacred books. She stored the great religious knowledge that she had gained in her mind, and she became disinterested in any other form of life. She acquired a sense of serenity and obedience and tolerance. Many who were searching for spiritual guidance came to visit Saada. She was widely known for her piety and godliness. She would meet their needs with complete readiness. She was hospitable to all, and to all, she assured that the world was only a passage way and each person had to liberate himself.
Nabiha Taki El Deen was a close relative, and she dedicated her life in the service of Saada. She accompanied Saada wherever she went. Nabiha Taki El Deen would copy the sacred books for Saada because Al Hikma must be written by hand. Nabiha Taki El Deen did this for a living, and she also established a religious school in Baakline where young maidens and women of all ages would come from the surrounding territories in Lebanon and in Syria to study with Saada.
Through devotion and contemplation, Saada Taki El Deen realized that she could reach God. She would scrutinize herself, and if she realized that she had made a mistake, Saada would ask for forgiveness from all her Druze brethren. Her prayer was special, and her spirit was always attracted to the Creator. All who knew her, and the many who had heard about her were overwhelmed by her virtues.
Saada Taki El Deen was an undemanding person, and simplicity was revealed in every one of her actions. In the summer, she wore heavy cloth in her attire as a way of torturing herself. She never ate meat, and she would eat rotten bread and substitute molasses for sugar. She would only drink water from the village spring, and in the winter, she drank ice water. There were many periods throughout the year when she fasted. She was satisfied with what she owned, and she never required anything for her body. Saada never shed tears for the passing of a loved one, but she would ask God to take her because she longed to be with God.
The sanctuary in which Saada lived was a place of Grace, and her tomb also became a place of Grace. She had asked for a humble funeral, and she had one. There was snow on the day of her funeral, and those who came, walked with bare feet as a sign of veneration for her. In life, she was meek in spirit, and she signed 'poor Saada' on everything. She called for learning, and she gave devotion to all. She spoke in few words, and she was brief in all her conversations. She would avoid listening to people who gave her advice, and she would avoid using words that were inconvenient for her.
When Saada became ill, she disbursed her money and Sacred Book, as well as, any of her assets to her friends. Saada welcomed those who came to visit her while she was sick. Seven months later, Saada died. She has been venerated by the Druzes since her passing, and many have written about her in verse and in prose.
Researched and written by Dr.Nazek Abu Alwan Abed and edited
by Mrs. Julia Mullin Makarem
October 5, 1998. Article for Our Heritage, Fall 1998.
194 October 26, 1998