By Malveer K. Hussain
I silently moaned so that for a hundred centuries to come,
The world would echo in the sound of my hayha
It would turn on axis of my hayhat
(Rumi, Divan-i Kabir)
Eight centuries ago, an outstanding poet, a revered spiritualist renowned for his understanding and wide-reading embrace shed light on the interrelations of all human beings. He speaks instantaneously to the hearts and exceeds the boundaries of time and language. Through his thoughtful words full of affection and peace, he built an ambiance where the morals of compression, endurance and tolerance are appreciated and where the doors to dialogue are approachable. His philosophical vision proved that people of all religions and social classes can survive together only in peace, unity and harmony. He enlightens a universal message of Love.
Love’s nationality is separate from all other religions,
The lover’s religion and nationality is the Beloved (God).
The lover’s cause is separate from all other causes
Love is the astrolabe of God’s mysteries.
(Rumi - Masnavi)
Recognized as one of the distinguished Persian Sufi poet and consummate spiritual guide, Moulana Jalaluddin Rumi produced the most radiant Sufi poetry in Persian and Arabic. His proficiency and depth of knowledge is evident in his extant poetry and prose, metaphorically embellished by thousands of Quranic verses and hadiths (sayings of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H). His enthralling path of Sufism mesmerized masses from all cultures and backgrounds. It just doesn’t get strikingly exceptional than Rumi if you are in quest of blissful insights and sacred pathways to the Divine.
Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi, commonly known as Moulana Rumi with whom the epithet of Moulana has obtained a distinctive idiosyncratic meaning, was born at Balkh, Khorasan on September 30, 1207 to a family of scholarly theologians. His father Bahauddin Muhammad Walad renowned as Sultan- ul Ulema was a brilliant Islamic scholar.
Escaping the Mongol army invasion, five year old Rumi and his family traveled to settle in Konya, Anatolia capital city of Seljuk Empire. According to few stories this migration was also a result of rivalry between various religious scholars in that region.
During the stay in Konya, he became a pupil of Burhaneddin-i Muhaqqaq-i Tirmidhi, a follower of his father. On his master’s advice that he should seek additional education, Rumi went to University centers in Aleppo and Damascus. Here he acquired education in religious sciences and returned as a highly accomplished young scholar. After the death of his father in 1231, he holds the position of his erudite and intellectual father.
Moulana Rumi’s life was transformed in 1244 when he encountered the profound mystical dervish Shamsaddin Muhammad-i Tabrizi or Shams of Tabriz. Rumi praised Shams in these words,
“What I had thought of before as God, I met today in person.”
Their close mystical relationship was influential in awakening Rumi’s buried mysticism and passionate devotion. It was at this point he neglected his academic vocation and began to create his mystical poetry.
Moulana Rumi’s poetical outpourings have been truthfully phenomenal. The extent and array of his genius are so gigantic and so logical that any epigrammatic summing up of his accomplishments must risk being trite. His sense of character assortment and self-discipline seems to have been instinctive and was associated to a flawless determined craftsmanship which was partly learned and partly intuitive. There is brilliance and dynamism on the surface of his poetry, but underneath is a pious message which gives his work a significant dominance which is constantly attention-grabbing and provocative. His doctrine persuades boundless tolerance, patience, optimistic approach, honesty, charity and awareness through love.
Eshgh, az azalast va taa abad khaahad bood
Jooyandeye eshgh, bee'adad khaahad bood
Fardaa ke ghiyaamat, aashkaaraa gardad
Har del ke na aashegh ast, rad khaahad bood
Love is from the infinite and will remain until eternity.
The seeker of love escapes the chains of birth and death.
Tomorrow when resurrection comes,
Any heart that is not in love will fail the test.
Rumi’s work is outside the chains of time and speaks to enormous audience of love and acknowledges the eventual truth in things. He dealt methodically with everyday societal problems, suggesting convincing solutions to the dilemmas of the human soul. The state of love and ecstasy which he carried ceaselessly never isolated him from the social order and its problems. Thus his legacy of works, comprising Masnavi (Spiritual Couplets), Divan-i Kabir, Fihi Ma Fihi (discussions on spiritual matters), Majalis-i Saba (sermons) and Maktubat (collection of letters) are filled with testimonies and examples.
Rumi described Masnavi or Mathnawi as Sayqool al Arwah (Polish of the spirits). This masterpiece has more than 24,000 couplets mostly of Sufi philosophical stories with deep mystical understandings. It contains medications for spiritual weaknesses, bad habits (greed, envy, arrogance, etc) and un- Islamic perceptions. Many giants of philosophy hold Masnavi in high esteem. Famous Persian poet Abdul Rehman Jami lauded Rumi and Masnavi in these words:
“The Masnavi of the master of the spiritual world
is virtually the Quran written in Persian”.
Rumi’s metaphors, perception, sensation, fanaticism, manifestation, happiness and hope in Masnavi verses allure the reader. His wisdom, hypersensitive temperament, zealous adoration and belief take reader to a diverse world. The best acknowledged passage in the entire Masnavi is “The Song of the Reed”. Utilizing the reed-flute (Ney), Rumi draws concentration on the subject of Sufi impact, taking enthusiastic reader to the conception of humanity through the story of the reed being parted from the reed-bed.
Divan-i Kabir with 45,000 verses also known as Kulliyat-i Shams-i Tabrizi or Divan-i Shams is packed with rapturous poetry in which Rumi conveyed his mystical love for Shams as a sign of his love for God. It is full of eagerness and awe that echoes the inner spiritual world of the poet. It contains lyrical poems in a number of various styles for instance odes, eulogies, quatrains etc. These poems are sacred breaths, pleasant breezes, and enjoyable journeys for the moral spirit and motivations from the God which sometimes make the reader shed tears.
As a Sufi, Rumi abandoned all misinterpretations on the way to perfection, eventually wishing to reach God. He persistently had a well-grounded and deep explanation of the wisdom of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and the information of Quran in his works.
I am the servant of the Quran as long as I have life.
I am the dust on the path of Muhammad, the chosen one.
If anyone interprets my words in any other way,
I deplore that person and I deplore his words.
Rumi Founded the Mevlevi Dervish Order, (Whirling dervishes) and consequently created the Sema, (distinctive whirling sacred dance). Sema symbolizes a mystical voyage of spiritual ascent via mind and love to a rank of excellence, the goal is to love and to be of service to the entire of creation excluding all bigotry against beliefs, ethnic races, social classes and nations.
His masterwork has been translated into several languages including Russian, German, Urdu, Turkish, Arabic, French, Italian and Spanish, and is emerging in numerous styles such as concert performances, narrations, workshops, recitations, dance presentation and new arty concepts.
Rumi breathed his last breath in Konya on December 17, 1273. People from diverse beliefs, cultures, including Muslims, Jews, Christians, Arabs, Persians, Turks, and Romans honored the great Sufi saint poet at his funeral.
The Mevlevi Dervishes have reserved the date he died as a celebration famous as Shab-i-Arus, because Rumi described death as the meeting time, in his following poem:
On the day of death, when my coffin is on the move,
Do not suppose I have any pain at leaving this world:
When you see my hearse, say not
“Leaving! He’s leaving!”
That time will be for me union and encounter.
When you commit me to the grave,
Say not “Farwell! Farwell”,
For the Grave is a veil over the reunion of Paradise