Persian literature is rich with poetry, art, and paintings. It is one of the oldest civilizations of the world that has its roots in the Iran, Iraq, Turley, and Damascus etc. The poetry of this era flourished in the hands of Rumi, Hafez, Saadi, Ferdowsi, etc. who their expressed emotions in the form of words. The mystic and Sufi themes were mostly presented in these poetic verses. Rumi, as the role model for the Sufis, is an iconic mystic figure for all of us today as well. Let’s throw some light on his life and work.
Rumi’s birth and early life
Known as Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, Maulana Rumi was born to a native Persian speaking couple who were originally from Balkh. Balkh was the capital of culture in those days. Rumi found his inspirations in the air of Balkh that were rich with Sufism. Along with his father who also was a jurist and a scholar, he found his inspiration in the poetry of Sinai and Attar. He has, on several occasions, given their references in his poetry.
Rumi’s teachings aim at the central point of Islam that is the belief in Oneness of Allah. He wrote a lot about it in his books. The Mathnawi sketches all the aspects of everyday life which are beautifully illustrated with the Quranic verses and examples. Rumi had a strong believe that one can reach God through Sufism, music, and poetry. He laid a lot on emphasis on the destruction and resurrection of one’s soul. The new one would be the purest as compared to the old one. He made the followers seek for the spiritual journey and return to the world with all the passions and love to serve the humanity.
Poetic work that was done by Rumi
Rumi’s poetry is a true depiction of the love of God. He has written a lot of poems and books. Mathnawi is believed to be the greatest Persian motivational book. It is composed of 26000 verses. It is a symbol of mystical art.
Divan-e-Shams Tabriz was written in the honor of Rumi’s master, Shams who acquainted him and showed the mystical and spiritual side to Rumi. Shams was strangled to death by Rumi’s son as per history says.
The book consisted of 90 ghazals, 35000 couplets, and 2000 Persian quatrains. Rumi has also written some books in Arabic, Turkish and mixed Persian languages.
Rumi and Shams Tabrizi
Shams Tabrizi, a wandering dervish was looking for his companion. He traveled to the middle-east in this search. A voice told him to go to Baghdad and meet the Rumi in Konya. Rumi’s world turned upside down when he met Shams, his spiritual companion. They talked about every single thing on this earth for months. Shams was strangled to death by Rumi’s son on allegations of destroying his father’s name and fame. Rumi set out on a journey to find Shams and in that, he found himself and the fact that Shams was within him.
A poet whose work has laid the foundation for the mystic and Sufi teachings was laid to rest on December 1273.
His books were translated into the Arabic, English and Urdu languages and were made the basis to learn the mystic and Sufi disciplines. Allama Iqbal has made Rumi an idol in his poetic journey. Rumi’s poetry has been in the USA top readers literature and is taught in the English translation as well. Rumi week is held in Iran on 26 October to 2nd November every year to make people understand his teaching and value the principles that he has given and preached throughout his life.
Top 10 Rumi’s Quotes
1- “What you seek is seeking you.”
2- “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
3- “Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”
4-“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
5- “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and right doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
6- “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
7- “The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.”
8- “Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
9- “My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”
10- “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”
In this series of bilingual books, Book one of Mathnawi is provided in Persian language with English translation in three volumes. The English translation of the Mathnawi appearing in this book was prepared by one of the greatest Rumi scholars and translators in the English language, Reynold Alleyne Nicholson.
This bilingual book can be useful for students and enjoyable for poetry lovers of any age. Not only will poems improve your Persian language, but they’ll help your understanding of Persian culture. Students will have ample opportunities to enrich their Persian learning experience and extend a range of language abilities through exploring these poems.