FNA – Iranians across the country on Sunday are commemorating the day of Jalaal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi, also known as Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, and more popularly in the English-speaking world simply as Rumi, a 13th-century Persian Muslim poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic.
Rumi was born in September 29, 1207 AD, likely in the village of Wakhsh, a small town located at the river Wakhsh in Persia. Wakhsh belonged to the larger province of Balkh (parts of now modern Afghanistan).
His death was at home in Qonya in sunset on December 16, 1273 AD at the age of 66 solar years or 68 Lunar years.
His impact on philosophy, literature, mysticism and culture, has been so deep throughout Central Asia and most Islamic countries that almost all religious scholars, mystics, philosophers, sociologists and others have referred to his verses during all these centuries, since his death. Most difficult problems in these areas seem to get simplified in the light of his references. His message seems to have inspired most of the intellectuals in Central Asia and adjoining areas since his time, and scholars like Alama Iqbal Lahori have further developed Rumi’s concepts. The Masnavi became known as the interpretation of the Quran in the Pahlavi language. He is one of the few intellectuals and mystics whose views have so profoundly affected the world-view in its higher perspective in large parts of the Islamic World.
Rumi’s works are written in the New Persian language and his Mathnawi remains one of the purest literary glories of Persia, and one of the crowning glories of the Persian language.
His original works are widely read today in their original language across the Persian-speaking world (Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and parts of Persian speaking Central Asia). Translations of his works are very popular in other countries. His poetry has influenced Persian literature as well as Urdu, Punjabi, Turkish and some other Iranian, Turkish and Indic languages written in Perso-Arabic script e.g. Pashto, Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai language and Sindhi.
Works of Molavi Rumi:
Fihi Ma Fihi provides a record of seventy-one talks and lectures given by Rumi on various occasions to his disciples. It was compiled from the notes of his various disciples, so Rumi did not author the work directly. An English translation from the Persian was first published by A.J. Arberry as Discourses of Rumi(New York: Samuel Weiser, 1972), and a translation of the second book by Wheeler Thackston, Sign of the Unseen (Putney, VT: Threshold Books, 1994). The style of the Fihi ma fihi is colloquial and is meant for middle-class men and women, and lack the sophisticated world play.
Majales-e Sab’a contains seven Persian sermons (as the name implies) or lectures given in seven different assemblies. The sermons themselves give a commentary on the deeper meaning of Qur’an and Hadeeth. The sermons also include quotations from poems of Sana’i, ‘Attar, and other poets, including Rumi himself. As Aflak? relates, after Shams-e Tabr?z?, Rumi gave sermons at the request of notables, especially Sal?h al-D?n Zark?b. The style of Persian is rather simple, but quotation of Arabic and knowledge of history and the Hadith show Rumi’s knowledge in the Islamic sciences. His style is the typical of the genre of lectures given by Sufis and spiritual teachers.
Makatib is the book containing Rumi’s letters in Persian to his disciples, family members, and men of state and of influence. The letters testify that Rumi kept very busy helping family members and administering a community of disciples that had grown up around them. Unlike the Persian style of the previous two mentioned work (which are lectures and sermons), the letters is consciously sophisticated and epistolar, which is in conformity with the expectations of correspondence directed to nobles, statement and kings.
Rumi’s major work is the Masnavi-e Maanavi, a six-volume poem regarded by some Sufis as the Persian-language Qur’an. It is considered by many to be one of the greatest works of mystical poetry. It contains approximately 27000 lines of Persian poetry.
Examples of Masnavi:
Pay heed to the grievances of the reed
Of what divisive separations breed
From the reedbed cut away just like a weed
My music people curse, warn and heed
Sliced to pieces my bosom and heart bleed
While I tell this tale of desire and need.
Whoever who fell away from the source
Will seek and toil until returned to course
Of grievances I sang to every crowd
Befriended both the humble and the proud
Each formed conjecture in their own mind
As though to my secrets they were blind
My secrets are buried within my grief
Yet to the eye and ear, that’s no relief
Body and soul both unveiled in trust
Yet sight of soul for body is not a must.
The flowing air in this reed is fire
Extinct, if with passion won’t inspire
Fire of love is set upon the reed
Passion of love this wine will gladly feed
Reed is match for he who love denied
Our secrets unveiled, betrayed, defied.
Who has borne deadly opium like the reed?
Or lovingly to betterment guide and lead?
Of the bloody path, will tell many a tale
Of Lover’s love, even beyond the veil.
None but the fool can hold wisdom dear
Who will care for the tongue if not ear?
In this pain, of passing days we lost track
Each day carried the pain upon its back
If days pass, let them go without fear
You remain, near, clear, and so dear.
Only the fish will unquenchingly thirst,
Surely passing of time, the hungry curst.
State of the cooked is beyond the raw
The wise in silence gladly withdraw.
Cut the chain my son, and release the pain
Silver rope and golden thread, must refrain
If you try to fit the ocean in a jug
How small will be your drinking mug?
Never filled, ambitious boy, greedy girl,
Only if satisfied, oyster makes pearl.
Whoever lovingly lost shirt on his back
Was cleansed from greed and wanton attack
Rejoice in our love, which would trade
Ailments, of every shade and every grade
With the elixir of self-knowing, chaste
With Hippocratic and Galenic taste.
Body of dust from love ascends to the skies
The dancing mountain thus begins to rise
It was the love of the Soul of Mount Sinai
Drunken mountain, thundering at Moses, nigh.
If coupled with those lips that blow my reed
Like the reed in making music I succeed;
Whoever away from those lips himself found
Lost his music though made many a sound.
When the flower has withered, faded away
The canary in praise has nothing to say.
All is the beloved, the lover is the veil
Alive is the beloved, the lover in death wail
Fearless love will courageously dare
Like a bird that’s in flight without a care
How can I be aware, see what’s around,
If there is no showing light or telling sound?
Seek the love that cannot be confined
Reflection in the mirror is object defined.
Do you know why the mirror never lies?
Because keeping a clean face is its prize.
Friends, listen to the tale of this reed
For it is the story of our life, indeed!
Rumi’s other major work is the Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi a masterpiece of wisdom and eloquence. It is often said that Rumi had attained the level of a “Perfect Master” and as such, he often dwelled in the spiritual realms that were rarely visited by others of this world. He attained heights that were attained by only a few before him or since.
Examples of Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi:
O Pilgrims, thou art where, thou art where?
The Beloved is neigh, come hither, come hither.
Thy beloved is thy neighbor, behind the wall
Lost in the desert, you are seeking and you fall;
If that lovely faceless face you once see
Pilgrim and shrine and house you know are all thee.
From house to house, you sought for proof
Yet never ascended up to the roof.
If it is the house of soul you seek
In the mirror see the face that’s meek.
If you’ve been to the garden, where is your bunch?
And where your soulful pearl if at sea you lunch.
With all this pain where is your gain?
The only veil, yourself, remain.
Hidden treasure chest, buried in soil
Why let dark clouds full moon spoil?
King of the World, to you will show
Magical shapes, in spirit you grow.