Moulana Muhammad Jalaluddin Rumi.
Who was he and why is his message so important to humanity at
this time in history? On 30 September 1207 CE or so tradition holds, in the
small village of Waqsh, in the region of Balkh, in the Persian province of
Khorasan a son was born to the mystic preacher Sheikh Baha'uddin Walad. His name
was Muhammad Jalaluddin and he and his family shortly moved to Samarqand. There
was much strife in that part of the world at that time and also Jenghis Khan’s
Mongols were moving west. The family and many of Baha’uddin’s students went on
the Hajj to Mecca after which they heard that the Mongols had sacked Samarqand
and were besieging Bokhara. They settled in Damascus and the young Jalal studied
with various teachers. Then the family slowly moved toward the Seljuk Kingdom of
Rum in what is now Anatolia in Turkey. The Sultan of Konya invited the party to
settle in his town to help make it the finest centre of crafts and learning in
Jalal became a College Professor in Religious subjects and a Master to
many students at the Konya Religious School. He was given the clerical title of
Moula and so students called him Moulana or ‘our master.’ One day he met a
mystic named Muhammad Shamsuddin of Tabriz. Shams was an attained Master of
Sufism which is the path of Spiritual Knowledge under Divine Grace and Guidance.
Between these two a river of Ashk flowed. This word means a form of energy flow
much like that between lovers yet without the sensual connotations of the
ordinary human being.
At some point Moulana became a true lover of God flowing from heart to
heart with all he met. He went where he was guided and could be governed only by
God. Still he was born a muslim and followed the muslim obligations while at the
same time he was friendly with all faiths. Then one day Shams disappeared, some
say by murder and others say he just went East. Jalal went into a state of
despair which eventually matured into a raging passion and ferment in his
spiritual heart. From this he started to recite the most amazing poetry and deep
mystical teachings. They were written down and today there are a few
translations of that original Persian into English. He is best known for the
name the Arabs gave to the region – Rumi or ‘of Rum.’ Contemporary translations of
his materials have pushed him to rise to the US best seller list in poetry. His
message of loving cooperation and the foibles of human nature woven into his
great work the Masnavi could be followed by all of us. Especially in this day of
constant war and terrorism which is so like his own time of the 13th Century C.E.
Book reviews by Majid:
Rumi - Past and Present, East and West. The Life, Teachings and Poetry of
Jalal al-Din Rumi
by Franklin D. Lewis revised 2008.
great source book of Rumi history, bibliography and folklore etc. Contains a lot
of information about present day (2007) Rumi activity around the world but
especially in North America. Ask your library to get this one for you or buy it
Fundamentals of Rumi's Thought - A Mevlevi Sufi Perspective
by Şefik Can (Shefik Jan) [QAS]-Light N.J. 2004
Written by the late Esoteric head of the
Turkish Mevlevi Tarikat this is Rumi from the point of view of one who lived the
mystical teachings of the great Master in his daily life. This may be regarded
as a primer for those who wish to follow the Islamic path of the Whirling
Dervishes and is a guide for all Muslims on the subject of Rumi's teachings
about Al Quran and ideas like Wahdat al Wujud etc.
The Quatrains of Rumi - The
Rubaiyat in Farsi and English
by Ibrahim Gamard and Rawan Farhadi -Sufi Dari Books, USA 2008
Ibrahim is a Muslim Mevlevi
Sheikh living in California. This is the culmination of a 20 year project
and includes extensive footnotes and annotations.
"Listen to this tale arising out
the ney flute
As it tells of its separation
Since I was cut out of my reed-bed home
My sad cries have caused humans to weep
I seek out the lonely and down-hearted
Then tell them my tale of heart-longing"