Maulana Jalal Ud Din Rumi .... His life and Works.
Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi was born in 1207 C.E. ( i.e. Common Era aligned with A.D.) in Balkh. This city was then in the Persian province of “Khorasan” but is now in Afghanistan. Balkh was then a prominent city and his family had a tradition of service there in legal and religious offices. Despite this background he moved, in his youth and with his family about 1218 C.E., away from Balkh in order to avoid the warlike Mongols who were then conquering extensively under the leadership of their Khans.
The family traveled to Baghdad, to Mecca on pilgrimage, and to Damascus and eventually settled at Karaman near Konya in what is now western Turkey.
Following this move to Konya, then the capital of the western Seljuk Turks Jalaluddin's father was busy as an Islamic theologian, teacher and preacher. Jalaluddin followed in this tradition and, upon his father's demise in 1231 C.E. succeeded to his post as a prominent religious teacher.
This part of the world was then known to its inhabitants as Rum, a name derived from the Byzantine Roman Empire that had formerly held it. Jalaluddin's name in religion and literature - Rumi - is itself derived from Rum.
Rumi is today thought of being a Persian mystic and poet and is closely identified with Sufism and Sufi mysticism. This Sufism being a mysticism within Islam where devotees sought a mystical union with God.
From around 1232 C.E. and the arrival of one of his fathers former Balkh students in Konya Rumi was thoroughly familiarised with doctrines of Sufism that had emerged in Persia and in 1240 C.E. he was recognised as being a Shaykh in his own right.
In about 1244 C.E. Rumi befriended Shams ad-Din (Sun of Religion), a wandering dervish or Sufi devotee who was formerly from Tabrìz, who became his mentor. For over two years he and Shams ad-Din were very closely associated in a platonic friendship and living in the same house. Sufis had a tradition of such close platonic friendships based on a commonality of spiritual endeavours.
The incident of Rumi,s first meeting with Shamas Tabrez is much interesting. The Shams tabrez was sitting around some mosque when Rumi came there. Shams Tabrez put all the books of rumi in water at the place where people used to come for making ablution. Rumi was so angry at him and askd hm about what he had done. Shamaz Tabrz asked about what was there in books. Tumi replied that it contained something Shamas Tabrez didn,t know. Then Shamas Tabrez put his hand in water and brought out all the books having no drop of water on them. Rumi was so astonished and asked what it was. Shamas Tabrez replied “This is something you do not knw”. This sentence revolutionized the life of Rumi and he became follower of Shamas Tabrez. About this incident Rumi describes
“ Rumi was nothing till the time he was the under the feet of Shamas Tabrez”
Rumi had previous to this all absorbing friendship been busy as a teacher and leader of a Mevlevi discipleship. His former pupils were most discomfited by the friendship with Shams and threatened violence.
Shams ad-Din disappeared unexplainedly in 1247 C.E. and Rumi subsequently composed approaching to 30,000 verses of poetry, the Lyrics of Shams of Tabrìz, expressing his feelings at the disappearance of his friend. He later formed other deep spiritual friendships that were not really welcomed by his disciples in the Mevlevi Order.
One of these friendships again inspired poetry, notably the epic poem Masnavi I Ma'navi (Spiritual Couplets), which has had an immense influence on Islamic literature and thought.
This friend, Husam ad-Din Chelebi, became leader of the Mevlevi Order upon Rumi's death in 1273 C.E.
Rumi had taught that "Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians should be viewed with the same eye" and it is said that people drawn from five faith backgrounds followed his funeral bier. His mausoleum, the Green Dome in Konya, is today a place of pilgrimage for many thousands.
A great philosopher of Islam known as the Poet of East i.e Dr Allama Muhammad IqbalAlso regarded Rumi as his spiritual teacher and was so much inspired by the works of Rumi. This name cames frequently in the poetry of Iqbal. There was spiritual guidance of Maulana Rumi with Iqbal at every step of his life.
Here are some quotations taken from his book Masnavi o Manavi.
The quotations from the Masnavi poem presented on our Islamic mysticism page, our "Other" Spiritual Insights page and our Spirituality and the wider world page all come from an abridged translation by E.H. Whinfield of the Spiritual Couplets of Jalaluddin Rumi. An early edition of Whinfield's translation of this epic poem appeared as Masnavi I Ma'navi. A current edition that seems to incorporate E.H. Whinfield's translation of this impressive mystical poetry is usually in print as "Teachings of Rumi - The Masnavi" from Octagon Books of London.
E.H. Whinfield prepared an abridged translation because the entire mystical poem, as presented in six books, is rather vast.
A full translation - the Mathnawi - as prepared by Reynold Nicholson is available through La Haule books of Jersey in the Channel Islands. Otherwise Aris and Phillips of Warminster, Wiltshire - the printers - have distribution arrangements through agents in many parts of the globe.
To quote the Jalaluddin Rumi poem the Masnavi:-
The Beloved is all in all; the lover merely veils Him;
The lover is all that lives, the lover a dead thing.
When a mother cries to her sucking babe, "Come, O son, I am thy mother!"
Does the child answer, "O mother, show a proof
That I shall find comfort in taking thy milk?
The Prophet said that God has declared,
"I am not contained in aught above or below,
I am not contained in earth or sky, or even
In highest heaven. Know this for a surety, O beloved!
Yet am I contained in the believer's heart!
If ye seek me, search in such hearts.