Mawlana Rumi, Jalal al-Din al- [d.672H - 1273CE] 'alayhi al-rahmah wa'l-ridwan

10 September 2011

Born in Balkh [in modern Afghanistan] but lived in Konya, Anatolia [Turkey]. Initially followed existing Sufi paths but became a visionary ecstatic in 1244 after being inspired on a new path of aesthetic & emotional Sufism, which developed into the Mawlawi [Mevlevi] order after his death. Taught that the Master of the Way was to serve as a medium between Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala & humanity. Sought identification of the human self with divine being. Wrote more than seventy thousand verses of Persian poetry in ordinary language, expressing the experience of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala's presence in creation & inspiring joy in the listener; common themes are the trials of separation from the Beloved & the joys of union with Him. Most famous poem is Mathnawi, a compilation of spiritual outbursts, anecdotal ruminations & parables expressed in poetic form.  

Hadrat Mevlana 


Mevlana (Mawlana) Jalal al-din Rumi (May Allah be pleased with him) was the founder of the Mevlevi Sufi Brotherhood, as well as a universal genius and a great servant of humanity. He was a philosopher and mystic of Islam. His doctrine advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness and charity, awareness through love. Looking with the same eye on mankind his peaceful and tolerant teaching had reached men of all sects and creeds. Mawlana Rumi (May Allah be pleased with him) was laid to rest beside his father on December 17th, 1273 CE (common era), and over his remains a splendid shrine was erected. The 13th century Mevlana mausoleum in Konya, Turkey with its mosque, dervish living quarters and school, and tombs of various leading adherents of the Mevlevi order, continue to this day to draw pilgrims from all parts of the Muslim world as well as many from the non-Muslim world.

Dervish Orders 

 During the Ottoman Empire there were numerous Sufi Dervish Orders, and their influence was great and widespread. Their numbers have been variously estimated by different sources, some put them at no less than forty, others at eighty, and some over 140, and this figure might be exceeded by including ephemeral suborders. There were strong rivalries between these Orders, and some like the Bektashis, and the Mevlevis (the subject of this paper) had extensive influence in Turkey and were very widespread. These two were more centralised in Anatolia and did not spread outside so much as the other orders.

The Mevlevi Order had a few branches in Damascus, Aleppo, Tripoli, and important branches in the European regions of the Empire, especially in Salonika. As the Bektashis were more rural in character, their supporters were more in the villages, while the Mevlevi fraternity was urban, sophisticated and more centralised, supported by intellectuals and the government circles, and culturally attracting greater attention.

The Dervish Orders began playing a political role during constitutional period in Turkey starting from 1908. On 13th December 1925, a law, was passed closing all the 'Tekkes' (dervish lodges) and 'Zaviyes' (Central dervish lodges) and also the centres of veneration to which pilgrimages (ziyaret) were made. Istanbul alone had more than two hundred and fifty 'Tekkes' as well as small centres for the gatherings of various fraternities. This law dissolved the Orders, prohibited the use of mystical names, titles and costumes pertaining to these titles, impounded their assets, banned their ceremonies and meetings; the law also provided sentences for those who tried to re-establish them. Two years later, in 1927, the Mausoleum of Mevlana in Konya was allowed to reopen as a Museum. Another change occurred much later in 1953 when the present annual ceremony of Mevlana was revived and an audience was invited to a movie theatre in Konya for a first authorised Mevlevi ceremony, though ceremonies may still be held privately and secretly.

Life & Works 


Mevlana (in Arabic this means 'Our Lord' or Our Master) Jalal al-Din Muhammad Ibn Muhammad was born in Central Asia 1207 C.E. His father Baha'aldin Veled was a noted Sufi who found himself obliged to flee from Balkh, while Mevlana was a small boy, beacause of the Mongol attacks and some other local difficulties, and eventually they came to Anatolia known at that time as Rum. Those who dwelled there, whether Byzantine, Seljuk, or Ottoman, were all called Rumi, so Mevlana is known by the surname RUMI, that is Mevlana Jalal al-Din of Seljuk Turkey (Rumi, from the word Roma, was loosely used for all the old Eastern Roman Empire).

Mevlana and his father settled in Konya, the Seljuk capital, he lived, taught, wrote his masterpieces up to the end of his life, and died in 1273 C.E. (common era).

Although Mevlana is generally believed to be ethnically of Turkish descent, and he lived most of his life in a Turkish city, except for a few verses in Turkish city, except for a few verses in Turkish, his immense work has all been written in Persian, the dominating literary language of that period. On the other hand his son sultan Veled, born in Turkey in 1226, wrote a series of verses in Turkish language.

The most significant and turning point in Mevlana's life is his encounter in 1244 with the wandering mystic dervish Shams a'l-Din of Tabriz (May Allah be pleased with him). Thence forward, Mevlana was a changed man, his devotion to his inspiring master Shams a'l-Din entirely cut him off from his disciples. Because of abuse and threats from the jealous disciples Shams a'l-Din took refuge twice in Damascus, and in 1247 Shams a'l-Din vanished, and it is believed Mevlana's disciples had plotted to kill him.

Mevlana declared that one of his greatest works, DIVAN, consisting of approximately sixty thousand couplets and one million distiches, was inspired by Shams a'l-Din since Mevlana identified himself with his muse. His other great work, MESNEVI-I ME'NEVI, divided into six books and containing a total of over twenty five thousand couplets record several hundred stories, extracts from the Noble Qur'an, stories about wandering dervishes, biblical stories, all with allegorical and philosophical content.

Apart from this vast collection of poems, his prose work contains his sermons, his admonitions, pious anecdotes, his letters dealing with personal and spiritual matters, and his discourses on a wide variety of religious and mystical themes.



Selection of poems and verses from the Master

"During the day I praised you and I didn't know

At night I laid with You and I didn't know

I had thought that I was myself

but I was entirely You and I didn't know"

* * * * * *

"You search for the one who is with you.

You look for the looker - closer to you than you.

Don't rush outside.

Thaw like melting ice, and wash your self away."

* * * * * *

The philosopher exhausted himself with thinking (figuring out)
let him run on, (in vain) since his back is turned toward the treasure
Let him run on, for the more he keeps running
the farther away does he become from the object of his desire
He did not say, "those who have striven away from Us"
[mathnavi VI:2356-8]

* * * * * *

'It is GodÂ’s kindness to terrify you in order to lead you to safety.'

* * * * * *

''You've no idea how hard I've looked for a gift to bring You. nothing seemed right.
What's the point of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the Ocean.
Everything I came up with was like taking spices to the Orient.
It's no good giving my heart and my soul because you already have these.
So- I've brought you a mirror. Look at yourself and
remember me''.

* * * * * *

To the Ones who really see,
The Chosen Lovers,
Love is a shattering Eternal Light.

* * * * * *

Art as Flirtation and surrender

In your light I learn how to love.

In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest,

where no one sees you,

but sometimes I do,

and that sight becomes this art

* * * * * *

I looked for Him on the Christian cross, But he was not there. I went to Hindu temples and shrines – but nothing. I visited the Ka'aba in Makka, I did not find Him. I questioned learned scholars, but He outstripped their understanding. Finally, when I peered into my own heart – there, and nowhere else, was His home.

* * * * * *