Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi poetry, Muslim / Sufi, Muslim / Sufi poetry,  poetry,  poetry,  poetry Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi
Afghanistan & Turkey (1207 - 1273) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Poems by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi
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Rumi was a war refugee and an asylum seeker. He was born in Balkh, in what is today Afghanistan. While he was still a child his family moved all the way to Konya in Asia Minor (Turkey). They moved to flee from Mongol invaders who were beginning to sweep into Central Asia. Konya, far to the west of the invaded territories, became one of the major destinations for expatriates to settle, turning the city into a cosmopolitan center of culture, education, and spirituality. (These lands were part of the Persian Empire, so, while he lived most of his life in what is today called Turkey, culturally he was Persian.)

In fact, Rumi wasn't the only famous Sufi teacher living in Konya at the time. The best known spiritual figure in Konya at the time was not Rumi, but the son-in-law of the greatly respected Sufi philosopher ibn 'Arabi. The wonderful Sufi poet Fakhruddin Iraqi also lived in Konya at the same time as Rumi.

"Rumi" was not his proper name; it was more of a nickname. Rumi means literally "The Roman." Why the Roman? Asia Minor (Turkey) was referred to as the land of the Rum, the Romans. The Byzantine Empire, which had only recently been pushed back to a small area of control around Constantinople, was still thought of as the old Eastern Roman Empire. Rumi was nicknamed the Roman because he lived in what was once the Eastern Roman Empire. ...But not everyone calls him Rumi. In Afghanistan, where he was born, they call him Balkhi, "the man from Balkh," to emphasize his birth in Afghanistan.

Rumi's father was himself a respected religious authority and spiritual teacher. Rumi was raised and educated to follow in his father's footsteps. And, in fact, Rumi inherited his father's religious school. But this was all along very traditional lines. Rumi was already a man with religious position when he first started to experience transcendent states of spiritual ecstasy. This created a radical upheaval, not only in himself, but also within his rather formal spiritual community as everyone tried to adjust to their leader's transformation.

One more note about Rumi's father: It was only after his death that some of the father's private writings were discovered, revealing that he himself was also a profound mystic, though he had kept this part of himself private, apparently even from his son Rumi.

Many of Rumi's poems make reference to the sun. This always has layered meaning for Rumi since he was deeply devoted to his spiritual teacher Shams of Tabriz... as the name Shams means "the sun." The sun for Rumi becomes the radiance of God shining through his beloved teacher.

The spiritual bond between Rumi and Shams was profound, but the two individuals were very different. Rumi was a member of the educated elite within the urban expatriate community, while Shams was a poor wandering mystic who rarely stayed in one place long. Shams would often disappear unexpectedly, then return months later. Many of Rumi's family and students were jealous of Shams, resenting the closeness he shared with their master. Finally, Shams disappeared, never to return. Some believe that he was actually kidnapped and murdered, possibly by Rumi's own sons! Or he may have simply followed his dervish nature and journeyed on, never to return to Konya.

You've heard of "whirling dervishes," right? Not all Sufis practice that spinning meditative dance. That is specific to the Mevlana Sufis, founded by -- yes, Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi. The story is told that Rumi would circle around a column, while ecstatically reciting his poetry. The spinning is a meditation on many levels. It teaches stillness and centeredness in the midst of movement. One hand is kept raised to receive from heaven, the other hand is kept lowered to the earth, thus the individual becomes a bridge joining heaven and earth.

Poems by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

Recommended Books: Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom
Open Secret: Versions of Rumi The Hand of Poetry: Five Mystic Poets of Persia, with Lectures by Inayat Khan The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi East Window: Poems from Asia The Essential Rumi
The Soul is Here for its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West Rumi: Hidden Music Rumi: Fountain of Fire Holy Fire: Nine Visionary Poets and the Quest for Enlightenment
Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance: A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance The Illuminated Rumi Mystical Poems of Rumi: Volume 2 The Mathnawi: Rumi Secret Language: Rumi A Celebration in Song (Music CD)
Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved Mystical Poems of Rumi: Volume 1 Delicious Laughter: Rambunctious Teaching Stories from the Mathnawi of Jelaluddin Rumi Love is a Stranger: Selected Lyric Poetry by Jelaluddin Rumi and Kabir A Garden Beyond Paradise: Love Poems of Rumi
The Rumi Collection (Shambhala Library) Rumi Daylight: A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance Rumi's World: The Life and Work of the Great Sufi Poet Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi: (3 book set) Rumi, A Spiritual Biogrpahy
Rumi and Islam: Selections from His Stories, Poems, and Discourses Annotated & Explained Rumi: Dancing the Flame One Song: A New Illuminated Rumi

Related Links

Rumi On Fire

Translated sections of the Divan-e-Shams and the Mathnavi, a timeline of Rumi's life, and links.

Dar Al Masnavi

Scholarly translations of Rumi's Masnavi (Mathnawi) and Divan collections on-line with commentary.

Jalaladdin Rumi: Poet of Universal Love

Biography of Rumi by Paul Nagy

Life of Rumi

Brief biography with several poem selections.

Poetry by Rumi, biography, bibliography, discussion forum, daily poem.

Rumi Network, by Shahram Shiva

Several verses by Rumi translated by Shahram Shiva, along with information about Rumi, a discussion forum, and more.

Speaking of Faith: Unheard Cuts, Poetry of Rumi

The text of several Rumi poems, with audio clips of the poems being read in the original Persian.

Rumi Poetry Club

A very nice, easy-to-navigate site with information about Rumi, an excellent list of resources and publications on Rumi, some poetry selections and more.
Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi