Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273)

  • “Who stands before the gate?” – “Lover, it is you!”

    Jalal ad-Din Rumi is regarded today as one of the most famous Islamic mystics. After his death, his followers founded the Mevlevi Order, the brotherhood of the “whirling dervishes”. His main work, the Masnavi (“Poems”), is also called a “Koran in the Persian language”.

    Rumi's life followed an orderly path for many years. He worked as a renowned scholar and preacher in Konya, Turkey and undertook further theological studies in Aleppo and Damascus. But when he was thirty-seven everything changed: he met the wandering dervish Shams ad-Din Mohammad from Tabriz. In him Rumi found his mystical lover. Through him he discovered the depths of divine love.

    Rumi's disciples reacted with indignation to his close relationship with Shams ad-Din. They expelled Shams, the “sun”, and finally killed him. The loss of his lover turned Rumi into a poet. In many ghazals (love poems) he sang of love, joy and intoxication, and the union with his lover.

    Shams ad-Din was succeeded by two other mystical friends. One of them, Husam ad-Din Hasan Chelebi, inspired Rumi to write his great mystical, didactic poem, the Masnavi. Rumi's work lacks a systematic structure of ideas. His poems excel in their lyrical exuberance and dance-like rhythms.

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    Audio: Four ghazals from “Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi”