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Persian Poetry

RUMI, the poet

Rumi is one of the most read and well known poets in the world. When my husband and I saw the movie "Rumi, Poet of The Heart" in San Rafael, California, I got a warm feeling and was very happy to see how much the poetry of Rumi touches people's hearts.

At one point, when tears came to my eyes because I was moved by truthfulness of Rumi's poetry, I realized that everyone else in the theater had been touched. After a rough day at work or even before starting my day, listening to Rumi's poetry gives me a warm, hopeful, and serene feeling.

Jelaluddin Rumi was born in the Eastern part of the Ancient Persian Empire near Balkh (presently Afghanistan), on September 30, 1207. His first name literally means Majesty of Religion, Jalal means majesty and din means religion. Because of the threat of Mongol invasion in Persia his family fled, finally settling in Konya, Turkey. He passed away, on December 17, 1273. His shrine is in Konya.

As a genius theologian, a brilliant scholar, and a pillar of Islam, he followed in his father place until his spiritual friend and teacher, Shams of Tabriz appeared in his life. Rumi underwent a spiritual transformation in 1244 after meeting Shams. With appearance of Shams, Rumi became reborn and soon started his marvelous work "Masnavi," (Mathnawi) consisting of 24,000 verses at age 38. His other famous work is "Divan-e Shams-e Tabriz" (the collective poems of Shams of Tabriz). Rumi's poetry has a mystic connotation, a combination that is the universal language of the human soul. Rumi's title is Moulana (Mowlana) which means our master.

One of Rumi's favorite musical instruments was ney (flute). In Persian poems can be sung or can be read. Rumi said, music can be a form of zikr, remembering that there is no God but God, who is one -- which in Arabic is La illaha illa llah.

Rumi's poetry has been translated into many languages, his work is well known throughout the world. Rumi was the founder of the Mevlevi Dervish Order, also known as the whirling dervishes. The Mevlevi order is based in Konya and have a traveling group of musicians and whirlers that perform all over the world. Experiencing the whirling dervishes and musicians is a wonderful experience.

The Mevlevi Dervishes

Rumi has inspired generations of artists, truth-seekers, and most everyone who has read or heard his work. In the Space magazine the article Living Space recounts how when NASA issued a call to architects for unique approaches to building colonies on the moon, Nader Khalili responded. Influenced by Rumi, whose work often refers to the unity of the four elements-- earth, wind, water and fire, Khalili, a native of Tehran, told NASA, with fire and wind you can make water from soil: with fire and soil, you can build a lunar home. When it comes time to build housing in space, Khalili (influenced by Rumi) will be there to help. (also listed on expatriates page)

Excerpt from Leslie Wines' new Rumi book here.

Rumi poetry
Rumi poetry books

Rumi poetry with music (CD's)

Rumi video

Rumi poetry mailing list (English)
Rumi book by Prof. Dr. Erkan Turkmen

The Society for Understanding Mevlana