Rumi Biography

Rumi Quick Facts:

  • Born: 1207
  • Died:   17 December 1273
  • Resting place: Konya, now Turkey
  • Ethnicity: Persian
  • Era: Islamic Golden Age
  • Main interest(s): Sufi poetry, Hanafi jurisprudence
  • Notable idea(s): Sufi whirling, Muraqaba
Rumi
Picture of Rumi By Molavi (Masnavi Manavi Molavi) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Background

Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (30 September 1207-17 December 1273) was an Islamic dervish, Sufi mystic, theologian, jurist, and a Persian poet of the 13th Century.

His works have been transposed into different formats and broadly translated into a majority of the globe’s languages. Nonetheless, he has been termed as the bestselling and most widely held poet amongst the Muslims and in the United States.

In addition, he was a great spiritual master belonging to a family of educated theologians. He used life’s situations to define the spiritual world.

Early Life

Rumi left his birth place Balkh (currently Afghanistan) with some disciples and his family between 1215 and 1220. This was caused by the invasion of central Asia by Mongols.

The relocating caravan travelled expansively in Muslim lands, including Damascus, Baghdad, Erzincan, Nigde, Kayseri, Malatya, and Sivas. They carried out pilgrimage in Mecca and settled in Konya (current western Turkey).

Rumi’s father was a teacher, preacher, and an Islamic theologian.

His Life

In 1244 AD, Rumi met Shamsuddin of Tabriz who was a wandering dervish. He was already a theologian and teacher hence became close friends. Rumi’s students became resentful of their close relationship and eventually killed Shams who had travelled to Damascus.

At his death, Rumi used poems, music and dances to express his love for Shamsuddin. This marked the turning point of Rumi. He devoted himself to pen down ghazals that he compiled and dubbed them Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi or Diwan-e-Kabir.

After some time, Rumi met a companion Salaud-Din-e Zarkub. Unfortunately, Salaud died and Rumi befriended Hussam-e Chalabi. He was a favorite disciple of Hussam-e Chalabi.

He completed six Volumes of his masterwork `Masnavi’ in Anatolia where he spent most of his years.

Philosophical Outlook

He was an evolutionary thinker who was least interested in scientific theories given that he lived many years before Darwin. He was mainly concerned with the spiritual development of human beings.

His teachings were ecumenical in nature. For him, religion was not limited to logical perceptions or arguments of the senses as a personal experience. Everything moves to its goals by the urge to rejoin the divine spirit through creative love.

In particular, the dignity of human life was the most important. Rumi’s master pieces are broadly read today across the Persian speaking world and Greater Iran. In fact, they are read in their original language.

Translations of his literal works are very popular more so in Turkey, South Asia, Azerbaijan, and the United States. Persian literature, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi have been influenced by Rumi’s poetry.

Major Works

Undeniably, Rumi took Islam seriously since he was a Muslim scholar. Many of his poems suggest outward religious observance `the primary of the Quran’ as important.

The bases of much classical Afghan and Iranian music are from his poetry and his teachings introduce the practice and philosophy of Sufism. His transformation and life is a true testimony that individuals of all backgrounds and religions can live together harmoniously.

Rumi’s life, words, and visions teach people how to reach happiness and get inner peace. This will help achieve global peace and harmony by stopping the continual stream of hostility.

His literal works have been translated into numerous world languages like Urdu, Arabic, Bengali, Italian, Spanish, French, German, and Russian. They are being presented in different formats comprising readings, concerts, workshops, and various artistic creations.

The popularity of his works is an inspiration to many artists.

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