Al-Rumi (1207-1273)

Philosophy and Tasawwuf

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (Persian: جلال‌الدین محمد بلخى‎), also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī. His major contribution lies in Islamic philosophy and Tasawwuf. This was embodied largely in poetry, especially through his famous Mathnawi. This book, the largest mystical exposition in verse, discusses and offers solutions to many complicated problems in metaphysics, religion, ethics, mysticism, etc. Fundamentally, the Mathnawi highlights the various hidden aspects of Sufism and their relationship with the worldly life. For this, Rumi draws on a variety of subjects and derives numerous examples from everyday life. His main subject is the relationship between man and God on the one hand, and between man and man, on the other. He apparently believed in Pantheism and portrayed the various stages of man’s evolution in his journey towards the Ultimate.

Apart from the Mathnaui, he also wrote his Diwan (collection of poems) and Fihi-Ma-Fih (a collection of mystical sayings). However, it is the Mathnawi itself that has largely transmitted Rumi’s message. Soon after its completion, other scholars started writing detailed commentaries on it, in order to interpret its rich propositions on Tasawwuf, Metaphysics and Ethics. Several commentaries in different languages have been written since then.

His impact on philosophy, literature, mysticism and culture, has been so deep throughout Central Asia and most Islamic countries that almost all religious scholars, mystics, philosophers, sociologists and others have referred to his verses during all these centuries since his death. Most difficult problems in these areas seem to get simplified in the light of his references. His message seems to have inspired most of the intellectuals in Central Asia and adjoining areas since his time, and scholars like Iqbal have further developed Rumi’s concepts. The Mathnawi became known as the interpretation of the Qur’an in the Pahlavi language. He is one of the few intellectuals and mystics whose views have so profoundly affected the world-view in its higher perspective in large parts of the Islamic World.

Sum of the Rumi Bibliography

Abdulla Raficq. Words of Paradise: Selected Poems by Rumi. New Interpretation, Viking Pr, 2000.

Aflaki, Shams al-Din Ahmad. Legends of the Sufi: Selected Anecdotes from the Work Entitled The Acts of the Adepts (Menaqiba ‘I arifln). London: Theosophical Publishing House, 1976.
       h          The Hundred Tales of Wisdom: Life, Teachings and Miracles of Jalaluddin Rumi from Aflaki’s Munaqib, Together with Certain Important Stories from Rumi’s Works Traditionally Known as The Hunred Tales of Wisdom. London: Octagon Press, 1978.
       h          The Whirling Ecstacy, Prophecy Pub. California, 1983

Ali, Mohamed. The Life and Thought of Mohammad Jalaluddin Rumi. Lahore, Pakistan: Bazm-i-Iqbal, n.d.

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