Balkh in Afghanistan, Mawlana Balkhi Rumi's birthplace, was a city where, in the course of history, several civilisations were born and met, where people were accustomed to rich cultural diversities, traditions and religions.
The vision, words and life of the Prominent philosopher and poet taught many how to reach inner peace and happiness to achieve true global peace and harmony
Jalal-ud-Din Mohammad, also known as Mawlana Balkhi Rumi, was born in Balkh (a city in the northern part of Afghanistan) on the 6th day of the Islamic lunar month "Rabi Al Awwal" in the lunar year of 604 AH, which corresponds to September 30, 1207, to a family of well-known mystics and scholars. He passed away in Konya (present-day Turkey) in 1273. His name literally means "Majesty of Religion."
When the Mongols invaded Central Asia in between 1215 and 1221, his father, Baha-ud-Din Walad, a famous preacher and jurist, known as Sultan Al Ulama (the Sultan of Islamic Scholars), left Balkh with the whole family for Baghdad and Mecca that eventually took him to Anatolia. On the way to Anatolia, Rumi met a famous mystic poet, Attar, in the city of Nishapur. Attar immediately recognised Jala-ud-Din's spiritual eminence. He saw the father walking ahead of the son and said: "Here comes a sea followed by ocean." This meeting had a deep impact on young Jalal-ud-Din's thoughts, which later inspired him in his work.
Jalal-ud-Din succeeded his father, who was a head of a madrassa (religious school) at the age of 25. For nine years, he practised Sufism as a disciple of Burhan-ud-Din Mahaqqiq, one of his father's students, until the latter died in 1240. He eventually set off on a journey where he created his masterpiece, Mathnawi, a poem of some 25,000 rhyming couplets in six volumes, widely regarded as one of greatest works of mystical poetry ever written. The opening lines of Mathnawi, starts with:
Listen to the reed and the tale it tells,
How it sings of separation.
The Mathnawi is, in Rumi's own words, "the shop for Unity" and his writing are a majestic invitation to witness this Unity for oneself. The Mathnawi is a collection of ethical and social precepts as well as mystical teachings. It is deeply permeated with Quranic meanings and references. Rumi himself called it "the roots of the roots of the roots of the (Islamic) religion. and the explainer of the Quran."
In December 1273, Rumi fell ill; he predicted his own death and composed the well-known ghazal, which begins with the verse:
How does thou know what sort of king I
Have within me as companion?
Do not cast thy glance upon my golden
Face, for I have iron legs.
Rumi was laid to rest beside his father in a splendid shrine, the Yesil Turbe (Green Tomb), located in the garden offered to his father by the Seljuk King, Kai-Qubad I, in Konya. Over his tomb, his epitaph reads:
When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth
but find it in the hearts of men.
There are also several prose works by Rumi: 145 of his letters, Maktubat; the Seven Sermons, Majalis-e-Sa'ah; and 71 of his spiritual lectures or discourses, Fihi Ma Fihi.
Rumi's very broad appeal and highly advanced thinking, humanism, open heart and mind, may derive from his genuinely cosmopolitan character because in his lifetime he enjoyed unusually good relations with diverse groups of social, cultural and religious background.
The city of Balkh in Afghanistan, his birthplace, was a city where, in the course of history, several civilisations were born and met, where people were accustomed to rich cultural diversities, traditions and religions. Rumi living in Balkh apparently became familiar with many faiths and civilisations, therefore he was friendly with believers of many religions.
Most scholars who studied Rumi admit that there was no more beautiful tribute to Rumi's universality than his funeral, a 40-day long of grieving attended by distraught, weeping Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists who mourned in a manner that one would have thought that Rumi belonged to each one of them. Rumi's importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders.
Rumi wrote his poetry in Dari (Farsi) and his work are widely read in the region and throughout the world. He had the capacity to appear beyond cultural and national boundaries. This helps to explain Rumi's universal appeal, both during his life and in the modern world, more than 800 years after his birth. Many of the western translations have downplayed the importance of Rumi's Islamic studies, however, he was well known as being one of the foremost scholars of the time. The Holy Quran provided significant inspiration for his poetry and writings.
Prayer clears the mist and brings
back peace to the soul
Every morning every evening
let the heart sing,
La ilaha il Allah. There is no
reality but Allah.
The general theme of his thoughts, like that of the other mystic and sufi poets of the Dari/Farsi literature, is essentially about the concept of Tawheed (unity) and union with his beloved (the primal root) from which he has been cut and fallen aloof, and his longing and desire for reunification.
Rumi's visions, words and life teach us how to reach inner peace and happiness so we can finally stop the continued stream of hostility and hatred and achieve true global peace and harmony.
Do you want to enter paradise?
To walk the path of truth, you
need the grace of Allah
We all face death in the end
But on the way, be careful never to hurt a human heart!