|“There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life.
There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine.
O traveler, if you are in search of that
Don’t look outside, look inside yourself and seek that.”
Mevlana Jalal al-din Muhammad Rumi
None of sufi mystics is so much known in the West as Jalal al-din Rumi. He composed thousands of verses. His word penetrated and keeps penetrating to the most remote parts of the world. The greatest sufi poet-mystic, a classic of the world literature, whose works, particularly, his multi-volume work “the Masnavi”, is considered to be not only the perfect poetic piece, but also the sufi encyclopedia in some way.
Rumi was born in the family of the outstanding theologist in the city of Balkh (antique Bactria), the ancient centre of Persian culture, on 30 September, 1207. Rumi’s father, Bahauddin Veled, was an outstanding theologist, who earned the name of “the Sultan of Scholars”. His mother, Mumine Khatun, was the daughter of Rukn al-Din, the Emir of Balkh.
When Rumi was still a child, seroius complications in relations occured between the court theologist Fahreddin Razi, the fierce enemy of sufism, and his father, and he, under the veil of pilgrimage to Mecca, together with the family left Balkh in 1215. But researchers insist that the reason of that escape had become Tartar invasion.
Their way went via Nishapur, where the meeting with Attar happened. At the end of their conversation Attar said pointing at Rumi: “The time is on your doorstep when your son burns the fire in hearts bewailing the world”. Rumi never parted with “the Book of mysteries” gifted by Attar till the end of his life, always rereading it, referring to it in the minutes of joy and sorrow, finding in it the answers to the doubts turturing him, and relief from grief.
In 1228 the family moved to Konya, the capital of the Seljucs Empire, where, 3 years after death of his father, Rumi took his place of the mudarris, a medrese teacher. His initiation in sufism that started under the guidance of his father, continued under patronage of Burhaneddin Muhakkik-i Tirmizi, also being a regugee from Balkh. His spiritual education continued for almost ten years, but it did not change Rumi and he remained to be a highly respected mudarris and imam (preacher in the mosque), who gathered and tought plenty of listeners and students. He was authorised by the Sultanate to be in charge of Fiqh (muslim legislation) and his word had weight for people from all the social classes. He lived together with his family in wealth and well-being, but he himself remained unsatisfied with the level of his knowledge and understanding. Passion to mysticism awoke in him, it required to be expressed, to overtake the whole of his universe after having achieved freedom.
Peaceful and calm tide of his life was changed by the meeting with the wandering dervish named Shamsaddin of Tabriz. After having communicated with him, Rumi’s life changed drastically all of a sudden, turning a realistic follower of the beaten path into an ecstatical dreamer, embodying his visions into images of inspired Persian poetry. His influence on Jalal al-din was so big and it knocked the bottom out of his life so much that Rumi’s murids conspired against the dervish. To the great sorrow of Rumi he disappeared as mystically as he had appeared before. In fact he was killed by the murids indulged by one of Jalal al-din’s sons.
This communication released creative forces of Rumi and led him to his new Path of mystic cognition, which took its name from the title Mevlana (“our teacher”) given to its founder. Thus the Mevlevi order (or Mawlawiyya) appeared, which is known in the West as “the brotherhood of whirling dervishes”, and which started to develop as an independent organisation immediately after death of Rumi.
Mevlana, who characterised his life with the words “I caught flame, burned and burned away”, passed away on Sunday, on 17 December 1273, and was burried beside of his father in the Mausoleum. Mevlana considered the day of death as the day of rebirth, because after death he was heading the meeting with his Beloved, his God. He did not believe in death as in disappearence, for him death was only a sequel of life in different state, in unity with one’s primary source Tengri, that is why he commanded his followers and disciples to not weep for him.
|«Do not seek our tombs on this earth – our tombs are in the hearts of the enlightened.».|
The Rumi’s legacy is incomparable to anything. What Rumi had done for sufism has remained unique through the timeline of human history. There was Attar, Ghazali and Bayazid; there were a lot of Rumi’s predecessors, who left their legacy. But Rumi made knowledge systematic and introduced the new approach to its transfer, in mysticism and outlined them. He made synopsis, explanation of each step of tariqa. Such synthesis had never been done before Rumi. He gave people a living system, since that the humankind has lived already 800 years, but Rumi’s teaching remained as true as it was.
J.S. Trimingham. “The Sufi orders in Islam”
Leo Yakovkev. “Sufis: ascention to the Truth” (Sufii: voskhozhdeniye k istine”
Idris Shah. “Sufis”