May 20, 2013 | 10:42 AM (BD Time)
20 May, 2013 Monday
Great mystic poet Jalaluddin Rumi (R)
Hazrat Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi (30 September 1207 - 17 December 1273) is a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian and Sufi mystic. He is one of the greatest saints in Islamic history and is well-known in the West for his Sufi poetry, especially his treasury of couplets entitled Masnavi Sharif.
Maulana Rumi was born on the 6th of Rabiul Awwal in the Hijri year 604 in Balkh, present-day Afghanistan. His father, Hazrat Bahauddin Walad , was a great Muslim scholar and also a Sufi saint who descends from the lineage of Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddiq (Ra) , the first Caliph of Islam.
Maulana Rumi grew up in this learned household in Afghanistan and became a fully accomplished scholar himself. Eventually, between the years 1215 and 1220, Hazrat Bahauddin Walad, with his whole family and a group of disciples, set out westwards. They peformed Hajj and then proceeded on their journey.
They finally settled in Karaman, Turkey for seven years, where Maulana Rumi's mother and brother both passed away. In 1225, Mawlana Rumi married Gowhar Khatun in Karaman and had two sons: Sultan Walad and Ala-uddin Chalabi. When his wife passed away, Maulana Rumi married again and had a son, Amir Alim Chalabi, and a daughter, Malakeh Khatun.
On 1 May 1228, most likely as a result of the insistent invitation of Alauddin Kaykobad, ruler of Anatolia, Hazrat Bahauddin Walad finally settled in Konya inAnatolia within the westernmost territories of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum.
On the road to Anatolia, Maulana Rumi encountered one of the most famous mystic Persian poets, by the name of Fariduddin Attar, in the Iranian city of Nishapur, located in the province of Khorasan. Attar immediately recognised Rumi's spiritual eminence. He saw the father walking ahead of the son and said, "Here comes a sea followed by an ocean." He then gave Maulana Rumi his 'Asrarnama', a book about the entanglement of the soul in the material world. This meeting had a deep impact on the eighteen-year-old Maulana Rumi, and later on became the inspiration for his works.
Eventually, Hazrat Bahauddin Walad became the head of a seminary school (Madrasa) in Konya, Turkey. When he passed away, Maulana Rumi was only 25 years old and took his father's place at the head of the school.
One of Hazrat Bahauddin Walad's students, Hazrat Sayyed Burhanuddin Muhaqqiq Termazi, continued to train Maulana Rumi in the religious and mystical doctrines of Hazrat Rumi's father. For nine years, Rumi practiced Sufism as a disciple of Hazrat Sayyed Burhanuddin until the latter died in 1240 or 1241. Hazrat Rumi's public life then began: he became a teacher who preached in the Mosques of Konya and taught his adherents in the Madrasa.
During this period, Maulana Rumi also travelled to Damascus and is said to have spent four years there.
However, it was his meeting with the dervish Hazrat Shams Tabrez on 15 November 1244 that completely changed Rumi's life. Hazrat Shams had travelled throughout the Middle East searching and praying for someone who could "endure my company". A voice said to him, "What will you give in return?" and Hazrat Shams replied, "My head!". The voice then said, "The one you seek is Jalaluddin of Konya."
One version of the famous meeting that Maulana Rumi had with Hazrat Shams Tabrez , was that once Maulana Rumi was teaching a group of his students and referring to his handwritten books and notes while Hazrat Shams Tabrez happened to come along and asked him about those notes.
Maulana Rumi replied that the books and notes were beyond the understanding of Hazrat Shams Tabrez ®. Then Mawlana Rumi continued his class, meanwhile Hazrat Shams Tabrez threw all the books into a nearby pond of water. The students noticed this and started beating him. This caught the attention of Maulana Rumi who complained about losing his knowledge.
Hazrat Shams Tabrez replied that he could return the books, so he recited 'Bismillah' and retrieved the books from the water, which to everyone's surprise, were still intact. Seeing this, Maulana Rumi was amazed and asked how this was possible - to which Hazrat Shams Tabrez replied that such knowledge was beyond that of an external scholar.
Thus began the relationship between Maulana Rumi and Hazrat Shams Tabrez. At this stage, Maulana Rumi is reported to have mostly retired from his public life and spent a lot of time with Hazrat Shams Tabrez . They would spend days discussing Divine issues and Sufi thoughts, to the extent that Maulana Rumi would not teach his classes or visit his family for long periods of time.
On the night of 5 December 1248, as Maulana Rumi and Hazrat Shams were talking, Shams Tabrez was called to the back door. He went out, never to be seen again. It is rumored that Shams Tabrez was murdered; if so, Shams indeed gave his head for his mystical friendship with Maulana Rumi.
Maulana Rumi's love for, and his bereavement at the death of, Hazrat Shams found their expression in an outpouring of music and poetry, thus he compiled a collection entitled Diwan-e-Shams-e-Tabrez. He himself went out searching for Hazrat Shams and journeyed again to Damascus. There, he realised:
"Why should I seek? I am the same as He.
His essence speaks through me.
I have been looking for myself!" Masnavi Sharif
Maulana Rumi then formed companionship with Hazrat Salahuddin Zarkub, a goldsmith. After Salahuddin's death, Maulana Rumi's scribe and favourite student, Hazrat Hussam Chalabi, assumed the role of Maulana Rumi's companion.
One day, the two of them were wandering through the Meram vineyards outside Konya when Hussam described to Maulana Rumi an idea he had: "If you were to write a book like the Ilahinama of Sana'i or the Mantiq-ut-Tayr of 'Attar, it would become the companion of many poets. They would fill their hearts from your work and compose music to accompany it."
Maulana Rumi then smiled and took out a piece of paper on which were written the opening eighteen lines of his Masnavi, beginning with:
"Listen to the reed and the tale it tells,
How it sings of separation."
Hussam implored Maulana Rumi to write more. Maulana Rumi spent the next twelve years of his life in Anatolia dictating the six volumes of this masterwork, the Masnavi, to Hussam.
In his commentary on the Masnavi Sharif, Maulana Abdur Rahman Jami (R) , the famous 15th century Persian Sufi saint and poet, writes:
"The word 'ney' (reed) in the first couplet of the Masnavi means a perfect and exalted human being brought up in Islam. Such people have forgotten themselves and everything else. Their minds are always busy seeking the rida [approval] of Allah, The Most Exalted."
Maulana Jami says that 'Ney' also means non-existent, because these men are emptied of themselves. Finally he says 'Ney' refers to the reed-pen. A pen's writings are fully controlled by its writer, which also points to men emptied of existence and perfectly submitting to the will of Allah, The Most Exalted.
This brings up the point that Maulana Rumi was a true Muslim scholar and Sufi. Unfortunately, there have been many mistranslations or misrepresentations of Maulana Rumi . He himself writes in his Diwan:
"Man banda-yé Qur'ân-am, agar jân dâr-am
man khâk-é rah-é Muhammad-e mukhtâr-am
gar naql kon-ad joz în, kas az goftâr-am
bêzâr-am az-ô, w-az-în sokhan bêzâr-am"
Meaning: "I am the servant of the Qur'an as long as I have life.
I am the dust on the path of Muhammad , the Chosen one.
If anyone quotes anything except this from my sayings,
I am quit of him and outraged by these words."
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