Rumi…A Jouney To Spirituality!
Dr Meher Zaidi.
Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi is a name known all over the world as a great, perhaps the greatest poet of the genre of Masnavi, a spiritual poetry written in Persian and Urdu . He is read and revered all over the world, in almost all languages. His poetry and thought has universal appeal.
He was born on 30th September 1207(6 Rabi’I 604) and died on 17th December 1273.This was the 7th century of Islam By this time the Muslim empire had spread as far as Gibralter, and was knocking on doors of Europe.After Spain, it almost reached France.By this time however, decay had set in the social setup of Islamic polity.Sunnah was a mere ritualistic extension and thus the muslim political thought was decadent. The rigors demanded by practice of the faith in terms of simplicity and spirituality, intelligent enquiry, physical tenaciousity had degenerated into a kind of courtly, worldly beahviour.
It was in this time of ritualistic practice of faith that Rumi’s mind and heart found the true light of recognition of the indispensable need to connect with God through Zikr, Sema and of course poetic thought. It has been seen that Imam Ghazali was the initial revivalist of a decadent interpretation and practice of Islam. In his ‘Revival Of Religious Sciences’ he expressed he made an epic effort to awaken the Muslims from a slumber of intelligent faith in God and true practice of initial Islam and connection to God.He wanted to lead men back from ‘the scholastic dogma’ to ‘a live contact with Quran and the Sunnah (Traditions). The same task fell on Rumi, who not only rose with force and grace but quickly won the heart of many. His ‘Masnavi’ finally is the epic poetic form which culminated his journey in the physical world but to this day and will in all times to come open doors of intelligent thought’s flight and entice the millions without faith to become the passionate wanderers of the Dasht (An uninhabitated place) of spiritual journey.
Rumi was settled in Konya , a town in modern Turkey where to this day his descendants can be found.(http://www.mevlana.net/). Konya was a town ruled by the Saljuqs. The Persian empire was destroyed at this time by the invading Mongols . Here Rumi established his religious teachings order.
Rumi’s grandfather, Husain ibne ahmed Khatibi was a great scholar. His own father, Bahauddin Muhammad Ibn Al Khatibi al- Baqri was a scholar and spiritual leader par excellence. He was given the title of Sultan al Ulema ( the king of learned) and it was under his guidance and tutelage that Rumi found his religious personality Iimam Ghazali had found his leanings by questioning the Greek philosophy philosophy and negating metaphysics and defending Islam. Bahauddin found in Ghazali the religious answer to his path to spirituality.Rumi, thus grew up and trained in this spiritual inclination of religious thought.
Rumi’ s father appointed Burhanuddin Muhaqiq Tirmizi, his own disciple as a tutor. He surrendere to his able teacher for nine years , and emerged a gem.
Pukhta gard Wa Az Taghaeere Daur Sho
Ro Cho Burhan Muhaqiq Noor Sho
Choon Ze Khood Rasti hame Burhan shudi
Choonke Gufti Banda Am Sultan Shudi
Be mature and transcend all change.
And become the light incarnate like Burhan Muhaqiq
When you escape from yourself you become Burhan
When you say, ‘I am a slave’, you become king.
When Rumi’s father died he did not take his scholarly place till ten years later. He went to Halab , to study in Madrasa-i- Halivia, a Sunni institution. Rumi learneb most of jurisprudence and religion from Kamal-uddin ibnul Adim, the principal. From Halab he went to Damascus, where he is said to have met Hazrat Shams Tabrez, a scholar who has affected his life much.
Rumi has been much influenced from imam Ghazali and this from his own father. Thus :
God calls Himself ‘Seeing’ to the end that
His eyes may every moment scare you from sinning
God calls Himself ‘Hearing’ to the end that
You may close your lips against foul discourse.
God calls Himself ‘Knowing’ to the end that
You may be afraid to plot evil.
These names are not mere accidental names of God.
As negro maybe called Kafur(camphor);
They are names derived from God’s essential attributes,
Not mere vain titles of the First Cause.
Rumi was also enlightened by Sinai and Attar.
Rumi practiced and taught his disciples and students for many years. He was comfortable teaching both the ordinary and also the prestigious. He had become the leader in teaching and was most sought after by the noble, the ordinary and the wayward. He was often seen teaching the ordinary as he said they would find the wisdom more readily than the distinguished.
It was Shams Tabrez who changed his life forever and the tempestuous fight that Rumi was fighting for almost ten years , trying to find an answer to his ‘jouney to God ‘ and the wiles of the devil were finally ‘taken out’. Shams Tabrez kindled in Rumi a fire , which his thirsty soul had hitherto not known. Shams Tabrez arrived in Konya in 1244(h 624). There are many incidences and ‘Karamat’ (magical incidences) attributed to Shams Tabrez’s personality but all accounts point to the fact that his personality had reached that level of ‘Mystical’ reunion and attainment of unity with God that it was instantly recognized by Rumi who then completely abandoned his own self to the soul of Tabrez
In his own words;
Bashuneeda am keh azme safar meekuni makan
Mehre hareef wa yaar digar meekune makan
To dar jehan ghareebi wa ghurbat nadeeda
Qasad kudam khasta jigar meekuni makan
Ee mah keh charkh zeer o zabar az bari tast
Ma ra kharab wa zeer o zabar meekuni makan
Ko ehd wa ko waseeqa heh ba ma to karda ye
Az qaul wa ehd khaweesh abr meekuni makan
Che wada mi dahi w ache so gand mekhuri
So gand wa ashwa r ache sapr mikuni makan
Ee barter az wujud o adam banigah to
Een kahza az wujud guzar mikuni makan
Ee dozakh o bahisht ghulamane amr to
Barma bahisht himchu saqr mikuni makan
Ander shakristan to az zehr eemunam
Aan zehr ra hareef shaker mikuni makan
Janam chu korae pur aatish basat nakard
Ravi man az firaq chu zar mikuni makan
Chun ravi dar kashi to shawad meh zagham siyah
Qasad kasof qars qamar mikuni makan
Ma khushk lab shaweem cho tu khushk awari
Chashm mera baashak cheh tar mikuni makan
Chun taqate aqeelae ushaq neestat
Pas aql ra cheh kheera nagar mikuni makan
Chashme haram Khwarae man dazd hasan tast
Een jan sazae dazd basar mikuni makan
I have heard that thou dost intend to travel, do not do so
That thou bestowest thy love on a new friend and companion, do not do so
Thou’in the world thou art strange, thou hast never seen estrangement;
What heart-sticken wretch art thou attempting? Do not do so.
O moon for whose sake heavens are bewildered Thou maketh me distraught and bewildered, do not do so.
Where is the pledge and where compact thou didst make with me?
Thou departest from thy word and pledge, do not do so.
Why give promises and why utter protestations,
Why make a shield of vows and blandishments? Do not do so.
O thou whose vestibule is above existence and non-existence,
At this moment thou art passing from existence ; do not do so.
O thou whose command Hell and Paradise obey ,
Thou art making Paradise like hell fire to me; do not do so.
In thy plot of sugar cane I am secure from poison
Thou minglest sugar with poison; do not do so.
My soul is like a fiery furnace , yet it suffered thee not;
By absence thou are making my face pale as gold;do not do so.
When thou withdrawest thy countenance, the moon is darkened with grief;
Thou art intending the eclipse of the moon’s orbit; do not do so.
Our lips become dry when thou bringest a drought;
Why art thou moistenng mine eyes with tears? Do not do so.
My lawless eye is a thief of thy beauty;
O beloved, thou takest vengeance on my thievish sight; do not do so.
Shams Tabrez disappeared from Rumi’s life as suddenly as he had appeared. Some say he was murdered , some say he disappeared as an act of Karamat( supernatural powers). Whatever the cause, we see a new phase in Rumi’s life. That of music, esctacy and unlike the religious behavior that he previously followed.He danced in esctacy and is described in his son Walad’s words as ;
Ruz o shab dar samaa raqsan shud
Bar zameen hamchu charkh gardan shud
Bang wa afghan awu ba arsh raseed
Nalae ash ra buzarg wa khurd shuneed
Day and night he danced in esctacy,
On earth he revolved like heavens
His cries reached the zenith of the skies
And we heard from all and sundry
His enquiry to the lost person of Shams Tabrez led him to an entirely new revelation. That of his own ‘immortal’ self and what it was looking for;
Wasf hasnish keh mi fazoodam man
Khud hamane husn o lutf budam man
Sheera az beher kis nami joshad
Dar paee husn khaweesh mi koshad
Although (apparently) I glorified his beauty,
I was the repository of all that beauty and grace.
The human soul (molten sugar) does not suffer (boil) for others,
In fact it aims at the perfection of its own beauty.
( Reference: The Life and Work of Jalauddin Rumi by Afzal Iqbal, Oxford for Pakistan National Council of The Arts, Internet resources.).