Thursday, March 1, 2007
2007 has been designated as the ‘Year of Rumi’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to mark the 800th birthday of the eminent scholar and poet Jalaluddin Rumi.
Rumi is one of the greatest spiritual and literary figures of all time and is known for his message of love, humanity and peace. He was a great poet and founder of ‘Maulvi Sufism’, a leading sufi brotherhood of Islam.
Rumi was born on September 30, 1207 in Balkh, a Greater Khorasan city in Persia, now in Afghanistan, to a family of learned theologians and died in Konya, Turkey. He wrote his poetry in Persian and it is widely read in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and in translation in Turkey, Azerbaijan, the US, and South Asia.
He spent most of his life under the Seljuk Empire in Konya, Anatolia after travelling extensively with his family to escape the Mongol invasion and performing pilgrimage to Makkah. When his father Bahaduddin Walad passed away, Rumi succeeded him in 1231 as a religious sciences professor. He was 24 years old at the time, but was already an accomplished religious and positive sciences scholar.
He was introduced into sufism by a wandering dervish, Shamsuddin of Tabriz. Rumi’s love and bereavement on the death of Shamsuddin found expression in music, sema and 'Divani Shamsi Tabrizi' lyric poems.
Rumi's poetry underlies his absolute love for Allah. He has a great influence on thought, literature and aesthetic expressions in the Islamic world, and his importance transcends national and ethnic borders.
Throughout centuries, he has had a significant influence on Persian, Urdu and Turkish literatures. Rumi had aimed to implant the love of Allah, the Prophet (PBUH), tolerance and respect in humanity, and his world could be labeled as that of the heart, a world with its own sun, moon and stars, filled with law, order, harmony and peace.
He was a monument of thought and a man of extraordinary intelligence.
Rumi passed away on December 17, 1273. Since then, the Maulvi dervishes have commemorated the date, and have founded the Maulavi Order, better known as the ‘Whirling Dervishes’, whose followers believe in sema, worshipping God through dance and music.