Category Archives: Mystics Series

Mystics {2} ~ Rumi

“The most famous Sufi mystic and poet in the Persian language, Rūmī, in full Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, known in Persia as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (also simply called Mowlana or Mowlavi – an honorific meaning “our master”) was born c. September 30, 1207, Balkh of Afghanistan on the eastern edge of the Persian Empire of that time—died December 17, 1273, Konya [in current Turkey]). Rumi is globally renowned for his lyrics and for his didactic epic Masnavi-e Maʿnavi (“Spiritual Couplets”), which widely influenced mystical thought and literature throughout the Muslim world. After his death, his followers were organized as the Mowlawiyeh order.

Rumi’s Ideology
Belonging to the Hanafi School of Islamic law, Rumi was a Suni Muslim, but not an orthodox type. Since his ideology always urged unlimited tolerance and peace, in his poems there are lots of lyrics showing traces of his full respect to Shi’ite saints such as Imam Ali. Rumi looked with the same eye on Muslim, Jew and Christian alike, and his tolerant teachings have appealed to all sects and creeds.

Rumi’s use of Persian language in his poetry, in addition to some Turkish, has resulted in his being claimed variously for Turkish literature and Persian literature, a reflection of the strength of his influence in Iran and in Turkey. The influence of his writings in the Indian subcontinent is also substantial. By the end of the 20th century, his popularity had become a global phenomenon, and Rumi was hailed by Western scholars as the greatest mystical poet of all time. The popularity of his poetry has spread in the West because of its heart-felt themes of lover-beloved mysticism

In his introduction to an English edition of Spiritual Verses, translator Alan Williams wrote: “Rumi is both a poet and a mystic, but he is a teacher first, trying to communicate what he knows to his audience. Like all good teachers, he trusts that ultimately, when the means to go any further fail him and his voice falls silent, his students will have learnt to understand on their own.” he spent much of his life traveling extensively throughout the Middle East before settling in Konya, in present-day Turkey and then central Anatolia, formerly part of the Eastern Roman Empire. This accounts for the name Rumi, meaning “Roman” in Persian and Arabic.

Rumi’s father, Bahāʾ al-Dīn Walad, was a famous mystical theologian, author, and teacher. Because of his Sufi beliefs led to a dispute with local government or maybe the threat of the approaching Mongols, Bahaʾ al-Din and his family left their home town of Balkh about 1218. It’s said that in Nīshāpūr, Iran, young Rumi met Aṭṭār, a very famous mystical poet, who blessed Jalal al-Din and this meeting opened his eyes to find his way of life. After a pilgrimage to Mecca and long journeys, the family reached Anatolia (present Turkey – called Rūm at that time) a peaceful and prospers region under the rule of the Turkish Seljuq dynasty. After a few years, Rumi’s father was invited to stay at the capital, Konya, in 1228. Here, Bahāʾ al-Dīn Walad started to teach at one of the numerous theological schools; after his death in 1231 he was succeeded in this capacity by his son.

Rumi had many fans and admirers. According to historians, when his assembly was held, the crowd was so large that the surrounding alleys were full of his lovers, but his life changed when such a great and popular leader met with Shams Tabrizi – A wandering Mystic.”

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Mystics {1} ~ What Is A Mystic?

“The answer to that question varies according to who’s doing the defining, and which religion or belief system they subscribe to. Truth-seeking, and dedication to making a firsthand connection with a higher power, are the consistent themes.

“A mystic is a person who has a direct experience of the sacred, unmediated by conventional religious rituals or intermediaries,” Mirabai Starr, author of Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics, tells Starr has both written about and translated original mystical texts.

Achieving that sacred, or divine, experience requires “transcending established belief systems, bypassing the intellect, and dissolving identification with the ‘ego’ self,” Starr says.

“To qualify as a mystic, as one who has had a mystical experience, or a series of mystical experiences, it really means allowing yourself to let go of your identity and just… being.”
“A mystic is someone who has an experience of union with The One—and The One may be God, it may be Mother Earth, it may be the cosmos. That experience is rare, but everyone has them I think, where you momentarily forget that you are a separate ego, personality, self, and you experience your interconnectedness with all that is,” Starr continues.

Since the word “mystical” is somewhat subjective here, we’ll go with the dictionary definition: “involving or having the nature of an individual’s direct subjective communion with God or ultimate reality.”

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