is powerless in the expression of Love. Love alone
is capable of revealing the truth of Love and being
a Lover. The way of our prophets is the way of Truth.
If you want to live, die in Love; die in Love if
you want to remain alive.
I silently moaned so that for
a hundred centuries to come,
The world will echo in the sound of my hayhâ1
It will turn on the axis of my hayhât
The name Mowlana
Jalaluddin Rumi stands for Love and ecstatic flight into
the infinite. Rumi is one of the great spiritual masters
and poetical geniuses of mankind and was the founder of
the Mawlawi Sufi order, a leading mystical brotherhood of
Rumi was born
in Wakhsh (Tajikistan) under the administration of Balkh
in 30 September 1207 to a family of learned theologians.
Escaping the Mongol invasion and destruction, Rumi and his
family traveled extensively in the Muslim lands, performed
pilgrimage to Mecca and finally settled in Konya, Anatolia,
then part of Seljuk Empire. When his father Bahaduddin Valad
passed away, Rumi succeeded his father in 1231 as professor
in religious sciences. Rumi 24 years old, was an already
accomplished scholar in religious and positive sciences.
He was introduced
into the mystical path by a wandering dervish, Shamsuddin
of Tabriz. His love and his bereavement for the death of
Shams found their expression in a surge of music, dance
and lyric poems, `Divani
Shamsi Tabrizi'. Rumi is the author of six volume didactic
epic work, the
`Mathnawi', called as the 'Koran in Persian' by Jami,
and discourses, `Fihi
ma Fihi', written to introduce his disciples into metaphysics.
If there is
any general idea underlying Rumi's poetry, it is the absolute
love of God. His influence on thought, literature and all
forms of aesthetic expression in the world of Islam cannot
Rumi died on December 17, 1273. Men of five faiths followed
his bier. That night was named Sebul Arus (Night of Union).
Ever since, the Mawlawi dervishes have kept that date as
The day I've died, my pall
is moving on -
But do not think my heart is still on earth!
Don't weep and pity me: "Oh woe, how awful!"
You fall in devil's snare - woe, that is awful!
Don't cry "Woe, parted!" at my burial -
For me this is the time of joyful meeting!
Don't say "Farewell!" when I'm put in the grave
A curtain is it for eternal bliss.
You saw "descending" - now look at the rising!
Is setting dangerous for sun and moon?
To you it looks like setting, but it's rising;
The coffin seems a jail, yet it means freedom.
Which seed fell in the earth that did not grow there?
Why do you doubt the fate of human seed?
What bucket came not filled from out the cistern?
Why should the Yusaf "Soul" then fear this well?
Close here your mouth and open it on that side.
So that your hymns may sound in Where- no-place!
Schimmel, Annemarie. Look!
This Is Love: Poems of Rumi.
Boston, Mass.: Shambhala Publications, 1991.
waves upon my head the circling curl,
in the sacred dance weave ye and whirl.
then, O heart, a whirling circle be.
in this flame - is not the candle He?
symbolise the divine love
and mystical ecstasy; they aim at union with the Divine.
The music and the dance are designed to induce a meditative
state on the love of God. Mawlawi music contains some
of the most core elements of Eastern classical music and
it serves mainly as accompaniment for poems of Rumi and
other Sufi poets. The music of the samâ
is generally conducted by the chief drummer. Percussion
accompaniment is supplied by the kudums (small
kettledrums) and cymbals; melody is provided by the Ney
(reed flute), the string instruments and the voice. The
words and even syllables of the poetry are connected to
the musical sentences. "Dervish music cannot be written
in notes. Notes do not include the soul of the dervish."
turn timelessly and effortlessly. They whirl, turning round
on their own axis and moving also in orbit. The right hand
is turned up towards heaven to receive God's overflowing
mercy which passes through the heart and is transmitted
to earth with the down turned left hand. While one foot
remains firmly on the ground, the other crosses it and propels
the dancer round. The rising and falling of the right foot
is kept constant by the inner rhythmic repetition of the
name of "Allah-Al-lah,
Al-lah..." The ceremony can be seen as a great
crescendo in three stages: knowing God, seeing God and uniting
what is samâ? A
message from the fairy, hidden in your heart;
with their letter comes serenity to the
The tree of wisdom comes to bloom with this breeze;
The inner pores of existence open to this tune.
When the spiritual cock crows, the dawn arrives;
When Mars beats his drum victory is ours.
The essence of the soul was fighting the barrel of the
When it hears the sound of the daf it matures and
A wondrous sweetness is sensed in the body;
It is the sugar that the flute and the flute-player bring
to the listener.
Translated by Fatemeh Keshavarz,
Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi',
University of South Carolina Press, 1998.
has heard of me, let him prepare to come and see me;
whoever desires me, let him search for me.
He will find me - then let him choose none other than
The steps of
the way to union with the Divine are performed according
to strict rules. Within a circle the sheikh stands at the
"post". It is the highest spiritual position,
marked by a red rug indicating the direction of Mecca. Red
is the colour of union and of the manifested world. The
musicians' platform faces. There are 24 colour of union
and of the manifested world. The musicians' platform faces
the sheikh; the whirling dervishes take their places to
a poem of praise to the Prophet, opens the ceremony. It
is followed by a recitation from the Qur'an. The kudums
(drums) then break the silence to introduce the flute solo
that conveys the yearning for the union with God. The next
step is the Sultan Veled Walk when the dervishes, following
the sheikh, circle the hall three times, stopping to bow
to each other at the "post".
selam (salutation) introduces the dance: the dervish
obtains his permission to whirl by kissing the hand of the
sheikh. The master of the dance directs him to his position:
As the musicians play and the chorus chants, the sheikh
stands at the "post" and the dervishes unfold
and turn repeating their inaudible "Allah, Allah, Allah.
. ." This part of the ceremony lasts approximately
ten minutes and is repeated four times. At the fourth selam
the sheikh joins the whirling. He represents the centre
(the sun); the dervishes represent the orbiting
planets turning around him and around themselves in
the solar system of Rumi.
is concluded by the recitation of the Fatiha, the opening
chapter of the Qur'an, followed by a prayer to Mowlana and
Shamsuddin of Tabriz. All dervishes then join in chanting
the "Hu" which is the all-embracing Name
of God, the One.
What is to be done, O Moslems?
for I do not recognize myself.
I am neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Gabr, nor Moslem.
I am not of the East, nor of the West, nor of the land,
nor of the sea;
I am not of Nature's mint, nor of the circling' heaven.
I am not of earth, nor of water, nor of air, nor of fire;
I am not of the empyrean, nor of the dust, nor of existence,
nor of entity.
I am not of India, nor of China, nor of Bulgaria, nor
I am not of the kingdom of 'Iraqian, nor of the country
I am not of the this world, nor of the next, nor of Paradise,
nor of Hell
I am not of Adam, nor of Eve, nor of Eden and Rizwan.
My place is the Placeless, my trace is the Traceless ;
'Tis neither body nor soul, for I belong to the soul of
I have put duality away, I have seen that the two worlds
One I seek, One I know J One I see, One I call.
He is the first, He is the last, He is the outward, He
is the inward;
I know none other except 'Ya Hu' and 'Ya man Hu.'
I am intoxicated with Love's cup, the two worlds have
passed out of my ken ;
I have no business save carouse and revelry.
If once in my life I spent a moment without thee,
From that time and from that hour I repent of my life.
If once in this world I win a moment with thee,
I will trample on both worlds, I will dance in triumph
O Shamsi Tabriz, I am so drunken in this world,
That except of drunkenness and revelry I have no tale
From Divan-i Shams
Excerpt from Rumi,
A Spiritual Biography (Lives & Legacies) by Leslie
Wines, Barbara Ellis (editor)
Life and Work of Jalaluddin Rumi, Afzal Iqbal, (August
1999) Oxford University Press
Am Wind Your Are Fire: The Life and Work of Rumi Annemarie
Schimmel, (December 1992) Shambhala Publications
Heritage of Sufism Volume 1: Classical Persian Sufism from
Its Origins to Rumi (700-1300) Leonard Lewisohm (Editor),
Javad Nurbakhsh, 24 June, 1999, Oneworld Publications
- Past and Present, East and West by Franklin
D. Lewis Published 2000 Oneworld Publications