Divan-e Shams in English & Farsi

"Divan-e Shams is a masterpiece of wisdom and eloquence. It is often said that Rumi had attained the level of a "Perfect Master" and as such, he often dwelled in the spiritual realms that were rarely visited by others of this world. He attained heights that were attained by only a few before him or since..."

"The name Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi stands for love and ecstatic flight into the infinite. Rumi is one of the greatest spiritual masters and poetical geniuses of mankind and was the founder of the Mevlevi Sufi Order, a leading mystical brotherhood of Islam. Rumi was born in Balkh [a historic city in northern modern Afghanistan near Mazar-e Sharif, back then the eastern frontiers of the great Persian Empire], 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 Bahauddin Walad 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.

Rumi was introduced into the mystical path by a wandering dervish, Shams of Tabriz. His love and his bereavement for the death of Shams found their expression in a surge of music, dance and lyric poems, `Divan Shams Tabrizi'. Rumi is the author of six volume didactic epic work, the `Masnavi', called as the 'Quran in Persian' by Jami [the eminent 15th century Persian Sufi poet], 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. The Mevlevi rites Sema [Sufi Dance of Whirling Dervishes] symbolize 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. Mevlevi 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 Sema ceremony can be seen as a great crescendo in three stages: knowing God, seeing God and uniting with God...Rumi's influence on thought, literature and all forms of aesthetic expression in the world of Islam cannot be overrated.

Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi died on December 17, 1273. Men of five faiths followed his bier. That night was named Shab-e Arus [literally Wedding Night or Rumi's Night of Union with God). Ever since, the Mevlevi Sufi Dervishes have kept that date as a festival." 

Excerpts from Rumi's World: The Life and Works of the Greatest Sufi Poet by the universally acclaimed German-born scholar of Rumi, late Professor Annemarie Schimmel (1922 - 2003).


Rumi is born in Balkh, north-eastern Persia [northern modern Afghanistan].
Rumi’s family emigrate from Persia.

Alaoddin Kay Qobad ascends Seljuk throne in Anatolia [central Turkey].

Death of Faridoddin Attar [eminent 13th century Persian Sufi poet].

The Mongol army conquers Balkh [Rumi's birthplace in northern-Afghanistan]. 

Rumi’s family settle temporarily in Karaman, Anatolia [central Turkey] .

Rumi marries Gowhar Khatun.

Birth of Soltan Valad [Rumi's favorite son and successor].


Rumi’s family relocate to Konya [central Turkey].
Death of Baha Valad [ Rumi's father].

Borhanoddin Termezi arrives in Konya [Rumi's first Sufi master].

Rumi begins his studies in Syria.


Death of Ebn al-Farez in Egypt [eminent 13th century Arab Sufi poet].
Rumi returns to Konya as leader of Baha Valad’s school. Ghiyasoddin Kay Khosrow II ascends Seljuk throne in Anatolia [central Turkey].

Death of Ebn Arabi in Damascus [eminent 13th century Arab-Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher].

The Mongols extend their empire to Anatolia [central Turkey].

Rumi meets Shams-e Tabriz in Konya for the first time.

Shams leaves Konya [central Turkey].

Shams returns to Konya [central Turkey].

Shams disappears. Salahoddin the Goldsmith begins tenure as Rumi’s deputy. 


Death of Salahoddin. Hosamoddin Chalabi begins tenure as Rumi’s deputy. The Mongols conquer Baghdad, the Abbasid capital.

The Mongols are defeated in Syria by the Mamluks. 

The Masnavi is started. 

The Masnaviis resumed after a pause on account of the death of Hosamoddin’s wife [Rumi stopped composing the Masnavi for about two years].


17 December - Death of Rumi in Konya [central Turkey where his magnificent Shrine- The Green Dome - now stands].

RUMI CHRONOLOGY above is from The Masnavi - Book One by the Afghan-born Rumi scholar and translator, Professor Jawid Mojadeddi (Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of Religion at Rutgers University).

In parentheses [ ] information above are my insertions.

"Rumi’s poetry and prose writings have a spiritual content that is the universal language of the human soul. They speak of the spiritual journey of Man’s ascent through the mind and soul towards Perfection (God). Rumi's works are spiritual works – they are a reflection of him ‘living in God’ and being a mere instrument in his hands – it reflects God's brilliance. Humanity, love, compassion, tolerance, respect for, openness to, acceptance of the others in their otherness, and interfaith dialogues are fundamentals of Rumi's thought and practice. The general theme of Rumi's thought, like that of other mystic and Sufi poets of Persian literature, is essentially that of Sufi concept of Towheed – Ultimate Mystical Union of a Sufi mystic lover with the Beloved (God) –  from whom he or she has been cut off and become aloof – thus the lifelong longing and desire of a Sufi mystic seeker to annihilate Self and become One with the One and Only. It is often said that the teachings of Rumi are ecumenical in nature. For Rumi, religion was mostly a personal experience and not limited to logical arguments or perceptions of the senses. Creative love, or the urge to rejoin the spirit to divinity, was the goal towards which everything moves... Rumi's works were recorded, collected and compiled during his lifetime and after his death, by his son, friends and students; particularly his much-loved last disciple, Husamuddin Chelebi to whom Rumi had dedicated his magnum opus, The Masnavi."

Masnavi Manavi - 
مثنوی معنوی Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meanings - It contains a collection of around 25,000 rhyming couplets, and 440 mystical/spiritual stories divided into Six Books. The Masnavi's rhyming couplets (a type of poetry called, in Arabic, Mathnawî) are embedded with stories, ethical teachings, and deeply spiritual teachings. 
The Masnavi weaves fables, scenes from everyday life, Quranic revelations and exegesis, and metaphysics into a vast and intricate tapestry.  Masnavi is deeply permeated with Quranic meanings and references, which is why it has been so famous and well-loved for so many centuries all across the Muslim and non Muslim world. Rumi's magnum opus, Masnavi though remains as an unfinished literary work- with its final story in Book Six still incomplete. By all accounts, Rumi - sensing his imminent death - had decided to take a vow of silence, thus intentionally refraining to complete his monumental work. Rumi leaves the last story of Masanvi -The Man Who Left His Property To The Laziest Of His Three Sons - intentionally unfinished and says: "I am tired, what a long story I told. I am drowned in the ocean of inner meanings; and you are so impatient." That is how the Masnavi ends for it is not long before Rumi leaves the world of forms forever.

Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Divan-e Kabir - 
دیوان شمس تبریزی یا دیوان کبیر - Rumi's Great Collection of Lyrical Poems dedicated to his mystical lover and Sufi master, Shams of Tabriz - Besides approximately 35000 Persian couplets and 2000 Persian quatrains, the Divan contains 90 ghazals/odes and 19 quatrains in Arabic, a couple of dozen or so couplets in Turkish (mainly macaronic poems of mixed Persian and Turkish) and 14 couplets in Greek (all of them in three macaronic poems of Greek-Persian). The Divan is the inspiration of Rumi's middle-aged years. It began with his meeting Shams of Tabriz, becoming his disciple and spiritual friend, the stress of Shams' first disappearance, and the crisis of Shams' final disappearance. It is believed that Rumi continued to compose poems for the Divan long after this final crisis– during the composition of the Masnavi. The Divan is filled with ecstatic verses in which Rumi expresses his mystical love for Shams as a symbol of his love for God. The poems in Divan are lyrical. Rumi recited his poems while whirling about in an ecstatic state, and scribes recorded them through the years. In these poems, which were composed without a conscious concern for the strict meter and rhyme requirements of Persian Poetry, one can clearly sense Rumi's profound outpouring of pain, separation, memories, nostalgia, burning, brokenness of heart
, ecstasy and love.

Fihi Ma Fihi - 
فیه ما فیه - literally 'It Is What It Isor Discourses of Rumi - It contains a collection of 71 talks and lectures given by Rumi at various occasions, some formal and others informal. Fihi Ma Fihi is a record of those seventy one spiritual discussions that often followed music and dance, the reciting of sacred poems and phrases, and the now famous Whirling Dance of Sufi Dervishes that Rumi originated to bring spiritual awakening to the masses. Fihi Ma Fihi or Discourses of Rumi is considered as Rumi's significant third work since it's his prose introduction and also an abbreviated prose companion to his far more famous six volume work, the Masnavi. Like the Masnavi, it was written during the last few years of Rumi’s life.

Majalis-e Saba -
مجالس سبعه - Seven Sermons - It contains a collection of  7 Rumi sermons or lectures given in seven different assemblies. The sermons themselves give a commentary on the deeper meaning of Quran and Hadith. The Sermons also include quotations from poems of Sanai, Attar, and other poets, including Rumi himself. As his hagiographer, Aflaki relates, after Shams Tabrizi, Rumi gave Sermons at the request of notables, especially his second deputy, Salah al-Din Zarkub.

Maktubat - 
مکتوبات - Letters/Epistles - It contains a collection of 150 of Rumi's Letters to his family members, friends, and men of state and of influence. The Letters - written from the 1240's onward to various officials on behalf of persons in need - testify that Rumi was not recluse, and kept very busy helping family members and administering a community of disciples that had grown up around them. 

Rumi's Masnavi and Divan are his Poetic works, while Discourses, Sermons, and Letters/Epistles are his Prose collections. Rumi's Sermons and Letters/Epistles are not yet fully translated into English.

Rumi eBooks Collection

"The sublime humanism of Rumi fired the imagination of mankind long before the West discovered the dignity of Man. Dante was a young boy at the time of Rumi's death. The great humanist of the West, Petrarch came a full century after him; and Erasmus followed him two and a half centuries later. Sir William Jones, an eighteenth-century British scholar of the Persian language, proclaimed that “I know of no writer to whom [Rumi] can justly be compared, except Chaucer or Shakespeare...so extraordinary a book as the Masnavi was never, perhaps, composed by Man. It abounds with beauties, and blemishes, equally great; with gross obscenity, and pure ethics; with exquisite strains of poetry, and flat puerility; with wit, and pleasantry, mixed jests; with ridicule on all established religions, and a vein of sublime piety...the Masnavi reflects a much more ecumenical spirit and a far broader and deeper religious sensibility than Dante's Divine Comedy.” 

Hegel considered Rumi as one of the greatest poets and thinkers in world history. In the early twentieth century, Edward Granville Browne declared Rumi “without doubt the most eminent Sufi poet whom Persia has produced,” adding that “his mystical Masnavi deserves to rank amongst the great poems of all time.”
The twentieth century German poet Hans Meinke saw in Rumi 'the only hope for the dark times we are living in.' The French writer Maurice Barres once confessed, 'When I experienced Rumi's poetry, which is vibrant with the tone of ecstasy and with melody, I realized the deficiencies of Shakespeare, Goethe and Victor Hugo.' In contemporary England, Professor R. A. Nicholson translated the Masnavi into English and characterized Rumi and his works as 'the Masnavi is a majestic river, calm and deep, meandering through many a rich and varied landscape to the immeasurable ocean; the Divan is a foaming torrent that leaps and plunges in the ethereal solitude of the hills. Rumi is the greatest mystic poet of any age.' A. J. Arberry stated, “In Rumi we encounter one of the world’s greatest poets. In profundity of thought, inventiveness of image, and triumphant mastery of language, Rumi stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic Mysticism.”

Most interpreters have sought to expound the Masnavi in terms of the pantheistic system associated with Ibn al-Arabi, but this is doing grave injustice to Rumi. He is essentially a poet and a mystic, not a philosopher and logician...The nature of Rumi's experience is essentially religious. By religious experience is not meant an experience induced by the observance of a, code of taboos and laws, but an experience which owes its being to love; and by love Rumi means 'a cosmic feeling, a spirit of oneness with the Universe.' 'Love,' says Rumi, 'is the remedy of our pride and self-conceit the physician of all our infirmities. Only he whose garment is rent by love becomes entirely unselfish.'...

In Turkey, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Rumi is honored as a saint, a sage, and a seer."

Excerpts from The Life and Work of Jalaluddin Rumi by the eminent Pakistani-born scholar of Rumi, Professor Afzal Iqbal (1923 -1994). Late Prof. Iqbal's monumental book is A MUST READ if you're interested in leaning about Rumi's life, works, and teachings (Click above links or HERE to read the entire book online).

"Rumi entitled his collection of odes Divan-I Shams-i-Tabriz, the Mathnawi he calls Husami Namah- the Book of Husam. Shams was the hero of the Divan, Husam-ud-din is invoked as the inspiring genius of the Mathnawi. Rumi took nearly twelve years to dictate 25.700 verses to Husam-ud-din. The modern reader demands a summary which he can dispose of in an hour. This is not possible. Even the best of summaries would do serious damage to the work. We could only attempt an outline, often using the words and employing the idiom of the author....Rumi is aware of the massive contribution he is making. In the prose introduction of Book IV, without being unduly immodest he says, 'it is the grandest of gifts and the most precious of prizes; . . . It is a light to our friends and a treasure for our (spiritual) descendants.' He is now a poet with a purpose. He asks,

Does any painter paint a beautiful picture for the sake of the picture itself?
Does any potter make a pot in haste for the sake of the pot itself and not in hope of the water?
Does any bowl-maker make a finished ~owl for the sake of the bowl itself and not for the sake of the food?
Does any calligrapher write artistically for the sake of writing itself and not for the sake of the reading?
[IV, 2881, 2884, 2885, 2886.]

In the last volume of the Mathnawi, referring to his critics, Rumi complains that the 'sour people are making us distressed, but what is to be done? The message must be delivered. 'Does a caravan ever turn back from a journey on account of the noise and clamour of the dogs?, ‘If you are thirsting for the spiritual Ocean,' says Rumi, 'make a breach in the island of the Mathnawi. Make such a great breach that at every moment you will see the Mathnawi to be only spiritual...

‘I saw my Lord;
I do not worship a Lord whom I have not seen!’

Rumi says: So long as you are under the dominion of your senses and discursive reason, it makes no difference whether you regard God as transcendent or immanent, since you cannot possibly attain to true knowledge of either aspect of His nature. The appearance of plurality arises from the animal soul, the vehicle of sense-perception. The 'human spirit' is the spirit which God breathed into Adam, and that is the spirit of the Perfect Man. Essentially it is single and indivisible, hence the Prophets and saints, having been entirely purged of sensual affections, are one in spirit, though they may be distinguished from each other by particular characteristics.

'The world of creation is endowed with (diverse) quarters and directions, (but) know that the world of the (Divine) Command and Attributes is without (beyond) direction. . . . No created being is unconnected with Him: the connexion . . . is indescribable, 'because in the spirit there is no separating and uniting, while (our) thought cannot think except [in terms] of separating and uniting. Intellect is unable completely to comprehend this reality for it is in bondage to its own limitation of thinking in categories it has coined for itself. That is why the Prophet enjoined: 'Do not seek to investigate the Essence of God.

In the Proem of Book V, Rumi says to God:

Thy dignity hath transcended intellectual apprehension: in describing thee the intellect has become an idle fool.
(Yet), although this intellect is too weak to declare (what thou art), one must weakly make a movement (attempt) in that (direction).
Know that when the whole of a thing is unattainable the whole of it is not (therefore to be) relinquished.
If you cannot drink (all) the flood-rain of the clouds, (yet) how can you give up water-drinking?
If thou wilt not communicate the mystery, (at least) refresh (our) apprehensions with the, husk thereof.

The man who has seen the vision is alone unique and original; and he cannot give expression to his vision for there are nor words to describe the experience which is impossible to communicate. When the Prophet left Gabriel behind and ascended the highest summit open to man the Qur’an only says that ‘Then He revealed to His servant that which He revealed.’ What he saw is not explained; it cannot be explained and it cannot be described. A stage arrives when silence becomes the height of eloquence! And yet we cannot remain content with knowledge borrowed from others. We must strive to experience for ourselves that unique indescribable vision. Our bane is that we see with borrowed light and color and we think it is our own. Rumi asks God ‘what fault did that orchard commit,’ that it has been stripped of the beautiful robes and has been plunged into the dreary destruction of autumn? The reply comes:

‘The crime is that he put on a borrowed adornment and pretended that these robes were his own property.
We take them back, in order that he may know for sure that the stack is Ours and the fair ones are (only) gleaners;
That he may know that those robes were a loan: ‘twas a ray from the Sun of Being. . . .
Thou art content with knowledge learned (from others): thou hast lit thine eye at another lamp.
He takes away his lamp, that thou mayst know thou art a borrower, not a giver.’ [V, 979-93.]..."

Excerpts from late Prof. Afzal Iqbal's The Impact of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi on Islamic Culture -
A MUST READ - (Click link below or HERE to read the entire book online).

Shams Tabrizi - Life and Teachings

Sufi Teachings of Shams of Tabriz

Conversations -Maqalat of Shams Tabrizi

Shams Tabrizi Esoteric Quotes

Shams and Rumi Meeting

Shams and Rumi: The Untold Story

Husain ibn Ahmad Khatibi - Rumi's Grandfather

Bahauddin Walad - Rumi's Father

Burhanuddin Mohaqeq Tirmizi - Rumi's First Spiritual Master

Shams Tabrizi - Rumi's Second Spiritual Master

O my soul, where can I find rest
but in the shimmering love of his heart?
Where can I see the pure light of the Sun
but in the eyes of my own Shams of Tabriz?

You are either the Light of God
or God Himself in human form.

"By all accounts, Rumi lived a grand and illustrious life-he was a respected teacher, a master of Sufi lore, the head of a university in the Anatolian capital city of Konya (in present-day Turkey ). At the age of thirty-four he claimed hundreds of disciples, the king being one of them. And what is so remarkable and unforgettable about Rumi's life is that in one moment all this changed-the moment he met a wandering darvish named Shams-e Tabriz.

There are several accounts of this historic meeting. One version says that during a lecture of Rumi's, Shams came in and dumped all of Rumi's books--One handwritten by his own father-into a pool of water. Rumi thought the books were destroyed, but Shams retrieved them, volume by volume, intact. Another version says that at a wave of Shams' hand, Rumi's books were engulfed in flames and burned to ashes. Shams then put his hand in the ashes and pulled out the books. (A story much like the first.) A third account says that Rumi was riding on a mule through a square in the center of Konya. A crowd of eager students walked by his feet. Suddenly a strange figure dressed in black fur approached Rumi, grabbed hold of his mule's bridle, and said: "O scholar of infinite knowledge, who was greater, Muhammad or Bayazid of Bestam?" This seemed like an absurd question since, in all of Islam, Muhammad was held supreme among all the prophets. Rumi replied, "How can you ask such a question?-No one can compare with Muhammad." "O then," Shams asked, "why did Muhammad say, 'We have not known Thee, O God, as thou should be known,' whereas Bayazid said, 'Glory unto me! I know the full glory of God'?"

With this one simple question--and with the piercing gaze of Shams' eyes-Rumi's entire view of reality changed. The question was merely an excuse. Shams' imparting of an inner awakening is what shattered Rumi's world. The truths and assumptions upon which Rumi based his whole life crumbled. This same story is told symbolically in the first two accounts, whereby Rumi's books-representing all his acquired intellectual knowledge, including the knowledge given to him by his father-are destroyed, and then miraculously retrieved or "resurrected" by Shams. The books coming from the ashes, created anew by Shams, represent the replacing of Rumi's book-learned knowledge (and his lofty regard for such knowledge) with divine knowledge and the direct experience of God.

According to an embellished version of this third account, after Shams' question, Rumi entered a mystical state of ego annihilation that the Sufis call fana. When he regained consciousness, he looked at Shams with utter amazement, realizing that this was no ordinary darvish, but the Beloved himself in human form.

From that moment on, Rumi's life was never again the same. He took Shams to live in his home and the two men were inseparable; they spent hours a day together, sometimes isolating themselves for long periods to pray and fast in divine communion with God. About this meeting, Rumi's son Sultan Walad wrote: "After meeting Shams, my father danced all day and sang all night. He had been a scholar--he became a poet. He had been an ascetic-he became drunk with love. 

Rumi was totally lost in this newfound love that his master revealed, and all his great attainments were blossoming through that love. Every day was a miracle, a new birth for Rumi's soul. He had found the Beloved, he had finally been shown the glory of his own soul. Then, suddenly, eighteen months after Shams entered Rumi's life, he was gone. He returned some time later, for brief period, and then he was gone again forever. Some accounts say that Shams left in the middle of the night and that Rumi wandered in search of him for two years. (Perhaps a symbolic and romantic portrayal of the lover in search of his missing Beloved.) Other accounts report that Shams was murdered by Rumi's jealous disciples (symbolizing how one's desires and lower tendencies can destroy the thing held most dear).

Without Shams, Rumi found himself in a state of utter and incurable despair; and his whole life thereafter became one of longing and divine remembrance. Rumi's emptiness was that of a person who has just lost a husband or a wife, or a dear friend. Rumi's story shows us that the longing and emptiness we feel for a lost loved one is only a reflection, a hologram, of the longing we feel for God; it is the longing we feel to become whole again, the longing to return to the root from which we were cut. (Rumi uses the metaphor of a reed cut from a reed bed and then made into a flute-which becomes a symbol of a human separated from its source, the Beloved. And as the reed flute wails all day, telling about its separation from the reed bed, so Rumi wails all day telling about being separated from his Beloved.)

It was Shams' disappearance, however, that ignited the fire of longing within Rumi; and it was this very longing that brought him the glorious union with the Beloved. Years later Rumi wrote: "It is the burn of the heart that I want. It is this burning which is everything-more precious than a worldly empire-because it calls God secretly in the night."

Excerpts from Jonathan Star's outstanding book Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved


You are my Sufi master, You are my desire.
You are my pain, You are my medication.
I'd be blaspheming for saying this:
You are my Shams, You are my God.

O my truth-bestowing truth
I've reached the Ultimate Truth (God) through you
I give thanks and praises to you
You are my Shams, You are my God.

Just a fleeting glance of yours
And I am checkmated twice!
You are the king of my both worlds
You are my Shams, You are my God.

I annihilate my own self right before your eyes
Until there is nothing left of me
That's how I show my love and respect for you
You are my Shams, You are my God.

The roaring sound of my homesickness cries
Travels from the gates of Roum to Balkh
My origin never forgets its roots
You are my Shams, You are my God.

Jesus raised the dead to life
But sacrificed his own life
You are the ever-eternal one
You are my Shams, You are my God.

Come over o clouds and shower some rain
Over the East and West of this world
I'll blow the 'Resurrection Trumpet'
To announce you are the coming Messiah
You are my Shams, You are my God.

You are my Kaaba, You are my Synagogue
You are my Heaven, You are my Hell
You are my companion, You are my life
You are my Shams, You are my God.

Rumi - from Divan-e Shams ~ My Translation

پير من و مراد من درد من و دواي من
فاش بگفتم اين سخن شمس من و خداي من
از تو به حق رسيده‌ام اي حق حقگزار من
شکر تو را ستاده‌ام شمس من و خداي من
مات شوم ز عشق تو زانکه شه دو عالمي
تا تو مرا نظر کني شمس من وخداي من
محو شوم به پيش تو تا که اثر نماندم
شرط ادب چنين بود شمس من و خداي من
نغرۀ های و هوی من ازدر روم  تا به بلخ
اصل کجا خطا کند شمس من و خدای من
عیسی مرده زنده کرد دید فنای خویشتن
زنده جاودان تویی شمس من و خدای من
ابر بيا و آب زن مشرق و مغرب جهان
صور بدم که مي‌رسد شمس من و خداي من
کعبه‌ي من کنشت من دوزخ من بهشت من
مونس روزگار من شمس من و خداي من
مولانا در فراق شمس

"By Allah, seeing your face is a blessing!...Happy the one who finds Maulana [Rumi]! Who am I? One who found him. Happy am I! By Allah, I am deficient in knowing Maulana. There is no hypocrisy or politesse or interpretation in these words; I am deficient in knowing him! Every day I realize something about his state and his deeds which I didn't know yesterday. I discover Maulana better, so I do not later grow confused.

Maulana has two ways of talking: one public and one heartfelt. As for the public one, the souls of all the saints and their collective spirit long to have found Maulana and sat with him. And as for the heartfelt one, devoid of hypocrisy, the spirit of the prophets long for it: "If only we had been in his time and been his companions and heard his words!" So don't you miss out now. Don't look to the first, but to this other thing, to which the spirit of the prophets looks with longing and regret.

I first came to Maulana with the understanding that I would not be his Shaykh (Sufi Master). God has not yet brought into being on this earth one who could be Maulana's Shaykh; he would not be a mortal. But nor am I one to be a disciple. It's no longer in me. Now I come for friendship, relief. It must be such that I do not need to dissimulate. Most of the prophets have dissimulated. Dissimulation is expressing something contrary to what is in your heart. In my presence, as he listens to me, Maulana considers himself - I am ashamed to even say it - like a two-year-old child or like a new convert to Islam who knows nothing about it. Amazing submissiveness!

Regarding me and Maulana, the intended aim of the world's existence is the encounter of two friends of God, when they face each other only for the sake of God, far distant from lust and craving. The purpose is not for bread, soup with bread crumbs, butcher, or the butcher's business. It is such a moment as this, when I am tranquil in the presence of Maulana. Beyond these outward spiritual leaders who are famous among the people and mentioned from the pulpits and in assemblies, there are the hidden saints, more complete than the famous ones. And beyond them, there is the sought one that some of the hidden saints find. Maulana thinks that I am he, but that's not how I see itThe story of the sought one cannot be found in any book, nor in the explanations of religion, nor in the sacred treatises - all those are explanations for the path of the seeker. We've only heard about the sought ones - nothing more has been said. In the whole world, words belong only to the seeker. The sought one has no mark in this world. Every mark is the mark of the seeker.

Which arrow is it that strikes you? 
These words.

Which quiver do these arrows come from?
From the world of the Real.

Whose bow do they fly from?

These arrows will take you to the world of the Real. They are in the quiver there, but I can't shoot them. The arrows I shoot all go back into the quiver from where they come. There may be one fault in a man that conceals a thousand qualities, or one excellence that conceals a thousand faults. The little indicates much. Being the companion of the folk of this world is fire. There must be an Abraham if the fire is not going to burn. I have no business with the common folk of the world; I have not come for their sake. Those people who are guides for the world unto God, I put my finger on their pulse."

Excerpts from 'Maqalat-e Shams-e Tabrizi - مقالات شمس تبریزی', literally 'Shams Tabrizi's Discoursestranslated into English by one of the greatest contemporary American scholars of Rumi, Professor William C. Chittick as: Me and Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-i Tabrizi


"William Chittick’s masterful translation of the Maqalat of Shamsi Tabrizi moves Rumi’s beloved mentor from the shadows into the light, and restores Shams to the central position of prominence that he so richly deserves.  This work immediately joins the indispensable short list of scholarly works on Rumi and his community.  Highly recommended for all scholars and students of Sufism, Islamic Philosophy, Persian literature, and of course for all the legions of Rumi fans."  -Annemarie Schimmel.

One of the Oldest Copies of Divan
Replicas of Original Divan

Who is an Anatolian Turk?
Who is a Persian Balkhi?*
Who is a  Black Zangi?*
Who is a White Rumi?
Where did I come from?
Where did all this poetry come from?
Yet somehow,
these poems are breathed into me
and all this poetry simply pouring out of me...
Rumi - from Divan-e Shams - My Translation

*Balkhi = From Balkh (a historic city in northern Afghanistan where Rumi was born).
*Zangi = From Zanzibar - the ancient Farsi name for the entire East African Coast. Zangi in Farsi or Persian also means a Black Person.

ترکی کی بلخی کی زنگی کی رومی کی
من از کجا شعر ازکجا لیکن بمن در می دمد
مولانا جلال الدین بلخی رومی

"Divan-e Shams is a masterpiece of wisdom and eloquence. It is often said that Rumi had attained the level of a "Perfect Master" and as such, he often dwelled in the spiritual realms that were rarely visited by others of this world. He attained heights that were attained by only a few before him or since.

In Divan-e Shams, he has used many images from the mundane world. Images such as the wine and the wine bearer, the pearl and the ocean, the sun and the moon, the night and day, the caravan, pilgrimage and many more. However, he has always expressed spiritual wisdom of the highest level through this imagery.

While many other poets have a mystical vision and then try to express it in a graspable language, Rumi has never attempted to bring his visions to the level of the mundane. He has always expected, nay, demanded the reader to reach higher and higher in his or her own spiritual understanding, and then perhaps be able to appreciate what Rumi was saying. Perhaps this is why there are many layers to his poetry… not so much because of his writing, but because of our understanding. As we transcend in our understanding, we grasp more and more of what he conveyed to us.

Yet there is more. While many of the translations of Rumi’s poetry have tried to convey the immense wisdom contained therein, often they overlook the musical and artistic beauty that they contain. Particularly in Divan-e Shams, Rumi has created such level of beauty through the use and mastery of musical rhythm and rhyme, that the reader not only can appreciate its wisdom, but also reach levels of ecstasy and mystical energy that is seldom found in other poems or any translations of his poetry.

The mastery of rhyme and rhythm is such that he often creates a new vocabulary, using the same old words, yet creating new feelings that are associated with them. Furthermore, often he has such mastery of play on words and puns, or at other times he uses the same word with a different accent or vowel twice or even thrice in the same verse, with a different meaning each time. One cannot help but marvel at the linguistic mastery he displays.

In any case, the end result is the same… the experience of artistic beauty, musical genius, rhythm and ecstatic energy, all in conjunction with the mental understanding of the wisdom conveyed. This is as close as one can get to the mystical experience itself, without actually being there with Rumi. In other words, His presence pervades his poetry, and one cannot help but be touched by such powerful and loving presence.

In translation from Farsi to English, it is inevitable that much of the intricacies are lost. However, the present translations have attempted to retain some of the rhythm and rhyme as well as the imagery and the core message of each poem, though often in feeble ways, only to attempt to present a glimpse of his mastery.

The translations are far from creating the ecstasy that Rumi creates and communicates, but it is hoped that they will point the reader in the same direction. And perhaps by using his or her imagination, the reader can have a glimpse of how Rumi would provide glimpses of ecstasy and mystical experience. And hopefully this will pave the way for the reader to connect with Rumi’s all and ever-pervasive presence, and with time, be touched by that spirit."
Courtesy of: Rumi on Fire

Click on each link below to read a poem from Rumi's Divan in English & Farsi simultaneously

"Diwan (Persian دیوان), also transliterated as Deewan or Divan, is a Persian word used also into Arabic (Arabic: الدیوان) and Turkish, and was borrowed also at an earlier date into Armenian. It derives from the Persian dibir, 'writer, scribe', and diwan or divān originally designated a list or register. The term derived from Pahlavi referring to a collection of poems by a single author; it may be a 'selected works', or the whole body of work of a Persian, Urdu or Ottoman Turkish poet. Thus Diwan-e Mir, and so on. The introduction of the term is attributed to Rudaki. It is also worth mentioning that the most famous work with this word as its title is the collection of poetry called Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi by Rumi, named so because of Rumi's love and dedication to Shams Tabrizi. The term divan was used in titles of poetic works in French, beginning in 1697, but was a rare and didactic usage, though one that was revived by its famous appearance in Goethe's West-Östlicher Divan (Poems of West and East), a work published in 1819 that reflected the poet's abiding interest in Middle Eastern and specifically Persian literature. This word has also been applied in a similar way to collections of Hebrew poetry and to poetry of al-Andalus."

The complete English translation of Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Dîvân-i Kebîr (22 Volume Set), translated by Dr. Nevit O. Ergin, is now available for purchase, through Society for Understanding Mevlana

This poetry, 
I never know what I'm going to say. 
I don't plan it. 
When I'm outside the saying of it, 
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.
Do you think I know what I’m doing,
That for a moment, or even half a moment,
I know what verses will come from my mouth?
I am no more than a pen in a writer’s hand,
No more than a ball smacked around by a polo stick!
Rumi ~ Translated by Coleman Barks

"What have I to do with poetry? By Allah, I care nothing for poetry, and there is nothing worse in my eyes than that. It has become incumbent upon me, as when a man plunges his hands into tripe and washes it out for the sake of a guest's appetite, because the guest's appetite is for tripe. I have studied many sciences and taken much pain, so that I may be able to offer fine and rare and precious things to the scholars and researchers, the clever ones and the deep thinkers who come to me. God most High Himself willed this. He gathered here all those sciences, and assembled here all those pains, so that I might be occupied with this work. What can I do? In my own country and among my own people there is no occupation more shameful than poetry. If I had remained in my own country, I would have lived in harmony with their temperament and would have practiced what they desired, such as lecturing and composing books, preaching and admonishing, observing abstinence and doing all the outward acts.."

"This spirituality that Rumi represents has obviously touched a very deep nerve in the American psyche. "

"Rumi, the 13th century [Afghan-born] Muslim mystic, is now America’s bestselling poet. Amazon lists more than a hundred books of his poetry, and Hollywood stars like Madonna and Martin Sheen have made a CD of his writings. In a country where Pulitzer Prize-winning poets often struggle to sell 10,000 books, Coleman Barks' translations of Rumi have sold more than a quarter of a million copies. Recordings of Rumi poems have made it to Billboard's Top 20 list. And a pantheon of Hollywood stars have recorded a collection of Rumi's love poems - these translated by holistic-health guru Deepak Chopra...Put it all together and you've got a Rumi revival that's made the 13th-century Persian wordsmith the top-selling poet in America today.

In America, Rumi is a teacher of universal spiritual love that crosses religions. Rumi was truly focused on the inner experience, and his writings about the spiritual journey have resonated with people from all walks of life. Rumi is also able to "evoke ecstasy from the plan facts of nature and everyday life" - and in our fast-paced world, that's something we can all appreciate."

Excerpts from Persian Poet Top Seller In America

"An Americanized Rumi who speaks to the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people and builds bridges of understanding between the Muslim World and the West is, after all, better than an Academized Rumi who speaks to no one."

"..The Western world has for decades been culling through the most alluring and exotic blooms of Eastern poetry and philosophy in search of a "spirituality" completely unencumbered by the spiky thorns of "religion." From the Zen masters embraced by the Beats of the '50s, to the Hindu holy men momentarily adopted by the Beatles in the '60s, to that quintessentially enigmatic Chinese mystic Lao Tzu whose Tao Te Ching has been Americanized by even more translators in the past few years than Rumi's work has the message most ardently sought by the West from these Eastern visionaries is ever the same: the divine is bigger than every vessel that seeks to hold it. But what too often gets ignored is the fact that the poets and mystics making this claim were always speaking from within such vessels themselves: complex cultural worlds to which they remained deeply attached and indebted no matter how free their words, cleaned up and tweaked by modern translators, might make them seem. The New Age dream of finding a guiding ancient voice free of all orthodoxies, dogmas and cultural conditionings has remained just that.

Jalaluddin Rumi was, among many other things, a lover of irony, of the odd and absurd juxtapositions that life creates. So it may be that Rumi would have savored the fact that Madonna set translations of his 13th century verses praising Allah to music on Deepak Chopra's 1998 CD, A Gift of Love; that Donna Karan has used recitations of his poetry as a background to her fashion shows; that Oliver Stone wants to make a film of his life; and that even though he hailed from Balkh, a town near Mazar-i-Sharif situated in what is today Afghanistan, his verse has only become more popular with American readers since September 11, when HarperCollins published The Soul of Rumi, 400 pages of poetry translated by Coleman Barks...previous Rumi best seller, The Essential Rumi, published by HarperCollins in 1995 with more than 250,000 copies in print, it is easily the most successful poetry book published in the West in the past decade...

The man most responsible for Rumi's popularity in the West today is Coleman Barks, a poet and retired professor of English at the University of Georgia. Humble and soft-spoken, Barks acknowledges that his translations are often far from exact renditions of the Farsi of Rumi's day which in any case he doesn't speak. To create them, he has used literal translations provided by others. Barks' emphasis on poetic essence over linguistic exactitude owes a strong debt to earlier poet-translators like Robert Bly, Kenneth Rexroth and Ezra Pound who championed a style of direct, aggressively unacademic translation. Following their example, Barks was able to create an American Rumi: one who speaks across the centuries with a voice as direct and imperative as a tug on the shirt...The God Rumi speaks of in his poems or at least in Barks' translations of them is one who seemingly has little interest in the intricacies of orthodoxy and doctrine. "Rumi keeps breaking the mosque and the minaret and the school," Barks told National Public Radio last year. "He says when those are torn down, then dervishes can begin their community. So he wants us all to break out of our conditioning, be it national or be it religious or be it gender based...

If Rumi himself were somehow zapped, robes and all, into the present day and given a look at the vast spiritual Starbucks where he is the most popular flavor of the moment, what would he make of it all? "

Excerpts from Rumi Rules! Muslim Mystic is U.S.'s Bestselling Poet

"Rumi is thus seen, not just as an icon of Islamic civilization (or of Afghan, Iranian, Tajik or Turkish national heritage), but of global culture. And, indeed, the popular following he enjoys in North America as a symbol of ecumenical spirituality is evident in bookstores, poetry slams, church sermons and on the internet. Some claim that Rumi is the bestselling poet in the United States, achieving great commercial success at the hands of authors who "translate" despite not speaking the original language.

Since another Persian poet, Omar Khayyam (d. 1121), once had societies dedicated to him in every corner of the Anglophone world, but is relatively little read today, we may well ask whether Rumi's recent fame in the West represents just another passing fad. But might he have something profound to say about, not only the paradigm of new age thought and spirituality, but also the mystical traditions of the other established religions?"

Excerpts from Rumi: World Figure or New Age Fad? by one of the greatest contemporary American scholars of Rumi, Professor Franklin Lewis (Part-1 of his 8 Outstanding Articles on Rumi). 

Franklin Lewis is associate professor of Persian in the department of near eastern languages and civilizations at the University of Chicago. The following eight articles on Rumi by the outstanding contemporary American scholar of Rumi, Professor Franklin Lewis are A MUST READ, if you're interested in leaning more about Rumi's life, works, and profound Sufi teachings. 

Prof. Franklin Lewis' Major Works on Rumi are:

A MUST READ...The Quintessential Book On Rumi

"An astounding work of scholarship by Prof. Lewis, which brings Rumi, his father, his son, Shams i Tabriz, and the entire world of medieval Konya to life in this monumental biography of Rumi and the Mevlevi Sufi Order he founded. Setting a benchmark in Rumi studies, this award-winning work examines the background, the legacy, and the continuing significance of this thirteenth-century mystic, who is today the best-selling poet in the United States. Franklin D. Lewis has drawn on a vast array of sources, from writings of the poet himself to the latest scholarly literature, to produce this detailed survey of Rumi's life and work. In addition to offering fresh perspectives on the philosophical and spiritual context in which Rumi was writing, and providing in-depth analysis of his teachings, Lewis pays particular attention to why Rumi continues to enjoy such a huge following in the West. Also featured in this ground-breaking study are new translations of over fifty of Rumi's poems, and never before seen prose, together with extensive commentaries and a full annotated bibliography of works by and about Rumi."

"It will simply not do to extract quotations out of context and present Rumi as prophet of the presumptions of an unchurched and syncretic spirituality. While Rumi does indeed demonstrate a tolerant and inclusive understanding of religion, he also, we must remember, trained as a preacher, like his father before him, and as a scholar of Islamic law. Rumi did not come to his theology of tolerance and inclusive spirituality by turning away from traditional Islam or organized religion, but through an immersion in it; his spiritual yearning stemmed from a radical desire to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad and actualize his potential as a perfect Muslim...To understand Rumi one must obviously understand something of the beliefs and assumptions he held as a Muslim. Rumi's beliefs derived from the Koran, the Hadith, Islamic theology and the works of Sunni mystics like Sana i, Attar, and his own father, Baha al-Din Valad." 

Excerpts from Prof. Franklin Lewis' monumental work Rumi: Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teachings, and Poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi


"Timeless and eternal, distilled from the deepest spirit, the poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi is loved the world over. In this beautifully presented volume of new translations, Franklin D. Lewis draws from the great breadth of his work, in all its varied aspects and voices. Working directly from the original Persian, Lewis brings to this translation not only the latest scholarship in Persian and English, but a deftness and lightness of touch that allows for a profound sensitivity to Rumi's mystical and philosophical background. Complete with a detailed introduction and notes, this is a perceptive, insightful, and deeply moving collection that will prove inspirational to both keen followers of Rumi's work and readers discovering the great poet for the first time."

Rumi - Ghazal/Ode # 1855 from Divan-e Shams - Translated by Prof. Franklin Lewis:

How could I know melancholia
Would make me so crazy,
Make of my heart a hell
Of my two eyes raging rivers?
How could I know a torrent would
Snatch me out of nowhere away,
Toss me like a ship upon a sea of blood
That waves would crack that ship’s ribs board by board,
Tear with endless pitch and yaw each plank
That a leviathan would read its head,
Gulp down the ocean’s water,
That such an endless ocean could dry up like a desert,
That the sea-quenching serpent could then split that desert
Could jerk me of a sudden, like Korah, with the hand of wrath,
Deep into a pit?
When these transmutations came about
Nod desert, not sea remained in sight
How should I know how it all happened
Since how is drowned in the Howless?
What a multiplicity of how could I knows!
But I don’t know
For to counter
The sea rushing in my mouth
I swallowed a froth of opium.

Here is Rumi's original Ghazal/Ode #1855 in Farsi or Persian from Divan-e Shams:

چه دانستم که این سودا مرا زین سان کند مجنون
دلم را دوزخی سازد دو چشمم را کند جیحون
چه دانستم که سیلابی مرا ناگاه برباید
چو کشتی ام دراندازد میان قلزم پرخون
زند موجی بر آن کشتی که تخته تخته بشکافد
که هر تخته فروریزد ز گردش‌های گوناگون
نهنگی هم برآرد سر خورد آن آب دریا را
چنان دریای بی‌پایان شود بی‌آب چون هامون
شکافد نیز آن هامون نهنگ بحرفرسا را
کشد در قعر ناگاهان به دست قهر چون قارون
چو این تبدیل‌ها آمد نه هامون ماند و نه دریا
چه دانم من دگر چون شد که چون غرق است در بی‌چون
چه دانم‌های بسیار است لیکن من نمی‌دانم
که خوردم از دهان بندی در آن دریا کفی افیون

مولانا- غزل شمارهٔ ۱۸۵۵ از دیوان شمس تبریزی

"Although Rumi has become one of America’s favorite poets, very little is known about the underlying metaphysical foundation which illuminates his language. Rumi is not a great poet in spite of Islam, He’s a great poet because of Islam. It’s because he lived his religion fully that he became this great expositor on beauty and love. Rumi has come to embody a kind of free-for-all American spirituality that has as much to do with Walt Whitman as Muhammad. Rumi’s work has become so universal that it can mean anything; readers use the poems for recreational self-discovery, finding in the lines whatever they wish.

In the modern West, Jalaluddin Rumi has become the best known Persian poet. Some Persian speakers may consider him the greatest poet of their language, but not if they are asked to stress the verbal perfections of the verses rather than the meaning that the words convey. Rumi's success in the West has to do with the fact that his message transcends the limitation of language. He has something important to say, and he says it in a way that is not completely bound up with the intricacies and beauty of the Persian language and the culture which that language conveys, nor even with poetry (he is also the author of prose works, including his Discourses, available in a good English translation by A.J. Arberry). One does not have to appreciate poetry to realize that Rumi is one of the greatest spiritual teachers who ever lived.

Rumi's greatness has to do with the fact that he brings out what he calls "the roots of the roots of the roots of the religion," or the most essential message of Islam, which is the most essential message of traditional religion everywhere: Human beings were born for unlimited freedom and infinite bliss, and their birthright is within their grasp. But in order to reach it, they must surrender to love. What makes Rumi's expression of this message different from other expressions is his extraordinary directness and uncanny ability to employ images drawn from everyday life.

Beauty, Rumi knows, is a profound need of the human soul, because God is beautiful and the source of all beauty, and God is the soul's only real need...For Rumi, separation from Shams was the outward sign of separation from God, which is only half the story. As much as Rumi complains of separation, he celebrates the joys of union. Shams, he lets us know, never really left him, nor was Rumi ever truly separate from God.

Shams Tabrizi is but a pretext-
I display the beauty of God's gentleness, I !" 

Excerpts from The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi by one of the greatest contemporary American scholars of Rumi, Prof. William C. Chittick

"William C. Chittick is a professor in the Department of Comparative Studies at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Professor Chittick is one the world’s leading translators and interpreters of the mystical poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi. He is also recognized for his translation and interpretation of the writings of the great 13th century Andalusian Sufi theorist and poet, Ibn Arabi."

Professor William C. Chittick is the author of MUST READ Books on Rumi and Sufism:

"Rumi is justly celebrated as one of the great poets of human history. When I started reading him as an undergraduate 45 years ago, I did not know Persian and relied on the work of R. A. Nicholson, who produced the first critical edition of Rumi's 25,000-verse Mathnawi along with a complete English translation and two volumes of commentary (eight volumes in all). At that time Rumi was practically unknown outside the field of Middle East studies, so his popularity in the West is a recent phenomenon. In the Persianate world (which extends from the Balkans through Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent), he has been a cultural icon for centuries. Although he is now far better known in the West than he was 40 years ago, the understanding of what he is actually talking about seems to have decreased. It was not easy to plow through Nicholson, but one did learn a great deal about the religious and philosophical content of Rumi's teachings. Having breezed through one of the popular selections, one comes out feeling good.

Everyone recognizes that Rumi was a poet of love. This means that most people see him as an oddity in Islamic history. When we situate him in his own historical context, however, we see that he spoke for the mainstream. What made him stand out was that he got to the heart of the matter more quickly and much more enticingly than most authors. He makes his agenda explicit in the introduction to the Mathnawi: He is explaining "the roots of the roots of the roots of the religion," that is, the Islamic religion founded by the Koran and Muhammad...

Rumi gave a great variety of names to the human participation in God's love -- hunger, thirst, need, desire, craving, passion, fire, burning. Like many others, he identified love with the "poverty" mentioned in the Koranic verse, "O people, you are the poor toward God, and God is the rich, the praiseworthy" (35:15). Love is that empty spot in our hearts that we can never fill, because it craves the infinite riches of the Hidden Treasure.

Once upon a time, Rumi says, we were fish swimming in the ocean, unaware of the water and ourselves. The ocean wanted to be recognized, so it threw us up on dry land. We flip after this, we flop after that, pursuing an ever more elusive happiness. Is the ocean tormenting us? Well, yes. It put us here. But, the more we burn, the more intensely we will love the ocean's beauty when it calls us back."

Excerpts from Rumi and the Ocean of God's Love by one of the greatest contemporary American scholars of Rumi, Prof. William C. Chittick

"The excellent Rumi is now a favorite in America, and if we believe Coleman Barks, Rumi’s grand translator, today more Americans read Rumi than Shakespeare. What lies behind this passionate love of Americans for Rumi?"

"Toward the end of Candid, Voltaire writes in 1758 about a dervish saint who lived in Turkey without citing his name. In the novel, Candid approaches and asks the dervish: “Master…we have come to ask a favor. Will you kindly tell us why such a strange animal as man was ever made?
“When His Highness sends a ship to Egypt, do you suppose he worries whether the ship’s mice are comfortable or not.” The dervish answered.

This dervish was Jalaluddin Mohammad Rumi, also known as Mavlana-i-Balkhi, the greatest metaphysical thinker and Sufi poet of all times...As the labyrinth of suffering and injustice and fever of war is raging in our world today,
the West looks upon the East for inspiration as Voltaire did in his turbulent age. For our age, Rumi’s poetry offers the remedy for the apocalyptic hysteresis of our time. It is the prime reason why Rumi is becoming increasingly popular in the West. The medieval poet is loved and read in the West and he still is a bestseller in the US. His ideas and poetic legacy still haunt universities, pubs, spiritual industries, valentine day, theater, opera, ballet, film etc...

Rumi and Idris Shah himself were among the great inspirers for the Western esotericism, New Age in the 1960s. Rumi’s spiritual doctrine of God as an apex of a pyramid with numerous paths leading to it was adapted by the New Agers. This led within the movement the notion of unity and harmony between all religions of the world. With the help of a spiritual master, one can get access to such a high consciousness and a cosmic energy beyond human physical faculties...

The universal message of Rumi is a hopeful alternative to the ignorance and lack of spirituality in modern times. Rumi's writings of the thirteenth century advocate an understanding that there is something beyond religion and scholarly learning that can open our eyes to the reality beyond this existence; for Rumi we must climb a spiritual ladder of love. Furthermore, Rumi envisioned a universal faith, embodying all religions, because he understood that the cause of every religious conflict is ignorance. Rumi implies that religiosity consists in something other than outward religions. Real belief is apparent only on the inside of a person, which is not visible. Therefore, Rumi makes it clear that the religion of love involves loving the eternal and invisible source of existence."  

"The earliest introductions of Sufism to America took place in the early 1900’s through scholars, writers, and artists who often accessed information on Sufism through the Orientalist movement. Examples of Western figures who were influenced by Sufism include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rene Guenon, Reynold Nicholson, and Samuel Lewis. These individuals helped to introduce concepts of Sufism to larger audiences through their writings, discussions and other methods of influence. Emerson, for example, was influenced by Persian Sufi poetry such as that of the poet Saadi, and this influence was then reflected in Emerson’s own poetry and essays. Rene Guenon incorporated information about Sufism into his traditionalist philosophy, and Nicholson offered Western readers some of the great Sufi works for the first time in the English language, especially the Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi

The first major Sufi figure in the United States was Hazrat Inayat Khan, a musician from India. He blended aspects of Sufism and Islam with other spiritual, musical and religious concepts and practices. He did not actually consider his group a Sufi group and preached a Universalist spiritual movement. Hazrat believed destiny had called him to speed the “Universal Message of the Time” which maintained that Sufism was not essentially tied to historical Islam, but rather consisted of timeless, universal teaching related to peace, harmony, and the essential unity of all human beings. Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Sufi Order in America, called ‘The Sufi Order in the West’ was founded in 1910."

Excerpts from  A Short History of Sufism and Sufi Communities in America

"The poetry of Jelal-ud-Din Rumi has made the greatest impression upon humanity. The original words of Rumi are so deep, so perfect, so touching, that when one repeats them hundreds and thousands of people are moved to tears. They cannot help penetrating the heart. This shows how much Rumi himself was moved to have been able to pour out such living words... [after meeting Shams of Tabriz], Rumi experienced a wonderful upliftment, a great joy and exaltation. In order to make this exaltation complete, Rumi began to write verses, and the singers used to sing them; and when Rumi heard these beautiful verses sung by the singers with their rabab, the Persian musical instrument, he experienced the stage known to Yogis as Samadhi, which in Persian is called Wajad..."

Excerpts from The Sufi Teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan

"While one considers the place of Rumi in the European intellectual context, the inquest cannot be complete without mulling over his role in shaping Western thought and theology. This is where the mystical dimensions of Rumi have the most far reaching impact. The cosmology of Rumi's work is perhaps one of the most diverse in the entire literary history. It is only thus that it has appealed to the most assorted set of individuals in the East and West alike. The mystical chants of Rumi reached their zenith when they influenced the thought of two of the most prominent thinkers in modern history, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) and Karl Marx (1818-1883).

A number of Orientalists can be credited with introducing Rumi to Europe. The role that the German speaking Orientalists played in introducing Maulana in the Western consciousness is eminent.

Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (1774-1856), who in Annemarie Schimmel's words was the "indefatigable translator of Persian, Turkish and Arabic literature." Purgstall, who was an Austrian diplomat, started publishing a journal of Oriental Studies in 1809 named Fundgruben des Orients, in which some translations from Rumi were published. In 1835, a Turkish commentary of the Masnavi written by Ismail Rüsuhi Ankaravi was accompanied by the first thorough review of the Masnavi done by Purgstall. The analysis of the "great poem" that Purgstall did here was outstanding in conveying the spirit of Masnavi. The study of Purgstall was well founded, as he was able to differentiate the mystical dimensions of Rumi's poetry from those of Hafez and Khayyam, which many later readers in England failed to do. One of the most important contributions of Purgstall was his classical book on the history of Persian literature, Geschichte der schonen Redekunste Persiens, published in Vienna in 1818. Purgstall dedicated many pages of his book to Rumi. This classical work presented the European audience with seventy passages from the Masnavi and Divan-e Shams. Although the translations of Purgstall were dry and lacked much needed beauty and eloquence, their importance in introducing Rumi to the West is undeniable. Purgstall's fascination with Rumi was unending. He wrote, "Rumi not only transcends the sun and the moon but also time and space, creation, the assembly of Alast, and the Judgment Day and reaches infinity, and from there he attains the Absolute Being that is Everlasting and Ever-present and represents the ultimate servant, the infinite love and lover."

Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866) - The contributions of Rückert are the most eminent among all other nineteenth century Orientalists. In the years to follow, he was to stir up many a lover of Rumi in the West. Rückert was the first one to introduce the ghazal form in German poetry... in the book that he produced in 1819, called Ghaselen, was a collection of exquisite poems that reflected the true spirit of Maulana's work. Ghaselen played a crucial role in introducing Rumi to the likes of Platen and Hegel. This collection contained forty four ghazals of Maulana, translated in the most affable manner. In this work, Rückert spoke about the essence of love, longing, and unity, using the symbols of Maulana. His cadence and his elegance were such that this collection can be considered one of the best introductions to Maulana's poetic genius even today. Ghaselen was followed by a second collection of Rückert's ghazals in Maulana's style published in 1836...

When works on Sufi doctrines and translations from parts of Masnavi started appearing in the West in the nineteenth century, a view started developing among the Western orientalists. and philosophers that Rumi had taught a kind of pantheism. The British scholar Graham dwelt upon this issue in one of his publications in 1819. Followed by Graham, an influential nineteenth century theologian, F.A.D. Tholuck published a short introduction to Islamic mysticism in Latin in the year 1821. This work contained several quotations from the Masnavi, whereby Tholuck characterized Rumi as a proponent of pantheism. He quoted Rumi as a defender of the theory wherein the world is considered to be a prison for our souls...

Although historically not as important as Rückert, an Austrian Orientalist, Rosenzweig-Schwannau (1791-1865) was also very attracted to Rumi's ghazals. Schwannau published 75 poems from the Divan of Rumi, along with his notes and German translation in 1838. Rückert however, as already mentioned, was the true champion of Rumi. Among those inspired by his work was the poet August Graf von Platen (1796-1835). After having met Rückert in 1820, Platen published his own collection of Ghaselen. Most of his ghazals, which numbered over 150, were written between 1821 and 1823. These ghazals of Platen were published in four separate collections namely Ghaselen (1821,) Ghaselen, Zweite Sammlung (1821), Spiegel des Hafis (1822), and Neue Ghaselen (1823). The second volume, containing 36 ghazals, was dedicated to Friedrich Rückert. This collection largely focused on mystical themes and the implications of the Oriental love motifs. The mysticism portrayed by these ghazals was directly influenced by Rückert's translations of Rumi's poetry. Hence Rumi played a significant role in inspiring a new German verse-form, the German ghazal...It was Rückert's translations that familiarized Hegel with Rumi. While Rumi had disturbed Tholuck on one hand, he inspired Hegel on the other. It is argued that Rumi also influenced the development of Hegel's dialectics. While according Rumi great importance in his writings, Hegel addressed him as the "excellent Jalaluddin Rumi" in his Encyclopaedie der philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse (1827). Hegel mentioned Rumi at several places in his lectures and extensively in the section on the philosophy of mind in his Encyclopaedia. While discussing divine love and oriental poetry in the section "Mohammadanische Poesie" of his lectures on fine art, Hegel mentioned Rumi and praised the beautiful translations done by Rückert. In the same set of lectures, Hegel mentioned Rumi again while discussing the aesthetics of the oriental epic, Aesthetik des orientalischen Epos...

In his Encyclopaedia, in the section on Absolute Mind, Hegel wrote about the relation between philosophy and religion. In this section, the main discussion focuses on pantheism, and Hegel talks about the Bhagawat-Gita and the Vedas, comparing the idolatry of a Hindu to the "everything is God, and God everything" of a pantheist. In the midst of this discussion, Hegel brings in Rumi and says that, "If we want to see the consciousness of the One—not as with the Hindus split between the featureless unity of abstract thought, on one hand, and on the other, the long-winded weary story of its particular detail, but—in its finest purity and sublimity, we must consult the Mohammedans. If, e.g., in the excellent Jelaleddin-Rumi in particular, we find the unity of the soul with the One set forth, and that unity described as love, this spiritual unity is an exaltation above the finite and vulgar, a transfiguration of the natural and the spiritual, in which the externalism and transitoriness of immediate nature, and of empirical secular spirit, is discarded and absorbed..."

Hegel's fascination with Rumi is unmistakable. Hegel goes on to say that he cannot refrain from giving a few examples from Rumi in order to give a more lucid impression of his ideas. With words of praise for the skill of Rückert, from whom he took the translations of Rumi, Hegel mentioned 21 verses of Rumi in his Encyclopaedia...

These ideas on the nature of Mysticism inspired Karl Marx, who later gave a theory to uncover the mysticism of capital and capital accumulation in the capitalist social system. Hence, the mysticism of Rumi led to the development of Marx's theory on commodity fetishism. Capital, Volume I was the first of the three volumes in Karl Marx's monumental work, Das Kapital. Section 4 of the first chapter, titled "The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret thereof," is where Marx explained what he saw as the "mystical" character of commodities. Marx wrote, "A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties...For Marx, the fetishism of commodities originated in the peculiar social character of the labor that produced them. His conception of their nature derived itself from Hegel's definition of "mystical," and this definition, in turn, was Hegel's reflection on Rumi's poetry. It is indeed remarkable how far reaching the influence of Rumi can be, from inspiring a new genre of poetry to theories in political-economy."

"Reynold Alleyne Nicholson, or R. A. Nicholson (1868 – 1945), was an eminent British Orientalist and scholar of both Islamic Literature and Islamic Mysticism, Sufism. Nicholson is unanimously regarded as the greatest scholar and translator of Rumi in the English language. A professor for many years at the Cambridge University in England, he dedicated his life to the study of Islamic Mysticism and was able to study and translate major Sufi texts in Arabic, Farsi or Persian, and Ottoman Turkish.

Nicholson's monumental achievement was his work on Rumi's Masnavi (done in eight volumes, published between 1925-1940). He produced the first critical Persian edition of Rumi's Masnavi, the first full translation of it into English, and the first commentary on the entire work in English. This work has been highly influential in the field of Rumi studies worldwide. Nicholson also produced two volumes which condensed his work on the Masnavi which were aimed at the popular level: Tales of Mystic Meaning (1931) and Rumi: Poet and Mystic (1950). In addition, Nicholson published the first information about Rumi's Discourses (Fihi-Ma-Fihi) in the English language (in a 1924 article in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society)."

 Divani Shamsi Tabriz - West Bengal Library

Rumi: An Introduction - (MUST READ)

"Arthur John Arberry or A. J. Arberry (1905-1969) was a British Orientalist, scholar, translator, editor, and author who wrote, translated, or edited about 90 books on Persian and Arab language subjects. He specialized in Sufi studies, but is also known for his excellent translation of the Koran. A. J. Arberry attended Cambridge University, where he studied Persian and Arabic with R. A. Nicholson, an experience which he considered the turning point of his life. After graduation, Arberry worked in Cairo as head of the classics department at Cairo University...Arberry is also notable for introducing Rumi's works to the West through his selective translations."

A. J. Arberry's major Rumi Translations are:
  • Mystical Poems of Rumi - Arberry's translations of 400 Rumi Ghazals/Odes from Divan-e Shams.
  • Discourses of RumiArberry's translation of Fihi Ma Fihi, the major Prose work of Rumi.
  • The Rubaiyat of Jalal al-Din Rumi – Arberry's translations of 359 Quatrains by Rumi from his Divan-e Shams. 

The Rubaiyat or Quatrains of Rumi from Divan-e Shams- translated by the eminent 20th century British Orientalist, Prof. Arthur John Arberry - along with their Farsi or Persian transliterations - courtesy of the outstanding website on Rumi: Khamush

 Ruba'ie # 167   

The renowned German-born scholar of Rumi, Professor Annemarie Schimmel (1922 - 2003) was also a specialist on Islamic Mysticism, Sufism. Professor Schimmel published 80 books and lectured at various universities including Harvard where she was Professor of Indo-Muslim Culture from 1970-1992. She was fluent in ten languages including Arabic, Farsi or Persian, Turkish and Urdu.

Prof. Annemarie Schimmel's major works on Rumi are:
  • Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaluddin Rumi
  • I Am Wind, You Are Fire: The Life and Work of Rumi
  • Look! This is Love: Poems of Rumi
  • A Two Colored Brocade: The Imagery of Persian Poetry

Badi al-Zaman Foruzanfar (1904 - 1970), the highly distinguished Iranian-born scholar of Persian Literature, is universally recognized as the greatest Persian Scholar of Rumi. Forouzanfar's critical edition of Rumi's Divan- e Shams Tabrizi (in 10 volumes) is the best edition available to date. The most accurate critical edition of Rumi's original Quatrains (Rubaiyat) was also published in 1963 by Foruzanfar. He is also credited with publishing the first critical edition of Rumi's Fihi Ma Fihi which was translated into English by the eminent British-born Orientalist, Professor A. J. Arberry as Discourses of Rumi.

Late Prof. Foruzanfar's other major works on Rumi are:
  • A Treatise on Rumi's Life and Works.
  • A Summary of Rumi's Masnavi.
  • Tales from Masnavi.
  • The Masnavi Traditions.
  • An Account of the Holy Masnavi.
  • The Sources of Masnavi's Stories and Allegories.
  • The Sufi Teachings of Baha Walad - Rumi's Father.
Unfortunately, none of his above mentioned works are yet translated into English (I've taken the liberty to translate the above titles of Prof. Foruzanfar's works from Farsi into English).

The eminent Iranian-born scholar of Rumi, late Prof. Abdul Hossein Zarinkoob (1923 - 1999) is widely known and revered among Farsi-speakers for his profound researches and publications on Rumi and his works.

Late Prof. Zarinkoob's major works on Rumi are:

  • Step by Step until Visiting God (about the life, works, and teachings of Rumi).
  • Shams Tabrizi: The Voice-Pipe of Rumi.
  • Love in Rumi's Masnavi.
  • Secret of the Reed (Critical and Comparative Analysis of Rumi's Masnavi).
  • Sea in a Jug (Critical and Comparative Analysis of Rumi's Masnavi).
  • Persian Sufism: Its Heritage and Spiritual Values.
  • Persian Sufi Literature and Its Humanitarian Values and Principles .
  • A Research On Persian Sufi Mysticism.
  • A Research On Sufi Mystics in Ancient Iran.
Unfortunately, none of his above mentioned works are yet translated into English (I've taken the liberty to translate the above titles of Prof. Zarinkoob's works from Farsi into English).

One of the greatest contemporary Iranian-born scholars of Rumi, Prof. Majid Naini 


The Masnavi of Rumi - E. H. Whinfield

One of my all time favorite books...it's truly a pleasure to read and the best Rumi translation in my humble opinion. Coleman Barks has truly grasped and captured Rumi's deep Sufi mystical teachings despite not speaking a word of Farsi or Persian. Imagine if Coleman Barks could speak Farsi...but as Rumi would say:

No need for you to translate my poetry
Love needs no translation!

Coleman Barks' The Essential Rumi is undoubtedly the most popular and widely read Rumi translation book in America...to his credit, and despite not speaking a word of Farsi or Persian, Prof. Coleman Barks deserves our huge accolades and appreciations for single-handedly introducing and popularizing Maulana Jalaluddin Balkhi "Rumi" here in America with his truly outstanding and groundbreaking first book on Maulana, The Essential Rumi which he published back in 1995. It's largely thanks to Coleman Barks that Rumi is a household name and an integral part of American popular culture these days. Prof. Barks has since published 26 Books On Rumi

"Coleman Barks has spread the fame of Rumi from California to New York Island and from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters, even if Rumi has had to become a naturalized American in the process!

Coleman Barks, 21st century poet, likes to point out that Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th century poet, is both the bestselling poet in the United States and the one most often played on Afghan radio stations. Given the current situation, it's unlikely anyone will be able to confirm the latter. But it is fair to say that one thing currently binding these two warring nations is a poet born in a time when neither country existed.

It would be a disappointment if there wasn't a story about how Barks became the country's most popular Rumi translator. Rumi lore is studded with stories marking beginnings and endings and revelations. Nothing gradual happens to mystics. Life-changing events are spontaneous and total. Insight flashes; Teresa de Avila falls into an ecstatic trance, a crash, an explosion and everything is different.

The story of how Barks, Southern-born poet and University of Georgia English professor, became a Rumi scholar begins in 1977. On the night of May 2, Barks dreamed he was lying in a sleeping bag on the banks of the Tennessee River, near where he grew up. Suddenly a flash of light lit up the sky and, as Barks describes in the introduction to his new book, "The Soul of Rumi": "A ball of light rises from Williams Island and comes over to me -- revealing a man sitting cross legged with head bowed and eyes closed, a white shawl over the back of his head. He raises his head and opens his eyes. I love you he says. 'I love you too,' I answer."

One year later Barks found the same figure in waking life: The man was a Sri Lankan Sufi saint named Bawa Muhaiyaddeen who would instruct Barks -- who did not and still does not speak Farsi, the Persian dialect in which Rumi originally wrote -- to pursue his translations...

If you are not generally inclined to believe stories about prophetic dreams and other supernatural events, then you are also probably not a Rumi fan. Stories of the mystical and miraculous don't constitute all of Rumi's writings, but they're a part of it. For better or for worse, they've helped cement his stubborn association with the new age movement. But a suspension of belief, or at least the ability to appreciate the symbolism of a far-fetched story, gives life to Rumi poems.

If life, not paper, is the path to the divine, Barks' translations may be closer to Rumi's ambitions than those produced by scholars of Farsi, the Persian dialect in which Rumi originally wrote. Barks deals very little with the original Farsi: He starts by comparing existing English translations, which he then rephrases into his own. Often this means giving up the rhyme and tempo of Rumi's original Farsi, but it allows Barks to bring the poetry a jauntiness and modernity. Rumi's jokes become funnier with Barks behind the wheel. Thus we get: "Someone born deaf has no more use for high notes than newborn babies for a fine merlot." It's a style Barks hinted at when he criticized a contemporary, Farsi-speaking Rumi translator who "uses words like 'unfathomable' a whole lot."

I've broken through to longing
Now, filled with a grief I have
Felt before, but never like this.
The center leads to love.
Soul opens the creation core.
Hold on to your particular pain.
That too can take you to God.

According to Rumi, not only does our "particular pain" take us to God, it is God. And in Barks' translations, there's nothing in the world, its worst and best, that isn't holy. Barks explains, "And if that's true then every kindness and every healing, as well as every disease and cruelty and every terrible sudden screaming is all God. It's all divine."

Art is a place we often go looking for advice when we've run out of other options. And what's there, inevitably, isn't an answer but a reflection of the suffering we already feel. On this point, Rumi, reduced by grief to simple, unmiraculous reflection, does a pretty good job.

The tomb
Looks like a prison, but it's really

Release into union. The human seed goes
Down into the ground like a bucket into

The well where Joseph is. It grows and
Comes up full of some unimagined beauty.

Your mouth closes here and immediately
Opens with a shout of joy there.

"It's a mysterious thing what the soul is," Barks says. "No one knows what the soul is. But I think it's the thing that makes symbols, makes stories, it's that overflow part of the human psyche that generates 'War and Peace.' There was no need for 'Twelfth Night,' or 'As You Like It,' it just flowed out of Shakespeare. Same way with Rumi's poetry; it was all spontaneous. It was part of the work that he was doing with the learning community, he spoke it. Didn't write it down. He spoke it and then a scribe took it down. And then Rumi would look at the pages and make alterations. But mainly you can say it is jazz, made up at the demands of the moment. It's as spontaneous as a day. And keeps on happening. So certain characteristics of the soul might be that it's generous in its ability to generate things, it's joyous, innately playful and grieving; it's very connected to grief."

Excerpts from Rumi: No. 1 in Afghanistan and the USA

Ghazal/Ode # 636 from Rumi's Divan-e Shams
Translated by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)

Inside this new love, die. 
Your way begins on the other side. 
Become the sky. 
Take an axe to the prison wall. 
Walk out like someone 
suddenly born into color. 
Do it now. 
You're covered with thick cloud. 
Slide out the side. Die, 
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign 
that you have died. 
Your old life was a frantic running 
from silence. 
The speechless full moon 
comes out now.

Here is Rumi's original Ghazal/Ode # 636 in Farsi:

بمیرید بمیرید در این عشق بمیرید

در این عشق چو مردید همه روح پذیرید
بمیرید بمیرید و زین مرگ مترسید
کز این خاک برآیید سماوات بگیرید
بمیرید بمیرید و زین نفس ببرید
که این نفس چو بندست و شما همچو اسیرید
یکی تیشه بگیرید پی حفره زندان
چو زندان بشکستید همه شاه و امیرید
بمیرید بمیرید به پیش شه زیبا
بر شاه چو مردید همه شاه و شهیرید
بمیرید بمیرید و زین ابر برآیید
چو زین ابر برآیید همه بدر منیرید
خموشید خموشید خموشی دم مرگست
هم از زندگیست اینک ز خاموش نفیرید

مولانا - غزل شماره ۶۳۶ ازدیوان شمس تبریزی

Here is my 'Literal/Word-by-Word' Translation of above Ghazal/Ode # 636 by Rumi from his Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Divan-e Kabir:

Go and die, go and die,
In this love, go and die.
Once you die in this love,
You receive the holy spirit.

Go and die, go and die,
Don't fear death, go and die.
Go and leave this dusty earth,
Go fly up high into the sky.

Go and die, go and die,
Go cut loose from your own ego.
Your selfish ego is the shackles
Holding you forever captive.

Go grab an ax,
Go dig a huge hole into the prison of your own being.
Once you tear down the walls of your inner prison,
You become a prince or a king.

Go and die, go and die,
Go and die in front of your Beautiful King [God].
Once you die for your King,
You become a royalty or a celebrity.

Go and die, go and die,
Go rise up high above your own darkest clouds.
Once you rise up above your clouds,
You become a brightly shining moon.

Be silent, be silent,
For silence is the breath of death.
But silence is also the breath of life,
So stop moaning and complaining about silence!
Rumi ~ My Translation

To get a taste of how extraordinary Coleman Barks' Rumi translations are, and to what extent he has truly grasped Rumi's spiritual essence and Sufi mystical teachings, I highly recommend watching the following Video in which Barks reads his following Rumi translation...If you're a Farsi-speaker, it's Coleman Barks' English version of Maulana's Ghazal/Ode # 132 from his Divan-e Kabir or Divan-e Shams Tabrizi:

مولانا - غزل ۱۳۲ از دیوان کبیر یا دیوان شمس تبریزی

روزها فکر من این است و همه شب سخنم
که چرا غافل از احوال دل خویشتنم
از کجا آمده ام آمدنم بهر چه بود
به کجا میروم آخر ننمایی وطنم
مانده ام سخت عجب کز چه سبب ساخت مرا
یا چه بوده است مراد وی از این ساختنم
آنچه از عالم عِلوی است من آن می گویم
رخت خود باز بر آنم که همانجا فکنم
مرغ باغ ملکوتم نِیم از عالم خاک
چند روزی قفسی ساخته اند از بدنم
کیست آن گوش که او می شنود آوازم
یا کدام است سخن می کند اندر دهنم
کیست در دیده که از دیده برون می نگرد
یا چه جان است نگویی که منش پیرهنم
تا به تحقیق مرا منزل و ره ننمایی
یک دم آرام نگیرم نفسی دم نزنم
می وصلم بچشان تا در زندان ابد
به یکی عربده مستانه به هم درشکنم
من به خود نامدم اینجا که به خود باز روم
آنکه آورد مرا باز برد تا وطنم
تو مپندار که من شعر به خود می گویم
تا که هشیارم و بیدار یکی دم نزنم

Rumi - Ghazal/Ode # 132 from Divan-e Shams ~ Translated by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi - Who Says Words With My Mouth?)

All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.
This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I'll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
I'm like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?
Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.
This poetry. I never know what I'm going to say.
I don't plan it.
When I'm outside the saying of it,
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.
Shams Tabriz, if you would show your face to me again,
I could flee the imposition of this life.

Here is my 'Literal/Word-by-Word' Translation of above Ghazal/Ode # 132 by Rumi from his Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Divan-e Kabir:

Every single day I ponder over these questions
and night after night I ask myself:
Why am I so ignorant of what's really going on inside my heart?
What am I doing here?
Where have I come from?
What is my reason for being here?
Where do I go from here?

Everything seems so strange around me these days
and I keep asking myself:
Why God created me in the first place?
For what purpose?
Why did God bring me here into this world?
Why doesn't God let me get finally settled down 
somewhere around here?

I know for sure that my soul
will ultimately ascend towards His Upper Realms,
But I'd rather just let go of everything right now
and fly up high into the sky at once.

I'm a heavenly bird from the Gardens of Paradise,
I'm not from this dusty earth.
My body's being trapped inside this worldly cage
for just two or three days.

The happiest day of my life is when
I finally fly away towards my Friend [GOD],
flapping my wings faster than ever
to quickly reach my Friend's Upper Realms.

Who is hiding inside my ears listening to my own tunes?
Who is hiding inside my mouth putting words into it?
Who is hiding inside my eyes looking out into the unknown?
What kind of soul is this totally naked soul of mine?

Don't tell me God is also the shirt to my naked soul.

I won't remain idle or take a brake even for an instant,
until through my constant striving and searching
You [GOD] finally show me my path and my destination.

Give me a taste of Your Wine of Reunion 
so I can smash the gates of this worldly prison 
with my loud cries of God-intoxication.

I didn't come here all by myself to leave on my own, 
You [GOD] have brought me here,
so You need to return me to where I originally come from.

Don't think that I always express myself through poetry,
When I'm wide awake and not God-intoxicated,
I don't think about poetry even for an instant.

If you'd turn around and show your face to me again,
I swear to God that I'd shatter 
my already dead and decomposed body
into a thousand pieces for you.
Rumi ~ My Translation

Rumi Poem: Who Says Words With My Mouth?


Rumi: Voice of Longing
By: Coleman Barks
Audio Format: MP3
Running Time: 2 Hrs. 30 Min.
Courtesy of: grooveshark

Rumi: Voice of Longing collects nearly 100 of Rumi's most memorable quatrains, translated and performed by Rumi scholar Coleman Barks. These works reflect universal themes: the search for the highest truth, the mystery of surrender, the longing to overcome ego imprisonment. Rumi: Voice of Longing captures the silence, the love, and the playfulness that make each experience with this work one of sacred wonder. With sitar by David Whetstone and tabla accompaniment by Marcus Wise. Special guest appearance by Robert Bly.

Click to Purchase Coleman Barks' Revised Edition of The Essential Rumi 

"This revised and expanded edition of The Essential Rumi includes a new introduction by Coleman Barks and more than 80 never-before-published poems. Through his lyrical translations, Coleman Barks has been instrumental in bringing this exquisite literature to a remarkably wide range of readers, making the ecstatic, spiritual poetry of thirteenth-century Sufi Mystic Rumi more popular than ever. The Essential Rumi continues to be the bestselling of all Rumi books, and the definitive selection of his beautiful, mystical poetry."


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Rumi - Translated by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.

Drink all your passion and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes to see with the other eye.
Open your hands if you want to be held.

Consider what you have been doing.
Why do you stay
with such a mean-spirited and dangerous partner?

For the security of having food. Admit it.
Here is a better arrangement.
Give up this life, and get a hundred new lives.

Sit down in this circle.
Quit acting like a wolf,
and feel the shepherd’s love filling you.

At night, your beloved wanders.
Do not take painkillers.
Tonight, no consolations.
And do not eat.

Close your mouth against food.
Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.

You moan, 

But she left me. 
He left me.
Twenty more will come.

Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought.

Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.

Flow down and down
in always widening rings of being.
Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins?
Who finds us here circling, bewildered like atoms?
Who comes to a spring thirsty
and sees the moon reflected in it?

Who like Jacob, blind with grief and age,
smells the shirt of his lost son and can see again?
Who lets a bucket down and brings up a flowing prophet?
Or, like Moses, goes for fire and finds what burns inside the

Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies
and opens a door to the other world.
Solomon cuts open a fish, and there is a gold ring.
Omar storms in to kill the Prophet and leaves with blessings.
Chase a deer and end up everywhere.
An oyster opens his mouth to swallow one drop.
Now there is a pearl.
A vagrant wanders empty ruins.
Suddenly he is wealthy.

But do not be satisfied with stories,
how things have gone with others.
Unfold your own myth,
without complicated explanations,
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.

Start walking toward Shams, the teacher, the sun.
Your legs will get heavy and tired.
Then comes a moment of feeling the wings you have grown,

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


There are many guises for intelligence.
One part of you is gliding in a high wind-stream,
while your ore ordinary notions
take little steps and peck at the ground.

Conventional knowledge is death to our souls,
and it is not really ours. It is laid on.
Yet we keep saying we find ‘rest’ in these ‘beliefs’.

We must become ignorant of what we have been taught
and be instead bewildered.

Run from what is profitable and comfortable.
Distrust anyone who praises you.
Give your investment money, and the interest
on the capital, to those who are actually destitute.

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
I have tried prudent planning long enough.
From now on, I’ll be mad.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


Sometimes I forget completely what companionship is.
Unconscious and insane, 
I spill sad energy everywhere. 
My story gets told in various ways: 
a romance, a dirty joke, a war, a vacancy..
Divide up my forgetfulness to any number,
it will go around.
These dark suggestions that I follow,
are they part of some plan?
Friends, be careful. 
Don’t come near me out of curiosity, or sympathy.
Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


If you want what visible reality
can give, you’re and employee.
If you want the unseen world,
you’re not living your truth.

Both wishes are foolish,
but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love’s confusing joy.

Gamble everything for love,
if you’re a true human being.
If not, leave this gathering.
Half-heartedness doesn't reach into Majesty.

You set out to find God, 
but then you keep stopping for long periods
at mean-spirited roadhouses.

In a boat down a fast-running creek,
it feels like trees on the bank are rushing by.

What seems to be changing around us
is rather the speed of our craft
leaving this world.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.
Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.

But there's a difference with this dream.
Everything cruel and unconscious
done in the illusion of the present world,
all that does not fade away at the death-waking.
It stays, and it must be interpreted.

All the mean laughing,
all the quick, sexual wanting,
those torn coats of Joseph,
they change into powerful wolves
that you must face.

The retaliation that sometimes comes now,
the swift, payback hit,
is just a boy's game
to what the other will be.
You know about circumcision here.
It's full castration there!

And this groggy time we live,
this is what it's like:
A man goes to sleep in the town
where he has always lived,
and he dreams he's living in another town.
In the dream, he doesn't remember
the town he's sleeping in his bed in.
He believes the reality of the dream town.

The world is that kind of sleep.
The dust of many crumbled cities
settles over us like a forgetful doze,
but we are older than those cities.
We began as a mineral.
We emerged into plant life
and into the animal state, and then into being human,
and always we have forgotten our former states,
except in early spring when we slightly recall
being green again.

That's how a young person turns toward a teacher.
That's how a baby leans toward the breast,
without knowing the secret of its desire,
yet turning instinctively.

Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
through this migration of intelligence,
and though we seem to be sleeping,
there is an inner wakefulness
that directs the dream,
and that will eventually startle us back
to the truth of who we are.
Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi) 


How does a part of the world leave the world?
How does wetness leave water? 
Don't try to put out fire by throwing on more fire! 
Don't wash a wound with blood. 

No matter how fast you run, 
your shadow keeps up.
Sometimes it's in front!
Only full overhead sun diminishes your shadow.
But that shadow has been serving you.

What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
I could explain this,
but it will break the glass cover on your heart, 
and there's no fixing that.

You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.
When from that tree feathers and wings sprout on you,
be quieter than a dove.
Don't even open your mouth for even a coo.
Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi) 


Don’t worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn't matter.
We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.
This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!
They derive from a slow and powerful root
that we can’t see.

Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.
Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi) 


Don't grieve.

Anything you lose 
comes round in another form. 
The child weaned from mother's milk
now drinks wine and honey mixed.

God's joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box,
from cell to cell. 

As rainwater, down into flower bed.
As roses, up from ground.
Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish,
now a cliff covered with vines,
now a horse being saddled.
It hides within these,
till one day it cracks them open

Part of the self leaves the body when we sleep
and changes shape. You might say, "Last night
I was a cypress tree, a small bed of tulips,
a field of grapevines." Then the phantasm goes away.
You're back in the room.
I don't want to make any one fearful.
Hear what's behind what I say.

Tatatumtum tatum tatadum.
There's the light gold of wheat in the sun
and the gold of bread made from that wheat.
I have neither. I'm only talking about them,

as a town in the desert looks up
at stars on a clear night.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


Can you find another market like this?
Where, with your one rose
you can buy hundreds of rose gardens?
Where, for one seed
you get a whole wilderness?
For one weak breath, a divine wind?

You've been fearful
of being absorbed in the ground,
or drawn up by the air.
Now, your water-bead lets go
and drops into the ocean,
where it came from.
It no longer has the form it had,
but it's still water.

The essence is the same.
This giving up is not a repenting.
It's a deep honoring of yourself.

When the ocean comes to you as a lover,
marry at once, quickly, for God's sake!
Don't postpone it!

Existence has no better gift. 
No amount of searching will find this. 
A perfect falcon, for no reason 
has landed on your shoulder,
and become yours.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


Thirst is angry with water. 
Hunger bitter with bread. 

The cave wants nothing to do with the sun. 
This is dumb, the self-defeating way we've been. 

A gold mine is calling us into its temple. 
Instead, we bend and keep picking up rocks 
from the ground. 

Every thing has a shine like gold, 
but we should turn to the source! 
The origin is what we truly are. 

I add a little vinegar to the honey I give. 
The bite of scolding makes ecstasy more familiar. 
But look, fish, you're already in the ocean: 
just swimming there makes you friends with glory. 

What are these grudges about? 

You are Benjamin. 
Joseph has put a gold cup in your grain sack 
and accused you of being a thief. 

Now he draws you aside 
and says, y
ou are my brother. 

I am a prayer. You're the amen. 
We move in eternal regions, 
yet worry about property here. 

This is the prayer of each: 
You are the source of my life. 
You separate essence from mud. 
You honor my soul. 
You bring rivers 
from the mountain springs. 
You brighten my eyes. 

The wine you offer takes me out of myself 
into the self we share. 
Doing that is religion.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It's fluid,
and it doesn't move from outside to inside
through conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


Time's knife slides from the sheath,
as a fish from where it swims.

Being closer and closer is the desire
of the body. Don't wish for union!

There's a closeness beyond that.

Why would God want a second God?

Fall in love in such a way that it frees you
from any connecting.
Love is the soul's light, the taste of morning,
no me, no we, no claim of being.

These words are the smoke the fire gives off
as it absolves its defects, 
as eyes in silence, tears, face. 
Love cannot be said.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


Forget your life. Say God is Great. Get up.
You think you know what time it is. It’s time to pray.
You've carved so many little figurines, too many.
Don’t knock on any random door like a beggar.
Reach your long hands out to another door, beyond where
you go on the street, the street
where everyone says, “How are you?”
and no one says How aren't you?

Tomorrow you’ll see what you've broken and torn tonight,
thrashing in the dark. Inside you
there’s an artist you don’t know about.
He’s not interested in how things look different in moonlight.

If you are here unfaithfully with us,
you’re causing terrible damage.
If you've opened your loving to God’s love,
you’re helping people you don’t know
and have never seen.

Is what I say true? Say yes quickly,
if you know, if you've known it
from before the beginning of the universe.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


You are the only faithful student you have.
All the others leave eventually.
Have you been making yourself shallow
with making other eminent?

Just remember, when you’re in union,
you don’t have to fear that you’ll be drained.

The command comes to speak,
and you feel the ocean moving through you.
Then comes, Be silent,
as when the rain stops,
and the trees in the orchard
begin to draw moisture
up into themselves.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of Spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.
And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild Darling!

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face into mine.
Breathe into me.

Close the language- door and
open the love window.
The moon won't use the door, 
only the window.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


There is a smile and a gentleness
inside. When I learned the name
and address of that, I went to where
you sell perfume. I begged you not 
to trouble me so with longing. 

Come out and play! Flirt more naturally.
Teach me how to kiss. On the ground
a spread blanket, flame that's caught
and burning well, cumin seeds browning,
I am inside all of this with my soul.
Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


The way is full of genuine sacrifice.
The thickets blocking your path are anything 
that keeps you from that, any fear that 

you may be broken into bits like a glass bottle.

This road demands courage and stamina, 

yet it’s full of footprints!
Who are these companions?
They are rungs in your ladder. Use them!
With company you quicken your ascent.
You may be happy enough going along, 
but with others you’ll get farther, and faster.

Someone who goes cheerfully by himself 
to the customs house to pay his traveler’s tax
will go even more lightheartedly 
when friends are with him.

Every prophet sought out companions.
A wall standing alone is useless, 
but put three or four walls together, 
and they’ll support a roof and 
keep grain dry and safe.

When ink joins with a pen, 

then the blank paper can say something.
Rushes and reeds must be woven to be useful as a mat.
If they weren't interlaced;
the wind would blow them away.

Like that, God paired up creatures, 
and gave them friendship.
Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


Notice how each particle moves.
Notice how everyone has just arrived here
from a journey.
Notice how each wants a different food.
Notice how the stars vanish as the sun comes up,
and how all streams stream toward the ocean.
Look at the chefs preparing special plates
for everyone, according to what they need.
Look at this cup that can hold the ocean.
Look at those who see the face.
Look through Shams’ eyes
into the Water that is entirely jewels.

Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)

I am dust particles in sunlight.
I am the round sun.
To the bits of dust I say, Stay.
To the sun, Keep moving.

I am morning mist,
and the breathing of evening.
I am wind in the top of a grove,
and surf on the cliff.

Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
I am also the coral reef they founder on.
I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.
Silence, thought, and voice.

The musical air coming through a flute,
a spark of stone, a flickering in metal.
Both candle and the moth crazy around it.
Rose, and the nightingale lost in the fragrance.

I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,
the evolutionary intelligence, the lift, and the falling away.

What is, and what isn't.
You who know, Jelaluddin,
You the one in all, say who I am.
Say I am you.
Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


On the night when you cross the street
from your shop and your house
to the cemetery
you’ll hear me hailing you from inside
the open grave, and you’ll realize
how we've always been together.

I am the clear consciousness-core
of your being, the same in
ecstasy as in self-hating fatigue.

That night, when you escape your fear of snakebite
and all irritations with the ants, you’ll hear
my familiar voice, see the candle being lit,
smell the incense, the surprise meal fixed
by the lover inside all your other lovers.

This heart-tumult is my signal
to you igniting in the tomb.
So don’t fuss with the shroud
and the graveyard road dust.
Those get ripped open and washed away
in the music of our final meeting.

And don’t look for me in human shape.
I am inside your looking. No room
for form with love this strong.

Beat the drum and let the poets speak.
This is the day of purification for those who
are already mature and initiated into what love is.

No need to wait until we die!
There’s more to want here than money
and being famous and bites of roasted meat.

Now, what shall we call this new sort of gazing-house
that has opened in our town where people sit
quietly and pour out their glancing
like light, like answering?
Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


Doing prayer and meditation at a particular time,
fasting, and going on pilgrimage
are outward statements of inner intention.

Giving to charity and giving up jealousy
are ways to say how it is inside us.
Serving food and welcoming guests into your house
are actions meant to mean, I feel so close to you.

Any time you exert yourself by going somewhere,
giving money, or taking time to pray,
you are saying, There is a priceless jewel inside me.

Fasting says, I have not eaten
even what is permitted. I must want no connection
to what is not. Giving to the poor says,
I am distributing my own property.
Certainly, I will not steal from others.

There are, though, fowlers who throw out grain
to snare birds, and cats who pretend to fast,
fast-asleep, when they are really peeking
through eye-slits to ambush prey.
They give generosity a bad name.

But despite all the crookedness,
water comes from the star Arcturus
to wash even the hypocrites.

When our water here
becomes saturated with pollution,
it gets led back to the original water, the ocean.
After a year of receiving starlight,
the water returns, sweeping new robes along.

Where have you been? In the ocean of purity.
Now I'm ready for more cleaning work.
Give me your demons. I'll take them to sea.

If there were no impurity, what would water do?
It shows its glory in how it washes a face,
and in other qualities as well,
the way it grows the grass
and how it lifts a ship across to another port.

Every medicinal ointment derives essence
from water, as every pearl and every seed.
A river is a shop of salves,
food for the abandoned, movement
for those who are stuck.

When the river slows with the weight of silt
and corruption, it grows sad and prays,
Lord, what you gave me I gave others.
Is there more? Can you give more?

Clouds then draw up the river-water,
and dissolve it in to the ocean.
What this means is
we often need to be refreshed.

Mingling with surroundings, the soul falls ill.
It calls out to the first caller-out, Bilal,
revive us. Beat the drum that glides us along.

As the body stands at prayer,
the soul says, Peace, my friend,
then leaves for a while.

When it comes back, you don't have to do ablutions
with sand anymore or guess which way
to point the prayer rug.

Water is the story of how we are helped.
Hot baths prepare us to enter fire.
Only salamanders can go directly in
without an intermediary, salamanders and Abraham.
The rest of us need guidance from water.

Satisfaction comes from God,
but to get there you need to eat bread.
Beauty comes from the presence,
but those of us in bodies
must walk in a garden to feel it.

When this body-medium goes, we will see directly
the light that lives in the chest.
The qualities of water show
how we move inside grace.
Rumi - tr. by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)


Translated by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, 

not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
they're in each other all along.*

* My all time favorite...bravo Coleman Barks! 

Today, like every other day, 
We wake up empty and frightened. 
Don't open the door to the study and begin reading. 
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty of what we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways
To kneel and kiss the ground.*

* My all time favorite...bravo Coleman Barks! 

In your light, I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober
will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.

For years, copying other people,

I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn't decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

Don’t let your throat tighten
with fear. Take sips of breath
all day and night. Before death
closes your mouth.

Keep walking, though there's no place to get to.
Don't try to see through the distances.
That's not for human beings. Move within,
But don't move the way fear makes you move.

There's no love in me without your being,
no breath without that. I once thought
I could give up this longing, then though again,
But I couldn't continue being human.

When I am with you, we stay up all night,
When you're not here, I can't get to sleep.
Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.

I have phrases and whole pages memorized,
but nothing can be told of love.
You must wait until you and I are living together.
In the conversation we'll have 
then...be patient...then.

Where is a foot worthy to walk a garden,
or any eye that deserves to look at trees?
Show me a man willing to be thrown in the fire.

In the shambles of Love, they kill only the best
None of the weak or deformed.
Don’t run away from this dying.
Whoever’s not killed for Love, is dead meat.


Corrections of Popular Versions - A very interesting and painstakingly researched article by the Muslim-American scholar of Rumi, Ibrahim Gamard on blatant mistranslations by Rumi's hugely popular "Version-Makers". Mr. Gamard is the co-author of The Quatrains of Rumi: Rubaiyat-e Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi: Complete Translation with Persian Text in collaboration with the highly respected Afghan-born scholar of Rumi, Professor Rawan Farhadi. He's also the author of Rumi and Islam: Selections from His Stories, Poems, and Discourses.

Mr. Ibrahim Gamard's outstanding website dedicated to Rumi and Masnavi studies is also A MUST VISIT:

Dar Al-Masnavi

"Many Americans love Rumi for his ecstatic spirituality about Divine Love, but they prefer that he not be a Muslim, or at least no more than minimally...a major reason why Rumi’s poetry is so popular in America is because it's presented in popularized versions, not faithful translations, in which Rumi is depicted as a mystic who is only slightly Islamic. Therefore, most Rumi books are marketed to satisfy the wish for maximum mysticism and minimal Islam. Americans have little interest or sympathy for political Islam, but by reading even the most popularized Rumi books, Americans are learning about many traditional Muslim values and wisdom teachings."
Ibrahim Gamard - Muslim-American Scholar of Rumi and Sufi Shaykh or Sufi Master of California-based Sufi Mevlevi Order.


Coleman Barks and Rumi's Donkey - Somewhat harsh criticism of Coleman Barks & his Rumi translations by the Iranian-born scholar, Majid Naficy
 (Fair or unfair criticisms, you be the judge)

"..Coleman Barks not only "frees" Rumi from the historical limitations of his time but he also tries to disconnect Rumi from the Islamic society in which he lived and the Persian language in which he wrote his poetry. I have never heard or seen that Barks in his radio interviews and tv shows refers to cultural roots of Rumi, as if this poet has fallen from the sky and does not belong to any land or culture. The people of England consider Shakespeare a national treasures and the works of this author have increased the appreciation of English literature and culture worldwide. But unfortunately due to the non-literary and commercial goals of Coleman Barks, his popular version of Rumi has not created any interest within the American public in the land where Rumi was raised, the culture in which he had breathed and the language in which he wrote his poetry...

The essential problem of Coleman Barks lies in the fact that in his version he intentionally changes Rumi, perhaps for the better, but at the expense of distortion and misrepresentation. He approaches Rumi's poetry as sacred texts, which need to be dusted from the passage of times by a touched devotee and prepared for the Post Modern, New Age market in the West. In order to remodel and fix Rumi for the American market, Barks follows the path of a New-Age Sufi. He tries to disconnect the mystical concepts of Rumi from their historical and social backgrounds and modify them for our contemporary taste..."

hmmmm... I wonder if Mr. Gamard, Mr. Naficy, and all other 'Muslim Puritans' have ever come across or fully read the following Rumi verses on rejecting the pseudo-nationalistic tendencies and dogmatic approaches, or looking past the superficial aspects of a reality...and if so, do they really know what Maulana is actually trying to teach us?

The "Secret Language" is a whole different language.
Sharing the same feelings or being of one heart
is much more important than speaking the same language!
Rumi ~ My Translation

پس زبان محرمی خود دیگرست

همد‌لی از همزبانی خوشتر است

What is going on here o Muslims
because I don't know who I really am?

I am neither a Christian nor a Jew
I'm neither a Muslim nor a Zoroastrian

I'm neither from the East nor from the West
I'm neither from the Land nor from the Sea
I'm neither from Celestial Spheres nor from Earthly Nature.

My place is in the Place-less. 
My trace is in the Trace-less.
I'm neither body nor soul,
For I belong to the Soul of my Beloved (God). 

I've shed all my duality
I now see the Two Worlds as One.
I search One. I invoke One. I know One. I call upon One.
Rumi ~ My Translation

چه تدبیر ای مسلمانان که من خود را نمی دانم
نه ترسا نه یهودم من نه گبرم نه مسلمانم
نه شرقی ام نه غربی ام نه بری ام نه بحری ام
نه از کان طبیعی ام نه از افلاک گردانم
مکانم لامکان باشد نشانم بی نشان باشد
نه تن باشد نه جان باشد که من از جان جانانم
دویی از خود بیرون کردم یکی دیدم دو عالم را
یکی جویم یکی گویم یکی دانم یکی خوانم

منصوب به مولانا

Ghazal/Ode # 1535 from Divan-e Shams Tabrizi
By Rumi - My Translation

Come, let's all appreciate one another
so in the blink of an eye,
we don't get forever separated from each other.

A believer must always be like a mirror
for his or her fellow believers.
So why are we always turning our backs
towards the mirror?

A true friend must always be willing

to sacrifice his or her life for a friend.
Let's stop acting like a bunch of animals,
we are all humans here.

Holding grudges against each other
will only further damage our relationships.
Why can't we just remove 
all the grudges
from our hearts?

Sometimes you get so excited
learning that the person you most despise
might soon be leaving this world.
Why have we become such death-worshipers 
and arch-enemies of the living souls?

So what if you try reconciliation
after your loved ones are already gone,
if for as long as they were alive
they had to endure your constant rejections.

Pay good attention to my following teaching:
Go and make peace with your estranged loved ones
while they are still around.

If you're thinking about going to their graves
or kissing their wooden coffins afterwards,
go ahead and kiss them on their cheeks right now,
just pretend they are already buried!

O my heart, I should just keep quite 

like the already dead these days.
Thanks to my talkative mouth,
I'm constantly condemned in this world!
Rumi - 
My Translation

غزل شمارهٔ ۱۵۳۵ - دیوان شمس

بیا تا قدر یک دیگر بدانیم 
که تا ناگه ز یک دیگر نمانیم
چو ممن آینه ممن یقین شد 
چرا با آینه ما روگرانیم
کریمان جان فدای دوست کردند 
سگی بگذار ما هم مردمانیم
غرض‌ها تیره دارد دوستی را
غرض‌ها را چرا از دل نرانیم
گهی خوشدل شوی از من که میرم 
چرا مرده پرست و خصم جانیم
چو بعد از مرگ خواهی آشتی کرد 
همه عمر از غمت در امتحانیم
کنون پندار مردم آشتی کن
 که در تسلیم ما چون مردگانیم
چو بر گورم بخواهی بوسه دادن 
رخم را بوسه ده کاکنون همانیم
خمش کن مرده وار ای دل ازیرا
به هستی متهم ما زین زبانیم

Rumi - throughout his poetic and prose outpourings - ponders deeply upon the "Inner Mirror" and teaches us all in his prose compilations, The Discourses:

"Everyone likes a mirror, and is in love with reflections of their own attributes and attainments, but friends you misses the true nature of the face. You think this bodily veil is a face, and the mirror of this veil is the mirror of your face. Uncover your face, so you can know for sure the mirror of your true self...

The true Sufi is like a mirror where you see your own image, for “The believer is a mirror of their fellow believers.”... a mirror shows no image of itself. Any image it reflects is the image of another...The seeker of truth is a mirror for their neighbors. But those who cannot feel the sting of truth are not mirrors to anyone but themselves...

If you find fault in your brother or sister, the fault you see in them is within yourself. Get rid of those faults in yourself, because what bothers you in them bothers you in yourself. An elephant was led to a well to drink. Seeing itself in the water, it shied away. It thought it was shying away from another elephant. It did not realize it was shying away from its own self. All evil qualities—oppression, hatred, envy, greed, mercilessness, pride—when they are within yourself, they bring no pain. When you see them in another, then you shy away and feel the pain. We feel no disgust at our own scab and abscess. We will dip our infected hand into our food and lick our fingers without turning in the least bit squeamish. But if we see a tiny abscess or half a scratch on another’s hand, we shy away from that person’s food and have no stomach for it whatsoever. Evil qualities are just like scabs and abscesses; when they are within us they cause no pain, but when we see them even to a small degree in another, then we feel pain and disgust. Within our being all sciences were originally joined as one, so that our spirit displayed all hidden things, like clear water shows everything within it—pebbles, broken shards and the like—and reflects the sky above from its surface like a mirror. This is Soul’s true nature, without treatment or training. But once Soul has mingled with the earth and its earthly elements, this clarity leaves it and is forgotten. So God sends forth the prophets and saints, like a great translucent ocean that accepts all waters, and yet no matter how dark or dirty are the rivers that pour into it, that ocean remains pure. Then Soul remembers. When it sees its reflection in that unsullied water, it knows for sure that in the beginning it too was pure, and these shadows and colors are mere accidents...

A friend of Joseph returned from a far journey. Joseph asked, “What present have you brought me?” The friend replied, “What is there you do not possess? What could you need? Since no one exists more handsome than you, I have brought a mirror so that every moment you may gaze in it upon your own face.” What is there that God does not possess? What does He need? Therefore, bring before God a heart, crystal clear, so that He may see His own perfection. “God looks not at your form, nor at your deeds, but at your heart.”

Excerpts from Rumi's Fihi-Ma-Fihi - فيه ما فيه - or Discourses of Rumi - Translated by A. J. Arberry

I'm in love with Love
Because Love is my only salvation.
I'm in love only with Love 
Someone else is a Muslim!

Your Lover certainly ain't a Muslim
Because in the Religion of Love
There ain't no such thing as Islam or Infidels!

The Religion of Love is different
From all other Religions
For true Lovers of Love
God is their only Faith and Creed.
Rumi ~ My Translation

ما عاشق عشقیم که عشقست نجات
ما عاشق عشقیم و مسلمان دگراست
عاشق تو یقین دار که مسلمان نبود
درمذهب عشق کفرو ایمان نبود
مذهب عشق زمذهب ها جداست
عاشقان را مذهب و ملت خداست
 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

Love ain't nothing but eternal divine blessings
and the sheer abundance of good fortunes.
Love ain't nothing but total openness of the heart
and the righteous divine guidance.

Get your own Self annihilated in love.
Crush your own selfish Ego for love.
There is no bigger mistake
than still clinging on to your material existence.

In the Religion of Love,
there is no boring chapters after chapters
frenzy readings of a holy book!

In the Religion of Love,
The holiest chapters are
the sacred verses of love.

In the Religion of Love,
the holy verses recitation involves:
joyous singing, ecstatic chanting, and
love intoxication from start to finish!

In the Religion of Love,
once you're converted into a true lover of love,
You - Yourself - are the holy verses and
the reciter of those holy verses of love!

If you see a so called lover acting all sour and bitter,
be sure of this: he or she is neither a true lover
nor a faithful follower of Religion of Love.

Any lover who is not fully aware 
of strict rules of Religion of Love,
is a novice disciple barely starting to journey
upon the long and arduous path of love.

Don't ever go astray from the righteous path of love.
Go on and faithfully fulfill all your love duties.
No seeker of love can journey upon the path of love
without first fulfilling all his or her love-required duties.

We're all doubtful about virtually everything till the end,
but in the undoubted Religion of Love,
there is no second-guessing or beginning or end.

Lovers are already drowned in the sweet waters of love.
So for the already sweetened lovers,
it doesn't really matter if more sugar is brought in
from Egypt or wherever!

Every living thing needs water to survive.
Have you ever seen a lover surviving without water of love?

Enough of these Religion of Love explanations.
One thing should be perfectly clear by now:
The water of love analogy above 
is the irrefutable proof that we all need love to survive.

Thus, there is no need for me to keep on preaching
or to further torturing my fellow love-thirsty lovers!
Rumi ~ My Translation

عشق جز دولت و عنايت نيست
جز گشاد دل و هدايت نيست
لايجوز و يجوز تا اجل ست
علم عشاق را نهايت نيست
عاشقان غرقه اند در شکراب
از شکر مصر را شکايت نيست
جان مخمور چون نگويد شکر
باده اي را که حد و غايت نيست
هر که را پرغم و ترش ديدي
نيست عاشق و زان ولايت نيست
گر نه هر غنچه پرده باغي ست
غيرت و رشک را سرايت نيست
مبتدي باشد اندر اين ره عشق
آنک او واقف از بدايت نيست
نيست شو نيست از خودي زيرا
بتر از هستيت جنايت نيست
هيچ راعي مشو رعيت شو
راعيي جز سد رعايت نيست
خواجه جز مستي تو در ره دين
آيتي ز ابتدا و غايت نيست
آيتي تو و طالب آيت
به ز آيت طلب خود آيت نيست
بي رهي ور نه در ره کوشش
هيچ کوشنده بي جرايت نيست
چونک مثقال ذره يره است
ذره زله بي نکايت نيست
ذره خير بي گشادي نيست
چشم بگشا اگر عمايت نيست
هر نباتي نشاني آب است
چيست کان را از او جبايت نيست
بس کن اين آب را نشاني هاست
تشنه را حاجت وصايت نيست
 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

In the path of seeking
wise and fools are the same.
In the religion of love
known and unknown are the same.

For the lover already intoxicated
by the wine of mystical union with Beloved -
in his or her faith -
Muslims' Kaaba and Hindus' Temple of Idols
are the same.
Rumi ~ My Translation

در راه طلب عاقل و دیوانه یکیست
در شیوه عشق خویش و بیگانه یکیست
آنرا که شراب وصل جانان دادند
درمذهب او کعبه و بتخانه یکیست
 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

Close your fault seeking eyes
and open the spiritual ones.

So you won't differentiate
between a Muslim Mosque and a Hindu Temple of Idols.

So you won't draw any distinction
between this Believer or that Believer.
Rumi ~ My Translation

بر بند دو چشم عیب بین را
بگشای دو چشم غیب دان را
تا مسجد و بتکده نماند
تا نشناسی این و آن را
 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

There is a whole other world out there
beyond just Islam and Infidels.
I'm very interested to get to know that place.

When the Sufi mystics reach that realm,
they simply lay their heads down.
Because in that inclusive world,
there is no room for Islam or Infidels.
Rumi ~ My Translation

از کفر و زاسلام برون صحراییست
ما را بمیان آنفضا، سوداییست
عارف چو بدان رسید سر را بنهد
نه کفر و نه اسلام و نه آنجا جاییست
 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

Out beyond the worlds of Islam and Infidels,
there lies an egalitarian world 
where no one is better, worse, 
or more significant than the other.

If you're interested in moving
to that incredible place,
you need to first leave you heart and soul
as deposit with its Soul Master (God)!
Rumi ~ My Translation

بیرون ز جهان کفر و ایمان جاییست
کانجا نه مقام هر تر و رعناییست
جان باید داد و دل بشکرانه ی جان
آنرا که تمنای چنین مأواییست
  مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

He (God) lives deep inside
the inner and outer parts of my heart,
every part of my heart belongs to Him.

He (God) dwells deep inside
my body, 
my veins, and my blood,
every part of my body belongs to Him.

How could there still be a place
for Islam or Infidels inside my heart,
if my entire being belongs to Him?
Rumi ~ My Translation

اندر دل من درون و بیرون همه اوست
اندر تن من جان و رگ و خون همه اوست
اینجای چگونه کفر و ایمان گنجد
بیچون باشد وجود من چون همه اوست
 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

If the presence of my Beloved is felt
inside the Hindus' Temple of Idols,
then it'll be a sin for me
making a pilgrimage to Muslims' Kaaba
and circle around it.*

If the fragrance of my Beloved
cannot be traced in Muslims' Kaaba,
then I'd rather look around
for a Jewish Synagogue.

For the sake of tracing
the scent of my Beloved's mystical union,
the Jewish Synagogue will be my Muslim Kaaba
from now on.
Rumi ~ My Translation

*By Kaaba (House of Allah/God for Muslims), Rumi is referring to the Cube-shaped structure in Mecca, Saudi Arabia where Muslims make their annual Hajj-Pilgrimage. As part of Hajj-Pilgrimage rituals, a Pilgrim must circle seven times around the Kaaba (the counter- clockwise circumambulation is known as Tawaf). Hence Rumi's mentioning of circling around the Kaaba in above verses.

در بتکده تا خیال معشوهٔ ما است
رفتن به طواف کعبه در عین خطا است
گر کعبه از او بوی ندارد کنشت است
با بوی وصال اوکنشت کعبهٔ ما است
 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

Muslims, Christians, Jews,
Zoroastrians, and Idol Worshipers,
We all journey in our own ways
Towards the Great Sultan (God).
Rumi ~ My Translation

مومن و ترسا جهود و گبر و مغ
جمله را سوی آن سلطان الغ
 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

The sign of my Faith can only be traced
Beyond Islam and Infidels.
I run away from any Islamic Caste.
I know nothing about non-Muslims' Zenar Belt.*
Rumi ~ My Translation

* Here is a brief explanation of Zenar Belt:  Throughout the Islamic History, non-Muslims who lived in Islamdom or under the Islamic Rule, were forced to wear either a Green Belt known as Zenar, a distinctive Green Shawl/Girdle, a Red Hat, a Thin Chain Necklace (particularly in Medieval India), or a Yellow Badge (similar to Christians' infamous Yellow Badge) in order to keep them segregated and distinguished from Muslims. Rumi and virtually all major Persian Sufi poets have repeatedly condemned - throughout their poetic outpourings -the segregationist practices of Orthodox Muslims vis-a-vis their fellow non-Muslim compatriots. Hence Rumi's strong rejection of Islamic mark of shame, the infamous Green Belt known as Zenar, in above verses.

از کفر و ز اسلام برون است نشانم 
 از فرقه گريزانم و زنار  ندانم
 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

If you journey upon the Path without any vision,
You'll end up committing many major errors.
But if you solely rely on your sight,
You'll end up shooting yourself in the eye!

For those Believers who're turned away
From a Muslim Mosque or a Christian Church,
Do you have any idea where their
Holy House of Worship is actually at?!
Rumi ~ My Translation

  بی دیده اگر راه روی عین خطاست
 بر دیده اگر تکیه زدی تیر بلاست
 در صومعه ومدرسه از راه مجاز 
آنرا که نه جا است تو چه دانی که کجاست
 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

Rumi: An Introduction - R.A. Nicholson


The Life and Teachings of Rumi



The Persian Mystics- Jalaluddin Rumi 

An Insight into Rumi's Works


Introduction of Rumi's Magnum Opus - Masnavi

Moving Colors & Shapes in Rumi's Lyric Poetry




Quick Journey into Realms of Rumi and Sufism



Sema of Rumi:
Its Orthodoxy and Contemporary Manifestations

Rumi's Poetry:
The Play and Intersection of Human with Divine

Interpreting Rumi in the Context of

Rumi's Philosophy of Love in the Era of U-turned Islam

Rumi and the Universality of his Message

Maulana Rumi: A Harbinger of Divine Love

“I am the Nightingale of the Merciful”: 

Relationship between Mathnawi and the Qur'an



Traces of Mevlana Rumi in Europe

The Mevlevi Order in European Context

Mathnawi Sohbets -
from Ottomans to Present Day
The Language of State in Maulana Rumi

The Popularity of Mawlânâ Rûmî & Mawlawî Tradition

Bursevi's interpretation of the Mesnevî

The Problem of Mystic Relationship
in Rumi and Iqbal
Rumi Viewed In Bengali Sufistic Tradition

About The Masnavi
The Synoptic View of Book Two of Rumi's Masnavi

Rumi on the Sound of the Human Voice
Rumi and the Symbols Used by Him

Rumi the Reluctant Poet
Rumi’s Spiritual Lessons on Sufism

Rumi's Religion of Love

Rumi on Destiny and Will
The Illusion in Mathnawî

The Sufi Doctrine of Rumi
Sufi Path of Love - Spiritual Teachings of Rumi

Sufi Tales - from Attar to Rumi

:برای مطالعه بیشتر درباره مولانا مراجعه فرمائید

Rumi Poetry Recitation in Farsi - Ghazal/Ode # 3015 from Divan-e Shams Tabrizi or Divan-e Kabir in original Farsi or Persian by maestro Bahman Sharif...It's truly a joy to watch even if you don't speak Persian or Farsi...Click on play, sit back and just enjoy. Here is my quick translation of its first two verses:

My love, my beautiful looking love
you are the beauty of all beauties
in all your splendor.
Sometimes you break the idols
and sometimes you worship the fire! 
Rumi ~ My Translation

عشق من ای خوبرو رونق خوبان به تو
گاه شوی بت شکن گاه کنی آزری


غزل ۳۰۱۵ از دیوان کبیر یا دیوان شمس تبریزی

Begins with Rumi's "Song of the Reed" - Masnavi, Book 1: Lines 1-34 - or the First Eighteen Verses from Masnavi, known in Persian/Farsi as Ney Namah - نی نامه -

Duration: 46 minutes

Most of the eBooks and Articles listed below are in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. If you currently don't have the Adobe Reader to open and save your PDF files, please click above icon to download the latest free version of Adobe Reader. Just as a memory refresher, all eBooks & Articles listed here are solely for educational purposes.











You won't become a Sufi
by simply wearing a Sufi Cloak made of wool!
You can't call yourself a Sufi Master
by simply being a talkative sweet-talker!

A Sufi must first possess a pure heart.

So you want to practice Sufism
with all that hatred still in your heart?
Give this Sufi a break, will ya?!!
Rumi ~ My Translation

صوفي نشوي بفوطه و پشمينه
نه پيرشوي زصحبت ديرينه
صوفي بايد كه صاف دارد سينه
انصاف بده صوفي و آنهمه كينه
مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

The term "Sufi" derives from the Arabic word "Soof" (meaning "Wool") and was applied to Muslim ascetics and mystics because they wore garments made out of wool. Sufism represents a dimension of Islamic religious life that has frequently been viewed by Muslim theologians and mainstream Islam with suspicion. Though Sufism is generally understood by scholars and Sufis to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam, today, however, many Muslims and non-Muslims believe that Sufism is outside the sphere of Islam.

The ecstatic state of Sufi mystics can sometimes produce extreme behaviors or statements that on occasion appear to border on the blasphemous. The Sufis can sometimes feel so close to God that they lose a sense of their own self identity and feel themselves to be completely absorbed into God. This in fact is the goal of the Sufi. Through following a series of devotional practices, which lead to higher levels of ecstatic state, Sufis aspire to realize a condition in which they are in direct communion with God. Ultimately the individual human personality or Self passes away and the Sufi feels his or her soul absorbed into God [this concept is known in Tasawuf or Sufism as Fanaa - فنا or Annihilation of Self, and Baqaa - بقا or Eternal Mystical Union and Abiding with God].

The mystical dimension of Islam or Islamic Mysticism. Sufism teaches the relationship between Man and God on the one hand, and Man and Man on the other, and the various mystical stages of Man's spiritual evolution in his or her journey towards God in quest of everlasting mystical union.

Also known as seeker, dervish, fakir, qalandar, lover, or mystic; a Sufi is the one who embarks on a spiritual/mystical journey towards God by means of love and devotion. A Sufi believes that the only way to becoming perfect is by the purification of Self.

The 4 Stages of Self-Purification in Sufism:

1. Self becoming emptied.
2. Self becoming illuminated.
3. Self becoming adorned.
4. Self-having-passed-away and in eternal mystical union with God.

A novice student of Sufism, or the one who follows a Shaykh, Pir, Murshid, or Sufi Master.

Pir/Murshid or Shaykh
The Sufi master, Spiritual guide, or the Sufi teacher of traditional Sufi teacher-student relationships. Pir-o-Murshid or a spiritual teacher's presence is an inspiration to the spiritual development, maturity, and illumination of a novice student of Sufism.

A wanderer or seeker of knowledge of Sufism who may follow many different teachers, seeking personal goals and different states or levels of spirituality in his or her journey towards God.

The spiritual pathway of a salik or seeker's inner and outer mystical journey in his or her quest for ultimate mystical union with God.

Khanaqah/Zawiya/Tekke or Ribat
Meditation and prayer center for collective practice of Sufi spiritual disciplines. It's also the traditional lodging place for wandering Sufi dervishes and fakirs. Sufi Khanaqah is better known in English as Sufi Convent or the Sufi Lodge.

Zikr/Dhikr or Zeker
The Sufi practice of repetitious remembering of God. Zikr can be performed individually or collectively through recitation and silent meditation, or by the Sufi practices of chanting, dancing, and musical instruments playing rituals as a means of prayer and remembrance of God. The Sufi Zikr ceremony is based on the following Quranic Teaching: "Remember Me, and I shall remember you." Holy Quran 2: 152.

A Wandering Afghan Sufi Dervish known as Malang
صوفی درویش افغان مشهور به ملنگ

"There are wandering Sufi Dervishes called Qalandars
who are constantly tickled with life.
It's scandalous how they love and laugh
at any small event.
People gossip about them,
and that makes them deft in their cunning,
but really a great God-wrestling
goes on inside these Sufi wanderers,
a flood of sunlight
that's drunk with the whole thing..."
Rumi on Sufi Dervishes or Qalandars

درویش افغان مشهور به ملنگ یا قلندر

 A Wandering Sufi Dervish of Indian Subcontinent.
صوفی درویش در نیم قاره هند

A Wandering Sufi Fakir or World-renouncing Sufi Mystic.
صوفی درویش - سالک فقیر - یا قلندر


Persian Sufi Dervishes outside a Sufi Convent in Tehran, Iran, c.1920.
چله نشینی درویشان درخانقاه - تهران - ایران

Jewish Sufi Dervishes of Iran - Agha-Jaan Darvish and his brother, patriarchs of the Darvish Family. Tehran, Iran, c.1922.
درویشان یهودی ایرانی - آغا جان درویش و برادرش

A Wandering Arab Sufi Dervish. Fez, Morocco, c.1953.
صوفی درویش عرب مراکشی درفز- مراکش

Turkish Sufi Dervishes of Ottoman Turkey (Practicing Sufi Sema Dance of Whirling Dervishes with Semazen or Ney-flute player).
صوفیان ترکیه عثمانی - نی نواز ورقص سماع

A 'Pir', 'Shaykh', 'Murshid', Sufi Master, or Spiritual Guide of a novice Sufi.
 پير، مرشد، شيخ، استاد و راهنماي طریقه صوفی

The Passion & Ecstasy of Kurdish Sufi Dervishes during the Sufi Zikr Ceremony.

مراسم ذکر صوفیانه - درویشان کردی دروجد

The shining light of Zikr -
Repeatedly Remembering God -
Illuminates the night sky.

Remembrance of God
Brings a Sufi gone astray
Back upon the path of truth.

Make this Sufi mantra
Part of your daily prayers:"There is nothing but God.
He, God Alone Exists."
Rumi ~ My Translation

از ذکر بسی نور فزاید مه را 
درراه حقیقت آورد گمره را
هرصبح و نماز و شام ورد خود ساز
این گفتن لا اله الا الله را
مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي

The ruins of a Sufi Convent in Balkh, northern Afghanistan where Rumi's father taught and young Rumi studied before fleeing the onslaught of Genghis Khan and his dreaded Mongol army...Rumi and his family finally settled down in the Anatolian Turkish town of Konya (in central Turkey).
خانقاه - ذاویه یا تکه سلطان‌العلما (پدرمولانا) در بلخ - شمال افغانستان

Maulana Rumi's Sufi Convent in Konya, Turkey.
خانقاه حضرت مولانا در قونیه - ترکیه

A typical Sufi Convent (Zawiyah - زاويه, Tekke - تکه or Khanaqah - خانقاه) which can still be found throughout the Islamic World...above 11th century Sufi Convent still standing in Cairo, Egypt.

خانقاه یا زاويه در قاهره - مصر

"Rumi's deep metaphysical ideas should not be confused with the sometimes shallow practices of popular Sufism. Rumi used poetry as a vehicle through which he conveyed his Sufi mystical thoughts. Rumi’s profound Sufi teachings touch upon several important issues, such as the station of Man, Revelation and the role of the Prophets, the progression of matter and spirit through the world of existence, and the nature of love and the function of prayer. Rumi's continuing popularity in both the East and the West supports the argument that there are still many things in ethics and philosophy in the Masnavi that mankind hasn't yet understood. Rumi's Sufi poems are the continuation of the heavenly books and divine truths."

So what is Sufism?
I've heard that the ecstasy
of 'Wearers of Wool'
comes from finding
the taste of Divine Love.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

Sufism is a mystical path,
it is this clear spiritual road.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

What is Sufism ?
Good character and full awareness of love,
the cure for all your hatred and vengeance.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

What is Sufism ?
The heart attaining tranquility
which is the root and the purpose
of practicing any religion.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

What is Sufism ?
Contemplation that travels
to the highest Divine Throne,
a far-seeing mystical gaze.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

Sufism is keeping your distance
from imagination and supposition.
Sufism is surrendering your soul
to the care of inviolability of Divine Love.

Sufism is searching deep within
for the inner meanings of your faith,
and a lifelong spiritual journey
towards the final mystical union
with the One and Only God.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.

Sufism is a smooth and illuminated path,
it's this highly spiritual and mystical way
to reach the exalted Divine Throne
of our Friend and Beloved, 
the Almighty God.
That’s Sufism and nothing more.
Rumi on Tasawwuf or Sufism

"The essence of God is love and the Sufi Path is the Path of Love. Love is to see what is good and beautiful in everything. It is to learn from everything, to see the gifts of God and the generosity of God in everything. It is to be thankful for all of God's bounties. This is the first step on the road to the Love of God. This is just a seed of Love. In time, the seed will grow and become a tree and bear fruit. Then, whoever tastes of that fruit will know what real Love is. It will be different for those who have tasted to tell of it to those who have not.When you find Love, you will find yourself. When you have the knowledge of Love, you will then feel peace in your heart. Stop searching here and there, the Jewels are inside you. This, my friends, is the holy meaning of Love."
Sufi Teachings of Rumi

"If invited to offer prayers in a Church, a Mosque, a Synagogue, or a Hindu Temple, the Sufi is ready to do so, knowing that all people worship the same God, the Only Being, no matter what Name they use. Yet the Sufi's true House of Worship is the human heart, in which the Divine Beloved lives. Sufism is a religion for those who wish to learn religion from it, a philosophy for those wanting wisdom from it, a mystical path for any who would be guided by it to the unfolding of the soul, and yet it is beyond all these things. It is the light of life, which is the sustenance of every soul."
Sufi Teachings of Rumi

"The Sufis never set out to found a new religion, a mazhab or denomination. They were content to live and work within the framework of the Muslim religion, using texts from the Quran much as Christian mystics have used the Bible to illustrate their tenets. Their aim was to purify and spiritualize Islam from within, to give it a deeper, mystical interpretation, and infuse into it a spirit of love and liberty. In the broader sense, therefore, in which the word religion is used in our time, their movement could well be called a religious one, one which did not aim at tying men down with a new set of rules but rather at setting them free from external rules and open to the movement of the spirit.. Perhaps we may say that if, in the past, Sufism's function was to spiritualize Islam, its purpose in the future will be rather to make possible a welding of religious thought between East and West, a vital, ecumenical commingling and understanding, which will prove ultimately to be, in the truest sense, on both sides, a return to origins, to the original unity.."
Excerpts from The Persian Sufis by Cyprian Rice.