Jesus and Moses in Rumi's Poetry

Jesus and Moses in Rumi's Poetry

As the last of the three Abrahamic Faiths, Islam honors both Moses (Moosa for Muslim) and Jesus (Issa for Muslims) as two of the greatest and most righteous Prophets. The following selected poems of Rumi are in reference to the Biblical and Quranic Passages of the miraculous transformations of the 'Rod of Moses', and Jesus' Miracles such as bringing the dead to life and healing the lame and blinds. In the Bible-- in the Book of Exodus to be precise-- we read how by God's command, Moses' Rod becomes a serpent before the Pharaoh, or how the Nile River is turned to blood at the strike of  Staff of Moses. In the Quranic Passages-- 8:60-82 to be precises-- we also read how Moses' Rod saves the sheep of Shoayb (Jethro for Jews and Christians) from the dragon. Thus the Biblical Rod of Moses turning into a snake, finds numerous metaphoric usages in Rumi's poetry, as the Quranic Staff of Moses also turns into a serpent to fight the Pharaoh.

As for Rumi's numerous mentioning and metaphorical usages of Jesus' Miracles and healing powers, particularly, Rumi's numerous alluding to Breath of Jesus bringing dead to life, I'd like to offer this brief explanation: While rejecting Jesus Christs' Trinity doctrine -- the Christian concept of Jesus as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as three co-equal and co-eternal Gods functioning as One Godhead-- Muslims hold Jesus as one of their most beloved, respected, and revered of Prophets. In the Quranic Verses, Jesus is referred to as Rooh-Allah (Spirit of God) and also Kalam-Allah (Word of God); while Moses is referred to as Kalimullah or Speaker of God - hence Jews are also known to Muslims as Kalimi - Followers of Kalimullah or Moses.

At the doorway of Lord's abode,
Jesus and Moses are the gatekeepers.
By the grace of God,
Archangel Gabriel performs angelic magic.

عیسی وموسی که باشد چاوشان درگهش
 جبرئیل اندر فسونش سحر مطلق میزند


Fleeing from his enemies,
Jesus takes shelter in a house where suddenly
A spectacular view of the celestial heavens

Becomes visible to him.
Moses lights up a fire in the bush
Which burns and lasts for a hundred nights
Before the dawn of another day appears.

در خانه جهد عیسی تا وا رهد از دشمن-
-از خانه سوی گردون ناگاه گزر آید

یا موسی آتشی جوکارد بدرختی رو-
-دید که برد آتش صد صبح و سحر آید


You are the breath of Jesus for the dead.
May the land of Egypt, Joseph, and Canaan
Never be without you.

جانهای مرده را ای چون دم عیسی شما-
-ملک مصر و یوسف وکنعان مبادا بی شما

Love is the Holly of Hollies.

The Rod of Moses swallows up the dragon
As soon as Moses drops it to the ground.

عشق از سر قدوسیی, همچو عصای موسیی
کو اژدهارا می خورد, چون افکند موسی عصا

The deaf and the blind of this world
Got instantly healed by Christ
As soon as Jesus son of Mary ordered them:

کور و کران عالم , دید از مسیح مرهم
گفته مسیح مریم کای کور و کر برقص آ

Don't be in denial, look at the Rod of Moses:
In once instance, it was just a simple rod,
in another, it turned into a fiery dragon.

منکرمباش, بنگر عصای موسی
یک لحظه آن عصا بود, یک لحظه اژدها شد

Know that Moses, the Pharaoh slayer, is in town.
You won't see his Rod,
But he's always carrying it with him.

بدانکه موسی فرعون کش درین شهر است
عصاش را تو نبینی ولی عصا دار


In these verses, Rumi is alluding to the Islamic "Two Angels of Graves", Nakir and Monkir. According to the Islamic beliefs, prior to the Day of Judgment, the two Angels Nakir and Monkir are the ones who will visit the soul of a recently deceased Muslim, shortly after his/her burial, to test his/her faith. The Angels will ask the deceased three questions: Who's your Lord? Who's your Prophet? What's your Religion?

شکر از لبان عیسی که بود حیات موتی
که از ذوق بازماند دهن نکیر و منکر

The sweetness from the lips of Jesus
Is like the new life to an already deceased.
From Jesus' sweet taste
Even the two Angels of the graves,
Nakir and Monkir are being left
with their mouths wide open!

In these verses, Rumi is alluding to the death of Moses through the perspective of the Islamic Tradition. Muslims believe that angel of death in disguise, offered Moses an apple. Moses smelled the apple and passed away immediately. By "Apple Orchard", Rumi's referring to the Biblical and Quranic "God's Orchard and the Fruits of Spirit" passages.

سیب را بو کرد موسی جان بداد
باز جو آن بو زسیبستان کیست؟


Moses smelled the apple and passed away.
You need to find the answer to this:
From who's "Apple Orchard"
That smell actually came from?

بر فرعونان که نیل خون گشت
-به مومن خوش گوار باشد

For the Pharaohs,
The River Nile was turned into blood
For the believers [Israelite],
The Nile became their delight.

Rumi's Moses and the Shepherd

From Rumi's 
Masnavi, Book # 2

Translated by Coleman Barks- Published in The Essential Rumi

Moses heard a shepherd on the road, praying,
where are you? I want to help you, to fix your shoes
and comb your hair. I want to wash your clothes
and pick the lice off. I want to bring you milk
to kiss your little hands and feet when it's time
for you to go to bed. I want to sweep your room
and keep it neat. God, my sheep and goats
are yours. All I can say, remembering you,
is ayyyy and ahhhhhhhhh."
Moses could stand it no longer.
"Who are you talking to?"
"The one who made us,
and made the earth and made the sky."
"Don't talk about shoes
and socks with God! And what's this with your little hands
and feet
? Such blasphemous familiarity sounds like

you're chatting with your uncles.
Only something that grows
needs milk. Only someone with feet needs shoes. Not God!
Even if you meant God's human representatives,
as when God said, `I was sick, and you did not visit me,'
even then this tone would be foolish and irreverent.
Use appropriate terms. Fatima is a fine name
for a woman, but if you call a man Fatima,
it's an insult. Body-and-birth language
are right for us on this side of the river,
but not for addressing the origin,
not for Allah."
The shepherd repented and tore his clothes and sighed
and wandered out into the desert.
A sudden revelation
then came to Moses. God's voice:
You have separated me
from one of my own. Did you come as a Prophet to unite,
or to sever?
I have given each being a separate and unique way
of seeing and knowing that knowledge.
What seems wrong to you is right for him.
What is poison to one is honey to someone else.
Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship,
these mean nothing to me.
I am apart from all that.
Ways of worshipping are not to be ranked as better
or worse than one another.
Hindus do Hindu things.
The Dravidian Muslims in India do what they do.
It's all praise, and it's all right.
It's not me that's glorified in acts of worship.
It's the worshipers! I don't hear the words
they say. I look inside at the humility.
That broken-open lowliness is the reality,
not the language! Forget phraseology.
I want burning, 'burning'.
Be friends
with your burning. Burn up your thinking
and your forms of expression!
those who pay attention to ways of behaving
and speaking are one sort.
Lovers who burn
are another.

Don't impose a property tax
on a burned-out village. Don't scold the Lover.
The "wrong" way he talks is better than a hundred
"right" ways of others.
Inside the Kaaba
it doesn't matter which direction you point
your prayer rug!
The ocean diver doesn't need snowshoes!
The love-religion has no code or doctrine.
Only God.
So the ruby has nothing engraved on it!
It doesn't need markings.
God began speaking
deeper mysteries to Moses. Vision and words,
which cannot be recorded here, poured into
and through him. He left himself and came back.
He went to eternity and came back here.
Many times this happened.
It's foolish of me
to try and say this. If I did say it,
it would uproot our human intelligences.
It would shatter all writing pens.
Moses ran after the shepherd.
He followed the bewildered footprints,
in one place moving straight like a castle
across a chessboard. In another, sideways,
like a bishop.
Now surging like a wave cresting,
now sliding down like a fish,
with always his feet
making geomancy symbols in the sand,
his wandering state.
Moses finally caught up
with him.
"I was wrong. God has revealed to me
that there are no rules for worship.
Say whatever
and however your loving tells you to. Your sweet blasphemy
is the truest devotion. Through you a whole world
is freed.
Loosen your tongue and don't worry what comes out.
It's all the light of the spirit."
The shepherd replied,
"Moses, Moses,
I've gone beyond even that.
You applied the whip and my horse shied and jumped
out of itself. The divine nature and my human nature
came together.
Bless your scolding hand and your arm.
I can't say what's happened.
What I'm saying now
is not my real condition. It can't be said."
The shepherd grew quiet.
When you look in a mirror,
you see yourself, not the state of the mirror.
The flute player puts breath into a flute,
and who makes the music? Not the flute.
The flute player!
Whenever you speak praise
or thanksgiving to God, it's always like
this dear shepherd's simplicity.
When you eventually see
through the veils to how things really are,
you will keep saying again
and again,
"This is certainly not like
we thought it was!"

Rumi's Moses & Shepherd recited by Coleman Barks

Rumi's original Farsi Verses of 'Moses & Shepherd' from Masnavi, Book # 2

 مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي -مثنوي معنوي - دفتر دوم
انكار كردن موسي عليه السلام بر مناجات شبان

موسی و شبان

دید موسی یک شبانی را به راه
کو همی گفت ای خدا و ای اله
ای خدای من فدایت جان من
جمله فرزندان و خان ومان من
تو کجایی تا شوم من چاکرت
چارقت دوزم زنم شانه سرت
تو کجایی تا که خدمتها کنم
جامه ات را دوزم و بخیه زنم
دستکت بوسم بمالم پایکت
وقت خواب آید بروبم جایکت!

حضرت موسی(ع) از آن مرد میپرسد ای مرد با که اینگونه سخن میگویی؟! وچوپان در پاسخ

گفت با آنکس که مارا آفرید
این زمین و چرخ از او آمد پدید
گفت موسی:های خیره سر شدی
خود مسلمان ناشده کافر شدی
این چه ژاژست این چه کفراست و فشار
پنبه ای اندر دهان خود فشار
گند کفر تو جهان را گنده کرد
کفر تو دیبای دین را ژنده کرد
گرنبندی زین سخن تو حلق را
آتشی آید بسوزد خلق را

چوپان چون این حرفها را از حضرت موسی(ع) شنید.ناراحت از کار خود

گفت ای موسی دهانم دوختی
وزپشیمانی تو جانم سوختی
جامه را بدرید و آهی کرد وتفت
سرنهاد اندر بیابان و برفت.

موسی پس از آن برای مناجات به کوه طور رفت.از خدای بزرگ به او ندا آمد که ای موسی این چه کاری بود که کردی هر چه زودتر بروچوپان را بیاب و از او معذرت بخواه

وحی آمد سوی موسی از خدا
بنده مارا ز ما کردی جدا
تو برای وصل کردن آمدی
نی برای فصل کردن آمدی
من نکردم خلق تا سودی کنم
بلکه تا بر بندگان جودی کنم
ما برون را ننگریم و قال را
ما درون را بنگریم و حال را
چونکه موسی این عتاب از حق شنید
در بیابان در پی چوپان دوید
عاقبت دریافت او را و بدید
گفت مژده ده که دستوری رسید
هیچ آدابی و ترتیبی مجو
هرچه میخواهد دل تنگت بگو

برای مشاهده 
متن کامل شعر موسی و شبان  بر روی لینک کلیک کنید

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Thank you for visiting Maulana Rumi Online, a blog dedicated entirely to the life, works and teachings of Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi better known simply as Rumi here in our beloved America. Just as a memory refresher, all articles, e-books, images, links and reading materials listed in this Blog are solely for Educational purposes. This Blog is designed and maintained by yours truly, your comments, critiques or suggestions are quite welcome and greatly appreciated. As for my own Rumi Translations, you are welcome to copy and use them as long as it's not for commercial purposes. For best viewing, please try this Blog on Google Chrome Browser. This is a very long Blog though, so please make sure to use the Scroll To Top or Bottom Buttons at the left side, or Back To Top Button at the bottom right corner of your screen for smooth navigation. If you have any question, comment, critique or suggestion, please contact me by clicking the Contact Box embedded at the right middle corner. As Rumi would say, "Come, come, whoever you are, come back again.."!

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