Rumi and the Sufi Tradition
By Seyyed Hossein Nasr
LIKE a majestic peak that dominates the countryside around it near and far, the figure of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, that supreme Sufi poet of the Persian language, dominates the whole of the later Sufi tradition in the eastern lands of Islam. He stands out as a spiritual pole not only for the Persian people to whom he belongs by origin but also for the Turkish world where his earthly remains are interred and even for the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistani sub-continent whose soul still reverberates to the music of his poetry. Moreover, the message of this towering figure which has remained alive to this day in the Islamic world is now sought ever more eagerly in the West beyond the circle of orientalists by those who have become tired of the rapidly passing fashions of the day, of the supposedly timely and pertinent new ideas which in the twinkle of an eye turn into stale thought no longer possessing any actuality or relevance.