Tales from Masnavi of Rumi



"The Masnavi, or Masnavi-I Ma'navi (Persian: مثنوی معنوی‎) or Mesnevi (Turkish), also written Mathnawi, Ma'navi, or Mathnavi, is an extensive poem written in Persian by Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, the celebrated 13th century Persian Sufi saint and poet. It is one of the best known and most influential works of both Sufism and Persian literature. The Masnavi is a series of six books of poetry that each amount to about 25,000 verses or 50,000 lines. It is a spiritual writing that teaches Sufis how to reach their goal of being in true love with God.







The title Masnavi-I Ma'navi means "Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meaning." The Masnavi is a poetic collection of anecdotes and stories derived from the Quran, hadith sources, and everyday tales. Stories are told to illustrate a point and each moral is discussed in detail. It incorporates a variety of Islamic wisdom but primarily focuses on emphasizing inward personal Sufi interpretation. This work by Rumi is referred to as a “sober” Sufi text. It reasonably presents the various dimensions of Sufi spiritual life and advises disciples on their spiritual paths. More generally, it is aimed at anyone who has time to sit down and ponder the meaning of life and existence.

The six books of the Masnavi can be divided into three groups of two because each pair is linked by a common theme:

Books 1 and 2: They are principally concerned with the Nafs, the Carnal Self or Ego, and its self-deception and evil tendencies.
Books 3 and 4: These books share the principal themes of Reason and Knowledge. These two themes are personified by Rumi in the Biblical and Quranic figure of the Prophet Moses.
Books 5 and 6: These last two books are joined by the universal ideal that Man must deny his/her physical earthly existence to understand God’s existence.

Book one of the Masnavi must be read in order to understand the other five volumes. It is a poetic art where Rumi layers his writing. For example, he begins a story, then moves on to a story within that story, and again moves to another within that one. Through this composition style, the poet’s personal voice comes through to his audience. The Masnavi has no framed plot. Its tone includes a variety of scenes. It includes popular stories from the local bazaar to fables and tales from Rumi’s time. It also includes quotations from the Quran and from hadith accounts from the time of Mohammed.

In addition to the reoccurring themes presented in each book, Rumi includes multiple points of view or voices that continually invite his readers to fall into “imaginative enchantment.”

There are seven principal voices that Rumi uses in his writing:

  1. The Authorial Voice – Each passage reflects the authority of the majestic Sufi teacher narrating the story. This voice generally appears when it addresses You, God, and you, of all humankind.
  2. The Story-telling Voice – The primary story is occasionally interrupted by side stories that help clarify a point being made in the original statement. Rumi sometimes takes hundreds of lines to make a point because he is constantly interrupting himself.
  3. The Analogical Voice – This voice interrupts the flow of the narration because it entertains an analogy which is used to explain a statement made in the previous verse. Rumi’s Masnavi is filled with analogies.
  4. The Voice of Speech and Dialogue of Characters – Rumi conveys many of his stories through dialogue and speeches presented by his characters.
  5. The Moral Reflection – Rumi supports his voice of morality by including quotations from the Quran and various hadith stories of events in the life of the Prophet Mohammed.
  6. The Spiritual Discourse – The Spiritual Discourse resembles the Analogical Voice where Rumi always includes a moral reflection on the wisdom revealed.
  7. Hiatus – Rumi occasionally questions the wisdom conveyed though the verses. Sometimes Rumi says that he cannot say more because of the reader’s incapacity to understand.

Although there is no constant frame, style, or plot, Rumi generally follows a certain writing pattern that flows in the following order:

PROBLEM / THEME -----> COMPLICATION  
-----> RESOLUTION.

Courtesy of Sufism and Tariqa
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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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