Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi (1207-1273)
Eminent philosopher and
mystical poet of Islam, Rumi advocated tolerance, reason and
access to knowledge through love. His mystical relationship with
Islam produced masterpieces that have marked Islamic culture and
religious beliefs, well beyond the borders of Turkey. His work
and thought remain universally relevant today.
Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi is an Anatolian
holy man who gave hope and inspiration to humanity. Mevlana was born in 1207
in Khorasan, and died in 1273 in Konya. He took his first lessons from his
father Bahaeddin Veled, who was known as “sultan of scholars”. While he was
studying Sufism he met Ahi Sems Tebrizi, and after this meeting his own
ideas began to emerge. It is his poems about Sufism, however, for which he
is chiefly remembered, respected and admired today.
- The branch of love comes from ancient
times, and its root from immortality,
That greatness is too much for this mind and morals,
Fade away, pass through your existence. Your existence is murder.
Love is nothing other than finding the truth.
According to Mevlana, love is the only
thing necessary to attain God. A plant or an animal may also love, but it is
only man who has the capacity to love with his body, mind, thoughts and
memory. Mevlana exalts the state of being in love with a woman because if
someone loves someone else, he also loves himself, humanity, the universe
and God. The most beautiful love, “Love of Truth,” begins when someone
reaches this level of wisdom. Followers of Mevlana (Mevlevi) spin around and
around in a ritual called “sema.”
This ritual symbolizes a world united in love and keeping step with the
world’s universal rotation. While one of their hands points to the sky, the
other hand points to the ground meaning “Love from God spreads to the
earth”. The spirit bursts forth from God and is immortal. The sound of the
nay (a reed flute) tells of man’s longing to return to his initial source.
He means that the universe is an endless
place within the existence of God, and as a small part of the whole, man
keeps that divine essence inside him by saying, “You who search for God,
it’s you that you’re searching for....”
- Come, no matter what you are,
Whether atheist or sun worshipper.
Whether you’ve backslid a thousand times,
Come, no matter what you are.
As we see, all mankind are brothers, and
differences between religions do not square well with the divine presence.
Mevlana attaches great importance to women and maintains that men and women
are equal, saying, “The more you insist women should cover themselves up,
the more you incite people’s desire to see them.
Like a man, if a woman’s heart is good, she
will chose the path of goodness independent of your prohibitory actions. If
her heart is bad, you can’t influence whatever you do.” Mevlana’s students
were called Kitap-el Esrar (Clerks of the Secret). There were Muslims,
Christians, Jews, Iranians, Armenians, Rums and Turks among them. His
students from different cultures and religions collected his poems and gave
them as a gift to later generations.
Reference: Turkish Ministry of Culture