Words of Rumi : The most effective healer in the times of extreme frustration

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

By Aaniqa Qayoom

Go not to the quarter of despair; there is hope
go not towards darkness; there are suns

Born in the Eastern part of the Ancient Persian Empire near present-day Afghanistan, he was named Jalal-ud-din meaning ‘The Majesty of Religion’. But even such a name failed to do justice to this child prodigy, and his father, himself a distinguished scholar of religion, conferred on him the title Maulana.

It was at the feet of his father, Baha-al-din, that the young Rumi acquired an appreciation and love for the works of the celebrated medieval theologian and ascetic Abu-Hamid al-Ghazali . Their two lives offer many parallels, not least in the way that both, at the height of their careers in religious law, were to throw off the shackles of academic and jurisprudential deliberations to pursue the religion of the heart

Without meeting with Shams of Tabriz , it is unlikely that Rumi’s name would ever have found its way on to the pages of history. For it was this meeting that, caused him to turn from the life of a scholar/preacher and become ‘the greatest mystical poet of any age’

Love is the transformative force that infuses every aspect of Rumi’s world and herein lies  his appeal and the timelessness of his message: there is an inherent unity in our universe, and love is the key to realizing it. It is for this reason that we have the capacity to love and moreover the need to be loved.

Not only love but Rumi also cherishes  other aspects of life in the form of his poetry, as such pain also finds a place in this ,the pain of separation is manifest at birth as the cry with which an infant enters the divine amphitheatre. Although audible to all, alas few understand. From this moment onwards, the soul’s one quest is to re-experience something of that primordial sense of bliss. But engulfed by our passion, we are so often drawn to the world of transience rather than the world of permanence. The forms and manifestations of this poisoned love are many, as the reed opines.

Among his spiritual advisers was Shamsi-‘d-Din of Tabriz, who gained such an influence over the poet that Rumi adopted his name as his takhallus, or poetical Nom de plume, under which he wrote his Divan or lyrical odes. As such Shams Tabrezi had an immence impact on the life of Maulana

The departure of Shams caused Rumi to realize that his attention, affection and love (which was not homoerotic as some writers have supposed) were all more appropriately directed elsewhere. First burned and then consumed by the power of love, he, through overcoming the lower self, witnessed an unveiling that allowed him to drink directly from the Spring of Knowledge, something of the taste of which we too can still savour.

And if the poetry in which many of us today find succour was the external manifestation of the healing that Shams worked, the Sema of the whirling dervish remains the more potent inward manifestation of that encounter. For as Rumi himself acknowledged, even he, one whose words he prophesied ‘will be told among the lovers, centuries after my death’, was unable to find the language to do justice to the subject of his preoccupation.

After removal of the long black cloak of death, the seeker’s white inner garment, representing the burnished soul, is exposed. Silently dancing, one foot pinned to the ground representing the necessity for a firm anchor in authentic religion, whilst the other leg, twirling, symbolizes interaction with and responsibility to all else, irrespective of place, time, colour, language or creed, with whom we share the divine breath. Right arm outstretched,  palm upwards, receiving from the Creator; left arm lowered palm facing downwards, delivering to the created world.

Rumi used the Koran, Hadiths, and religion in an explorative way, often challenging conventional readings. One of Barks’s popular renditions goes like this: “Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field, I will meet you there.” The original version makes no mention of “rightdoing” or “wrongdoing.” The words Rumi wrote were iman (“religion”) and kufr (“infidelity”). Imagine, then, a Muslim scholar saying that the basis of faith lies not in religious code but in an elevated space of compassion and love. What we, and perhaps many Muslim clerics, might consider radical today is an interpretation that Rumi put forward more than seven hundred years ago.

Rumi is capable of shocking  paradox, as well: Allah is the source of all, both good and evil, and it all goes to creating a masterful tapestry of beauty in the world. His most famous work is the Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrizi, the Works of Shams of Tabriz. This shows the powerful influence of his friend on him, because he attributes this poetry to his friend, the Works of Shams of Tabriz.

Rumi was like a purely clean lamp, where the oil was poured in the holder and a wick placed therein, ready to be lit; and Shams was the spark to set it afire.

Rumi died in 1273 CE, halfway through the sixth volume of the Mathnawi. The Mevlevi Order has been presided over by a member of Rumi’s family for over 800 years.2007 was designated the UNESCO Year of Rumi.

Even today after so many years Rumi and his poetry continue to amaze people all across the globe and he still stands uncomparable . The Great Master Rumi.

In the times of extreme frustration and chaos his words can act as an effective healer.


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