Jalal ad-Din Rumi

Jalal ad-Din Rumi (jäläl´ ĕd-dēn´ rōō´mē), 1207–73, great Islamic Persian sage and poet mystic, b. in Balkh. His father, a scholar, was invited by the Seljuk sultan of Rum to settle in Iconium (now Konya), Turkey. His apprenticeship as a Sufi mystic was guided by the mysterious Shams ad-Din Tabrizi (d. 1247), who was considered one of the spiritual masters of Rumi's age. His major work is the Mathnawi, a vast 6 vol. work of spiritual teaching and Sufi lore in the form of stories and lyric poetry of extraordinary quality. The Mathnawi is one of the enduring treasures of the Persian-speaking world, known and memorized by most. It is popularly called "the Qur'an in Persian." The singing of the Mathnawi has become an art form in itself. Rumi also founded the Mawlawiyya (Mevlevi) Sufi order, who use dancing and music as part of their spiritual method, and who are known in the West as Whirling Dervishes. Rumi's influence spread to Persian-speakers in Afghanistan and central Asia, and beyond, to Turkey and India. His tomb in Konya is a place of pilgrimage, and the Mawlawiyya order is still centered in Konya.

See selections of his mystical poems, tr. by A. J. Arberry (1968) and by James G. Cowan (1992); critical works by R. A. Nicholson (1950), A. R. Arasteh (1965), and A. Schimmel (1978).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Beyond Dogma: Rumi's Teachings on Friendship with God and Early Sufi Theories
Jawid Mojaddedi.
Oxford University Press, 2012
A Poet and a Mystic: Jalaluddin Rumi
Tell, Carol.
Social Education, Vol. 66, No. 4, May-June 2002
Mystical Poems of Rumi: First Selection, Poems 1-200
A. J. Arberry; Rūmī.
University of Chicago Press, 1968
Mystical Poems of Rumi 2: Second Selection, Poems 201-400
A. J. Arberry; Ehsan Yarshater; Maulana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi.
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Discourses of Rumi
Arthur. J. Arberry.
Curzon, 1993
Islamic Spirituality: Manifestations
Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
Crossroad Herder, 1997
Mystics
William Harmless, S.J.
Oxford University Press, 2008
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Mysticism and Islam: Rumi"
God's Unruly Friends: Dervish Groups in the Islamic Later Middle Period, 1200-1550
Ahmet T. Karamustafa.
University of Utah Press, 1994
Early Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Quran, Miraj, Poetic and Theological Writings
Michael A. Sells; Michael A. Sells.
Paulist Press, 1996
Mysticism: Holiness East and West
Denise Lardner Carmody; John Tully Carmody.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Information on Rumi begins on p. 260
Reason, Freedom, & Democracy in Islam: Essential Writings of Abdolkarim Soroush
Mahmoud Sadri; Ahmad Sadri.
Oxford University Press, 2000
A Profound Kinship
Dalrymple, William.
New Statesman (1996), Vol. 127, No. 4398, August 14, 1998
The Mevlana Festival
Kandemir, Huseyin; Lovatt, Debbie.
The Middle East, December 1999
Spin City: The Ancient Turkish Town of Konya, Once the Pearl of the Seljuk's Empire of Rum, Is the Home of the Famous Whirling Dervishes, Whose Mesmeric Dance Links Devotees to the Revolution of the Universe. (Travel in Turkey)
Mohammadi, Kamin.
Geographical, Vol. 74, No. 6, June 2002
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