It has been 777 years since Mevlana Muhammad Jelaluddin Rumi (may Allah be well pleased with him) reunited with his Allah. Many poetry lovers acknowledge Dec. 17, 1237 A.D. as the anniversary of the returning of one of the world’s most-beloved poets, Jalal ad-din Muhammad Rumi, or simply, Rumi. Rumi’s major works are the Diwwan-Shams- Tabrizi of some 40,000 verses and the Mathnawi of about 25,000 verses. The Mathnawi (Couplets) are six books of poetry. Rumi, it is said began the Mathnawi at the request of his favorite (talib) disciple, Husam al-Din Chalabi.

It is dignified and represents a reasoned and measured explanation of the various dimensions of spiritual life and practice to disciples intending to following the Path. Below is a selection from The Mathnawi:

The Song of the Reed Mathnawi I: 1-18

Listen to the reed (flute), how it is complaining! It is telling about separations, (Saying), “Ever since I was severed from the reed field, men and women have lamented in (the presence of) my shrill cries. “(But) I want a heart (which is) torn, torn from separation, so that I may explain the pain of yearning.” “Anyone one who has remained far from his roots, seeks a return (to the) time of his union. “I lamented in every gathering; I associated with those in bad or happy circumstances. “(But) everyone became my friend from his (own) opinion; he did not seek my secrets from within me. “My secret is not far from my lament, but eyes and ears do not have the light (to sense it). “The body is not hidden from the soul, nor the soul from the body; but seeing the soul is not permitted.” The reed’s cry is fire — it’s not wind! Whoever doesn’t have this fire, may he be nothing! It is the fire of Love that fell into the reeds. (And) it is the ferment of Love that fell into the wine. The reed (is) the companion of anyone who was severed from a friend; its melodies tore our veils. Who has seen a poison and a remedy like the reed? Who has seen a harmonious companion and a yearning friend like the reed? The reed is telling the story of the path full of blood; it is telling stories of Majnoon’s (crazed) love. There is no confidant (of) this understanding except the senseless! There is no purchaser of that tongue except the ear [of the mystic.] In our longing, the days became (like) evenings; the days became fellow-travellers with burning fevers. If the days have passed, tell (them to) go, (and) don’t worry. (But) You remain! — O You, whom no one resembles in Purity! Everyone becomes satiated by water, except the fish. (And)everyone who is without daily food [finds that] his days become long. None (who is) “raw” can understand the state of the “ripe.” Therefore, (this) speech must be shortened. So farewell!

Shortly after having completed his work on the Mathnawi, his passing was deeply mourned by the citizens of Konya, including the Christian and Jewish communities. His disciples formed the Mevlevi Sufi order, which was named after Rumi, whom they referred to as “Our Master” (Maulana). They are better known in Europe and North America as the Whirling Dervishes, because of the distinctive dance that they now perform as one of their central rituals.

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