Jalal al-Din Rumi: Poems, Quotes & Biography

Instructor: Kiesa Kay

Kiesa Kay has taught college English and has a master's degree in English, with honors.

Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273 CE) created poetry that has affected and influenced people across the world for almost a thousand years. This Persian poet, born in Afghanistan, lived most his life in Turkey, and gave the world more than 40,000 poems.

From the Heart

Almost a thousand years after his death, the works of Jalal al-Din Rumi still remain popular not only in the original languages, but in translations around the world. His work has influenced literature throughout the ages. 'Only from the heart can you touch the sky,' Jalal al-Din Rumi said, and his mystical poetry has touched the hearts of thousands of readers throughout time.

Rumi came from a great lineage of Muslim mystics and persons of power. His parents, Mu'mina Khatun and Baha ud-Din Walad, were influential people and passed the torch to their son. He married Gowhar Khatun in 1225, and they had three sons and one daughter. Many translators have tackled his works, and Coleman Barks reigns as one of the most successful and well-known translators of Rumi's work into English.

Shahram Shiva has also translated Rumi's work, along with many others. Rumi is known by various names in a multitude of countries, including Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkh, Mawlana/Mevlânâ, and Mevlevî/Mawlaw.

Passionate Poetry

Rumi had a gift for writing passionate poetry that stretched beyond the boundaries of time. He wrote, 'The minute I heard my first love story/I started looking for you/not knowing how blind that was./Lovers don't finally meet somewhere;/They're in each other, all along.'

Rumi, a Muslim scholar, wrote in many languages, including Konya, Turkish, Greek, Arabic, and Persian. He also dictated a six-volume book of poetry, and also completed compositions of prose. His two most well known books of poetry are titled Diwan-e Kabir, or Great Works, and Masnavi-l Ma'navi, or Spiritual Odes.

Odes for the Beloved

When Rumi met his very dear friend and spiritual companion, Shams Tabriz, in 1244, something intensified and deepened within his writing and his life. He began composing ghazals, or Persian odes, focused intensely on love and finding the Beloved, which indicated a spiritual union.

Rumi's spiritual quest became an outpouring of poetry, and he wrote ghazals from 1244 to 1261. His spiritual verses were published under the title Masnavi-ye Ma'navi in 1262. They follow his divine quest to feel, experience, and understand love while in a constant search for spiritual enlightenment.

He wrote in this time of seeing his Beloved everywhere, and following his Beloved to attain a greater understanding and connection to the spiritual world. The spiritual master embodies the Beloved of this sacred journey. These odes offer exploration of the interior landscape of love, including the intoxicating feeling of being in love.

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