:: Rumi –
the spiritual guide ::
spiritual guide, with an enlightened heart, is the leader of the caravan of love
and spiritual intoxication. His heart is full of the light of the Quran:
Jamshed's cup is meaningless in the presence of his mirror. The guide from Rumi
converted my clay into elixir and built up new lights from my dust'
The writer is a professor of Urdu Literature at Government College University
In the widespread
darkness of the night of materialism, for a peaceful and a beautiful spiritual
dawn, we only can seek help from our cultural heritage which is related to
religion, science, philosophy and literature. The discriminatory powers of the
world are forcing weak nations to have their own identities even under the
bright shadows of the concept of a global village. Human beings need once again
the same contemplation which had played a great role in the past as far as
demolishing of earthly gods and their shades and symbols were concerned.
Aljeli, Ibn ul Arabi, Imam Ghazali, Ibni Sina, Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi and
Muhammad Iqbal (who have taken their models and principals of thought from the
holy book which has created a great civilisation, known as antiidolism,) have
evolved the concept of a superman who can seek help from the almighty Allah. God
according to Muslim philosophy is the fountain of all the creations alone.
Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi is the greatest poet of the world. His dimensional
poetry is matchless. He wrote his poetry in such an expressive style that a
philosopher and a common reader can appreciate it equally. The national poet of
Pakistan Allama Muhammad Iqbal writes in one of his Persian poems:
‘Rumi, the spiritual guide, with an enlightened heart, is the leader of the
caravan of love and spiritual intoxication.
‘His heart is full of the light of the Quran: Jamshed’s cup is meaningless in
the presence of his mirror.
The guide from Rumi converted my clay into elixir and built up new lights from
The reed (song) from the reed of that reed player of noble birth filled my being
By the blessings of the guide from Rum, I read out, once again the hidden
mysteries of the branches of knowledge.’
(Pas Chah Bayad Kard ve Asrar e Khudi)
Poetry for Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi and his spiritual pupil the national poet of
Pakistan Muhammad Iqbal was neither to carve out idols, nor to worship them.
The lyrics of their nature gave out new melodies. In his wisdom-oriented poetry
Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi drew the line at building human character and refused to
continue concepts of lustful and selfish love prevalent in the sensuous
perceptions of poetry of his age. His poetry and treatises brought to light the
ethical love charged with spiritual ecstasy. Though at places he has used
stories and metaphors dwelling upon pleasure-seeking incidents but through this
magnetic method always established the supremacy of religious faith and mystical
way of life. Mowlana in one of his verse says:
So facing approximately the same situation he has tried to conclude that:
In this particular perspective Mowlana conversed with his audience through his
voluminous literary and mystical works. He told them to follow the path of
Prophet Muhammad PBUH the principles of which are derived from Quran:
Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi himself was a pious lover and he cared immensely for the
deeds of other truthful lovers. He was of the opinion that if a person is
showing undue frankness in the process of love even with God, but his love and
faith have sincerity, then nobody even having the position of Moses will treat
him harshly. God would not like that and will show his anger saying, “O Moses!
The lovers who know etiquette are quite different from the lovers wounded and
burnt in spirit. God doesn’t see someone’s outer self and language but he
accepts his inner self and condition.”
‘O you who’ve gone on pilgrimage –
Where are you? Where? Oh where?
Here, here is the Beloved!
Oh come now. Come. Oh come!
Your friend, he is your neighbour,
He is next to your wall –
You, erring in the desert –
What air of love is this?
If you’d see the Beloved’s
Form, without any form –
You are the house, the master,
You are the Kaaba. You!
Where is a bunch of roses,
If you would be this garden?
Where, one soul’s pearly essence
When you’re the Sea of God?
That’s true – and yet your troubles
May turn to treasures rich –
How sad that you yourself veil
The treasure that is yours!
Rumi, ‘I Am Wind, You are Fire.’
Translation by Annemarie Schimmel
As far as Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi’s poetry is concerned, we cannot fully
appreciate it in a small sitting or in a brief article. However it is safe to
say that the pivotal point of his poetry is Man in and outside this world.
Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi himself says :
Our Masnavi is the shop of ‘Oneness’.
Whatever you see beside the ‘One’ is an idol.’
Let us have a bird’s eye view of Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi’s concepts of words and
word and voice rose from the thought; you know not where the ocean of thought
But if you see that the waves of the word are gentle you know
That ocean itself is noble.’
The speaker of the word, the listener thereof and the words, all these three, in
the end, become united in one spirit.
Mowlana sees this unity everywhere. He by and large had always reunited himself
on the foundation of his existence. His concepts about Unity of Spirit, Unity
and Plurality, ‘I’ and ‘We’, ‘The body’ and ‘the Soul’, Body without Body,
Subjectivity and objectivity, The Personality and the Attributes, The First or
the Last, Mystery of Time and the Spirit of the Word are absolutely clear. He
Describing unity of God Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi explains:
‘What is it to comprehend God’s oneness? It is to consume one’s self before the
One.’ (page 3 the sayings of Rumi and Iqbal)
Explaining his concept of accomplished man Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi says:
So (essentially) subjectively that tree is the creation of fruit, though
objectively it is the creation of a tree.
The foundation of thought comes into practice in the end. This speciality
belongs to the idea which is the attribute of the day of beginning.
Though modern religious existentialists too believe that essence precedes
existence, but they could not understand the concept of unity given by Muslim
mystics. Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi declares:
‘Wine is intoxicated by us, we are not intoxicated by it.
The body took the foundation from us, we are not created from it.
We are like honey bees and our bodies are like wax. We have made every hole of
our body like wax.’
Man is made of the shadow of ‘Divine Will. So he is called the distinguished
one. In this perspective Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi wrote many verses in his
ghazals (Divan Shams Tabriz) and Masnvi (contaning six long volumes)
This flame of wisdom not only was rare but further kindled in the light wind of
meditation and profound and constant pondering by the real mystics of the Muslim
world for centuries to come. After embracing these spiritual concepts, a real
mystic feels himself free and, as Dr. Ali Shariati explains in one of his
article about a true companion of Muhammad PBUH:
‘Returning in salvation towards the Absolute, being all at once released from
the chains, bonds and shackles which seemingly had been wound around his soul
for centuries, he suddenly senses that he had, alone and unknown, left a deep
well and a narrow and dark cave in which he had been imprisoned from the
beginning of creation. He looks at the wilderness, a shoreless expanse; to the
horizons, distant, extensive and heaven! Full of glory, beautiful, deep and
We cannot deny this truth that for Mowlana Jelaluddin Rumi Islam, under the
guidance of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), fulfills all of the human needs and
social desires of Man. He has preached that kind of monotheism which opens the
gate of justice and spiritual equality. He who really believes in one God
embraces love for humanity; understands the place of man in the world; works for
Man’s destiny; speaks the heart’s language; views world through the heart’s eye;
seeks life in the mysteries of love; faces all kinds of troubles and sorrows;
analyses worldliness, learning and knowledge; and demarcates between logical
reason, imperfect reason, dry logic and spiritual reason, philosophy, force of
thought and revelation. In his ghazals and stories he emphasised on such an
education and training which would bring forth generosity, pity, human grace,
keeping a secret, self assessment, dependence on providence, repentance, good
intentions, search for reality, high aims, prayers, love of home, hard
discipline, lawfully earned bread, reconstruction of life, renewal of life,
construction of character, soul’s purification, reward and retribution,
consultation, guidance, idol breaking, good, humility, patience and tolerance,
contentment, necessity and progress, spirit of homogeneity, righteousness,
surprise, state of surrender, God’s destiny, peace of the heart and a condition
of excitement and ecstasy.
Throughout the verses of Masnavi, Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi has fully negated
power oriented arrogance, despotic tyrannies, discrimination, idol worship,
carnal self, selfishness, false guide, deceptive appearances, disloyalty, greed
and avarice, flattery, imitation, self-enmity, foolishness, the bad ruler,
Under the guidance of Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi’s wisdom Muslim mystics and poets
delivered to humanity the message of the unity of races, unity of classes and
the unity of spirit and body.