:: Rumi – the spiritual guide ::

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 my dust'

Dr. Saadat Saeed

The writer is a professor of Urdu Literature at Government College University Lahore

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 my dust.

The reed (song) from the reed of that reed player of noble birth filled my being with commotion.

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 thought

‘This word and voice rose from the thought; you know not where the ocean of thought be.

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 says:

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 mysterious ---.’

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, jealousy, etc.

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.