powerless in the expression of Love. Love alone is
capable of revealing the truth of Love and being a
Lover. The way of our prophets is the way of Truth. If
you want to live, die in Love; die in Love if you want
to remain alive.
I silently moaned so that for a hundred
centuries to come,
The world will echo in the sound of my
turn on the axis of my hayh‚t
The name Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi
stands for Love and ecstatic flight into the infinite. Rumi is
one of the great spiritual masters and poetical geniuses of
mankind and was the founder of the Mawlawi Sufi order, a
leading mystical brotherhood of Islam.
Rumi was born in Wakhsh
(Tajikistan) under the administration of Balkh in 30 September
1207 to a family of learned theologians. Escaping the Mongol
invasion and destruction, Rumi and his family traveled
extensively in the Muslim lands, performed pilgrimage to Mecca
and finally settled in Konya, Anatolia, then part of Seljuk
Empire. When his father Bahaduddin Valad passed away, Rumi
succeeded his father in 1231 as professor in religious
sciences. Rumi 24 years old, was an already accomplished
scholar in religious and positive sciences.
He was introduced into the
mystical path by a wandering dervish, Shamsuddin of Tabriz.
His love and his bereavement for the death of Shams found
their expression in a surge of music, dance and lyric poems,
Tabrizi'. Rumi is the author of six volume didactic epic
`Mathnawi', called as the 'Koran in Persian' by Jami, and
discourses, `Fihi ma
Fihi', written to introduce his disciples into
If there is any general idea
underlying Rumi's poetry, it is the absolute love of God. His
influence on thought, literature and all forms of aesthetic
expression in the world of Islam cannot be overrated.
Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi died on
December 17, 1273. Men of five faiths followed his bier. That
night was named Sebul Arus (Night of Union). Ever since, the
Mawlawi dervishes have kept that date as a festival.
The day I've died, my pall is moving on
But do not think my heart is still on earth!
weep and pity me: "Oh woe, how awful!"
You fall in
devil's snare - woe, that is awful!
Don't cry "Woe,
parted!" at my burial -
For me this is the time of joyful
Don't say "Farewell!" when I'm put in the grave
A curtain is it for eternal bliss.
"descending" - now look at the rising!
dangerous for sun and moon?
To you it looks like setting,
but it's rising;
The coffin seems a jail, yet it means
Which seed fell in the earth that did not grow
Why do you doubt the fate of human seed?
bucket came not filled from out the cistern?
the Yusaf "Soul" then fear this well?
Close here your
mouth and open it on that side.
So that your hymns may
sound in Where- no-place!
Schimmel, Annemarie. Look!
This Is Love: Poems of Rumi.
Shambhala Publications, 1991.
As waves upon my
head the circling curl,
So in the sacred
dance weave ye and whirl.
Dance then, O
heart, a whirling circle be.
Burn in this flame
- is not the candle He?
The Mawlawi rites
sam‚ symbolise the divine love and mystical ecstasy; they
aim at union with the Divine. The music and the dance are
designed to induce a meditative state on the love of God.
Mawlawi music contains some of the most core elements of
Eastern classical music and it serves mainly as accompaniment
for poems of Rumi and other Sufi poets. The music of the
sam‚ (ceremony) is
generally conducted by the chief drummer. Percussion
accompaniment is supplied by the kudums (small
kettledrums) and cymbals; melody is provided by the Ney (reed
flute), the string instruments and the voice. The words and
even syllables of the poetry are connected to the musical
sentences. "Dervish music cannot be written in notes. Notes do
not include the soul of the dervish."
The dervishes turn timelessly
and effortlessly. They whirl, turning round on their own axis
and moving also in orbit. The right hand is turned up towards
heaven to receive God's overflowing mercy which passes through
the heart and is transmitted to earth with the down turned
left hand. While one foot remains firmly on the ground, the
other crosses it and propels the dancer round. The rising and
falling of the right foot is kept constant by the inner
rhythmic repetition of the name of "Allah-Al-lah,
Al-lah..." The ceremony can be seen as a great crescendo
in three stages: knowing God, seeing God and uniting with
what is sam‚? A message from the
fairy, hidden in your heart;
their letter comes serenity to the estranged heart.
tree of wisdom comes to bloom with this breeze;
pores of existence open to this tune.
When the spiritual
cock crows, the dawn arrives;
When Mars beats his drum
victory is ours.
The essence of the soul was fighting the
barrel of the body;
When it hears the sound of the
daf it matures and calms down.
sweetness is sensed in the body;
It is the sugar that the
flute and the flute-player bring to the listener.
by Fatemeh Keshavarz,
Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi',
University of South Carolina Press,
Whoever has heard
of me, let him prepare to come and see me; whoever
desires me, let him search for me. He will find me -
then let him choose none other than I.
The steps of the way to union
with the Divine are performed according to strict rules.
Within a circle the sheikh stands at the "post". It is the
highest spiritual position, marked by a red rug indicating the
direction of Mecca. Red is the colour of union and of the
manifested world. The musicians' platform faces. There are 24
colour of union and of the manifested world. The musicians'
platform faces the sheikh; the whirling dervishes take their
places to his left.
The N'aat, a poem of
praise to the Prophet, opens the ceremony. It is followed by a
recitation from the Qur'an. The kudums (drums) then break the
silence to introduce the flute solo that conveys the yearning
for the union with God. The next step is the Sultan Veled Walk
when the dervishes, following the sheikh, circle the hall
three times, stopping to bow to each other at the
The first selam
(salutation) introduces the dance: the dervish obtains his
permission to whirl by kissing the hand of the sheikh. The
master of the dance directs him to his position: As the
musicians play and the chorus chants, the sheikh stands at the
"post" and the dervishes unfold and turn repeating their
inaudible "Allah, Allah, Allah. . ." This part of the ceremony
lasts approximately ten minutes and is repeated four times. At
the fourth selam the sheikh joins the whirling. He represents
the centre (the sun); the dervishes represent the orbiting
planets turning around him and around themselves in the
solar system of Rumi.
The Ceremony is concluded by the
recitation of the Fatiha, the opening chapter of the Qur'an,
followed by a prayer to Mowlana and Shamsuddin of Tabriz. All
dervishes then join in chanting the "Hu" which is the
all-embracing Name of God, the One.
What is to be done, O Moslems? for I do not
I am neither Christian, nor Jew, nor
Gabr, nor Moslem.
I am not of the East, nor of the West,
nor of the land, nor of the sea;
I am not of Nature's
mint, nor of the circling' heaven.
I am not of earth,
nor of water, nor of air, nor of fire;
I am not of the
empyrean, nor of the dust, nor of existence, nor of entity.
I am not of India, nor of China, nor of Bulgaria, nor of
I am not of the kingdom of 'Iraqian, nor of the
country of Khorasan
I am not of the this world, nor of
the next, nor of Paradise, nor of Hell
I am not of Adam,
nor of Eve, nor of Eden and Rizwan.
My place is the
Placeless, my trace is the Traceless ;
'Tis neither body
nor soul, for I belong to the soul of the Beloved.
have put duality away, I have seen that the two worlds are
One I seek, One I know J One I see, One I call.
He is the first, He is the last, He is the outward, He
is the inward;
I know none other except 'Ya Hu' and 'Ya
I am intoxicated with Love's cup, the two
worlds have passed out of my ken ;
I have no business
save carouse and revelry.
If once in my life I spent a
moment without thee,
From that time and from that hour I
repent of my life.
If once in this world I win a moment
I will trample on both worlds, I will dance
in triumph for ever.
O Shamsi Tabriz, I am so drunken in
That except of drunkenness and revelry I
have no tale to tell.
From Divan-i Shams
and Divan on a CD
Excerpt from Rumi, A Spiritual
Biogrpahy (Lives & Legacies) by Leslie Wines, Barbara
Life and Work of Jalaluddin Rumi, Afzal Iqbal,
(August 1999) Oxford University PressI
Am Wind Your Are Fire: The Life and Work of Rumi Annemarie
Schimmel, (December 1992) Shambhala
- Past and Present, East and West by Franklin
D. Lewis Published 2000 Oneworld Publications
Heritage of Sufism Volume 1: Classical Persian Sufism from Its
Origins to Rumi (700-1300) Leonard Lewisohm (Editor),
Javad Nurbakhsh, 24 June, 1999, Oneworld