Persian poet and mystic, Jalal al-din Rumi, known today simply as Rumi, was born during the Islamic Golden Age on 30th September, 1207. His place of birth is claimed by two places, both Balkh (present-day Afghanistan) and Wakhsh (present-day Tajikstan) which were both part of the Khwarezmian Empire.
Rumi’s influence transcends borders, cultures, divisions and religions and even today he is loved around the world. Almost the entire Muslim world has great appreciation for his spiritual legacy and his poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages. Rumi has also been described as the ‘most popular poet’ and the ‘best selling poet’ in the United States.
Rumi wrote mostly in Persian, but also wrote prose in Turkish, Arabic, and Greek. His influence is seen in the literary traditions of the Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai, Urdu and Pashto languages. Today we’re going to take a look at some of that prose, in English and some of our favourite passages.
If this leaves you wanting more, then we recommend the Essential Rumi.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
“I want to see you.
Know your voice.
Recognize you when you
first come ’round the corner.
Sense your scent when I come
into a room you’ve just left.
Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.
Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.
I want to know the joy
of how you whisper
“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.”
“Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open?”
“This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep!”
“You wander from room to room
Hunting for the diamond necklace
That is already around your neck!”