Posts Tagged ‘Rumi’

Master Rumi’s words always find a way to pierce into your heart and make your soul dance to the divine music that his poetry composes.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan needs no introduction.  His voice can be referred to as a beckoning — in realm of  a mystical journey towards englighment, love and ecstacy.

The combo can make tears roll down your cheeks like you were some place else.

Na man behooda girde kocha
Wa bazaar megardam
Mazaj-e-ashiqee daram paye
dildar megardam

Khudaya rahm kon bar man
Pareeshan waar megardam

Khata karam gonahgaram
Ba hale zaar megardam

Sharabe showq menosham
Ba girde yaar megardam

Sukhan mastana megoyam
Walay hooshyaar megardam

No I am not roaming aimlessly
around the streets and bazaar
I am a lover searching for his beloved

God have mercy on me
I am walking around troubled

I have done wrong and sinned
and am walking around wounded

I have drunk the wine of desire
and am strolling around beloved

Though I may seem drunk
I am quite sober

– Source


Gahe khandam, gahe giryam, gahe aftam, gahe khezam,
Maseeha dar’dilam paida vaman beemar mi gardam.
Biya jana inayat kun wa maulana e Rumi ra,
Gulame Shams Tabrezam qalandar waar mi gardam

Laughing at times, crying at times, falling at times, rising at times,
The savior is at the doorstep of my heart, yet like a sick man I wander.
O Beloved! Come and help your Maulana Rumi
I am a slave of Shams Tabrizi, enraptured I wander.

Munshi Raziuddin’s version updated:


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With so many books on Islam painting a picture of violence, hatred, and intolerance, it seems odd that the top selling poet in America, for several years now, has been a 13th century Muslim mystic who has managed to sate the spiritual hunger of millions of Americans. Sufi poetry has such amazing piercing power, even Obama quotes the great Saadi, whilst talking to the Iranians.

Rumi’s major work is the Masnavi (Spiritual Couplets ) a six-volume poem regarded by some Sufis as the Persian-language Quran. It is considered by many to be one of the greatest works of mystical poetry. It contains approximately 27000 lines of Persian poetry. 
Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi would have loved the irony. Hailing from Afghanistan, a land that has become intimately familiar with Americans for reasons that have little to do with love and enlightenment, Rumi and his work have gone beyond craze to phenomenon.

Madonna, Demi Moore, and Martin Sheen read translations of his words praising Allah over music. Recordings of Rumi poems have made it to Billboard’s Top 20 list. Oliver Stone wants to make a film of his life. Donna Karen plays Rumi recitatations at her fashion shows. What has made Rumi so popular?

“Rumi is the voice of unconditional love,” says Kabir Helminski, a translator of Rumi’s poetry and a sheikh of the Mevlevi Sufi Order (which traces its lineage back to Rumi).

“He is willing to talk about his own pain, for instance, the pain of loving God, the pain of being human.”

While all of Rumi’s writings drew from his deep connection with Islam, his most popular poems (like those found in the compilations by Coleman Barks) don’t directly refer to Islamic teachings, mainly because translators wanted to make Rumi more accessible for Americans. Some Muslims claim that the essence of Rumi is lost when taken out of the context of Islam and turned into some sort of New Age icon. Reflecting on this, Helminski quotes Rumi. “We cannot steal the fire. We must enter it.”

Also, it is interesting to note, how some “Western” scholars who have no idea of Islamic Mysticism / Tassawuf / Sufism, translate Rumi into English and other languages to portray him as they like. Some even believe that Re-Birth of Rumi  was carved out by the West which remains an outrageous blurt as the East never forgot Rumi. Visit any library or bookstore, or read any influential Sufi poet, and see how he pays tribute to the master of Spiritual verse. Thousands of books in local dialects teem our libraries and we never forgot Rumi. The West discovered him late 🙂

Further read: The Student who became the master – About Rumi’s influence on Allama Iqbal.


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Dr. Muhammad Allama Iqbal ,who was ardent follower of Rumi, perhaps the greatest Sufi poet of all time, openly criticized the self-proclaimed guides of the religion. However, it is satirical that mullahs of the same breed quote verses of Iqbal to support their pose, yet his poetry is filled with open disapproval of them. Here he bashes out at Mullahs in his famous “The Mullah and the Paradise”

When in a vision I saw
A mullah ordered to paradise,
Unable to hold my tongue
I said something in this wise:

‘Pardon me, O Lord
For these bold words of mine,
But he will not be pleased
With houris and the wine

He loves to dispute and fight
And furiously wrangle,
But paradise is no place
For this kind of jangle

His task is to dis-unite
And leave people in the lurch,
But paradise has no temple
No mosque and no church

– translated by Naeem Siddiqui

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Mystifying is the turn of time, indeed. The same Allama Iqbal who was given fatwa’s on, by his contemporary “Mullahs” is now quoted by well-reputed Mullahs of the same school of thought.

The same Bulleh Shah, who had been refused by the mullahs to be buried after his death in the community graveyard because of his unorthodox views, today enjoys worldwide reverence and is quoted by contemporary mullahs. The tomb of Bulleh Shah in Qasur and the area around it is today the only place free of collective refuse, and the privileged of the city pay handsomely to be buried in the proximity of the man they had once rejected.

Maulana Rum (aka Rumi), who was condemned as a kaafir, is not only the top selling poet across the globe but is held in high reverence by people of all religions.

I have written on this topic previously, the verses of Bulleh Shah force me to write again. Every word that was misinterpreted by mullahs, can serve a cure for all the ills we are facing in our times.

Chal Way Bullehya Chal O’thay Chaliyay
Jithay Saaray Annay
Na Koi Saadee Zaat PichHanay
Tay Na Koi Saanu Mannay
O’ Bulleh Shah let’s go there
Where everyone is blind
Where no one recognizes our caste (or race, or family name)
And where no one believes in us
Masjid Dha Day, Mandir Dha Day
Dha Day Jo Kujh Disda
Par Kissay Da Dil Na Dhawee(n)
Rub Dilaa(n) Wich Wasda
Tear down the Mosque, tear down the temple
Tear down every thing in sight
But don’t (tear down) break anyone’s heart
Because God lives there
Hindu na nahi musalmaan,
Baheeye tiranjan taj abhimaan.
Sunni na naheeN ham sheeya
Sulha kuhl ka maarag leeya.
Neither Hindu nor Muslim,
Sacrificing pride, let us sit together.
Neither Sunni nor Shia,
Let us walk the road of peace.


Props to Junoon, Rabbi, Abida Parveen, Saeen Zahoor and other musicians of our times for helping the new generation in rediscovering the message of Bulleh Shah. Junoon started the trend and was labeled as “Sufi Rock Band” – The message that pierced my heart was through them, when I was 12.

This first aspect of Bulleh Shah’s poetry and philosophy that strikes upfront is his bold and almost arrogant critique of the religious orthodoxy of his day; specifically the Islamic religious orthodoxy. His poetry is filled with direct attacks on anyone claiming control over religion.

Mulla tay mashaalchi dohaan ikko chit
Loukan karday chananan, aap anhairae vich
Mullah and the torch-bearer, both from the same flock
Trying to give light to others; themselves in the dark 


Bulleh Shah’s poetry portray him as a humanist. Someone providing solutions to the sociological/political/cultural problems of the world around him, describing the turbulence his homeland of Punjab is passing through, while simultaneously searching for God. His poetry highlights his mystical spiritual journey through the four stages of Sufism – Shariat (Path), Tariqat (Observance), Haqiqat (Truth) and Marfat (Union). He starts from the rules as laid down by Islam, and eventually ends up at a point where he accepts the existence of God, everywhere, with no discrimination between different religions, finally becoming one with God.

Pointing at someone else’s faith would only unveil how weak your faith is. Picking up guns, instead of pens to enforce your way of thinking would never have an effect that the likes of Bulleh Shah had through his soul-searching and heart-melting poetry.

Islam was never spread by sword. It wouldn’t be the fastest growing religion on earth if that were the case. Islam is spread by the message of love and by deeds, not the way Taliban “ENFORCE” it.

Lord Almighty Himself says:

There shall be no compulsion in religion – [2:256]

I cannot help pasting the verse below:

Bulleh-a aashiq hoyiyon Rabb da, Hoai Malamat Lakh
Tenon Kafir Kafir aakhdey, toon aaho aaho aakh

O Bulleh, just love your God and ignore the chidings
When they say you are an infidel, say “yes I am one”


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The ways may vary, but the goal is one. Don’t you see that there are many roads to the Kaaba? For some the road is from Rum, for some from Syria, others come from Persia or China or by sea from India and Yemen. So if you consider the roads, they are beyond counting, with infinite differences. But when you consider the goal they are all in accord with one desire.

The hearts of all are upon the Kaaba. The hearts are one in their longing and love for the Kaaba, and in that there is no room for separation. That love is neither belief nor non-belief, for it has nothing to do with the various roads. Once we arrive, this argument and war and those differences in the roads – this woman saying to that man, “You are false, you are an infidel,” and that man saying the same about her – once we arrive at the Kaaba, we realize that such fighting is over the roads only, and that the goal of all is the same.

For instance, a bowl’s spirit is in love with its maker, and is a slave to those hands that fashion it. Yet some see this bowl and say it should be placed just as it is on the table. Some say the inside of it should be washed first, some say the outside of it must be cleaned. Some say all of it, some say it must never be washed at all. The diversity of opinion comes from the bowl’s many uses, but as to the fact that the bowl certainly had a creator who fashioned it, and that it did not come into existence of itself, on this all agree.

– Extracted from ” Fihi Ma Fihi ” – It is What it is – Discourses of Rumi

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There is a voice inside us all, at times subtle and at times scratching our soul to be noticed – to be heard, a voice that always resonates in melody to the world and hereafter.  This is the voice of truth, the calling of our soul and certainty, the buzz to wake up and dive inside ourselves and discover the inner-universe which is bigger than the outer one. In a burst of inspiration, this inner calling has the potential to change us. To destroy the barriers of thought we had built around it, growing up.

This inner calling injected in me, the thirst of know Rumi, as the first time I came across this quatrain as kid of 13, I was speechless: 

Do you think I know what I’m doing,
That for a moment, or even half a moment,
      I know what verses will come from my mouth?

I am no more than a pen in a writer’s hand,
No more than a ball smacked around by a polo stick!

Such an inner calling made Rumi an unrivaled master of ecstatic verse. The Islamic scholar A. J. Arberry writes, “In Rumi we encounter one of the world’s greatest poets. In profundity of thought, inventiveness of image, and triumphant mastery of language, he stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic mysticism. “And R. A. Nicholson, who dedicated his life to Islamic studies, called Rumi “the greatest mystical poet of any age.”

Some words pop out of page and mesmerize your senses. Master Rumi has given life to every word that he wrote; and everyone who is blessed with the opportunity to read him, beholds the bare words of the soul clad in living form. Rumi’s poetry has the miraculous ability to show us this truth and to unlock soul’s dormant secrets. Within the folds of his words we gain entrance to a hidden hall; we hear whispers that are intrinsic, yet open new dominions of understanding; we witness the endless love story between the individual soul and God. Like looking into a mirror, or like being in the presence of a holy being, reading Rumi’s words show us ourselves and our state, it shows us the illimitable glory of what we can become.

Master’s epitaph, beside his tomb reads:

“When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth, but find it in the hearts of men.”

And surely, Rumi lives in the hearts of men…

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The Inner Being.

Exalted truth imposed upon us.

Heat and Cold, Grief and Pain.

Terror and weakness of wealth and body.

Together, so that the coin of our inner most being.

Becomes evident.

Cross and Christians, end to end, i examined. He was not on the Cross. I went to the Hindu Temple, to the ancient pagoda. In none of them there was any sign. To the heights of Herat I went and to Kandhar, I looked. He was not on the elevation not on the low lands.
– Rumi

Resolutely I went to summit of the fabulous mountain of Ka’af. There was only the dwelling of the Anqa bird.I went to Kaaba at Mecca. He was not there. I asked him from Avicenna the philosopher. He was beyond the range of Avicenna, I looked into my own heart. In that place I saw him.

He was in no other place.

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” Don’t look at your form, however ugly or beautiful.

Look at love and at the aim of your quest.

… O you whose lips are parched,

keep looking for water…

Those parched lips are proof that eventually you will reach the source.”

– Rumi

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At times, writers are out of words whilst praising a personality. Allama Iqbal had such a charisma that is difficult to transform into words. Dr / Sir / Allama / Hazrat and many other salutations used to refer to his multi-dimensional personality do not do justice to the man whose every face embraces a new height of perfection. My ignorant self is often at loss of words and does not know where to start and when to end whilst mentioning the great poet, philosopher, revolutionist, Ideologist, Spiritualist, humanitarian, politician and Muslim.

The departed melody may return or not!
The zephyr from Hijaz may blow again or not!
The days of this Faqir has come to an end,
Another seer may come or not!

– Allama’s verse minutes before his death.

Through various excerpts, I will try to uncover a side of him many of us have not seen. The biggest influence on Iqbal’s personality was none other than the greatest Sufi poet of all time, Maulana Jelal-ud-din Rumi. To understand the verses of Iqbal and unveil the mysticism concealed in his words, it is imperative to study Rumi.

The poetry and philosophy of Rumi had the deepest influence on Iqbal’s mind. Deeply immersed in religion since childhood, Iqbal began concentrating on the study of Islam, the culture and history of Islamic civilization and its political future, the mystical side of Islam and embrace Rumi as “his guide.” .Iqbal refers to Rumi in countless poems to underline the message of a pure, spiritual focus on Islam as a source for socio-political liberation and glory.

Iqbal was not the same after reading Masnavi, perhaps the greatest masterpiece of spiritual poetry in all of human history. Iqbal pays tribute to Rumi in almost all of his books and acknowledges him as his spiritual guide.

Few verses in chronological order are given below:

Inspired by the genius of Master of Rum
I rehearse the sealed book of secret lore;
The master of Rum transmuted my earth to gold
And set my ashes aflame

– Asrar-i-Khudi

Spiritual Master Rumi, the sage of holy origin
Opened the secret of life and death to us

– Payaam-e-Mashriq

Have a spark from my innermost heart
For my heart is as fiery as Rumi’s

– Zubur-e-Anjum

In Javed Nama, Iqbal describes how Rumi’s soul appeared to guide him:

And like the sun was his clear countenance
And age in him, scintillate the youth
His figure gleamed with godly light that lent
Him bliss and grace, the secrets of his life
Hung on his lips and burst the bound of word
And sound, the words he spoke were crystal clear
With learning full and inward light
Again, Iqbal calls him!

– Javed Nama

In “Letter from Europe“, Rumi is described by Iqbal as “Lamp of the way of free man”.

I have learnt the subtleties from Pir Rumi
I have burnt myself in his letters

– Pas Cheh Bayd Kard

It is time that I reopen the tavern of Rumi
The sheikhs of Kaaba are lying drunk, in the country-yard of the church

– Musafer

That string of the instrument of your ego is broken
Due to your indifference to Rumi’s Music

– Zarb-e-Kalim

Besides there are other numerous pointers regarding Rumi as Iqbal’s guide


An important thing to note here is that there is nothing demeaning in getting guidance from Murshid in Sufi tradition. Like a patient needs doctor and a student needs teacher, Sufis seeking spiritual enlightment need a guide /”murshid”. A question comes to mind that why Iqbal chose Rumi as mentor. Iqbal’s own answer would be that he didn’t. Rumi chose him. “The candle rushed onto the moth,” he says in the prelude of his first book of poetry.

When studied in the illumination of direction from Iqbal, the core essence of Rumi turns out to be that idea can transform into reality. That happens to be the gist of Iqbal’s message as well. Iqbal being the only Sufi poet whose words created a storm within the hearts of a nation who was living in slavery; he used his words to pierce their hearts and shook them to stand up for their rights. It is not an incident that he is the only poet whose imagination gave birth to a real country on the map of the world.

<big>The great master resembles the sea and the great pupil resembles the river which surges in the sea to become the sea itself. </big >


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