Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, and popularly known as Mowlānā but known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi, (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273), was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and mystic. Rūmī is a descriptive name meaning “the Roman” since he lived most of his life in an area called Rūm because it was once ruled by the Byzantine Empire.
The general theme of Rumi’s thought, like that of other mystic and Sufi poets is essentially that of the concept of tawhīd – union with his beloved (the primal root) from which/whom he has been cut off and become aloof – and his longing and desire to restore it.
The Masnavi weaves fables, scenes from everyday life, Qur’anic revelations and exegesis, and metaphysics into a vast and intricate tapestry.Rumi is considered an example of Insan-e Kamil — Perfect Man, the perfected or completed human being. In the East, it is said of him that he was “not a prophet — but surely, he has brought a scripture”.
Rumi believed passionately in the use of music, poetry, and dance as a path for reaching God. For Rumi, music helped devotees to focus their whole being on the divine, and to do this so intensely that the soul was both destroyed and resurrected. It was from these ideas that the practice of “whirling” dervishes developed into a ritual form. His teachings became the base for the order of the Mevlevi which his son Sultan Walad organized. Rumi encouraged samāʿ, listening to music and turning or doing the sacred dance. In the Mevlevi tradition, samāʿ represents a mystical journey of spiritual ascent through mind and love to the Perfect One. In this journey, the seeker symbolically turns towards the truth, grows through love, abandons the ego, finds the truth, and arrives at the Perfect. The seeker then returns from this spiritual journey, with greater maturity, to love and to be of service to the whole of creation without discrimination with regard to beliefs, races, classes, and nations.
In other verses in the Masnavi, Rumi describes in detail the universal message of love:
Lover’s nationality is separate from all other religions,
The lover’s religion and nationality is the Beloved (God).
The lover’s cause is separate from all other causes
Love is the astrolabe of God’s mysteries.
Rumi’s poetry is often divided into various categories: the quatrains (rubayāt) and odes (ghazal) of the Divan, the six books of the Masnavi, The Discourses, The Letters, and the almost unknown Six Sermons.
Rumi’s major work is the Maṭnawīye Ma’nawī (Spiritual Couplets; مثنوی معنوی), a six-volume poem regarded by some Sufis as the Persian-language Qur’an. It is considered by many to be one of the greatest works of mystical poetry.
Rumi’s other major work is the Dīwān-e Kabīr (Great Work) or Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi|Dīwān-e Shams-e Tabrīzī (The Works of Shams of Tabriz; named in honor of Rumi’s master Shams.