The thoughts and works of Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi, a 13th-century Sufi mystic and poet, appeal not just to those who are under the influence of the culture of the East but also to the whole world, said the head of a Turkey-based foundation on the occasion of the 814th anniversary of Rumi's birthday.
Explaining the relevance of Hazret Mevlana's teachings in modern life, Faruk Hemdem Celebi, chairman of the International Mevlana Foundation, said: “He appeals to the souls who have lost themselves in this materialist world, who are in search of their selves.”
“He ensures they turn inward to their heart and thus get closer to what they are looking for, even if they cannot yet find it,” Celebi, who is also the 22nd grandson of Mevlana, told Anadolu Agency.
Celebi stressed that Mevlana supports those who have started to "purify" themselves, who have begun to clean their hearts, bodies and behavior, and everyone who needs help.
Sept. 30 marks Rumi's 814th birthday. Historically, it was not Mevlana’s birthday that was celebrated by his followers but the anniversary of his death, a day called Sheb-i Aruz, meaning “Wedding Night” in Persian.
This was because Mevlana, along with many other Sufis, believed that upon death, he would be reunited with his Beloved, who is Allah.
However, today Mevlana is so loved by his readers and followers that a modern demand for celebrating his birthday has also emerged.
Underlining that Hazret Mevlana unites people all around the world, Celebi said he does not discriminate according to race, nationality, gender or any other such boundary.
“He transcends all such earthly concerns and focuses on what is within,” he noted.
“The Soul is endued with knowledge and reason: What does the Soul have to do with ‘Arabic’ or ‘Turkish’?” Celebi quoted Rumi as saying in his masterpiece Masnavi, an extensive poem written in Persian.
“He believed that all love is a bridge leading to divine love. By loving all of God’s creations, every human and creature, he was in the act of loving God,” Celebi noted.
- What makes his works relevant even in 21st century?
The thoughts of Hazret Mevlana have no expiry date, Celebi said, adding that when you read any of his works, you find that Hazret Mevlana answers new questions and imparts a different lesson each time.
“Especially the Masnavi never, ever gets old. On each reread, every story manifests new, countless meanings. Each time you see a deeper meaning,” he noted.
“Love is not contained in speech and hearing; Love is an ocean whereof the depth is invisible,” said Celebi, citing a couplet from the Masnavi.
Known by the epithets of Mevlana and Rumi, Jalal ad-Din Mohammad Rumi (Sept. 30, 1207 – Dec.17, 1273) was an Islamic scholar and Sufi.
At birth, his family named him Muhammad, though he came to be nicknamed Celaleddin. As for “Mevlana,” it connotes to “our master,” while “Rumi” relates to “the land of Rum” or “Anatolia,” where he lived.
Mevlana was born in the city of Balkh, Horasan, which at the time was inhabited by Turkish tribes.
As a child, he emigrated with his family from Greater Balkh, now around modern Afghanistan and Tajikistan, to Anatolia, now modern Turkey.
He spent his life in Konya, living according to Islamic principles, teaching countless students and writing books and poetry.
Today, his works such as the Masnavi, the Divan of Shams and the Fihi Ma Fihi are widely read all over the world.
The Masnavi contains 26,000 couplets in six volumes, consisting of stories inspired by the Quran’s teachings about all that is created, as well as Hazret Mohammad’s words and their morals.
In his books, Mevlana talks about how to be a wholesome human being: one who has inner peace and harmony, one who is both aware of and appreciates God’s blessings, one who takes a stand in the face of life’s hardships, one who is tolerant and loving.
Those who read his works still flock to his tomb in Konya, making it the second most visited museum after the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.
- International Mevlana Foundation
The International Mevlana Foundation is a UNESCO accredited nonprofit nongovernmental organization.
The foundation works to advise institutions and government bodies on how to combat the commodification of Mevlana’s teachings.
It also organizes a wide variety of activities to introduce Hazret Mevlana’s thoughts and works to the world, such as workshops, seminars, and Sufi music lessons.
With the support of Turkey’s Ministry of Culture, it also organizes Sema ceremonies and concerts.
The foundation imparts the majority of these activities for free to the general public from their office space or social media.