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By Sefik Can

The life of Hz. Mawlânâ

Mevlana Jalal al-Din Muhammad was born on September 30, 1207 in the city of Balkh, in modern Afghanistan. There are dif­ferent opinions regarding the date of his birth. While Aflaki (d. 1360 A.D.), author of Manaqib al-Arifin, gives the above date, Rumi, in his book Fihi Ma Fih writes: "We were in Samarqand. Khawarzmshah had surrounded the city, deployed his forces around the city, and was fighting. In that neighborhood there was a very pretty girl. She was so beautiful that there was no girl like her in the city I heard her praying: 'O God, don't leave me in the hands of these tyrants" These short remarks suggest that Aflaki's date is incorrect because Samarqand was surround­ed by Khawarzmshah in 1207, the date given as Rumi's birth year. For Rumi to remember the surroundings and the beauty of the girl, he must have been at least five or six years old. Probably for this reason, "historian Will Durant. shows Rumi's birth at 1201, while Maurice Barres fixes it at 1203. The city of Balkh, in those days before being captured by the Mongols, was a cen­ter of learning. It was famous for its mosques, seminaries, and palaces. It was a capital on the Silk Road, economically devel­oped, and full of businessmen.

TITLES

His name is Muhammad and his tide is Jalal al-Din. All histori­ans know him by this title. Besides the name Jalal al-Din, he is also called Hudavendigar. In some commentaries on the.Mesnevi, he is referred to as the Mevlana Hudavendigar. The term Hudavendigar often is used in the book of Manaqib, which was written by Faridun bin Ahmad Sipahsalar, who served Rumi and his father for nearly half a century. This work was translated into Turkish by my teacher and my master, the forgiven, Midhat Bahari as well as Ahmed Avni Konuk and Tahsin Yazici. As far as the expressions Mevlevi and Mevlana are concerned., today by Mevlevi, in general, we mean people who have given their hearts to Mevlana. However, in the old days among Sufis, this title was reserved for lovers of God, people of truth, and people whose hearts were awake. Therefore, there have been people who remembered our Mevlana, Rumi, by Mevlevi. Among them, the great Sufi poet Qasim-i Envar of Tabriz (d. 1432) recalls Rumi as Mevlevi in his couplet: "O Qasim, if you desire to seek and find spirit of meanings, read Mevlevi's Mesnevi that is the source of meanings." Rumi also is called "Mevlana Jalal al-Din" by pre­ceding his name with Mevlana, meaning "our master," and sometimes just Mevlana, the most common title for saints.

Since Rumi spent most of his life in Anatolia, which was the land of the Romans at the time, he also is called Mevlana Rumi, Mevlana Jalal al-Din Rumi, or just Rumi. Rumi's surname in poetry is "Shams-i Tabrizi." He also uses the word "khamoosh" or "khaamoosh" (silent) though seldom.

ANCESTRY

Rumi's ancestry reaches back to Abu Bakr, the first caliph of Islam. Sultan Valad writes in his Ibtidaname about his grandfa­ther Baha al-Din Valad: "His title became Baha al-Din Valad. His devotees are countless. His ancestry reaches back to Abu Bakr. Therefore, he attained the highest spiritual level just like Hadrat Siddiq Abu Bakr." Aflaki agrees with this position. He determined Baha al-Din Valad's chain of the ancestry as follows: Baha al-Din Valad - Huseyin Khatibi - Ahmed Khatibi - Mahmud - Mavdud - Husayyib - Mutahhar - Hammad - Abdurrahman -Abu Bakr.

 RUMI`S MARRIAGE

Sharaf al-Din Lala of Samarqand, who had migrated from Balkh with Sultan al-Ulama and who was one of his favorite disciples, had a very beautiful daughter named Gevher Khatun. Besides possessing a unique beauty, this young lady's character and morals were unlike any other. God had combined physical and spiritual beauties in Gevher Khatun's person. Baha al-Din Valad considered marrying this beautiful girl to his younger son Jalal al-Din Muhammad. What was the reason behind finding a wife for his younger son before taking into account his older son Ala al-Din Muhammad? Of course, there was wisdom in this. Up to the age of seven, Gevher Khatun had been a student of Sultan al-Ulama. The character of his younger son and that of his beau­tiful student were very much alike, thus he believed this mar­riage would be very appropriate. When he revealed his thoughts to the girl's father, Sharaf al-Din Lala became glad and said: "This marriage brings us nothing but honor and happiness." And so the two fathers agreed on the marriage.

In the spring of the year 1225, these two beautiful and peerless personalities got married in a very modest and simple wedding ceremony. A short rime after this marriage, Mumine Khatun, Sultan al-Ulama's wife, noble in blood and spirit, and faithful as her name, passed away. Since they had come from Balkh to Karaman, Mumine Khatun had endured the pains of being away from home and had been a source of consolation to her beloved husband in those troubled days. In her sensitive heart, she had kept alive the sorrow and longing for their beloved, devastated, burned, and ruined hometown (Balkh), and for their relatives they had left there. The happiness she felt for the magnificent welcome Sultan al-Ulama received in big cities and the spiritual enrichment and joy of their visit to Makka and Madina had made her a Mumine Khatun, which was her living name.

The death of Mumine Khatun was followed by that of Ala al-Din Muhammad, Mevlana Jalal al-Din Muhammad's brother. Losing first his faithful and loyal wife and then his beloved son had drawn Baha al-Din Valad into indescribable sorrow. Not much later, Mevlana Jalal al-Din Muhammad's mother-in-law, i.e., the wife of Sharaf al-Din Lala of Samarqand died. She was buried in Karaman next to Mader Sultan (Queen Mother), Rumi's mother, and brother. So Rumi, who already had lost his beloved mother and brother, also lost his wife's mother. After three of his loved ones were buried in the soil of Karaman, God gave him two precious baby boys. Both Sultan al-Ulama and Mevlana Jalal al-Din were very happy about this favor and bless­ing of God. Rumi named his first son after his father, Sultan Valad. He gave his second son his brother's name, Ala al-Din Chelebi. These two boys consoled them and made them forget their sorrows. Sultan al-Ulama stayed in Karaman for approxi­mately seven years. He educated many students. He guided many people on the path of Truth. The number of his disciples increased constantly and his sermons and moral efforts circulated.

The Seljuk ruler in power during this period was Sultan Ala al-Din Kay Qobad. At a time when the Anatolian Seljuk state was on the verge of collapsing, this valuable sultan performed remarkable leadership with his elevated ability, virtues, and courage and enabled the state to experience a bright period in history. Though temporarily, he achieved military successes and served knowledge and gnosis by calling scholars and other great personalities to Konya. He was also a learned and poetic sultan, and he could not accept that a great personality like Sultan al-Ulama had settled in Karaman, far from him. He sent a message to Amir Musa, whom he loved and admired very much, that he was somewhat offended because Amir Musa had blocked the way of the great saint of Balkh and had kept him in Karaman. When Amir Musa informed Baha al-Din Valad of the sultan's offense, Baha al-Din Valad advised Amir Musa to go immediate­ly to Konya and explain everything to the sultan truthfully.

Amir Musa, who was devoted to the sultan and who was loved very much by the sultan, hurried to Konya. He immedi­ately went to the palace and explained that Sultan al-Ulama had settled in Larende according to his own wishes. The good-heart­ed sultan carefully listened to the Amir, reassuring him that he had not insulted him. Then he invited the king of the scholars to Konya, saying: "If Sultan al-Ulama cares to honor our Konya, this would make me very happy I would become his ser­vant and disciple and walk on the path of Truth that he shows. The city of Konya is awaiting him with all its sultans and amirs." With this intention, gifts were given to Amir Musa, and he was sent to Larende.

FAMILY AND CHILDREN

Rumi had married Khoja Sharaf aJ-Din Samarqandi's daughter Gevher Khatun (d. 1229) while they were in Karaman before they came to Konya with his father. Rumi's oldest son Sultan Valad and his middle son Ala al-Din were born from Gevher Khatun. After Gevher Khatun passed away, Rumi married a wid­ow, Karra Khatun (d. 1292). Karra Khatun, whose name resem­bles a Roman name but who was a Turk, already had a son, Shams al-Din Yahya, when she married Rumi. The name of her first husband was Muhammad Shah. Rumi had a son and a daughter with Karra Khatun. His son's name was Amir Muzaffar al-Din Mm Chelebi, and his daughter's name was Malika Khatun. Thus, Rumi had three sons and one daughter. Of these his middle son, Ala al-Din Chelebi, died in 1262 and was buried to the right of his grandfather Sultan al-Ulama's grave. We do not know with certainty whether Ala al-Din Chelebi had any children. Although Aflaki writes that Ala al-Din Chelebi had chil­dren, since there was no such record in other books, the Chelebi's of Rumi's descent have all descended from Sultan Valad's grand­children.

Rumi's youngest son from Karra Khatun, Muzaffar al-Din Amir Mm Chelebi (d. 1277), worked at the Seljuk palace and advanced to the position of treasurer. He was buried in front of Rumi's blessed grave. Rumi's daughter, Malika Khatun, married a businessman named Shihab al-Din of Konya. Malika Khatun passed away and was buried next to the grave of her brother, Amir Alim Chelebi.

DWELLING IN KONYA

The king of the scholars accepted the invitation of the Seljuk ruler Ala al-Din Kay Qobad. He asked his family and friends to begin travel preparations immediately. He was going to leave Karaman where he had been living for seven years. On a spring day in 1229, they set out on a journey to Konya accompanied with the tears of the people of Karaman. Baha al-Din Valad had accepted the sultan's invitation in order to be more beneficial to the people. Were it not for this calling, he never would have left Karaman, where his loved ones were buried. He was not unaware of how much the people of Karaman loved him. The tears of separation were not shed in vain. He saw how the lectures and sermons he had given and the knowledge he had transmitted had induced the people of Karaman to change. Now he was going to a larger city, to the capital of a great sultan who loved and respected scholars. Konya was to be the last destination for him. A stronger saint, the king of the scholars was coming to Konya, the gathering point of the saints who were rushing here from Turkistan, Iran, and other Islamic lands. The mature-spir­ited, young Rumi was again at the side of his beloved father, his greatest guide and teacher. He had buried his mother and broth­er in Karaman. But now he had with him his faithful wife, two sons, and his father who was his everything.

The little caravan proceeded slowly toward Konya. The people of Konya were preparing to welcome not only Sultan al-Ulama, the king of the scholars, but also the king of the gnos­tics (Sultan al-'Arifm), the king of the saints (Sultan al-Awliya).

This small caravan of five to ten people that had left Balkh years ago and traveled to cities like Nishapur and Baghdad, that had not settled in cities like Aleppo or Damascus, this small but spiritually great caravan that could not fit in any city, not even Baghdad, the fortress of the saints, would fit in Konya and set­tle there. The people of Konya had heard that this great saint was going to honor their city, and therefore were filled with great joy and excitement. Led by Sultan Ala al-Din Kay Qobad, all notables of Konya, high-ranking state and religious officials, scholars and shaykhs, along with the people of Konya went to welcome the king of the scholars.

On a beautiful spring day outside Konya's city walls on the Karaman road, two great sultans were going to meet. One was the greatest sultan of his time, Ala al-Din Kay Qobad, who had revived the great Anatolian Seljuk State at a time when it was col­lapsing. The other was king of the scholars and sultan of the Gnostics, Baha al-Din Valad, who was fighting against ignorance and un-Islamic novelties; he was an example of humanity, virtue, and faith who was enduring voluntary separation from his home for the sake of his ideas and faith. Ala al-Din Kay Qobad had grown tired of never ending battles and understood the nothing­ness of being a sultan in this reward less world. He had decided that he would kneel in front of a sultan of spirits in hopes of becoming his dervish, or disciple. It is for this reason that the great sultan Ala al-Din Kay Qobad of noble spirit was more excited than everyone else as he waited for the great saint Baha al-Din Valad.

The modest caravan became visible in the horizon. Sultan al-Ulama with his white beard and luminous face appeared riding on his horse in front of the caravan. Rumi was following his hon­orable father. His dervishes, disciples, and family, and behind them a few camels carrying loads of book also could be seen. When the caravan came near, the sultan, who was waiting on his horse, dismounted immediately. He ran and grabbed the reins of Sultan al-Ulama's horse and helped him dismount. The two sultans greeted each other with respect, and Sultan al-Ulama was helped back onto his horse. The Seljuk ruler, great Sultan Ala al-Din Kay Qobad, however, did not ride his horse next to Baha al-Din Valad. Instead he walked next to great saint's horse, at times pulling the reins, at times holding the saddle. The sultan of the world had become the servant of the sultan of the spirits. The people who saw this were amazed. They were fascinated by the modesty of their sultan, and they loved and admired him more. As they entered the city, the streets were filled with people. The spectators watched this unique scene from their windows and rooftops. The Seljuk sultan wanted to take his cherished guest to the room in the palace he had prepared for him. He requested that he stay and live there. Baha al-Din Valad replied: "O mighty sultan! I understand your intentions. But madrasas are for imams, dervish lodges for shaykhs, palaces for kings, hotels for tradesmen and hostels for the poor. With your permission, I would like to stay in a seminary." The sultan complied with this request. They were hosted in the greatest seminary of the city, Altun Aba. As was the custom among the sultans, amirs, and men of high positions at the time, Sultan Ala al-Din showered his cher­ished guest with many gifts. Although he sent money, food, and many other offerings, Baha al-Din Valad politely returned all of these gifts. Just as in the other cities, in Konya he did not accept any gifts from anybody including sultans, and said: "We have no aspirations for worldly wealth. Whatever worldly possessions we inherited from our grandfather are enough for us. The sultan should not give himself the trouble of sending us things we do not deserve."

Years later when Sultan al-Ulama's grandson would discuss in his book Ibtidaname his grandfather's arrival in Konya, he would write: "All people, men, women, young, old, all turned to him. They saw his karamat (a saint's miraculous powers). They heard many secrets from him. From his favor and abun­dance they progressed spiritually. They continuously spoke of him and his greatness. A few days passed in this manner. Then young, old, men, and women all became his disciples. Not long afterward, Sultan Ala al-Din respectfully came to visit him with his commanders. When Sultan Ala al-Din saw his luminous face, with love and utmost sincerity, he became his disciple. When he heard his sermon he became his admirer and in his heart he reserved a place for him. And in his heart he found many signs from him."

Baha al-Din Valad occupied a few rooms in Altun Aba sem­inary assigned to him and settled there with his sons and grand­sons. He preached in the Ala al-Din Mosque that is still to be seen in Konya. Wherever he went, a great crowd of locals fol­lowed him. And the sultan frequently came with his command­ers to listen to his sermons.

Baha al-Din Valad had decided to settle and stay in Konya as the greatest of the "saints of Khorasan" who had come to the "Roman land." After a few days, Sultan Ala al-Din Kay Qobad arranged a big ceremony in the palace. He invited to this cere­mony, along with Baha al-Din Valad, the foremost scholars, shaykhs, viziers, and commanders of Konya. The great Seljuk Sultan welcomed Baha al-Din Valad at the gate of the palace. He led him to the great ceremony room himself. Everybody in the room stood up and greeted the two sultans. The mighty sultan who was the head of a great empire and the sultan of the spiri­tual world were standing next to each other. All the eyes were on them. Sultan Ala al-Din Kay Qobad addressed Sultan al-Ulama by raising his voice so that those present could hear him: "O sultan of religion. I have been thinking and have come to a decision. From today on, I shall leave this throne that I inherited from my forefathers to you. From now on, you will be the sultan and I shall be your servant. The sultanate of the phys­ical world that is seen and the other world that is not seen is with you." He said this and gave the crown to him. Upon hear­ing these words, the sultan of the scholars stood up, hugged the sultan and kissed him on the eyes and said: "O sultan of angel­ic character and great state! You have acquired the wealth of this world and hereafter. Nobody doubts that. You sit on your throne comfortably. We long since have closed our eyes to this world's wealth. Now we are worshipping God and trying to follow His commandments."

The quarters of the Altun Aba madrasa were not spacious enough for Rumi, who was married with two children, nor his dervishes and disciples. Because of his humility, Sultan al-Ulama could not let Ala al-Din Kay Qobad or others know about this situation, so he prayed in his heart. One day as he was preaching in the Ala al'Din Mosque, the sultan, his commanders, and all of the notables in Konya attended. Amir Badr al-Din Govhartash, the building master of the palace and sultan's tutor, was also there. He had become one of Sultan al-Ulama's disciples. He was fascinated by his sermons. That day, while listening to the great saint, he became ecstatic and had the urge to be of service to him. Was he not the architect of the palace? He decided to build a madrasa for the family of Baha al-Din Valad and his son Rumi and their children. Soon afterward the construction of the madrasa began in the most beautiful area of the city around the sultan's palace. This college-style madrasa was completed within a few months. Sultan al-Ulama along with his son Rumi and his family moved to this new residence. They resided in this madrasa until the end of their lives.

It is narrated that the Seljuk sultan had dedicated the rose garden of the palace, east of the Konya Fortress, to Baha al-Din Valad. They say that one day Sultan al-Ulama pointed to this small hill and said: "My tomb and the tombs of my grandchil­dren will be there. From now on, that place is the garden of soul and heart, a firm standing place of saints." In fact, after his pass­ing away, Baha al-Din Valad was buried there. The shrine of Rumi also was built there.

RUMI'S INNER AND OUTER CHARACTERISTICS

One can find plenty of images, portraits, and miniatures of Rumi. There is even mention of painters who painted pictures of Rumi in those days. There are also others like Aflaki who describe his physical characteristics. For example, someone told to Muin al-Din Pervane that Rumi's face was pale due to continuous fasting while Sultan Valad had pink cheeks. Can we imagine Rumi's physical appearance based on these accounts and paintings?

Rumi had a thin and slender body and pale skin. It has been told that one day he went to a Turkish bath. When he looked at himself in the mirror, he noticed that he was very thin. He pitied himself and said: "In my whole life I was never ashamed of anybody; however today when I saw my thin body in the mirror I am ashamed of myself. " Although Rumi had pale skin, he was very benevolent looking and awe-inspiring. The eyes of the holy saint were very attractive. They were very sharp and filled with exuberance. The glances of his luminous eyes were so powerful that whenever somebody, unaware of the power of Rumi's eyes, would look directly at his luminous eyes, he would come under the influence of these powerful eyes and would have to divert his glance away from Rumi.

All these accounts and descriptions are related to Rumi's physical characteristics. But what were his inner characteristics? In the Mesnevi, he says:

How, I wonder, shall I behold my own face> so as to see what complexion I have and wherher I. am like day or like night?

For a long while I was seeking the image of my soul, (but) my image was not displayed (reflected) by any one.

"After all, " I said, "what is a mirror for? That everyone may know what and who he is. "

The mirror of iron is (only) for husks (external forms); the mirror that shows the aspect of the heart is of great price.

The soul's mirror is naught but the face of the friend, the face of that friend who is of yonder country (the spiritual land).

Where can the Beloved that can reflect Rumi's inner world and character be found? Who can depict the inner characteris­tics of Sultan al-Ulama's son? How can Sultan al-Ashiqeen, the King of Lovers, be described?

Nobody completely can understand or describe this great saint who was nourished with the wisdom, manners, and charac­ter of his father, the King of Scholars, and who was burned and melted in the pot of Divine Love. He was a superior being who was cleansed from grudge, hatred, evil, selfishness, and ostentation and from all human weaknesses through the experience of Divine Love. He was a man of goodness and perfection and a man of love and gnosis. When he dove into the ocean of love, he was freed from all contradicting views. He was detached from good and evil. In the Mesnevi, he says: "Since colorlessness (pure Unity) became the captive of color (manifestation in the phe­nomenal world), Moses came into peace with the Pharaoh. "2 Fluctuation, waves, foam, and the colors of blue and green all occur on the surface of the ocean. But in the depths of the ocean, there remains neither wave nor color.

This is why Rumi looked at all the nations and sects from the same perspective. His approach to everyone and everything was from this point of view. He treated everybody in the same way. He looked at everyone with the same eye. In his view, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and fire-worshippers were all the same. Therefore, he reminded people that it was essential not to look down on non-Muslims and to respect others religions and beliefs. In Islamic countries, it is common to see churches and synagogues next to the mosques. Muslims respect all religions. This view of Rumi's, which is completely Islamic, should not be misunderstood. The Prophet of Islam is the Prophet of the Latter Day, and there came no prophet after him. Rumi's view of all religions as one should not bring to mind the thought that he saw Islam as the same as other religions. In rerms of being a religion, all religions are equal. They differ in the practices they prescribe; however, their essence is the same.

Rumi regarded all religions, sects, and nations as waves of the ocean of Unit); as God sees all prophets as one, as stated in the Qur'an: "... We make no distinction between one or anoth­er of His messengers. "3 In the same chapter He states that He sees some of the prophets as superior fo others: "Those messen­gers we endowed with gifts and made superior some above oth­ers. " This way while all religions and sects are one; they have differed in the practices they brought. Rumi touches this issue in another part of the Mesnevi when he says: "In this world, there are stairs that stretch to the heavens step by step. For every group there is a separate stair. For every walk (of life) there is a differ­ent sky to which to ascend. Each of them is unaware of the oth­ers. The destination is an infinite land. It has neither a beginning nor an end. " These couplets illustrate this beautiful Prophetic Tradition: "The paths that lead to God are as many as the souls of the creatures. " The way to see everyone and everything as one (wahdat al-wujud] and leniency were at their peak in Rumi. It is related that one day during a whirling ceremony while Rumi was whirling in ecstasy, a drunk entered among the whirling dervish­es. He could not control himself. During whirling he would lurch and from time to rime hit Rumi. Rumi's friends scolded him. Upon seeing this Rumi said, "O friends, he is the one to drink the wine, but you are the ones to get drunk. Why are you scolding him?" Everyone was amazed at Rumi's patience, toler­ance, and tenderness. He never replied negatively to the slanders and gossip produced by his adversaries, whose spiritual eyes were blind. His good manners, gentle ways, and tolerant views helped him to bring these people around to the right views.

It also is related that one day Rumi said: "I am with seven­ty-two different sects and creeds. " Siraj al-Din of Konya was a man of grudge. To hurt Rumi and to discredit him in the eyes of the public, he sent one of his religious friends to ask Rumi in public whether or not he actually said that he was with seventy-two sects and creeds. He advised him to insult, curse, and swear at him if Rumi admitted to saying those words. That man came and asked Rumi: "It has been claimed that you said: "I am with seventy-two sects and creeds. ' Is that true?" Rumi did not deny what he had said. He replied: "Yes, that is what I said. " That man immediately started to swear and curse at Rumi. Rumi just smiled at him and said: "In spite of all that you are saying, I am also with you. "

While a great scholar and a great saint, Rumi was very mod­est. He treated all with modesty—young or old, of high position or of common folk. One never found traces of arrogance, pride, or haughtiness in Rumi's life. He did not consider any difference between old and young, believer and unbeliever.

It is narrated that in those days a famous and learned priest in Constantinople (Istanbul) had heard about the greatness of Rumi and traveled to Konya to see him. The Roman priests of Konya welcomed and honored this priest from Istanbul. The guest priest desired to visit Rumi. Coincidentally, they met Rumi on their way. The priest bowed down with reverence and put his head on the ground. He put his head on the ground thirty times in front of Rumi. When he raised his head he was surprised to see that also Rumi put his head to the ground in front of him. It is said that Rumi put his head to the ground thirty three times. The priest started screaming and tearing off his clothes. Then he said: "O King of Religion, such modesty, such humility! Is a poor priest like me worthy of such respect?" Rumi replied: "Prophet Muhammad who said: 'Blessed is the person upon whom God bestowed wealth, beauty, honor, and the respect of other people and who was generous with his wealth, protected his dignity, and kept his humility in spite of having honor and respect, ' is our Master and our Sultan. When I am among the followers of such a prophet how could I not show humility to the slaves of God? Why should I not display my humility? And if I do not do that, for what and for whom would I be good?" Upon hearing these words, that priest and his friends with him immediately embraced the faith and became disciples of Rumi. They exchanged their priest garments for Muslim clothes. When Rumi came back to the school where he was teaching and also living, he told Sultan Valad: "Baha al-Din, today a poor priest tried to take our humil­ity from our hands. But, thanks to God, with his favor and with our Prophet's help, we have not let go of our humility. “This is because the believers inherited humility and modesty from Prophet Muhammad. Since Rumi was entirely on the Muhammadi path and of Muhammadi character, he always saw himself as insignificant and always abstained from arrogance and pride. We should read this quatrain of Rumi and take lessons: "They have valued my turban, my robe, and my head, all three of them, at one dirham (a small currency unit) or somewhat less. Haven't you ever heard my name in this world? 1 am nothing, nothing, nothing. "

The fact is we are all in love with ourselves, but we cannot admit it openly. In another quatrain, Rumi says: "As long as you remain with yourself and as long as you worship yourself they won't give you a way from the obstacle of yourself. As long as your existence, the misconception that you are something, is with you don't think that you ever will find peace because you still are worshipping the idol of "self. " Some people take pride in their wealth or position while others boast of their skills and professions. The unmindful who think that they are walking on the path of Truth see themselves above the common folk due to their prayers, rosaries, and pilgrimages. This quatrain, which shows the immenseness of Rumi's humility as well as many of his other virtues and qualities, is very intriguing. How much value does Rumi attribute to his head which is a sun of inspiration, to the turban circling that head like a halo and a symbol of knowl­edge and gnosis, and to his robe that is a cover for God's jewel of beauty? Just as we are fascinated with the humility and modesty displayed by Rumi, the respect shown by Rumi toward non-Muslims during that time also is astonishing. The tolerance shown by Rumi to the Christians, who shed the blood of count­less Muslims and ruined their cities during the Crusades and to their priests, is remarkable evidence of Rumi's greatness and his humane side. During those ages when the mosques burned by extremist Christians still were smoking, Rumi saw everything as a manifestation and predestination of God and did not treat the Christians in a negative way. According to the account of Aflaki, one day an Armenian butcher living in Konya met Rumi. He put his head on the ground with respect. Rumi, too, put his head on the ground and showed the butcher respect.

Rumi showed love, respect, and affection to everybody—women, children, and men. One day Rumi was passing through a neighborhood where children were playing in the street. When they saw Rumi passing by, they came running and bowed in front of him with reverence. Rumi greeted them with love and affection. Meanwhile one of the children was still trying to come. He shouted: "Wait, wait, I am coming, too.” Rumi waited till the child came and greeted him; then he caressed the child and made him happy.

One day Vizier Per vane had arranged a whirling ceremony at his palace for Rumi. When Rumi arrived at Per vane’s palace, he waited a long time at the door until all the dervishes and friends entered the palace. After all his disciples had entered the palace, he, entered as well. After the whirling ceremony was over, all the guests left. Only Rumi stayed there that night. Vizier Per vane showed Rumi a great deal of respect and thanked God that such a great saint was his guest. Once, Husam al-Din Chelebi asked Rumi why he had waited a long time at the door of the palace before entering. Rumi replied: "If we had entered the palace first, maybe the doormen would not let in some of our friends who arrived after us. So they would not be able to join our company. If we cannot let our friends in a vizier's palace in this world, in the afterlife, how can we let them in the Palace of Hereafter, the Highest Paradise?"

Like his father Sultan al-Ulama, Rumi gained much love and respect from the sultans, viziers, and kings. These men of high positions were very eager to see him. However, as seen above, Rumi seldom accepted their invitations. He spent most of his time with the poor and needy. He had disciples who were sultans and viziers but also many disciples from among the poor and common folk. He had closed his door to the sultans. While stay­ing away from the ministers of Sultan Aziz al-Din Keykavus, he showed sympathy toward the common people and the poor and spent much effort in helping them find the true path and in guiding them. Those who could not appreciate Rumi's treatment of the poor and people in difficulty and who only looked at the appearance of things would criticize him and say: "Rumi's disci­ples are strange people. Most of them are the workers and small business people of the town. Rich and learned men rarely are seen with him. Wherever there is a tailor, grocer, or a draper, Rumi accepts him to be his disciple. " And such was the gossip. Rumi ignored the gossip, some of which he actually heard, and he was not offended by it. He did not spare his help to those in need. He did not become angry with those who would object to him, and he always would reply to them with tender and comforting answers. He used to say: "If my disciples were people who didn't need me, I would be their disciple. Since they needed me, I accepted them to discipleship. In doing so, I wanted them to change, to attain the Divine Presence and to be good people. "

Rumi always tried to be of service to everyone, good or bad, and he used to do every favor in his power for people. There was a prostitute at an inn in Konya, and she was very beautiful. She had with her several other young women who had been forced into this way of life. One day Rumi was passing in front of this inn. This woman came running out of the inn. She approached Rumi, fell to his feet, and started to entreat him in tears and to give him respect. Rumi called out to this poor woman three times: "Rabia! Rabia! Rabia!" Upon seeing this situation, others working for this woman came out of the inn and fell to Rumi's feet. He said: "Such strong people! Such strong people! It you had not borne the heavy burdens of this difficult life, who would calm down the furious men who are taken away by their desires and lost their way? If it were not for you, how would the digni­ties of the women of dignity be apparent?" Someone from the elite who heard these words of Rumi said: "It is meaningless for a great saint like Rumi to show sympathy to street women and compliment them like this. " Rumi replied to this criticism by saying: 'This woman is behaving just the way she is without any hypocrisy. If you are a true man, be like her. Leave two-facedness and two-coloredness so that your inside and outside will be the same. If your inside and outside are not the same, your everything will be in vain. " Finally this pretty woman repented and became a woman like Rabia al-Adawiyya and freed the women who used to work for her. She gave away everything in her house to the poor. Joining the ranks of the women saints, she became a disciple of Rumi.

One day while Rumi was praying in solitude he was so con­centrated that he even did not notice when a man walked in and said: "I am very poor, I have nothing. " When he saw Rumi total­ly entranced in prayer, he took his prayer rug and left. When Hodja Majd al-Din Maraghi learned about this, he immediately jumped up and started searching for this man. He caught the man trying to sell the rug in the Tiz Bazaar. He dragged him to the presence of Rumi. But Rumi replied: "He must have taken this rug due to his need. Forgive him. We must purchase back this rug from him. "

According to Aflaki's account, one day Rumi was talking to his esteemed disciples: "All saints have opened the door of beg­ging in order to crush the pride of their disciples and to repress their egos (nafs). Oil lamps in their hands and baskets on their backs, they set out to receive alms-giving and charity from the rich. We, on the other hand, have closed the door of begging on our friends. We have been carrying out the Prophetic Tradition: Abstain from asking as much as you can, so that our friends can earn their living by their own income through trade, civil serv­ice, manufacturing, or any business where they will earn their living with the labor of their hands and the sweat of their brows. Whoever does not follow this way from our disciples, in our view, he does not have a value of even a penny'''

Rumi distributed to the poor and needy all the money sent to him from sultans and viziers as their alms-giving and charity. He used to get by with the money he earned from legal consult­ing and teaching at the seminary without having to rely on any­body or having to put himself under an obligation for any favor. In one quatrain, he said: "As long as my bowl of butter milk is in front of me, by God, I have no leaning on anybody's honey. Even if poverty threatens me with death, I cannot sell freedom for slavery. " Rumi had turned away from the world and worldly things. He led a dervish life. Whenever there was nothing at his home, he would be glad and say: "Thanks to God, today our home resembles to the home of the Prophet. " Although he was not rich, he helped the poor, concealing his charity to the needy.

He also used to disguise his financial help to the students at the seminary in the following way: He would put the money under each student's mat as much as he deserved and needed without letting anybody see if and without telling anybody about it. When the students lifted off the mats to shake off the dust, they would be surprised to find money under the mats.

Rumi's respect toward people is also indescribable. When he entered an assembly, the people there would stand up to honor and welcome him. When they forced someone to leave his place so that Rumi could sit, Rumi would be very sad. Aflaki writes that one day Rumi went to a Turkish bath. He entered the bath and immediately came out, put his clothes back on, and prepared to leave. His friends asked him: "O our Master, why did you come out so quickly?" Rumi answered: "When the bath attendant saw me entering the bath, he moved aside someone at the edge of the pool to make room for me. I was so ashamed to have caused this displaced person to be discomforted because of me, and I got very sad. "

Rumi's good manners, mercy politeness, in short, his humane character cannot be described adequately within the lim­ited scope of this work. Even though he lived in an age where slaves were bought and sold as animals and employed in houses, gardens, fields, and in every line of work, not just in Islamic countries but also all over the world, he said: "I have faith in a God that has not created any slaves, " and he viewed all human beings as one and equal in accordance with this following Qur'anic verse: "Your creation and your resurrection is but as that of a sin­gle soul. " In his view there are conceptions such as slavery or mastery.

One day Rumi entered a room in his house where his daughter Malika Khatun was scolding her female slave and said: "Why are you hitting this slave? Where do you get the right to hurt her? What would you do if you were the slave and she the master? Would you like me to issue a religious ruling that in this world nobody has slaves except God? In fact, all the slaves are our brothers and sisters. " His daughter understood her mistake, apologized, and freed the slave. Whatever she was wearing, she gave to her slave. And as long as she lived, she never hurt. any slave and abided by the Prophetic Tradition.

Rumi showed mercy to and helped not only the poor and needy human beings, but also animals. According to the account of Shaykh Nafis al-Din of Sivas, "One day Rumi asked me to buy some pastries for two dirhams (penny). Those days the price of a plate of pastries was one dirham. I immediately bought the pastries. After taking the pastries from me, Rumi wrapped them in a piece of cloth and started walking. I walked slowly behind him. Finally, he arrived at a ruin. There I saw a dog that recently had given birth. Rumi gave all the pastries to the dog. I was perplexed by the compassion and mercy of this great saint. Rumi told me: 'For the last seven days this poor dog has not eaten any­thing. She could not leave this place because of her puppies.

It is also narrated that one day Shihab al-Din Guyanda was riding a donkey when the donkey suddenly started to bray. Shihab al-Din got angry at the braying of the donkey and hit the donkey's head a few times. Upon seeing this, Rumi said: "This donkey is carrying you. Instead of loving and petting the donkey because you are the rider and it is the carrier, you are hitting the poor animal. For God's sake, if it was just opposite, what would you have done?"

It is narrated that a Christian craftsman was building a fire­place in Rumi's house. Rumi's friends wanted to tease the crafts­man, and they said: "Why don't you become Muslim? Islam is the best of religions. " He replied: "For fifty years I have been in Jesus' religion. If I abandon my religion now I am fearful, and I would be ashamed in front of him. " Upon hearing this Rumi said: "The essence of faith is fear. Whoever fears God, even if that person is a Christian, he is a man of God. " That Christian craftsman was moved by these words of Rumi and embraced Islam.

One day Rumi said: "It has been forty years that I have been struggling day and night to be rid of this sickness of schol arship, ' and unveil this curtain. But I still see that there is a trace of it in me. The purer the mirror of the heart, the easier it is to be closer to Truth. " Again he said: "My father Baha al-Din Valad who was the king of the scholars in the world always used to say: If I didn't have the knowledge obtained by studying, my gnosis would be stronger than the knowledge. "

When I cleansed my heart from knowledge and worldly learn­ing, I attained greater awareness of and closeness to the Truth. I escaped the darkness of the existence and reached the light.

Knowledge that does not bring us closer to the Truth and that does not teach us more about the Truth is not genuine knowledge. Yunus Emre says, "Wisdom is to know, it is to know about the Truth. " Moreover, as pointed out above, when knowl­edge leads its possessor to selfishness and pride, it drives that person away from the Truth and leads to suspicion and skepticism. It is for this reason one of our poets writes: "Is it not better to remain illiterate along with an attraction to the religion than being learned and suffering chastisement?" In other words, an illiterate person who is captured by the attraction of the faith and this way finds the Truth in his heart is more valuable than a learned man who is tormented in suspicions and skepticism.

One day Rumi was offering pearls of wisdom to a person in a high position: "In this state of yours, you are like gold. But you need to be more gold than gold. For some time you will go into a pot, boil many times, suffer hammer strokes on the anvil of asceticism so that you may become the ring of Solomon or the earring on a sultan's cheek. Now all these people are human beings and seem to be Muslims. Only after they have entered the pot of love, suffered powerful strokes on the anvil of patience, endured impossible things, and withstood pain and discomfort of the lay can they cleanse and become people of truth. "

One day while walking, Rumi stopped in front of a tannery next to the river that ran through the city. The water first passed through the city, and then reaching the tannery, it flowed onward and away. Rumi saw that this water was very dirty and cloudy. After staring at the water for a long time he said: "O poor water, be grateful that you are not passing through the hearts of the town's people. If you had passed through their hearts, you would have seen how dirty and contaminated you would be. Nevertheless, it is hoped that the Truth that is most pure will liberate you from this dirtiness with His pure clarity. " Rumi also says water that is contaminated by different sources, runs in the gardens, goes under ground, and does many things. It nourishes the plants, rises in the air with the sun, becomes a cloud, and finally, in the form of clean and clear rain, falls back to the earth as God's mercy. "When that contaminated water returns next year by dragging her skirt they asked her: 'O that which is in the sea of the pleasant, where have you been?' I was contaminated here, but by dressing in beautiful clothes I came to the earth. O you who are dirty! Come to me. My habit has been accorded with the habit of God. I take away all your ugli­ness, make the devil as pure as an angel. When I get dirty here, I again go there. I return to my essence, the essence of all clean­liness. It takes off my dirty clothes and gives me new and clean clothes. That is what it does, and this is what I do. The Lord of the Worlds decorates and beautifies the world. "

One day one of the prominent hafizs (someone who knows the whole Qur'an by heart) of Konya requested Rumi to explain the Prophetic Tradition: "There are many reciters of the Qur'an who are damned by the Qur'an. " Rumi said: "Most of the verses in the Qur'an include commandments and prohibitions, inner and outer manners. One person reads the verse: 'Perform the prayers and give the compulsory alms' and does not pray and does not give the compulsory alms. Someone else reads the verse: 'God commands justice and goodness' but does not refrain from oppression. That person is miserly stingy, and deceiving. Of course, the Qur'an curses these people with its language of disposition (lisan al-hal), counts them as cursed people, and becomes their worst enemy on the Judgment Day"

Ask the meanings of the Qur'an only from the Qur'an and from a person who has mortified all his corporeal desires and has crushed all his bad habits under his feet.

Again one day the scholars of Konya asked Rumi the mean­ing behind the Prophetic Tradition: "Deeds, worship, and actions are judged with respect to their endings. " Rumi explained the rea­son behind this Prophetic Tradition as follows: "At the time of the Prophet, there used to be a young man notorious for his bad deeds. This young man known for his sins suddenly died. Since his relatives were very much ashamed of all this young man had done, they buried him at night without letting anybody know. The next morning die archangel Gabriel, the Trustworthy, came to the Prophet and told him to go and pray for this young man. The Prophet asked the wisdom behind this. Gabriel gave him this answer: 'God said that this young man declared his faith with his last breath by saying: "I bear witness that there is no deity but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger" and asked for forgiveness for his sins. At that time I pitied him and forgave all his sins. ' Hearing this made our Prophet glad, and he said "Deeds, worship, and actions are judged with respect to their endings. "

Do not look down on a unbeliever as he may die as a believer. God said: "Even if you are a unbeliever or an idol-worshipper, when you pray to me I will answer. "

After declaring "there is nobody other than God that does good to the people who commit vice and evil, " Rumi continued with this story: "One day while Asma'i was traveling to Makka for the pilgrimage, he threw two punches at a poor Arab because of a pond. Soon afterward he regretted it, repented for it, and with the intention to apologize he started looking for that man. Despite all his efforts, he could not find the man. When he climbed Mount Arafat during the pilgrimage, he found the Arab there and praying for him (i. e., for Asma'i), 'O Lord, don't scold him because of me. It was because he didn't know. ' Asma'i immediately fell to that Arab's feet and said: 'I am the one who should be praying for you. ' But the Arab replied: No, I am aware of my humanity Therefore, I take great joy in doing good. I have the desire to live as a good person. So it is my job to ask for your forgiveness. "' Now you think what our Lord of Absolute Beauty and Absolute Goodness will do on the Day of Judgment and compare.

Again one day the notables of Konya came to visit Rumi. He was explicating the Qur'anic verse, "one whose heart God has opened to Islam. " He said, "When this verse descended from the heavens, they asked the Prophet as to whether there were any signs of this kind of an opened heart and chest. The Prophet said,

'When the holy light of Truth comes to one's heart, that heart opens up and expands. Whenever God wants to beautify and expand one's heart and make him "possessor of vision, " He opens up that heart with His holy light. The sign of this is that the hold­er of such a heart distances himself from the world, inclines toward the hereafter, and divorces this world before this world divorces him. "

The day our Prophet migrated from this world, 'Aisha, the mother of believers, was crying. But that crying was nothing like yours and mine. She was not crying like us for the loss of a worldly possession or wealth or things that she loved. She was rather crying: "O he who never slept comfortably on the bed! O he who never wore silk in his life! O he who never ate barley bread until he was full! O he who used to sleep on a rush mat. " The day the Prophet gave back his coveted soul to his beloved God, he was lying on a bed that was filled with fiber from a date tree. These fibers had left traces on the holy skin of the Prophet. Next to the bed there was a wooden bowl with water in it. He was dipping his hand into the bowl, putting some of that water to his burning chest and saying: "O God! Protect me against the terror of death and its unpleasant things. " This is how the Great Prophet reunited with his God.

Also in this worldly life, anyone who wants to achieve a goal endures certain difficulties and inconveniences. Someone who does not sacrifice his sleep is scared away from the path, and one who does not endure the difficulties of this path cannot reach anywhere. Now how can a person who loves the Truth and wants to walk on the path of Truth attain Truth while sleep­ing a lot, eating to fill his stomach, and living a comfortable life?

It is amazing how a lover sleeps! Because sleep is forbidden completely for the lover. O David! If someone who sleeps and does not think of me claims to love me, he would be lying. When it gets dark the lover goes crazy. O lover! Wake up and jump from sleep. Be a little uncom­fortable and endure difficulty. While there is the noise of the water on one side, how can the thirsty sleep?

The sultan of the literary men Salah al-Din of Malatya has related, "I was in the town of Eregli in the house of the Nur al-Din Vefadar with the assembly of the high dome and great shaykhs. Shaykh Janadi arrived with a number of Sufis from Konya. They welcomed and honored him. After greetings, the meal, and various conversations, I asked Shaykh Mu'y al-Din what Shaykh Sadr al-Din Konavi (d, 1273) was saying about Rumi and how he described Rumi in his absence. Shaykh Janadi said, "By God, one day we were sitting in Shaykh Sadr al-Din's presence with his closest friends. Fahr al-Din Iraqi, Sharaf al-Din Mavsili, and Shaykh Said Fargani were also present. The topic of the conversation became Rumi's states and character. Konavi was inspired with complete honesty and deep under­standing and said: 'If Bayazid and Junayd lived today, they would show respect and love for Rumi, the man of God. He is also the servant of the poverty table of the religion of Muhammad. We have been benefiting from him as dependents. All our joys and ecstasy are from his holy feet's fertility' All the dervishes present were wise people and accepted and admired these words. " After telling this, he went on to say: "My poor self, too, is among the supplicants of this great sultan, " and he recited the following couplet: "If there is a Divine manifestation in us, a Divine form, it is you. I do not hesitate saying this. "

One day Rumi was preaching about self-effacement, refraction, and humility. He said: "Fruitless trees like cypress and poplar raise their heads high in the sky, and their branches also stretch high. When fruit bearing trees have fruits on them, their branch­es hang down from the tree. Mature people are modest just like this. " The Prophet was very modest. Without any doubt the Prophet was more modest than all other prophets and saints. He said, "I am ordered to be nice to people and treat them well. No prophet has ever endured as much ill-treatment as I have. " When they hurt his blessed head, when they broke his blessed tooth, because of his infinite mercy, he entreated God: "O God, guide my people to the right path, because they are ignorant and they do not know. " When other prophets were subjected to insults, some of them cursed their people. They let stones fall from the sky; their people were targeted by many calamities whereas our Prophet has so much wanted the well-being of people.

The nature of man is from soil. If a man is not as humble as soil, he is not man.

One day a barber was trimming Rumi's beard. The barber asked: "What would our Master command, how much should I trim?" Rumi replied: "Just enough to differentiate a man from a woman. " Another day he said: "I envy the Kalenders because they have no beards. " And after relating the Prophetic Tradition: "Little beard is the way for man. That is because the beard is a man's accessory. Much of it leads one to boast and this kills one spiritually" He continued to say: "Sufis like much beard, but while the Sufi combs his beard, the gnostic attains God. "

One of Rumi's close friends died. They came to Rumi and asked: "Should we bury him with a coffin or without a coffin?" Rumi answered: "Do as our friends see appropriate. " Karam al-Din, son of Bektemur, who was a gnostic of holy light and among the people of vision and high levels, said: "It is better to put him in the grave without a coffin. " The friends asked: "why is this better?" Karam al-Din said: "A mother takes care of a child better than a sibling. Human nature is from the soil, wood of the coffin is like a child of the soil. Thus, the coffin is like man's sibling, and the soil is the mother. Therefore, it is better to leave the deceased to the lap of the affectionate mother. " Rumi admired this statement a lot and said: "This point has never been mentioned in any book. "

Sultan Valad reports from his father: "Baha al-Din, if you want to love your enemy and your enemy to love you, talk pos­itive about him for forty days. That enemy becomes your friend since there is a path from the tongue to the heart just as there is a path from the heart to the tongue. It is also possible to obtain God's love through His Glorious Names. God said: 'O slaves, to form purity in your hearts, do not abstain from mentioning me a lot. The more purity, the brighter the holy light of God in the heart. "'One day Shaykh Sadr al-Din was busy teaching a lesson in Prophetic Tradition at his dervish lodge. The most noble and famous people of Konya were present at that assembly, too. Suddenly, Rumi entered through the door. The shaykh asked Rumi to deliver that day's lecture. While explaining each Prophetic Tradition, Rumi referred to other related Prophetic Traditions and gave very remarkable explanations. He also mentioned in which context these Prophetic Traditions were said. He brought up such deep points that the attendees were amazed. Shaykh Sadr al-Din thought to himself: "I wonder whether the mean­ing of this Prophetic Tradition is as Rumi says or is it different because we have never heard such interpretations from any of our teachers and never listened to such a style. " That very night Shaykh Sadr al-Din saw our Prophet in his dream. The Prophet was sitting at the end of the dervish lodge. Shaykh Sadr al-Din goes up to the Prophet and kisses his blessed hand. The Prophet said: "The meaning of that Tradition and my purpose in saying that is exactly as Rumi put it. It is not that he added to it. "

Out of joy Shaykh Sadr al-Din wakes up. Before he can tell his dream to dervishes, Rumi comes to the dervish lodge and takes a seat on the sofa and recites the verse: "O Messenger! We have sent you as a witness, a bearer of good news, and a warn-er. " And he then says: "That is, the testimony of such an hon­est witness about the slaves is credible since if God wants, it becomes trustworthy. " This increased Shaykh Sadr al-Din's faith, love, and trust in Rumi.

One day a rebab (a musical instrument) was being played in Rumi's presence. Rumi was listening with great pleasure. Suddenly a respected man came in and said: "The call to the afternoon prayer is being heard. " Rumi stopped for a moment and then said: "No, no, that voice is calling to God; this voice also is call­ing to God. The call to prayer is inviting the outer aspect of human beings to duty while that voice of the rebab is inviting the human spirit, his inner face and his invisible aspect to God's love and awareness. "The Seljuk vizier Muin al-Din Pervane wanted to appoint someone as a judge to Konya. This person was Vizier Taj al-Din's son. He had a lot of virtues, and he was well-informed, but because of his knowledge, he was arrogant and without manners. This person told Vizier Pervane: "I will accept the position of judge with three conditions: First condition, you will ban the instrument called the rebab. Second condition, you will fire the old court officials who are like executioners of the courts. Third condition, you will pay good salaries for the new court officials, so that they may not take anything from the people. " Pervane said, 'T accept and commit to two of your conditions. But I can­not ban the rebab because it is being played upon the command­ment of a very great king. " For this Vizier Taj al-Din's son did not agree to become the judge. When this story reached Rumi's ear, he said, "Well done, O holy rebab! Praise be to God that the rebab has held his hand and rescued him from the hand of fate. "

Let's see what Sipehsalar, who was blessed with the fortune of living with Rumi for years, has to say about Rumi in his

O Rumi, the well of "Water of Infinite Life" is submerged completely in shame from its envy of the beauty and grace of your words. It shows itself to no one.

O Rumi, who accumulated all the good manners and morals of the Prophet who honored the world in order to complete good manners and morals! O unique explainer of the Qur'anic verses in a most correct and most beautiful way!

What can I write to describe you? What can I say? Even if I use up all the words, your attributes still will remain to be told because your attributes are infinite. Your good manners and habits are innumerable; they cannot be described with words.

Tolerance and other good manners of Rumi, as they are associated with all saints, are actually Prophet Muhammad's tol­erance and good behavior. Sipehsalar describes Rumi as the "unique explainer of the Qur'anic verses in a most correct and most beautiful way. " When commenting on some Qur'anic verses in the honorable Mesnevi, Rumi touched on some aspects of these verses with a divine inspiration that no other famous commentator up to his time had been able to touch upon. It is for this reason that Ismail Hakki Bursevi (d. 1725), explained some Qur'anic verses in his Rub al-Beyan commentary by quot­ing from the honorable Mesnevi. Sipehsalar, who expressed his admiration of Rumi because he knew him very closely, has abstained from causing division among other dervish orders because he loved not only Rumi, the saint to whom he was devoted, but also all other saints and set a good example to those who love God and the Truth.

The degree of Sipehsalar's admiration of Rumi can be under­stood through such statements as: "I have washed my mouth with musk and rose water a thousand times, but I still didn't think my mouth was worthy of mentioning your name. " And Sipehsalar continues: "I have observed some of Rumi's innumer­able extraordinary attributes with my own eye, some others I found in my heart and consciousness. How can I explain what I have seen with the eyes in my head and what I have sensed with the eye of my heart with my tongue as incapable and as inade­quate as my pen cut short on one end? Not everything that is known is seen, not everything that is seen can be told, and not everything that is told can be written. " The proof of this is as fol­lows: Each of the saints havs taken God's attributes by removing everything other than God from the mirror of their hearts, by being completely cured from envy, anger, and lust through their worship, good deeds, and patience in the face of whatever hap­pens to them, their efforts and struggles against their bodily desires (nafs), and the weakening their bodies. The Prophet says: "If one wants to find God in his heart and sit with Him, he should sit with the people of Sufism. " My shaykh Rumi also said in his Mesnevi; "Whoever wants the company of God and to feel God in his heart, he should sit in the presence of the saints. Since they are saved completely from human attributes, these special servants of God have to be alive with God, to speak with God and to hear with God. Just as the Great Prophet the Master of the Universe tells us in a hadith qudsi: "God says: 'When I love a servant of mine, I become his ears with which he hears, the eyes with which he sees, and the tongue with which he speaks. "

Those who at the "Assembly of Alast" gave their heart to God still are intoxicated with the covenant of Alast, Like slaves their feet are tied in this world, the place of suffering, but they are very generous in giving their lives. These special slaves of God have effaced their selves in God, and they are sustained in existence with the Friend. The amazing thing is that they really do not exist although they seem to be there at this moment. "These are the real people of Unity"Sipehsalar continues to describe Rumi as follows: "There are many compelling reasons for this poor Sipehsalar to tell of the levels Rumi attained. First, let me say that our Honorable Master was very proficient in the Arabic language. He knew all the intricacies of the Arabic language and vocabulary. He was among the most learned people of his time in Islamic Law, Qur'anic commentary, Prophetic Tradition, logical and narrative sciences, and had attained advanced degrees in all fields of knowledge. In Aleppo, when he was advancing his studies in the earlier part of his youth, his friends would ask him matters with which they had difficulty. Rumi would show them so many ways to resolve these matters that those who listened and those who understood these seemingly complex matters would fall in a state of excitement due to the joy of hearing and understand­ing. The blessed solutions he offered for the question at hand were not written in any books. Rumi's blessed glances were reading and answering the most difficult and complicated mat­ters from the book of the heart. " After writing these things about Rumi, Sipehsalar offers the following, which expresses the manifestations within a lover of God:

O heart who, as the zephyr, has felt the joy of the early morning and sensed the meaning of divine manifestations at those times!

Are you enraptured with what you have seen or with what you have not seen?

Has what you seen or what you have not seen taken you from yourself?

Sometimes you run to the outskirts of the mountain, you struggle and you see the ore of truth and amber of love there.

You have gone beyond the eye and beyond the heart.

For you hundreds of windows have opened up, you have gone out of the earth and the heavens, flown away and seen hundreds of skies.

Such rapture, such fog has fallen onto the sea that from the joy of watching it his whole head became an eye.

The tears that flow like a flood in waves from the eyes because of love have joined the sea.

How surprising! How amazing!

Tears and sea have become an ocean, or the sea has become an eye. In his sight both worlds are like a grain put in front of a chicken.

Indeed a clean eye, which has seen the truth and majesty, is like this. In the universe, of unity one who sees the attributes of the seeker and sought as two different entities is neither the seeker nor the sought.

Who knows God?

One who escaped from la (unbelief).

Tell the one who asks: "Who is saved from la?" "The lover stricken with calamities. "

The lover of God has understood the real meaning of Bayazid Bistami's saying: "There is none but God under my robe" and has seen that robe as a simple, invaluable piece of clothing and has wanted to remove that robe of himself to be seen with this real being.

After citing this poem, Sipehsalar continues: "In order to attain the view expressed in the above poem and to reel that spiritual joy one should know that knowledge alone is not enough." Maintaining that scholastic knowledge and studying it can sometimes be an obstacle and a curtain on the spiritual path. Sipehsalar concludes the section by quoting this couplet from Rumi: "I wanted to wash away the knowledge from the heart, escape from myself, make myself unaware of myself because it is not right to go to the presence of the most coveted Beloved as a learned man."

ASCETICISM AND ECSTASY

Rumi, who was completely on the Muhammadi path and took Muhammad as an example in everything, was very much attached to asceticism and self-mortification due to the abundance of divine love in him. At this point, let us listen to Sipehsalar once again:

This poor slave of God had been in Rumi's service for forty years. He used to continue his worship from his youth to his death without decreasing. I never have seen him put his head on a pillow and comfortably rest on the bed. It is a fact that God always brought to morion the body of his holiness who was sub­jected to self-mortification, and He gave strength to it. How can one describe his sleeplessness and discontent? Once during a night of whirling ceremonies when sleep had overtaken those present, his holiness leaned his back against the wall and put his blessed head on his knees. Shaykh Muhammad Khadim came and brought a big blanket and put it on his blessed shoulders and covered his whole body with it. When the friends fell asleep his holiness stood up. He started praying. Then he walked around a little bit. He never rested and stopped.

Sipehsalar tries to explain Rumi's state of ecstasy and dis­content with this poem from the Divan-i Kabir:

I have lost my mind for love because there is no strength in my heart that has lost its hand and feet to resist His love.Day and night I keep on chewing on one end of the chain of love that ties me.

I am covered in blood all over my body.

I am afraid if the vision of the Beloved comes, I might spill the blood of my heart over Him.

Ask the fairies of the night of this lover who burns with the fire of love and cries and weeps.

When I come and go in the darkness, my feet touch fairies.

My heart, which is shattered in pieces, is traveling all night by burning like a star.

By the spell of the unfair and cruel Beloved all my sleep has gone.

0 my Beloved, let me wear a dress of fire like the sun and with that fire let me beautify and enlighten the world like the sun.

My love is a moment of Your love.

Even if I escape and rest, my spirit never relaxes and rests.

I attain peace and comfort that very moment when I do not separate from Your love, never rest but continuously burn and be burned.

In another poem, Rumi points to the same state and says: "Everybody went to sleep. I, the lover who gave away his heart, did not sleep. All night my eyes are counting stars in the sky Your love drew sleep away from my eyes such that it never returns. My sleep has drunk the poison of Your separation and died. "

Rumi's patience and endurance in terms of fasting were at an amazing level. He had attained the essence of the meaning of the Prophetic Traditions: "Hunger is the food of God on earth. He keeps the bodies of those He loves alive with it, " and he was practicing it. According to Islamic principles, there is only one month of compulsory fasting. People of piety, those who fear God very much and those who follow his orders, fast also some days during the other holy months. There are also others who fast three days a week or more. But all who fast break their fast at sundown for the night. It is narrated from the Masters that even those in the forty-day Sufi reclusion break their fast in this way. But Rumi had taken hunger to its highest level. For years, he never ate to fill his stomach and said: "For forty years there was never food in my stomach at night. "

Now that I have spent the night in the presence of my Lord, now that I have attained that happiness, the nourishment of my Lord has reached my spirit and made me spiritually full.

When he first met with Shams of Tabriz, they sat down for six months and stayed away from human desires such as eating and drinking. Whenever they broke their fast, they ate one kind of food. The most food Rumi ate was not more than ten bites. He said: "There is such a dragon in me that cannot stand eat­ing. " On the matter of hunger, he said: "The bird of your heart cannot crack the egg due to eating in excess and being sick. It remains in this prison of an egg. You come out of the egg of imprisonment of the lower self (nafs) so that your wings can open up and you can soar in the spiritual heavens. "

The above descriptions are related to the physical fasting of Rumi. The one who best observed the spiritual fasting, the fast­ing of heart, which means to leave everything other than God, is again Rumi. In fact, people of gnosis have said: "There are three kinds of fasting: fasting of the lay, fasting of the elite, and fasting of the elite of the elite. The fasting of the lay merely con­sists of giving up eating and drinking. The fasting of the elite is the fasting of the hands, feet, eyes, tongue, and other limbs by protecting them from doing evil. The fasting of the elite of the elite is leaving everything other than God. " Rumi's fasting was this third kind.

He became upset whenever his family made major plans for cooking; whenever there was little burden and trouble for cook­ing, he would seem very happy and compliment his family say­ing: "Today the light of poverty is shining on the foreheads of my family. " In one of his odes he says: "The one killed by the lust is contaminated. But the martyr of love is pure and clean. Poverty has set its tent at a place far away from that clean one and that dirty one. The hearts of all lovers formed a circle around poverty. It was as if the poverty was the shaykh of shaykhs and the hearts of all his disciples. " Elsewhere in the Divan-i Kabir, Rumi says: "Every person who saves his heart from the desires of both worlds and cleans it and never seeks pleasure in this world or the other, understands that it is poverty and nothingness to reply 'Yes' to the voice of Alast' (Am I not your Lord?). "

As Sipehsalar writes, whenever the time for prayer came, Rumi would face the qibla (the direction of holy shrine in Mecca) and the color of his blessed face would change. Rumi's prepara­tion for daily prayer would remind one of Ali's prayers. As com­monly known, the Commander of the Faithful, Ali's face would change colors, and he would start shaking out of fear when the time for prayer came. When he was asked: "O Commander of the Faithful, what is happening to you, " he would answer: "It is time to turn to God and perform the duty of the Divine Entrustment God has offered to the heavens, earth, and moun­tains, and they were afraid and declined the responsibility. I am afraid that I don't know whether I will be able to perform the duty that I have assumed. "

Rumi's prayer was performed with an open heart and a for­getting of one's self. In his prayer he would find himself com­pletely in God and reunited with God. In fact, the purpose of prayer is to find God spiritually, to reunite with God by forget­ting about one's self and escaping one's imaginary existence. It is for this reason that the Prophet says: "Prayer is reunification with God. " But those who look at only the appearance of things cannot see and understand how this reunification will happen. It is also for this reason that prayer is viewed as the pillar of the religion and ascension of a believer to heaven. It frequently is observed that the great Prophet started a prayer after the night prayers and continued praying until the next morning, praying the two-rakat prayer, forgetting himself in the presence of God. It also was observed that he remained in prostration and bow­ing for a day or for a night.

Rumi's prayers were not like the prayer of any other believ­er, performed only as a duty to attain God's pleasure. Rumi's prayers were not only a prayer for God's pleasure but also a prayer of heart and a prayer of love. The following passage from the Divan-i Kabir illustrates Rumi's state in prayer:

When it is time for the evening prayer, everyone lights up his house and prepares the table, but I find the spirit of the Beloved in my heart and start to cry out and lament.

Since I make ablution with my tears, my prayers are fiery.

When the sound of adhan (call for prayers) reaches the door of my mosque, it burns it down.

Which way is the qibla?

I missed my prayers; I need to make them up.

You and I receive a lot of challenges because of these miss­ing prayers.

I wonder if the prayers of those who arc enraptured with God's love are right.

You tell me because the ecstatic never knows time and place.

Is this the second rakat that I am praying? Or is it the fourth- Which chapter did I recite?

I cannot speak because of excitement.

How can I knock on God's door when neither hands nor heart remained in me? I am not in me.

You took my hand and heart. O my God! Nothing remained of me. At least you give me assurance and trust.

By God, I do not know bow I pray

Did I complete the bowing? Who is the imam? I have no idea.

From now on let me be like a shadow in front and behind every imam so that sometimes I may shrink and prostrate with the fear of the One who created me.

Since we love this world and focus too much of our atten­tion on our daily business, we do not realize that we are in God's presence in prayer, and we think of the things we have done or we are going to do. No matter how much we try, we cannot escape these random thoughts. We concentrate on the matters of the world that randomly pop up in our minds and confuse prayers. Unlike Rumi, who confused his prayers because he was enraptured with the love of God, we confuse our prayers because of our intoxication with the love of this world.

Sipehsalar writes: "If I were to describe one tenth of Rumi's ecstasy, love, and divine attraction, I could not fit it into this book. "37 O reader, may God give you success. Know that rapture of attraction is a state of fascination and ecstasy induced by God attracting his servant to Himself. It is being overwhelmed such that one forgets one's self; it is being fascinated by God's great­ness, power, and attributes. Attraction is reunion with God, dying before death, and attaining God while living. If there is no spiritual talent in a person to walk on the path of God, no mat­ter how much that person strives or how much he performs self-mortification, he never attains union with God. Attraction is a favor of God, the Most Glorious, in the eternal past. It is a spir­itual bestowment that God has granted in the souls of some peo­ple in the world of the spirits before coming to this world.

Our Prophet says, "There is an attraction among the attrac­tions of God that is better than the worship of the whole of humankind and jinn. " If there occurs a pause, a joylessness, a hopelessness to the person who walks in the path of God when he reaches a level, God, the Most Dominant, the Most Glorious, takes the traveler on His path to safety with His attraction due to the abundance of His mercy and favors and makes him attain his destination. The eternal attraction bestowed by God was clearly visible in Rumi. Therefore, of every level and stage he attained with continuously overflowing divine attraction, he related:

The love Buraq of meanings has taken away my mind and my heart.

Ask me: "Where did it take them?" It took my mind and heart to that side which you do not know, to the beyond. I reached a pavilion from where I saw no moon, no sky. I arrived in such a world that even the world ceases to be the world. For one moment, excuse me, spare me, so that my mind returns to me and I can tell you what the spirit is and talk about its beauties. Do not disregard my words. Listen to me, you, too, have a spirit. Try to understand the spirit. There are favors of the Beloved upon us—bestowments, grants, and gifts. These are amazing, never before seen favors and bestowments.

These are unique gifts.

From the path of the senses come clear lights, and hearts are enlightened.

When the spirit, which resembles the star of Canopus, appears from the direction of the Yemeni corner of the Ka'ba, the moon ceases to be visible as well as the sun and the seven poles of the skies.

The light of the spirit overpowers them all. For a moment take the religion which resembles a piece of gold and put it under your tongue so that you may realize how valuable an ore resides in your heart, inside yourself.

Enlighten the lights of the five senses that are in you.

See them as the five daily prayers. Your heart is like the fatiha, which consists of seven verses.

Every morning there comes a voice from the heavens. If you can remove the love of this world from your heart, you can hear it.

And find the trace of the path of truth and begin to walk on it. In another poem, Rumi describes the same state:

Once again happiness came and pulled our gown.

Once again we set up our tent on the heavens.

Yesterday the Beloved asked me "How are you at the mercy of this disloyal world?"

How is one who sees his smiling fortune and luck?

Praises to God, I found that candy that Egypt could  not even dream of next to my tooth.

We are a great person even though we arc not rich or do not hold a high position. We are a king without subjects or army.

We are eating sugar from our sugar cane field.

Though the revolving of the moon wears out life and short­ens it, our Beloved has granted a lot of long lives in his revolution.

Each word that Rumi said when losing his consciousness under the influence of God's love is the key to thousands of spir­itual treasures. If one attempts to explain all this, the matter lengthens and the purpose gets lost. My dear readers, most of the books written about Rumi's life and views try to explain his wah-dat al-wujud by comparing him to others. However, Sipehsalar explained Rumi with Rumi. That is, he explained his ideas, feel­ings, and views by taking examples from his work. In this regard, to explain the spiritual joy in the world of spirits, Rumi says:

O my God, my love was at the level of perfection when You created me in the eternal past.

At that time there was no earth, no world. Neither the sun existed nor head of a man, nor his hat.

There was nothing when you selected me for your love. I was with You in the eternal past, I was Your companion and friend.

Now that I was with You and You were with me, why are You hiding now? Why are You not revealing Yourself?

The eye that sees is You, the one that says is You, the one that hears is You.  You are the One who puts up curtain before our eyes to prevent them from seeing the truth and who tears up those curtains.

Most of Rumi's beautiful and influential poems were recited when he was in a state submerged in rapture (istighraq} with divine love. What is this state of being submerged in rapture? When the special servants of God attain the level of closeness and union with God, they are fascinated by His Beauty, Power, Majesty, and Generosity. Coming under the influence of the Creator, the Absolute Beauty, they become ecstatic and intoxicat­ed as if they had drunk a spiritual wine, the wine of love. The Prophet tells us of their state: "God has prepared a wine for his saints that when they drink it, they become intoxicated; when they become intoxicated, they become enraptured; when they are enraptured, they become silent. " Our Prophet was honored by vicinity to God, as indicated by the Qur'anic verse: "At a distance of two bow lengths or (even) nearer. "41 When he was bestowed with that favor, when he saw God, Possessor of Absolute Majesty and Absolute Beauty; with his spiritual eye, when he discovered the Divine Entrustments and secrets, he went into a state of inde­scribable joy. This spiritual wine that enraptured our Great Prophet was the wine of love, the wine of truth.

Rumi recited many poems that describe this spiritual wine that enraptures the saints and special servants of God. I could not proceed without sharing one of them here. If we read these poems carefully and reflect on them, with the grace and help of God, we can understand at least somewhat this spiritual state, which is very difficult to explain and to understand:

It is such a wine that if a drop of it falls on the ground, rose gardens grow from the barren soil It is such a wine that if a drop of it falls on the ground, rose gardens grow from.

It is such a ruby wine that if it foams and becomes exuber­ant at midnight the earth and heaven fill up with light and every place becomes illuminated.

Come, come, I have secrets in my heart. Serve that ruby wine, serve it so that the curtain of the heart opens up and the secrets reveal themselves.

O my Beloved, watch me when you exhilarate me with Your Beauty See how spirited lions are in the vicinity of prey.

Observe the youths of the People of the Cave. They drank this wine and they were intoxicated and slept in the cave for three hundred and nine years.

What kind of wine was it that when Moses gave it to the magicians they were intoxicated and had their hands and feet cut?

The women of Egypt were intoxicated with the beauty of Joseph and cur their fingers in pieces.

The Companions who threw themselves in front of swords without any armor or shields were intoxicated with the wine of faith served by Prophet Muhammad.

No, I said it wrong. Muhammad was not the cupbearer, so he could not serve the wine. He was a glass full of God's wine.

It was God Almighty who served wine to the good people.

What kind of wine did Ibrahim Adham drink that he left his throne and crown and ran away from his country? What kind of an enrapture was that?

When Bayazid drank from this wine, he said: "I disassoci­ate myself from imperfect attributes. "

When al-Hallaj drank the same wine, he yelled, "I am the Truth, " and went to the gallows.

When water received the smell of that wine, it became crys­tal clear. The drunks prostrated and started running to the ocean like floodwaters.

What kind of wine does this dark night have that makes people sleep with one glass and keep them from everything?

Which one can I mention of the favors and graces of the Great and Unique Artist?

The shores of the ocean of His Power cannot be seen... Let us drink the wine of love; like drunken camels let us join the caravan and pull the burden of love.

Where is the pure and clean wine of God?

Where is the wine of grapes? That pure and clean wine grants infinite life. The other is dirt.

The wine of grapes make one who drinks it sometimes a pig, sometimes a monkey.

That red wine makes your face eventually black.

The pitcher of the wine of God is the heart. Open up the lid of the pitcher because the human desires that do nothing but evil have covered the pitcher's lid with mud. Remove that dirty mud from the lid and throw it away.

In another poem, Rumi explains the secrets of the heart in divine love:

O heart, there is something different about you since the morning. You are so exuberant, so enraptured that you cannot sec me who is enraptured and scattered like you.

O heart, what kind of a fire are you that every wind no matter from where it comes exhilarates you and increases your flames? No, no, you arc above fire and above wind.

O heart, I cannot explain you, you are what you are. But I know this much that now you are tearing apart the curtain of the heavens like the sun.O heart, what kind of a pearl arc you? Neither heaven nor the planet of Jupiter can appreciate you fully. May my life be sacrificed to You since You created the heart.

O my God! For thirty years I have been running after You like a crazy lover. In fact, I have been running after You in an uninhabited and wild island where there was no wet or dry thing. Those times I was not aware that everything, every being was Your creation.

My mind was stuck with the thoughts of faith and unbelief. However, faith is the gift of Your holy light that comes from You.

Unbelief, suspicion, and belief that You are Omnipotent are all Your Predestination. You are both the paradise and the hell and the pool of Kawthar.

O heart, you are out of these two worlds, you are a uni­verse, everything is in you and you are above and beyond everything.

If we attempt to explain the secrets of heart and love that Rumi touches upon, books fill up and the subject does not exhaust. O friend who seeks God and truth, know it well that our Master Hudavendigar had limitless majesty, magnificence, and glory in love. From the day he was grown up to the day he passed away, his love and enthusiasm kept on increasing. He was never content with his love and enthusiasm; he always wanted them to increase even more. In one of his poems about his ecsta­sy and self-effacement, he implicitly points to his valuable being and says:

The phenomena of our physical being, of our body are limited, but our spiritual being beyond our physical being is complete.

The matter was completed with the first glass of wine drunken in the eternal past. I have a heart devastated on the path of love.

His strong attachment to the tavern of love has devastated it, ruined it.

Tell to the love: 'If you are looking for someone who gave his heart to you and is overcome with your love, the lover you seek has fallen on the ground and is lying there.

Come, hold his hand and lift him up. Don't come too close to this poor person overcome with your love, watch him from a distance because I am afraid that the flames of the fire inside me may burn you, too.

If its flames put you on fire then come to the front of my eyes, tears are flowing like flood waters from my eyes that are scattering pearls. My tears can put out your tire.

Cry out: "His ailing eyes heal. " Call out: "Wherever there is an ill person, may he come because the time of healing has come. "

Go to the mountains, wherever you sec a person whose heart is sleeping, let them know that the awake fortune of love will grant knowledge to everyone whose heart is asleep. Call out to them: "Come, come!"

"The light of the verse... one whose chest God has opened for Islam so that he has received a light from his Lord" comes from such a candle whose flame does not fit into the two worlds. This couplet of Rumi reminds one of the following couplet by Shaykh Ghalib: "The candle of spirit has such a flame that it does not fit into the lantern of the heavens. " In another poem, Rumi tells of the joys of a magnificent spiritual level to which love has elevated him;

Who is this that is coming in the middle of the night shining like the moon? I know, I know, this is the messenger of love, coming from the mihrab.

The messenger of love has brought a torch and put sleep on fire and burned it down. Where did he come from? Who sent him?

He came from the side of the King of Kings who never sleeps.

Who makes his noise, this cry in the city? Who came to the dervish's harvest like the flood, which is unique and peerless, the person that none exists other than him in the universe of existence?

Tell me! A king stood up in the middle of the night and came to one of his invaluable slaves.

Who is he? He is the one who opened up a table of gen­erosity to his creatures and is letting everybody eat from it.

He came smiling to invite the friends. In front of his Greatness and Power all hearts are shivering and all spirits are impatient.

The smallest particle of that shivering and fear has fallen onto the quicksilver and that's why it is shivering continuously.

The softness, the gentleness that he shows to his slaves, a small piece of it is manifested on the skin of a squirrel.

A wet melody from the sorrows, cries, and laments brought by love has been given to the water mill and therefore it turns, crying and lamenting.Love carries a set of keys under his arm. It came to open all doors that were closed.

Love is such a tree of holy light that its branches are in eter­nity and its roots are in the eternal past.

This tree neither rests on the Throne nor on earth, this tree has no trunk. We have freed the mind from all work and beat­en desires thoroughly.

Because this greatness is not suitable for this mind and these habits, you have a desire and longing for the mortal beauties.

Know that this desire is an idol for you.

When you find yourself in yourself and become your beloved there remains no longing in you.

May lives be sacrificed for the sake of lovers, love is a pleasant devotion. O son, attach yourself to love, all other things are useless and meaningless.

There is a fiery chain of love hanging from the heavens to the earth. If you love God and the truth, grab that chain and ascend to the heights.

Don't ask: "What kind of thing is love?" Love is a kind of insanity and craze. It makes one chained, but this is not the chain used to restrain the ignorant.

Who would be your enemy once you set out on the path of love and reach nothingness?

Who would have your power? You are a real fire that burns and roasts.

Be a lover, be a lover so that you may be saved from sorrow. You are a prince, son of the sultan, until when arc you going to stay as a slave of the world?

Let nobody know you in this mortal world, let nobody rec­ognize you. But you arc peerless and unique in that world where there is no direction.

In this world everything is transient, this world is the mor­tal world. So what if you are not a rich man in this world?

You are not dead, you are living. Isn't this enough? You are a lion of God in the form of a man. This is clearly seen from your virtues, endeavors, and courage.

Life has come and gone. But now that you exist and you exist in the holy light of God, it doesn't matter whether it is later or sooner.The value of the beloved depends on the nobility of the lover,

O helpless lover! Look to see what is your power and value.

Don't count the lifetime that has passed without love, don't think you lived.

Love is the Water of Eternal Life. Accept it wholeheartedly.

Consider others as fish out of water. Even if he is a vizier, think of him as dead and decayed.

When love opens its bag to unpack, all trees become green. New leaves appear from an old tree, and it gives fruits every moment.

It is better for a soul that never has fallen in love and never has made that love his main concern to cease to exist because its existence is nothing but mistake and shame.

Be ecstatic with real life and be unconscious because every­thing that is in this world is all but love. There is no appropri­ate thing to do for the Friend other that being occupied with love.

When they ask: "What is love?" Tell them: "Love is leaving the will, the discretion of whether to do something or not."

There is no goodness in one who does not abandon the choice; he is not a good person. The one thing that is eternal is love.

Do not devote yourself to anything other than this; all other things are imperfect. Until when are you going to embrace the mortal beloved who can be considered dead?

Embrace such a spirit that there is no end to it. Whatever is born in the spring dies in the fall. In the rose garden of love there is no help from the spring.

Would the flowers of love ever need the assistance of spring? Do not shake on the horse of your body, come down.

Be a barefooted wanderer that goes faster than that. God grants wings to a person who does not let himself be overcome by bodily desires and feelings and saves himself from their influence.

Leave thoughts and worries. May your heart be as pure as the face of the mirror on which there is no image.

HZ. MAWLÂNÂ 'S MIGRATION TO THE WORLD OF ETERNITY

I could not dare use expressions like "death,” "passed away, “or "reunited with God" for Rumi, who attained the secret of the Prophetic Tradition "Die before you die" and who effaced his self in God while he was still alive, so I choose to consider Rumi's departure from this mortal world to the world of eterni­ty as a migration. Our master, Sultan al-Ashiqin (sultan of the lovers of God), Hudavendigar's sixty to seventy years of blessed, holy, honorable life had come and gone. The counted breaths determined for even' mortal almost had expired. The honorable Mesnevi was complete, and Rumi was tired. The sorrow of his childhood with his father Sultan al-Ulama, the years of migra­tion in physical and spiritual difficulties, his years of education in Damascus and Aleppo away from his family, the loss of his mother, his father, and his dearly beloved Shaykh Sayyid Burhan al-Din all had an impact on him. Furthermore, the loss of his friends of heart, Shams and Salah al-Din, the disrespect he had seen from his closest son Ala al-Din Chelebi, the criticism of some, the gossip that even reached his ears, his continuous endeavors, worship, and asceticism had all exhausted Rumi. He was spending his last moments in continuous reflection. This great saint was focusing on himself and he was finding the eter­nal tranquility and inner peace he searched for in himself.

One day Rumi's wife said: "It is necessary for Hudavendigar to fill this world with truth and meaning that a precious life of three to four hundred years be given to him. " Upon hearing this, Rumi replied to his wife: "Why, why, we are neither Pharaoh nor Nimrod. What do we have to do in this world of soil? How can we have peace and stability in this mortal world, the world of soil? We are put in the prison of the world for a few prisoners to be released. It is hoped that we shall soon go back to the presence of God's dear friend, our Prophet. "

I remained in this prison of the world for the goodness of others. But where is prison? Where am I? What property did I steal that they put me in prison?

Rumi sensed that his precious life was coming to an end, and he recited moving poems about death from time to time, bringing those around him to tears. I could not continue with­out sharing some of these poems:

O bird that has flown away from this tight cage of the body! You took all your possessions and ascended to the heights of the heavens.

After this, behold a new and fresh rejuvenation, a new life will come; until when are you going to continue this disorganized life, this miserable life on this earth?

Death in fact is the life of this world. Death that scares us is life itself, in fact. To think the opposite, that is to consider death annihilation instead of being born to a different world is faithlessness.

If God tears down the house of the body, do not lament, do not complain. Know this well: You are in fact imprisoned in the prison of the body. When death comes and that place collapses you will be free. "

"O my soul, there is a concealed joy, a hidden happy life beyond this cover of soil. Behind the cover concealing every-thing are hundreds of beautiful Josephs.

When the material existence, this physical body, goes away, the spirit that is your real being remains. O spirit that is infinite, O body that is mortal!

If you want to know how this happens, look at yourself every night. When you fall asleep your body seems as if dead. But your spirit is stretching its wings over the gardens of paradise.

How could the spirit not soar when it is being said, "O my servant, come!", with a very sweet appeal to the spirit from the Creator of this universe and every being, the Possessor of Majesty and Beauty.

When the sounds of waves reach the ears of a fish separated from the clear sea and fallen on dry land, would the fish not jump immediately back into the sea, its real homeland.

Under the sunlight of eternity' that saves his soul from annihilation, how would a Sufi not shiver like an atom and dance?

How unfortunate, how bad, and how astray is the one who cannot find, know, and love the Supreme Being who is so Benevolent, so Beautiful, so Lovely, and so LifeGiving.

O bird of spirit! You have been cleansed from your ambitions and sins. You have been freed from the cage of your lower self (nafs). Your spiritual wings have opened up, come! Fly back to whence you came, fly to your homeland, fly!

O those who now are separated from their cages, show your face again, appear and tell where you have been!

The ship of your body is wrecked on that sea. O those who are poured into the sea of death like the fish, even if for one moment, come out of this water, show yourselves.

Or have you been pounded on the container of the days and became salt as pearls that were pounded on? But that salt is the salve to the eye of those seeking the truth.

To see well put that salve on your eyes, put it on. O those who come to this world by being born from the world of spirits! Don't be afraid when death comes! This is not death, it is a second birth, be born, be born to the beyond.

Lovers of God who die being aware of truth melt like sugar in the presence of the Beloved.

Those who drank the Water of Life in the assembly of the Alast, in the world of spirits, die in a different way.

Those who are aware of the beyond, those who gather them­selves in the love of God do not die as the rest of the masses.

Lovers of God exceed even angels in clarity and purity. Therefore, dying in other than that rank is tar away from them.

Do you think that lions die in front of the door just like dogs?

It" the lovers of God die on the path of love they are welcomed by the king of spirits.

Lovers of God who become the spirit of each other and who know they carry the same spirit, the same gift, die with the love of each other.

Lovers fly to the heavens while the unbelievers die in the depths of hell.

When dying, the eyes of the hearts of lovers of God open and they see die unseen world.

Others die blind and deaf with the fear of death.

When die rime of death conies those who spent the nights with worship and did not sleep for fear of God die without fear and in comfort.

Those who focus only on material things and concern themselves only with earing and drinking become like oxen and donkeys, and they die in the same way.

Those who do not want to fall from the sight of God while living today and seek that view die joyfully smiling in that view.

The king of spirit takes them to the lap of favor. They do not die in an ordinary and low way.

Those whose character and morals resemble that of Mustafa die like Abu Bakr and Umar.

In fact, death is far away from the lovers of God. They nei­ther die nor annihilate. I am saying these words to describe how it would be if they had died.

Finally, Rumi's tired body fell into the hands of his last ill­ness. Fever never left Rumi. From among his dear friends, doc­tors Akmal al-Din and Gazanferi were at his bedside all the time. Yet they never could figure out his illness. His body was burning with fever. He used to put his hand in the cup filled with water next to his bed and put some water on his forehead. During the bedridden stage of his illness, earthquakes occurred for seven days and nights. The walls of many houses and gar­dens collapsed. There was chaos in the world. After the seventh earthquake, the public ran to Rumi and asked him to pray. Rumi smiled and said: "Don't be afraid, the poor soil is hungry. It wants a fat bite. It is necessary to give it to it. " And he started saying his last will to those present: "I advise you to fear God in open and secret. I advice you to eat little and sleep little, abstain from sins, continue fasting and praying, refrain from lust, endure and be patient against all discomfort and mistreatment from others, avoid being with ignorant people and those who arc preoccupied with satisfying their desires, be in the company of generous and good people. Because the best of people is one who benefits other people. The best of sayings is the one that is small but to the point. " He was preparing for his migration. It was necessary to leave the house and go to the beyond. Rumi was preparing to leave the house of this world.

That day Shaykh Sadr al-din Konavi came to visit Rumi with his most prominent dervishes. He showed great regard for Rumi. He was very sorry, expressing his wishes: "May God heal him very soon. May this illness be a reason for your level in the hereafter to rise. God willing, you will attain complete health shortly. Rumi is the spirit of the worlds. He deserves to be healthy. '" Rumi replied: "After this, may God give healing to you. Between the lover and the Beloved there remains only a shirt made of a very thin membrane. Don't you want holy light to be reunited with holy light?" And he began reciting this ode:

How would you know what kind of a majestic company I have inside me? Don't look at my pale face, I have strong iron feet. I have turned my face completely to the king who created me and sent me to this world. Since He has created me I have thousands of thanks for Him.

I sometimes resemble the sun and sometimes the. sea full of pearls. Even if I seem to be a worthless being created of soil from outside, inside 1 am the most honorable, most noble cranny.

In this village of the world, I keep on buzzing like a bee. But don't just look at my buzzing. I have a hive full of honey. How frightening is the water that rotates the water-wheel, but I am the wheel of that water, I keep rotating on that water with pleasant sounds.

All my particles are blooming, why should I perish, why should I decay? The Buraq that is under me has his saddle on and is waiting for me. Why should I be slave to the donkey?

The scorpion didn't bite my foot. Why should I be far away from the moon? I have a strong rod. Why should I not climb out of the well?

To the dove of the spirit I became a dove. O bird of my spirit! Fly! I have hundreds of fortresses that are even stronger than this.

Even if I reach homes and fall on homes, I am the light of the sun of meaning (wisdom). I was born of soil and water. My mother is mud, but I am agate, gold, and ruby.

Whenever you see any pearl, inside that pearl, in its other face seek another pearl. Because all the atoms are crying out: "I have hidden treasure inside me. ''

Every pearl is telling you: "Don't be content with my beau­ty. The light that is shining on my face is coming from the light burning inside me. " I will be quiet, you don't seem to under-stand the truth. Don't shake your head saying, "I have a spiritual eye that sees and understands. " Don't fool yourself

On Saturday, 16 December 1273, Rumi was somewhat bet-ter. He spoke to those who came to visit him until the evening. But his every word was like a will. Then the night came, and Konya was submerged into the darkness of the night. With Rumi were his friend of heart Husam al-Din Chelebi, his son Sultan Valad, and doctors. In those days, Sultan Valad was weak because of eating and sleeping very little. That night he was also very tired and exhausted. Shortly before morning, Rumi looked into the teary eyes of his son and quietly said: "Baha al-Din, I am fine, you go and sleep a little bit. " Sultan Valad could not endure it. Barely holding back his tears he stood up. When he was leaving the room Rumi looked behind him with sorrowing eyes and recited this last ode:

Go put your head on the pillow. Leave me alone. Give up on the afflicted person who walks around at night and burns.

We keep on struggling between the waves of love all night alone till the morning. If you want, you come and forgive us. If you want, you can torment us with your separation.

You run away from me so that you may not have to face the same troubles as I do. You leave the path of troubles and choose the path of salvation. We are crawling and lamenting in the cor­ner of sadness and shedding tears. If you want, come and build a hundred water mills with our tears.

We have a merciless Beloved whose heart is as hard as gran­ite. He kills lovers but nobody can hold Him 'accountable.

For the king of beauty fulfilling one's agreements is not necessary. O lover whose face turned pale, you be patient and fulfill your agreement.

I have a sickness inside the only cure of which is death. How can I say, "Come and be die cure for this illness"?

Last night in my dream I saw an old man in the neighbor­hood of love. He waved at me implying, "Come over to our side. "

If there is a dragon on the path of truth, there is also a love like emerald. Defeat the dragon with the light emitted from that emerald of love.

It is enough now, don't talk of things anymore, I am not conscious. If you have any talent talk of the history of Abu Ali Sina or mention the advice of Abu al-A'la al-Mu'arri.

Rumi was on his deathbed. He had taken his first breath when he honored this mortal world in Balkh years ago, and now he was going to give his last breath in Konya. His counted breaths, measured in blessings, love, and faith, were on the brink of being exhausted. He still was fully conscious and had a good memory. Most probably, Husam al-Din Chelebi must have writ-ten down on a piece of paper in his hand with the blood of his heart, shedding tears, this last ode that Rumi recited on his death bed. Sipehsalar narrates:

After this, Rumi's health worsened. All notable people visited him day and night. Doctors Akmal al-Din and Gazanferi were both the best doctors of the time, and they were treating Rumi. Both would hold his blessed pulse, leave the house, refer to medical books, trying to make a diagnosis, and again return to his holy presence, hold his blessed pulse, and analyze. This rime the pulse was beating differently I asked them to see and understand the honorable state of Hadhrat Hudavendigar. They saw that the diagnosis was not possible and understood that the truth of the matter was something else. They under­stood that Rumi's will was toward another world. Those busy with treatment along with others present became very sad. They could not help but lament. Everyone was anxious. The people of Konya had stopped their work, and the people of the surrounding villages came down to Konya. On Sunday, 17 December 1273, as the sun was setting, Rumi, the sun of the realm of meanings, also set to the world of eternity. Rumi closed his eyes to this mortal world in Konya, the city which he had honored for tony-four years.

That night Rumi's friends performed their final duties. All the people of Konya, young or old, were present at the funeral. Since Rumi was a tolerant, peace-loving, great saint who did good and wished well to everyone, not only Muslims but also Jews and Christians walked in his procession, shedding tears. Everyone was crying and swarming in front of the coffin as well as behind. The main street was completely full. In order to touch the coffin even once, people flowed from the byways. The officers could barely stop people with sticks and swords. The streets were so crowded that the coffin taken out of the house in the morning could not be brought to the place of prayer until evening. When the coffin was put on the musalla stone, where the funeral prayer is performed, the announcer Mu'arrif called out to Sadr al-Din Konavi: "O king of shaykhs! Please come forward, you shall lead the funeral prayer. That was Rumi's will. " Unable to control him­self, Doctor Akmal al-Din shouted out: "O Mu'arrif, follow good manners. The king of shaykhs is but Rumi. "

Sadr al-Din left the crowd and came in front of die coffin to lead the prayers. As soon as he began the prayer with the phrase Allahu Akbar, he became distraught, fainted in tears, and fell to the ground. Qadi Siraj al-Din came forward and led the prayer. According to Sipehsalar's account, when Shaykh Sadr al-Din was asked why he fainted and fell, he responded by saying: "When I came in front of the coffin to lead the prayer, I saw that the angels formed a line in front of the coffin. From the awe of the moment, I lost my consciousness. "

After the prayers, the coffin again was carried above heads and buried in the place prepared in front of the graves of Rumi's father, Sultan al-Ulama, and Salah al-Din Zarqubi. The sun had begun to set. It was a sad evening in Konya. Rumi's material being had vanished from sight, but his spiritual being was pres­ent in hearts, and it was to remain there. Understanding this truth very well, Rumi said: "After passing away, don't look for our grave on the face of the earth. Our grave is in the hearts of the gnostics, "

Rumi's blessed corpse was buried next to the grave of his father, Sultan al-Ulama. But he is alive as Sultan al-Arifin (sul­tan of gnostics) and Sultan al-Ashiqin (sultan of lovers of God) in every home, in every assembly, in everyone's heart. Rumi had become hidden from the eyes and settled in the hearts. Everyone, rich or poor, arranged whirling ceremonies according to their means. One night, in the palace of vizier Muin al-Din Pervane, the sultan of poets and literary men Badr al-Din Balkhi began to whirl. As he was whirling, he felt the presence of Rumi so strongly in his heart that he could not hold back his tears. Crying and whirling, he recited this quatrain:

O our soul, O our sultan! There remained no eye that doesn't cry with your sorrow. There remained no collar that was not torn with your mourning.

I swear by your luminous face mat on the surface of the earth. No one better that you went under the soil.

Konya mourned for forty days. For forty days, there were visitors at Rumi's grave. It is amazing mat even today people vis­it Rumi even though his grave has been converted into a muse­um and hence an entrance fee is charged. Not only Muslims, but also people of all creeds visit Rumi every day. One day Qadi Siraj al-Din came to visit Rumi's grave. He recited this quatrain stand­ing next to the grave:

O dear Rumi! The day when the thorn of death penetrated your foot,

I wish the heavens hit my head with the sword of death so that I didn't see the world without you.

Today I am here in front of your blessed soil. This is me, aren't I? What a pity, what a pity. Soil to my head!

Again, in those days a dervish recited these lines on the death of Rumi, causing those around him to weep:

O soil, because of the sorrow of my heart I cannot tell what kind of a pearl today death has given to you and what kind of a pearl you are hiding.

The trap that has been everyone's heart is trapped today.

The dear being who used to attract everyone's sympathy and admiration is now asleep on your lap.

As Sipehsalar writes, after Rumi migrated from this mortal world, wherever there is someone with a heart that is wounded, burning, and sad, he will be shedding tears and reciting couplets like these:

That sun of the hearts has set and hidden in the soil. Why shouldn't I spill soil on my head all the time?

That bird of the spring of truth has flown from the mortal plains. Why shouldn't I cry and lament like the clouds of spring? The light that illuminated the universe burned out, melted, and went out. Why shouldn't my day turn into night suddenly?

Also in those days another event occurred that saddened Rumi's family and friends and made them mourn a little more. Rumi's cat did not eat or drink anything after his passing away and survived for only seven days. Rumi's daughter Malika Khatun wrapped the cat in cloth and buried it somewhere around the shrine shedding tears. She cooked a dessert and distributed it to those who loved Rumi. As Aflaki writes, shortly before Rumi's passing away, this cat came to Rumi and meowed sadly. Rumi smiled and asked those around him: "Do you know what this cat said?" They said: "No. " Rumi said: "Soon you will go to the heavens, to your homeland with safety. What will I do without you?" Since Rumi was a mature saint completely on the Muhammadi path, he did not like ostentation and did not approve of the magnificent shrines built over graves. The capi­tal of the Seljuk Empire, Konya, has accepted many saints. But today when one talks of shrines in Konya, the first one that comes to mind is Rumi's shrine under a big green dome. Under this dome lie not only Rumi but also his father Sultan al-Ulama, his sons, his friends like Salah al-Din Zarqubi and Husam al-Din Chelebi, his grandchildren, and others among Rumi's relative’s more than fifty people. A few months after Rumi migrat­ed to the world of eternity, Amir Alam al-Din Kayseri, a promi­nent official in Konya, began, with the approval of Sultan Valad, the construction of the shrine that fascinates visitors with its material and spiritual magnificence. The shrine was constructed under the supervision of an architect, Badr al-Din of Tabriz, with the monetary and moral support of Gurcu Khatun, the daughter of Ala al-Din Khosrau II and wife of Muin al-Din Pervane. Another architect, Abd al-Wahid, built the magnificent sarcophagus of walnut wood that is 2. 65 meters in height and is considered one of the masterpieces of Seljuk wood carving. That sarcophagus was originally on Rumi's grave, but later it was transferred onto the grave of his father, Sultan al-Ulama, by order of Suleyman the Magnificent. A marble sarcophagus was built on the graves of Rumi and Sultan Valad. Although this master piece sarcophagus of wood covered with a golden-lace cloth originally was made for Rumi, why did Suleyman the Magnificent later replace it with a marble one? Suleyman the Magnificent, may his resting place be paradise, 49 was an admir­er of Rumi like his father Yavuz Sultan Selim. He was a poet himself and lover of Rumi's poetry. With the intention of doing a service to the saint whom he loved, he had the sarcophagus of walnut wood removed and replaced with a marble sarcophagus made by the most famous craftsmen of his time. In this a man­ifestation of Rumi's spiritual power also can be seen.

Rumi was a saint who did not like to show off. He thought that the high and magnificent sarcophagus that was put on his grave would suit better the grave of his father, Sultan al-Ulama. The Sultan of the World, Suleyman the Magniflcient, carried out Rumi's wish without knowing it. The sarcophagus seems to be standing up when one enters the shrine, and the public that observed it believed that Rumi's father had stood up to show respect for his son. In fact, all those buried there stood up when Rumi arrived.

 

Resource: Fundamental’s of Rumi’s Thought: A Mevlevi Sufi Perspective by ?efik Can

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