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Rūmī, in full Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, also called by the honorific Mawlānā, (born c. September 30, 1207, Balkh [now in Afghanistan]—died December 17, 1273, Konya [now in Turkey]), the greatest Sufi mystic and poet in the Persian language, famous for his lyrics and for his didactic epic Mas̄navī-yi Maʿnavī (“Spiritual Couplets”), which widely influenced mystical thought and literature throughout the Muslim world. After his death, his disciples were organized as the Mawlawiyyah order.
What do we need to know to receive the knowledge that Rumi offers us?
First of all, it needs to be understood that Rumi’s tradition is not an “Eastern” tradition. It is neither of the East nor of the West, but something in between. Rumi’s mother-tongue was Persian, an Indo-European language strongly influenced by Semitic (Arabic) vocabulary, something like French with a smattering of Hebrew.
Furthermore, the Islamic tradition, which shaped him, acknowledges that only one religion has been given to mankind through countless prophets, or messengers, who have come to every people on the earth bearing this knowledge of Spirit. God is the subtle source of all life, Whose essence cannot be described or compared to anything, but Who can be known through the spiritual qualities that are manifest in the world and in the human heart. It is a deeply mystical tradition, on the one hand, with a strong and clear emphasis on human dignity and social justice, on the other.
In Rumi’s world, the Islamic way of life had established a high level of spiritual awareness among the general population. The average person would be someone who performed regular ablutions and prayed five times a day, fasted from food and drink during the daylight hours for at least one month a year, and closely followed a code which emphasized the continual remembrance of God, intention, integrity, generosity, and respect for all life. Although the Mathnawi can appeal to us on many levels, it assumes a rather high level of spiritual awareness as a starting point and extends to the very highest levels of spiritual understanding.
Also, September 30th has been named as “Molana Day” on the Iranian calendar, also recognized by the United Nations. And every year many people from all around world go to Turkey to celebrate this day besides his tomb.