Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi



Empty yourself from worrying
Think of who created the thought
Why do you stay in prison
When the door is wide open



Today I continue about the great city of Balkh and its province or state called Barctria. Th poem above is written by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi, one of my favourite poets since 1976 when I visited Balkh province for the first time. This was where Rumi was born in 1207 AD.
Between 1993 and 1996 when I was working in Afghanistan, I visited Balkh at least 10 times and it was on these journeys I read his poetry through and through, each time understanding a little more of his subtle strands of poetical weavings and powerful writings.

He not only was a great Persian poet but had a deep interest in Persian music, Persian philosophy, Sufi philosophy, and Sufi dance
Known as Mawlānā Jalāl-ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī[3] (Persian: محمد بلخى), but known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi, (September 30, 1207–December 17, 1273), was a 13th century Persian (Tādjīk)[4][5] poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian.[6] Rumi is a descriptive name meaning "the Roman" since he lived most parts of his life in Anatolia which had been part of the Roman Empire until the Seljuq conquest two centuries earlier.


His birthplace and native language both indicate a Persian heritage. Due to quarrels between different dynasties in Khorāṣān, opposition to the Khwarizmid Shahs who were considered devious by Bahā ud-Dīn Wālad (Rumi's father) or fear of the impending Mongol cataclysm, his father decided to migrate westwards. Rumi's family traveled west, first performing the Hajj and eventually settling in the Anatolian city Konya (capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, now located in Turkey), where he lived most of his life, composed one of the crowning glories of Persian literature and profoundly affected the culture of the area.

He lived most of his life under the Sultanate of Rum, where he produced his worksand died in 1273 CE. He was buried in Konya and his shrine became a place of pilgrimage.Following his death, his followers and his son Sultan Walad founded the Mawlawīyah Sufi Order, also known as the order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for its Sufi dance known as the samāʿ ceremony.

Rumi's work are written in the new Persian Language. New Persian (also called Dari-Persian or Dari), a widely understood vernacular of Middle Persian, has its linguistic origin in the Fars Province of modern Iran. A Dari-Persian literary renaissance (In the 8th/9th century) started in regions of Sistan, Khorasan and Transoxiana and by the 10th/11th century, it overtook Arabic as the literary and cultural language in the Persian Islamic world. Although Rumi's works were written in Persian, Rumi's importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders. His original works are widely read in the original language across the Persian-speaking world. Translations of his works are very popular in South Asian, Turkic, Arab and Western countries. His poetry has influenced Persian literature as well as Urdu, Bengali and Turkish literatures. His poems have been widely translated into many of the world's languages in various formats, and BBC News has described him as the "most popular poet in America".

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