Mawlana Jalal'Ud-Din Rumi
Mawlana Jalal’ud-Din Rumi was born in Balkh in present day Afghanistan in 1027. His father Baha’ud-Din, was a noted theologian and Sufi. In 1220, when Balkh was threatened by the invading hordes of Mongols from Central Asia, Baha’ud Din and his family left Balkh and, travelling via Khurasan and Syria, reached the province of Rum in central Anatolia, which is in present-day Turkey. They settled in Qonya, the capital of Rum, and soon Baha’ud-Din’s teaching and preaching met with great success, even attracting Sultan Ala’ud-Din Kaykubad. Jalal’ud-Din was brought up in his father’s tradition of learning, and after his father’s death, he was introduced to direct knowledge of God and the deeper mysteries of spiritual life by Shaykh Burhan’ud-din Muhaqiq al-Tirmidhi. Under Shaykh al-Tirmidhi’s guidance, Rumi underwent many spiritual retreats of forty days each, until he was awakened and enlightened.
In 1244 Rumi met another spiritual master, Shams’ud Din of Tabriz, who transformed him completely. There was measureless love between the two. After Shams’ud-Din’s death, Rumi met several more spiritual masters. It was one of his close followers, Husam’ud-Din Chalabi who inspired Rumi to record his entire wisdom on paper for his followers. Rumi acceded to this wish and started dictating his famous Mathnavi-ye Ma’navi to Husam’ud-Din, which continued until his death in 1273. The Mathnavi is considered by the Sufis to be a spiritual commentary on the Quran in the Persian language. For example, Mawlana Jalal’ud-Din Rumi says:
Every prophet has received from him the guarantee:
Seek help with patience and prayer.
Come, ask of Him, not anyone except Him.
Seek water in the sea; do not seek it in the dry river-bed.
What is unification?
To burn one’s self before the one.
I have remained for the sake of betterment,
In the prison of this world.
What have I to do with the prison?
Whose money have I stolen?