Rumi: Poems and Prose

Philosophical outlook

Rumi was an evolutionary thinker in the sense that he believed that the spirit after devolution from the divine Ego undergoes an evolutionary process by which it comes nearer and nearer to the same divine Ego.[62] All matter in the universe obeys this law and this movement is due to an inbuilt urge (which Rumi calls "love") to evolve and seek enjoinment with the divinity from which it has emerged. Evolution into a human being from an animal is only one stage in this process. The doctrine of the Fall of Adam is reinterpreted as the devolution of the Ego from the universal ground of divinity and is a universal, cosmic phenomenon.[63] The French philosopher Henri Bergson's idea of life being creative and evolutionary is similar, though unlike Bergson, Rumi believes that there is a specific goal to the process: the attainment of God. For Rumi, God is the ground as well as the goal of all existence.

However Rumi need not be considered a biological evolutionary creationist. In view of the fact that Rumi lived hundreds of years before Darwin, and was least interested in scientific theories, it is probable to conclude that he does not deal with biological evolution at all. Rather he is concerned with the spiritual evolution of a human being: Man not conscious of God is akin to an animal and true consciousness makes him divine. Nicholson has seen this as a Neo-Platonic doctrine: the universal soul working through the various spheres of being, a doctrine introduced into Islam by Muslim philosophers like Al Farabi and being related at the same time to Ibn Sina's idea of love as the magnetically working power by which life is driven into an upward trend.[64]

I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as plant and rose to animal, I died as animal and I was Man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar With angels bless'd; but even from angelhood I must pass on: all except God doth perish. When I have sacrificed my angel-soul, I shall become what no mind e'er conceived. Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence Proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return.

از جمادی مُردم و نامی شدم — وز نما مُردم به حیوان سرزدم مُردم از حیوانی و آدم شدم — پس چه ترسم؟ کی ز مردن کم شدم؟ حملهٔ دیگر بمیرم از بشر — تا برآرم از ملائک بال و پر وز ملک هم بایدم جستن ز جو — کل شیء هالک الا وجهه بار دیگر از ملک پران شوم — آنچه اندر وهم ناید آن شوم پس عدم گردم عدم چو ارغنون — گویدم کانا الیه راجعون


It is often said that the teachings of Rumi are ecumenical in nature.[65] For Rumi, religion was mostly a personal experience and not limited to logical arguments or perceptions of the senses.[66] Creative love, or the urge to rejoin the spirit to divinity, was the goal towards which every thing moves.[66] The dignity of life, in particular human life (which is conscious of its divine origin and goal), was important.[66]

ملت عشق از همه دین‌ها جداست عاشقان را ملت و مذهب خداست The religion of Love is different from all religions For lovers, religion and denomination is God alone. Book 2 Section 36: Moses and the Shepherd

It is undeniable that Rumi was a Muslim scholar and took Islam seriously. Nonetheless, the depth of his spiritual vision extended beyond narrow sectarian concerns. One rubaiyat reads:

در راه طلب عاقل و دیوانه یکی است در شیوه‌ی عشق خویش و بیگانه یکی است آن را که شراب وصل جانان دادند در مذهب او کعبه و بتخانه یکی است Quatrain 305 On the seeker’s path, wise men and fools are one. In His love, brothers and strangers are one. Go on! Drink the wine of the Beloved! In that faith, Muslims and pagans are one. [67]


However, despite the aforementioned ecumenical attitude, and contrary to his contemporary portrayal in the West as a proponent of non-denominational spirituality, a number of Rumi poems suggest the importance of outward religious observance, the primacy of the Qur'an.[68]

Flee to God's Qur'an, take refuge in it there with the spirits of the prophets merge. The Book conveys the prophets' circumstances those fish of the pure sea of Majesty.[69]

Seyyed Hossein Nasr states:

One of the greatest living authorities on Rûmî in Persia today, Hâdî Hâ'irî, has shown in an unpublished work that some 6,000 verses of the Dîwân and the Mathnawî are practically direct translations of Qur'ânic verses into Persian poetry.[70]

Rumi states in his Dīwān:

The Sufi is hanging on to Muhammad, like Abu Bakr.[71]

His Masnavi contains anecdotes and stories derived largely from the Quran and the hadith, as well as everyday tales.

On the first page of the Masnavi, Rumi states:

"Hadha kitâbu 'l- mathnawîy wa huwa uSûlu uSûli uSûli 'd-dîn wa kashshâfu 'l-qur'ân."

This is the book of the Masnavi, and it is the roots of the roots of the roots of the (Islamic) Religion and it is the Explainer of the Qur'ân.

The famous (15th century) Sufi poet Jâmî, said of the Masnavi,[72]

"Hast qur'ân dar zabân-é pahlawî"

It is the Qur'ân in the Persian tongue.

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