Meet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumihe is one of the best-selling poets in the us
Did you know that one of the best-selling poets in the US is a Muslim?
Yes, it might be surprising but the ecstatic poems of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, have sold millions of copies in recent years, making him the most popular poet in the US. Globally, his fans are legion.
The Islamic civilization introduced to the world many great poets of different origins and backgrounds. There are four great names in both Persian and universal poetry: Ferdowsi, Nizami, Saadi Shirazi, and Hafez Shirazi. But none of them claimed such universal acclaim like Jalal ad-Din Rumi.
Rumi was born in 1207 AD in Vakhsh, currently known as Tajikistan, to Persian speaking parents. Due to ongoing threats of Mongols on Central Asian regions, Rumi’s parents had to migrate westwards till they settled in the city of Konya, Turkey, under the rule of the Seljuks. Rumi grew to be a great teacher and a jurist, till he met Shams-e Tabrizi, a wandering dervish from Persia, of whom his asceticism turned Rumi to the mystic poet that the world now admires.
Shams remained with Rumi for three years till he suddenly disappeared. Whether he left of his own will or murdered by one of Rumi’s sons as some sources claim, his disappearance circumstances were unknown. Anyhow, it was Shams disappearance that gave birth to the poet in Rumi’s soul.
He began to mingle music, and poetry with dancing, spending many of his nights whirling while dictating others his poetry. His whirling dervish dance became famous, paving way for establishing the Mewlewi Sufi Order by his disciples after his death in 1273 AD. Buried in the Turkish city of Konya, it became a universal center for Sufi pilgrims.
A Universal Message
Every year on December 17, Turkey commemorates Rumi’s death anniversary, referred to as Şeb-i Arus or The Wedding Night. On such occasion, thousands of Sufists all over the world flock the city, visiting his beautiful shrine, and attending the night ceremony that takes place on Aladdin’s hill where Rumi, arguably met Shams.