Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet, scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic whose inspirational writings and poetry have transcended centuries and cultures to make him one of the most widely read poets in the modern world.

Born in 1207 in present-day Afghanistan, Rumi’s life took a profound turn in 1244 after meeting a wandering dervish named Shams of Tabriz. This encounter awakened a spiritual realization in Rumi which flowed into his poetry in the form of mystical experiences and a deep universal love and understanding.

Rumi’s Philosophy and Spirituality

At the core of Rumi’s philosophy was the belief that through love, ecstatic dance and music, humans could re-connect with their source in the divine. He saw the human soul as a bird which had become separated from its divine source, and his poetry was meant as a way to help guide souls back to reunion with the Creator.

His writings embraced universal spiritual teachings of love, radiance, intoxication, self-sacrifice and annihilation of the ego. Rumi preached that by losing one’s narrow individual self, the more collective and universal self could emerge. Some of his most famous lines are:

“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?”

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.”

Literary Works

Rumi’s spiritual legacy lives on through his monumental work, the Masnavi, a six-volume spiritual masterpiece of 25,000 verses written in Persian. Considered one of the greatest works of Persian literature, it teaches Sufis how to reach their goal of being truly in love with God through stories, allegorical anecdotes, and ethical and spiritual teachings.

He also composed over 3,000 lyrical odes or ghazals, in his Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi. These short poems deal with spiritual love, drunkenness, intoxication, and spiritual union. Some of his most quoted lines come from this work:

“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment!”

“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

Rumi passed away in 1273 in Konya, modern-day Turkey, after years of dictating his poetry and preaching his universal spiritual messages of peace, love and union with the divine. His poems have been translated into many languages and he is revered worldwide as one of the great spiritual masters and poetic geniuses in history.