This is the life story of Mevlana Jala ad-Din Rumi who filled his whole heart with a love of Allah. He was a person whose conversations are as precious as lessons over human lifes. He is Mevlana Celaddiin Rumi, who summarizes his life with three words, “Hamdım, piştim, yandım” which means “I was raw, I became cooked, I was burnt” but also have the depth in the meaning which one can write books over. Oneness has the basis on his creed just like other creeds that belong to their sufics. All knowledge had ground on notion of oneness. He took the love of Allah to forefront and spent his life in this way. He sat his heart on Islamic Sufism exactly like his father and grandfather had done. He was so lucky that he met with Shams Tabrizi who touched Mevlana’s love-fulled heart in the mortal life.
His Childhood Term
He was born in a village Wakhs in the city of Balkh, in present-day within the boundaries of Afghanistan in 30 September 1207. His father Muhammed Bahaddin Velede was a famous man who was son of Ahmet Hatibi and grandchild of Husein Hatibi, around Balkh and he was used to known as “Sultan’ul-Ulema” which means Sultan of scholars in his lifetime. His grandmother was Persian Princess Melike-i Cihan Emetullah from Kharzem Shah State and his mother was daughter of Rukneddin who was the superior of Balkh. His ethnic origin is varies with different sources, he is known as either Turkish, Persian or Tadzhik. When it is viewed from identity of his father, Rumi was so lucky in his childhood years. His heart would be filled with divine love which standed over all another emotions. His father Bahdeddin was a teacher in Balkh where was one of the centers of Islamic culture in that time. However, he would have to leave this area by the reasons of political events and Mongolian invasions. He left Balkh with his relatives and close friends in 1212-1213.
The Path of Abandonment
Bahaddin was liked by the environment, he had an impact on people. He always treated people nice, he always tried to find the best solition for people in each time they had problems, whenever the arguments occured he clarified the situations. Besides, he never let the philosophical arguments to be occured and didn’t want people to get in perplexity in his fetwas and lectures. Emperors of Kharzem Shah State got excessively annoyed from these situations. A story which ends up with abandonment and takes a long way would come to exist because of that matter. A day Bahaddin defended that some of the philosophers were busy with issues that don’t exist in Islam by coming up against them.
As soon as Fakhraldin al-Razi (famous philosopher) heard this, he got to breathe fire. He reported Bahaeddin to Empreror Muhammad Tokis who wasn’t pleased with Bahaeddin. Tokis loved and respected Fakhraldin . Fakhraldin kept good with Tokis and got a good reputation. Furthermore, it was a great opportunity to destroy the respect that people had toward Bahaeddin. However, Tokis began to suspected the respect that the public had towards Bahaeddin, would fall Tokis from the public’s grace. Tokis couldn’t stop the suspicions to cut him quick so he sent a script with keys of the city. In the message, it was said, ‘’ If our Sheikh accepts the city of Belkh, let him have the sultanate, dominion, and soldiery and allow me to move other lands. Because including two padishahs in the country at the same time isn’t proper conduct.Thank goodness that he has given two kinds of sultanates. First one is sultanate of the mortal world and the other one is sultanate of eternity. It would be a huge favor and a kind behavior if he would abandon and give us the sultanate in mortal life. That message from Tokis was a clear insult towards Bahaeddin who prefers living with the light of serenity. He answered back saying: ‘’ Respects to Sultan of Islam. All the soldiers, dominions, treasuries and crown that belong to this country only befits with emperors. We are dervishes, we don’t take the sultanate and land.” Even Tokis got repented after Bahaeddin’s answer, nothing could be the same anymore. Bahaeddin the Sultan of Scholar left the lands where he was from and grown up, with his family and relatives on 1212. They weren’t trees but could take roots anywhere.
The Years of the Voyagers
Their first stopping place was Nishapur. Sufi Feridüddin Atar who was a well-known person around that area greeted them. Even though Rumi was so young, it was clear that he would follow his father’s way in the future. Because he was so sedated that he got Sufi Feridüddin’s attention and appreciation. Feridüddin gave his book Esrarname (book of secrets) as a gift to Rumi. Rumi’s light would be Feridüddin anymore after his father. Once Feridüddin said ‘’ a sea on the way, follows up the river, I believe that your son will melt the hearts, burn the souls of people living in this world” as if he was aware of the light shining inside Rumi. Whatever Feridüddin asserted would happen, Rumi would become a household name. He always took alone Esarname with himself and mentioned about it in his own book ‘’Mesnevi’’. Bahaeddin went for pilgrimage in Kaaba passing by Nishapur, Bagdat and Kufa. His first stopping place was Damascus after he completed the pilgrimage. Then he traveled around many cities such as Malatya, Erzincan, Sivas, Kayseri, Nigde and he finally settled in a Muslim seminary which is built by Subası Emir Musa in Larende (Karaman) in 1222. Bahaeddin and his family stayed there for seven years. Seljuk Empire was almost a sovereign on whole Anatolia and Konya was its capital city during that period. Konya was an improved city in many aspects by considering other towns. Also, it was the heyday time for Seljuk. Many famous wises and artists resided in Konya so Emperor Alaeddin Keykubad wanted Bahaeddin Veled the sultan of scholars to locate there. He sent an invitation to Bahaeddin. As soon as the request was approved, Bahaeddin moved to Konya with his environment. Alaeddin Keykubad greeted him his own self with a ceremony and assigned Madrasah of Altunapa which honored Bahaeddin so much. Bahaeddin didn’t even know that these were the last days of his life. Just as he didn’t know how would moving to Konya change his son’s life. Rumi was already an eighteen years old young man when his family reached to Karaman. Mevlana got married to Miss Gevher in Karaman year 1225. Gevher was the daughter of Lala Sherafeddin from Semerkand. They had two sons from their marriage, Mehmed Bahaeddin (Sultan Veled) and Alaeddin Mehmed (Alaeddin Çelebi). After a while, Rumi’s wife Mrs. Gevher passed away. He got married to Mrs. Kerre who had a son. They had three children, Muzaffereddin, Emir Alim Celebi, Miss. Melike.
Death of Rumi’s Father
Rumi’s father Bahaeddin passed away in 12.01.1231. The one who closed his eyes was both Rumi’s father and Sultan of Scholars. Rose garden in Seljucks Palace was chosen as his grave. All the people from the country mourned his death too sadly. Sultan of Seljuk didn’t even ascent the throne for one week and foods were given out for 40 days after his death.
Rumi was in the limelight after his father died. Bahaeddin’s students and followers have already surrounded him because Rumi was seen the only successor left from his father. Rumi has got to be so improved and became wise on both in science and religion so the people did right by following him. He started to preach sermons in Madrasa of Iplikci just as said in the bequest of his father. The Madrasa was swarm with the people who went there to listen Rumi in just the same way people came to listen to his father. Rumi preached sermons, gave lectures and fatwas. Shams-i Tabrizi who was a student of Rumi’s father came to Konya in 1232. After their first meeting, they would see each other again and all of their meetings would contain meaningful moments.
Years later, Rumi’s son, Sultan Veled, told about the first moment that Şems and Rumi met, in his book, which he called “Ibtidaname” (First Book).
Burhaneddin put Rumi up for exams in İslamology during that exact time. The words flowing from Burhanuddin, who was very satisfied with Rumi’s success, were as follows: ‘’Nobody is as wise as you are; you really are an outstanding, brave man. However, your father was Ehl-i hal (good-hearted man), and you are Ehl-i kal (eloquent man). Leave the eloquence and be good-hearted, like him. If you work on that, only then you will be his real successor. Only then you can enlighten the universe just like the sun. ‘’
After Burhanuddin’s bits of advice, Rumi did 9 years of discipleship in the hands of Burhanuddin. He went through the educational denomination of Seyr-u suluk (spiritual pathway). He completed his madrassa education by passing through Aleppo and Sham. When he returned back to his hodja in Konya, he went through religious suffering three times after another, under his hodja’s supervision. One day, his teacher abandoned Konya and settled down in Kayseri and Rumi’s hindrance didn’t work… Rumi received the news in the year 1241 that he passed away. He was devastated. He never forgot about his hodja, neither about what he taught him.Whatever he got from his teacher, he collected. Years later, in his book named “Fihi-MaFihadlı”, with the meaning of “It is what it is”, he referred to his hodja honorably. Meeting of Rumi and Shams. It was the story of two guys who had the divine love. Even after years, other people would take cues from those two guys, they would incline their ear whatever Rumi and Shams preach.
There was a famous public house which was called ‘’Seker Tacirler Hanı’’ in Konya. One day a wanderer who was worn black from top to bottom, stopped by that public house. He was a disciple whose name was Shamsaddin Muhammad Tabrizi of a sheik called Abubakar Selebaf.
Shams was looking for someone which was the reason for coming from such a long way. His gut told him that whatever he was looking for has existed in Konya. The feet took him along the way just as if they have already knew where they were going. His feet were taking him through Madrassa of Iplikci on 15 November 1244. While he was about to arrive at the madrassa, he saw Rumi riding a horse with his students. Shams stopped Rumi over there.
Shams asked: ‘’ Hey you! Tell me you scholarly person, who do you think is the better, Muhammad or Bayezid Bistami?’’
Rumi was very impressed when he saw the man walks across. He was clearly a voyager. However, the passengers’ strange question couldn’t simply be answered quickly. He answered back: ‘’ What kind of interrogation is that? Muhammad is the last prophet, how could you even compare them?
Shams went on cross-questioning sedately.’’ While Muhammad says: ‘My heart gets rusted just like iron so I pray Allah for forgiveness, seventy times in a day’ why doBayezids say: ‘ There is nothing else in my mind but Allah, I keep myself far away from any misdoings.’ Tell me what your opinion on this matter is.’’
This time Rumi answered him in a calmer way: ‘’ Day by day Muhammad was starting to understand that there were many things he still didn’t know. As time passes by he realized that whatever he knew before, was less than what he did now. However, Bayezid was satisfied with his knowledge and he thought that he was enough by learning. That is why he said such things.’’ Shams was really keyed up. His heart was beating out of his chest. He grew impatient and suddenly wrapped Rumi with his arms. Because Rumi was what he was looking for through the years. Even the place they met was a very special point that called ‘’Merec-el Bahrein” with a meaning of ‘’the point where two seas connect”. This point brought two spirits that were filled with divine love, together. Rumi wasn’t even surprised by those two arms wrapping him around. It was obvious that this passenger what Rumi was looking for also.
The loneliness of Shams and Rumi
They went to the cell from the point where they met. That cell belonged to Selahaddin Zerkun who was one of the distinguished disciples of Rumi. They stayed there to get all alone. That loneliness took a long time, they didn’t even know how long they were there, maybe 40 days or six months… The duration wasn’t the important point, it’s the getting together and changing matter.
After staying there Rumi changed a lot, he became a whole new person. Even his looking was utterly different. He vacated giving lectures, sermons and all of his missions, even books that he always used to read were included to list what he abandoned. He didn’t see his friends and followers anymore. All of the people from the city were so worried about what was happening to him. How could Rumi who has never avoided his responsibilities, turn his back on everything? Who was the dervish that made him like that? The fear of people was getting bigger and worse. Everyone started to make interpretations of events. Shams was threatened with death several times. Instead of getting calmer, everything was going worse. Shams couldn’t stand anymore, took Rumi and read the 78th verse which has the meaning of ‘’Here it is the separation between us.” in Kehf Sura of Koran. It was obvious that the idea of separation will occur. Waiting for the people to understand them wouldn’t work.
Shames left Konya one night without letting anyone know in the year 1245. It was the story of the separation of two substantial hearths that had connected by divine love.
Rumi After the Abandonment
Rumi literally fell to pieces after Shams left him. He didn’t even want to see anyone anymore. He was off his oats and he was through with friend meetings and assemblies of the firmament. The only thing he could do was sending messengers everywhere to find his ally. He has written gazelles about longing and divine love.
His followers divided into two parts, while some of them apologizing by showing regret, others were developing a grudge against Shams.
Finally the messengers came out with the welcome news: they found where Shams was. Sultan Veled and his friends set off for Damascus to bring Shams to his father. He wrote the gazelles with what he was begging Shams to come back. Afterward, Shams turned back to Konya by Sultan Veled’s request. Everybody did their part by apologizing. Rumi and Shams has already got to be same like they always used to be. However this time everything was more complicated than before because Rumi quite giving lectures and sermons then started dancing, that was what made everybody so furious. Dervishes were trying to keep Rumi far away from Shams and the folk couldn’t hide their anger. In addition to this Rumi changed his style of dressing. Instead of wearing clothes which were special for only religious scholars, he preferred wearing a conical hat and a cardigan. Rumi’s second son was among the people that were against Shams regarding it.
Shams completely lost his patience after he encountered with all unfavorable events again. After all, he disappeared saying ‘’ This time nobody will know where I am’’. It was the last leaving of Shams and he has never turned back…
Rumi was consumed with his abandonment. He tasted all the pain that he experienced when Shames left him for the first time, over again. After a while, he could finally get better when he apprehended and understood that Shams really would never come back again. Rumi was the only one that has seen the ‘’light’’ of Shams. He was the proof of the presence of spirit, of course, it wouldn’t be easy to recover after all.
Space After Shams
After his friend’s abandonment for the second time, Rumi allonymed the appellative of Shams instead of his own name in gazelles to be able to experience feeling empathy with him. After years he made new allies who sympathized with Rumi and knew what was the feeling of loneliness. ‘’ Solitude has existed only for Allah.” Selahaddin Zerkubi and Husamaddin Celebi would try to make Rumi forget about the absence of Shams.
Selahaddin was the first one who came into Rumi’s life. He had a virtuous personality and he was an analphabet moneychanger. Soon afterward Rumi’s followers acted tough on Salahaddin just like they did to Shams. But this time neither Rumi nor Selahaddin paid attention, they became closer instead, due to marriage between Rumi’s son Sultan Veled and Salahuddin’s daughter Mrs. Fatma.
The relationship between Rumi and Selahaddin lasted for ten years. After Selahaddin was made an attempt of his life, the situations became more frantic and unpleasant. It was storied that one-day Selahaddin asked Rumi for his permission to ‘’being freed from his body-dungeon”. He passed away in December 1258, three days later he requested it. He didn’t want anybody to weep over him in his bequest. His funeral came true as he wished, he was sent off on his eternal journey joyfully with melodies come from reed flute.
Rumi’s friend wanted to take his permission even for getting through his mortal life. He was highly experienced that he got his maturity from. Husameddin Celebi would take Salahuddin’s place after his death. Husameddin’s father was a wealthy leader who called as son of Ahi Turk, of Ahi Community in Konya. He donated all of his tangible asset for Rumi’s dervish convent after he became a disciple of Mevlana. Their friendship would last until Rumi passed away.
How Was the Mesnevi Written
Hüsamettin asked a question which was beneficial for both us as well as Rumi during a conversation while he was complaining to him. To be able to learn during the way of the religious process for the disciples would have to read either Hakim Senai’s book named “Hadika”, Attar’s “Ilahiname” or “Mantik-ut-Tavr”. However, if we had an instructive book, everyone would read it and the would learn the religious truths primarily direct. Rumi looked at the eyes of his disciple and saw the glımpse in his eyes. With a friendly hand, he gave a paper hidden between the layers of his turban to his friend: “I started, the rest you will write while I recite you”. The first eighteen famous verses of the Mesnevi were written in the paper which Rumi was holding. Since then a fiery working process was on the go, this work process was going to last for ages. Finally, this work had 25.700 verses included in six book covers of the Mesnevi. The Mesnevi was holding a big variety of tales telling about the religious processes and whilst interpreting the situations it created the principles of it. Even to this day, the Mesnevi was and still is announced as the most important work of Islamic religious processes, written by the help of Husamettin from Rumi’s part, Selahattin Zerkubi and of course thanks to what was enlisted in Rumi’s heart by the help of Shams. He used his name as “Muhammed bin Muhammed bin Huseyin el-Belhi”. Muhammed’s name was in honor of his fathers and his grandfather’s name and Belhi was in honor of the birthplace of his. In addition to this, he had the works named: ‘’Divan-i Kebir’’ (the Great Divan), ‘’Fihi Ma-Fih’’ (It is what it is), “Mecalis-i Seb’a” (The Seven Sermons of Rumi) and Mektubat (the Letter).
Death of Rumi
When Rumi completed the Mesnevi he was in his old years. He was carrying the weight of the tiredness of the years on his shoulders and his health was bad. 17th of December year 1273 he closed his eyes to the fatal world and was reunited with his divine love. The night that he passed away was announced as “Sheb-i Arus” (Wedding Night) because of his reunite with his divine and only true love, his Allah. Rumi’s bequest was that he wanted Sedrettin Konevi to hold his funeral. Because Sedrettin Konevi could not handle the loss of him, he fainted. The vouchsafed for leading the prayers during the funeral was Kadi Siracettin. Ages later, this dervish convent was transformed into a museum. Rumi’s shrine which was called The Green Shrine was built on four pillars. Since then the day the shrine was built, its structure got improved by new additions through the end of the 19th century. Some of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire were a member of the Mevlevi Order, this is why the shrine was protected well. In 1826 the Mevlana Museum was opened to visitors in the same place where the dervish lodge was located in.
He has the agnomens “Jalal ad-Din” which has the meaning of “Glory of Faith”. The name Mevlana was given to him with the purpose of exalting and honoring. He was given the other cognomen “Hudavendigar” with a meaning “Sultan” by his father. He was called “Rumi” to refer his homeland Anatolia. This is the life story of Mevlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi, retiring from the world and joining the choir invisible. This is his journey to Allah. This is how Mevlana passed from this pale of tears, getting cross Shams path, with his legated Mesnevi and Sufism which he provided people to raise awareness the truth of divine love…