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Moulana Rumi And Kashmiri Sufi Poets

By IMRAN YOUSUF

 

 

Recognized as a genius theologian, a high-profile scholar, an influential versifier and the greatest mystical Sufi poet of Islam Moulana Muhammad Jalaluddin Rumi (RA) was born in Balkh, a small town in Afghanistan on September 30, 1207. In his childhood, his family moved before the arrival of Mongol army in Balkh and got permanently settled in Konya. Rumi spent most of his life in Turkey. He left for eternal abode on December 17, 1273. His last resting place is housed in Konya where a beautiful shrine has been constructed.

Rumi got trouble free initiation in the field of Islamic mysticism because of his father Baha Valad, who was a preacher and also taught Sufi doctrines to the people. However, the turning-point in Rumi’s life came in October, 1244, when he had first encounter with a mystifying wandering Sufi and a spiritual teacher called Shamsuddin of Tabriz in Konya. Rumi was in his thirties and Shams Tabriz was in late twenties or maybe thirty years older. After meeting Shams Tabriz, Rumi underwent a spiritual qualitative change and said, “What I had thought of before as God, I met today in a person”. Their Friendship is one of the greatest myster­ies. Shams Tabriz taught him the most philosophical levels of Sufism, transforming him from a pious religious scholar to a great mystic.

With the appearance of Shams Tabriz, Rumi got spiritually reborn and soon started writing his marvelous mystic work Mathnavi (Masnavi) consisting of 24,660 couplets in seven books at the age of 38. Rumi is said to have given precious forty-three years of his life in writing the Masnavi. He has brunt the oil of his veins through nights in its composition, Rumi reciting the verses from the depths of his heart and his friend Hasam copying it down and sometimes singing portions of the verse in his melodious voice. The Masnavi is full of profound philosophical mysteries, and is extremely important book in the study of Sufism. The Masnavi is so honored as the most consummate expression of Sufi mysticism that it is generally referred to as the Quran in Persian.

His other renowned work is “Divan-e Shams Tabriz” (the combined poems of Shams Tabriz). Divan-e- Shams is a masterwork of sapience, perception and eloquence.

O Shams-e-Tabrizi, you

Compassionately blend and renew

Eat and west through and through

And so we say, may it be so.

 

Beloved reached desired glow

 And so we say, may it be so

 All doubts towards faith did grow

 And so we say, may it be so.

Translation Shahriar Shahriari

Rumi’s every jolted verse has a mystic connotation, a combination that is the universal language of the human soul that touches the depths of every emotion lying in any dead niche of the heart. Rumi’s title is Moulana (Moulana) which means the master. His one of the desired musical instruments was Nai (flute) and has penned a breathtaking poem about it. In Persian poems can be read or can be sung. Rumi said, music can be a form of ZIKR, remembering that there is no God but Allah (SWT), who is One which in Arabic is “La illahaillallah”.

Moulana Rumi is considered as the most important figure in the realm of Sufism and is the founder of Mawlevi Order of dervishes known as the Whirling Dervishes. He adopted and followed that God should be celebrated through poetry, song and dancing. In initial stages the sect used to remain veiled from general masses but today the disciples of Mawlevi order tour the world allowing audiences to witness the ceremony of their sacred dances and music.

Moulana Rumi is called as QUTB by Sufi’s and his writings have been attracting spiritual seekers from almost every religion, every nook of the world from hundreds of years. Rumi is one of the most read versifiers throughout world. He has been inspiration for mystic aspirants and his mystical poems have had a great influence on every reader and listener. Rumi’s few verses for questers of true love.

Come, come, whoever you are.

Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.

It doesn’t matter.

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vow

A hundred times.

Come, yet again, come, come.

(Discourse of Rumi ‘Fihi Ma Fihi by A.J. Arberry)

Moulana Rumi himself has said that great Love is silent. It is in silence that we shall come to comprehend the ultimate mystery of love that has no comparison. It is frequently said that Rumi had achieved the stage of a perfect master and as such he often dwelt in the spiritual realms that were seldom visited by others. He acquired heights that were attained by only a few before him or since.

The mastery of rhyme and rhythm is such that he often creates a new vocabulary, using the same old words, yet creating new feelings that are linked with them.

I’m not me, you’re not you, and you’re not me;

And yet I’m me, you’re you, and you are me.

Beauty of Khotan, I am this because of you:

Confused if I am you, or you are me.

(Rumi’s Qulyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi)

 Rumi was married twice; his first wife, Gowhar Khatun died young. She bore two children, Sultan Velad and Alladin. Second time Rumi got married with Kira Khatun and had two children also Muzaffer, a son, and Maleke, a daughter.

Thousands of followers of Rumi still believe that Rumi’s presence (baraka) still exists today, and still teaches, it is undoubtedly due to the extraordinary remarkable liveliness and vitality which is found in his every penned verse. Rumi’s every line is poetized in great rhythm, deep connotation and knowledge about human behavior, existence of life and divine love, his poetry has captured the hearts of spiritual seekers around the world because of its great profundity and beauty. His eternal verses sketch out the whole panorama of life, from human mourning and devotion.

It has been observed that scholars from different countries with different dialects when write or speak on any particular subject differ from one another. Every person gives his thoughts a special shape which varies from others in one or the other aspect. But the Sufi poets from any corner of the world with any language have almost similar ideas and thoughts about a particular subject.

Most Sufi poets of Kashmir have never been to school and it is quite impossible for a person without schooling to study the books written in any other language, but while going through the page of poetized writings of Kashmiri Sufi poets, we come across the oneness of thought process. It is surprising that these poets without formal education who cannot even read Moulana Rumi or any other poet still have oneness in intellection. It looks that Sufi poets living in any corner of the world are inter connected; divinity has bestowed them with mystical powers which enables them to remain connected. About this interconnection the great Sufi saints have described it as Elimal Yakeen and Aeinal Yakeen. Elimal Yakeen means knowledge borrowed from books and Aeinal Yakeen is practical observation of things.

Knowledge which comes from books is the accumulation of knowledge or skill that results from direct in writing or reading. While on the other hand the knowledge of divinity particularly that knowledge which comes with Sufi saints as revelations caused by divine rather than ordinary natural processes. The mystic Sufi saints experience this religious knowledge through whole life which cannot be changed. So the Sufis poets and saints whenever speak or write anything it does not diverge from one another whether the author belong to any country, creed, color or language.

Kashmir has been the birth place of many great spiritual writers, Sufi poets and Saints who have laid their eternal mark behind. Kashmiri Sufi poets are extremely influenced by various great Sufi saints and poets like Bayazid Bastami (RA), Mirza Bedil, Fazl Haq Khairbadi, Kabir, Moulana Rumi etc. The mystic chain of Sufi Poets in Kashmir started from 14th century with the famous poetess Lal Ded (Lalleshwari), the grand mystic woman poet of Kashmir continues to inspire new generations of Kashmir from decades. Hazrat Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani RA (Nund Reshi) is the next legendary Sufi poet of vale after Lal Ded known in every corner. Nund Reshi is the founder of Sufi Order in the fifteenth century called the Reshi Order. There are also so many mystic poets like Habba Khatoon, Shamas Faqeer, Niama Saeb, Soch Kral, Wahab Khar etc. who were deeply merged in devotion of divinity. Nund Reshi commonly known as Alamdaar-e-Kashmir and Sheikh-ul-Alam was intensely inspired and influenced by Moulana Rumi which is quite visible in below mentioned couplet.

 Mallai Denshhen Moulana-i-Rome

Nati Malleh Denshith Perzeh Istighfaar

 Truly if you want to witness a priest, see Moulana Rumi

Or seek forgiveness when you come across any other priest.

In another poem Sheikh-ul-Alam has defined “NAFS”. In Quran, Allah (S.W.T.) has described at least three main types of the Nafs and these are in rank from the worse to better, Nafs al-Ammara Bissu (the Nafs that urges evil), Nafs al-Lawwama (the Nafs that Blames) and Nafs al-Mutmainna (the Nafs at Peace).

Nafs Ditnai Orai Meenith

Gatchkhaie Tcheenith Kerzineh Foot

Dum Div Haqas Lal Gatch Zeenith

Nati Tchuie Qul Naftchun Zaiqatul Mout

 

He sent you to this world with exact breaths

If you recognize, don’t slaughter it,

Breathe in truth and let yourself be enlightened

Or every living thing has to taste the cup of death.

 Moulana Rumi has already versified NAFS in his own grand style for which he is famous in the poetic world.

Hew and move from your nafs
This nafs is like a chain
And you are the prisoner
Take a hatchet and make a hole in your prison cell
Once you brake the chain
All of you become like kings, and rulers.

Both poets have the same concept that human being is the best creation of All Mighty but is trussed by Nafs al-Ammara (appetite of earthly desires) which makes him greedy and leads towards evil temptations and eventually towards final destruction. Both poets want every living thing free of mortal desires which are going to end today or tomorrow.

Sufi poets from Kashmir have written poetry with similar concepts in their own words and style. While going through the verses of Moulana Rumi, it is quite visible that the love of Murhsid matters most for the disciple.

When every soul shall be gathered on that Doomsday

And faces pale from fear of reckoning,

I shall hold thy love in the palm of my hand,

And I will say, by this I am saved or damned.’

(Rumi’s Qulyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi)

 Shamas Faqeer, a revered 19th century mystic Sufi poet of Kashmir says:

Tateh Karzem Payeh Meneh Peeroo

Yeteh Aasie Aam Que Khass

Shamas Faqeer Tarizan Taaroo

Maraie Yarroo Rozii Armaan

 

Hereafter Oh! My Murshid (Guide) support me

Where there shall be ordinary and the special,

Hold hand of Shamas Faqeer and board him across

Oh! My friend, I shall die, desires will linger wet.

 

Another Sufi poet “Mohammad Shaban Dar” says:

Peer Chum Shah-e-Jeelanie

Seeth Seethi TChum Har Aanie

Rehmatas Wamaed Waar “Shabanie”

Toor Kut Karto Saamanie

 

My Murshid is Shah-e-Jeelan

HE is with me in every fleeting moment,

 “Shaban” is waiting for thy blessings

Do deeds for the hereafter.

Like Moulana Rumi every Sufi poet has given a special place to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) the merciful of the merciful, the mercy to the whole creation because he projected sky-scraping level of ethics for humanity. Moulana Rumi was overwhelmingly devoted to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He had deep love and respect for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) for His superior, praiseworthy, highly regarded and influential personality.

Rumi states in his Diwan:

The Sufi is hanging on to Prophet Muhammad PBUH, like Abu Bakr.

Make your intellect a sacrifice in the presence of Muhammad Mustafa S.A.W and say,

“God is adequate for me, since God is sufficient for rewarding me.

Rumi has also expressed Prophet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H) light (Noor-i-Paak), as the light was the first creation of Allah which elucidating the entire creation of the cosmos.

The light of Muhammad is distributed in millions of pieces

And with that light the whole world was embraced

The Prophet is like the luminosity of that light.

When it strikes, all veils of agnosticism are worn out,

And thousands of monastics are influenced by Muhammad.

(Fundamentals of Rumi’s Thought: A Mevlevi Sufi Perspective by Şefik Can)

With same concept “Wahab Khaar” (a great Sufi poet of the vale) has penned verses, he also has witnessed that the whole universe is created from the NOOR of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him.

Awalie Noorun Partav Peov,

Ad Sooun Muhammad Paida Gaow

Sarmanz Pampoosh Fulwunn Draav,

Taaj Dar Sooun Mirajas Draav

Gath Karaie Kaabas Buooz Maenzaar,

Seith Heath Choor Yaar Haav Dedaar

Tcuh Kun Wahab Khaar Ba Vomeead Aaw,

Taaj Dar Sooun Mirajas Draav

 

First light which emerged and became existence is his Noor

With that light our beloved Prophet PBUH got birth

Blossomed like a lotus in lake,

Our Prophet PBUH ascent to meet ALLAH

Listen to my plea, I shall circumambulate the Kaaba,

With your blessed four friends, grant me a glimpse of your noble face

With hope lonely Wahab Khaar has come to you,

Our Prophet PBUH ascent to meet ALLAH

 Moulana Rumi has bestowed his entire life for the path of love; he was profoundly attached to Allah and the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. He was a philosophic Poet bequeathed new approach of Sufism and Oneness of God. His love for divinity and Shamas was beyond the borders of limitations. A beautiful story of Rumi worthy to mention:

A man called “Allah” for whole night

Until his lips started to bleed

Then the Devil visit & said, “Hey! Mr. Gullible”

What is the fun of calling Allah all night

Ever you heard Allah saying, “Here I am”

You call HIM sincerely and in reply what

I shall let know you what. “Nothing”

 

All of a sudden the man felt damned and abandoned.

Demoralized, he threw himself on the ground

And fell into a deep sleep.

A dream strikes, he meets Hazrat Abraham,

Who asked,“Why are you regretting praising Allah”

 

The man replied, “I called and called

But Allah never replied, “Here I am”

Hazrat Abraham explicated, “Allah has said,

“Thyaddressing my name is My answer.

Thy yearning for Me is My message to thee.

All thy attempts to reach Me

Are in realism My attempts to reach thee.

Thy fear and worship is a best way to Me.

In the silence surrounding every call of “Allah”

Waits a thousand replies of “Here I am”

Rasool Mir, A dynamic, multidimensional and Romantic Sufi poet of Kashmir has praised the woman gestures like eyes, lips, black curled hair etc. in so many poems. He has used beautiful words in the honor of his beloved.

Zulf Kakul Zanjeer TCheie Kineh Zaal

Alif Sapdum Kad Choon Deeshith Daal

Saravih Shamshaad Himat-e-Aeliyeh Lo

Roosh Mi Roosh Ha Posh Maliyeh Lo

 

Is your curled hair chain or entanglement

I was bowed while looking grace as she stands,

You strength of will is supreme like cypress tree

Oh! My beloved (Poosh Maal) don’t be sulky.

 

 

Rumi about the dark hair of his beloved:

 

Look at her dark hair, her elegance as she stands.

Think of the sugariness of those ruby lips.

Your kiss for alms, I begged, for kindness sake.

She turned, laughed: Think what a profit you would make

Rumi had great influence on Kashmiri poets, it seems that Kashmiri Sufi poets have read and understood Rumi wholeheartedly and are exceedingly inspired. Many poets have used the similar thoughts as Rumi did and some poets have utterly written the same but in diverse language.

Rahim Sahab Sopori:

 

Seer-e-Pinha Tchuie Zeer-o-Bum

Thath Manz Basith TChie Zee Aalam

Wanyo Seer Gastchi Barham

Tchaneh Seeruk Tchum Kasam

 

All the secrets exist in Zeer-o-Bum (Music)

This is holding the existing of both worlds

If I tell you the truth, the universe shall be devastated

What I said is the truth I swear upon your Arcanum.

 

And Moulana Rumi’s original lines:

 

Seer-e-Pinha Ast Ander Zeer-o-Bum

Fash Agar Goyem Jahaan Barham Zanam

 

Don’t imagine Zeer-o-Bum (music) empty, it is full of mysteries

 If I tell you the veracity, the universe shall be shattered.

 

 

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