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RUMI (1207-1273)

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 851 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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RUMI (1207-1273). Mahommed b. Mahommed b. Husain albalkhi, better known as Maulana Jalal-uddin Rumi (or simply Jalal-uddin, or Jelal-eddin), the greatest Sific poet of Persia, was born on the 3oth of September 1207 (604 A.H. 6th of Rabi' I.) at Balkh, in Khorasan, where his family had resided from time immemorial. He claimed descent from the caliph Abubekr,and from the Khwarizm-Shah Sultan 'Ala-uddin b. Tukush (1199-1220), whose only daughter, Malika-i-Jahan, had been married to Jalal-uddin's grandfather. Her son, Mahommed, commonly called Baha-uddin Walad, was famous for his learning and piety, but being afraid of the sultan's jealousy, he emigrated to Asia Minor in 1212. After residing for some time at Malatia and afterwards at Erzingan in Armenia, Bahauddin was called to Laranda in Asia Minor, as principal of the local college. Here young Jalal-uddin grew up, and in 1226 married Jauhar Khatun, the daughter of Lala Sharaf-uddin of Samarkand. Finally, Baha-uddin was invited to Iconium by `Ala-uddin Kaikubad (1219-1236), the sultan of Asia Minor; or, as it is commonly called in the East, Rum—whence Jalaluddin's surname (takhallus) Rumi. After Baha-uddin's death in 1231, Jalal-uddin went to Aleppo and Damascus for a short time to study, but, dissatisfied with the exact sciences, he returned to Iconium, where he became by and by professor of four separate colleges, and devoted himself to the study of mystic theosophy. His first spiritual instructor was Sayyid Burhan-uddin Husa.ini of Tirmidh, one of his father's disciples, and, later on, the wandering Sufi Shams-uddin of Tabriz, who soon acquired a most powerful influence over Jalal-uddin. Shams-uddin's aggressive character roused the people of Iconium against him, and during a riot in which Jalal-uddin's eldest son, `Ala-uddin, was killed, he was arrested and probably executed; at least he was no more seen. In remembrance of these victims of popular wrath Jalal-uddin founded the order of the Maulawi (in Turkish Mevlevi) dervishes, famous for their piety as well as for their peculiar garb of mourning, their music and their mystic dance (sama), which is the outward representation of the circling movement of the spheres, and the inward symbol of the circling movement of the soul caused by the vibrations of a Sufi's fervent love to God. The establishment of this order, which still possesses numerous cloisters throughout the Turkish empire, and the leadership of which has been kept in Jalaluddin's family in Iconium uninterruptedly for the last six hundred years, gave a new stimulus to his zeal and poetical inspiration. Most of his matchless odes were composed in honour of the Maulawl dervishes, and even his opus magnum, the Mathnawi (Mesnevi), or, as it is usually called, The Spiritual Mathnawi (mathnawi-i-ma'nawi), in six books or daftars, with 30,000 to 40,000 double-rhymed verses, can be traced to the same source. The idea of this immense collection of ethical and moral precepts was first suggested to the poet by his favourite disciple Hasan, better known as Husam-uddin, who in 1258 became Jalal-uddin's chief assistant. Jalal-uddin dictated to him, with a short interruption, the whole work during the remaining years of his life. Soon after its completion Jalal-uddin died, on the 17th of December 1273 (672 A.H. 5th of Jomada II.). His first successor in the rectorship of the Maulawl fraternity was Husam-uddin himself, after whose death in 1284 Jalal-uddin's younger and only surviving son, Shaikh Bahaudd-in Ahmed, commonly called Sultan Walad, and favourably known as author of the mystical mathnawi Rabdbnama, or the Book of the Guitar (died 1312), was duly installed as grand-master of the order. Jalal-uddin's life is fully described in Shams-uddin Ahmed Aflaki's Manakib-ul 'Coif in (written between A.D. 1318 and 1353), the most important portions of which have been translated by J. W. Redhouse in the preface to his English metrical version of The Mesnevi, Book the First (London, 1881); there is also an abridged translation of the Mathnawi, with introduction on Sufism, by E. H. Whinfield (2nd ed., 1898). Complete editions have been printed in Bombay, Lucknow, Tabriz, Constantinople and in Bulaq (with a Turkish translation, 1268 A.H.), at the end of which a seventh daf tar is added, the genuineness of which is refuted by a remark of Jalaluddin himself in one of the Bodleian copies of the poem, Ouseley, 294 (f. 328a seq.). A revised edition was made by 'Abd-ullatif between 1024 and 1032 A.H., and the same author's commentary on the Mathnawi, Lata'if-ulma'naw-i, and his glossary, Lata'if-allughat, have been lithographed in Cawnpore (1876) and Lucknow (1877) respectively, the latter under the title Farhang-i-mathnawl. For the other numerous commentaries and for further biographical and literary particulars of Jalal-uddin, see Rieu's Cat. of the Persian MSS of the Brit. Mus., vol. ii. p. 584 seq. ; A. Sprenger's Oudh Cat., p. 489 ; Sir Gore Ouseley, Notices o Persian Poets, p. 112 seq. ; H. Eth6, in Morgenlandische Studien (Leipzig, 1870), p. 95 seq., and in Geiger and Kuhn's Grundriss der iranischen Philologie (Stuttgart, 1896-1904), vol. ii. pp. 287-292. Selections from Jalal-uddin's diwan (often styled Dtwan-i-Shams-i-Tabriz) are translated in German verse by V. von Rosenzweig (Vienna, 1838); into English by R. A. Nicholson (2nd ed., 1898) and W. Hastie (1903). (H. E.)
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