Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, better known as Rumi (1207-1273), was and still is a beloved Persian poet and mystic. As an accomplished poet and philosopher, he used simple, lyrical language to share his experiences and beliefs with the world that resonate even centuries after his death.
Most often written in the first person, Rumi’s poetry tends to feature love as a central theme.
“Yet, in the midst of suffering, / Love proceeds like a millstone, / hard surfaced and straightforward. / Having died of self-interest, / she risks everything and asks for nothing.” - “Mathnawi VI”
“Passion is the elixir that renews” - “Mathnawi VI”
“Love is a tree, and the lovers are its shade.” - “Kulliyat-e Shams, 21”
“A lifetime without Love is of no account / Love is the Water of Life / Drink it down with heart and soul!” - “Divan-i-Shams 11909”
“Let go of your worries / and be completely clear-hearted, / like the face of a mirror / that contains no images … the heart conceals secrets, / while the mirror does not.” - “The Divani Shamsi Tabriz, XIII”
“All through eternity / Beauty unveils His exquisite form / in the solitude of nothingness” - “The Divani Shamsi Tabriz XV”
“Look at your eyes. They are small, / but they see enormous things.” - “This Great Love Inside Me”
Rumi’s poems and his Sufi (Islamic mystical belief system) doctrine, Mathnawi, are his most well-known works. But the stories he shared at in-person spiritual gatherings offer as much, if not more, wisdom. Fihi Ma Fihi (“What Is in It Is in It” or “It Is What It Is”) is the written collection of these stories.
“This whole world is but a house, no more. Whether we go from this room to that room, or from this corner to that corner, still are we not in the same house?”
“You sacrifice yourself, your possessions, your time, so the hearts of a few will be lifted to peacefully obeying God's will. So this too is a good work. God has inclined you towards such good work, and your great love for what you do is proof of God's blessing.”
“The soul of prayer is greater than prayer.”
“This world is the seedplot of the world to come. Whatever they sow here, they will reap in the next world.”
“If in winter time the trees do not put forth leaves and fruit, people should not think they are not working. They are continually at work. Winter is the season of gathering; summer is the season of spending. Everyone sees the spending, but they do not see the gathering in.”
“If all reality were openly revealed, what need would there be for words? Similarly, when the heart bears witness, what need is there for the testimony of the tongue?”
“The leaders of a given time are charged to secure the welfare of those who are bound to them and In the same way, a village works together in perfect order only when there is a leader that the villagers follow.”
“Whatever you see in this world corresponds exactly with what is in the world beyond. All these realities are samples of the other Reality. Whatever exists in this world has come from there.”
“Whoever is loved is beautiful, but this doesn't mean that whoever is beautiful is loved.”
“Faith, itself, consists of fear and hope … show me a fear without hope, or a hope without fear. The two are inseparable.”
“Now you must struggle to find the inward light, to escape and be secure from this fire of confusions. When you acquire such an inward light, all the desires of this world such as rank, honor, and title pass across your inward heart like a lightning-flash.”
“The sun casts light on things, and through that light it is possible to see. The purpose of light is to see.”
“You are now experiencing happiness. Why? Because the mind is a delicate thing, and like a snare it was properly set to catch its prey. If you are unhappy, then that snare is torn and useless.”
“If you forget what you have learned, then of course you become a clean slate suitable for questions that you have not learned.”
“Beware! Do not say, 'I have under- stood.' The more you understand and grasp these words, the farther you will be from understanding them. Their meaning comes in not understanding.”
Many points throughout history are marked by the words of a great spiritual leader.