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Rumi, Jalal al-Din Mohammad

Rumi, Jalal al-Din Mohammad (1207-1273), Persian mystic and poet, whose verse is permeated by elements of Sufism, a movement of Islamic mysticism. Born in Balkh, in what is now Afghanistan, Rumi traveled with his family during his youth and eventually settled in Konya, in what is now Turkey. In 1244 he accepted the friendship and religious guidance of Shams al-Din, a dervish (devotee of Sufism) from Tabriz, Iran. Rumi hoped to devote his life to creating poetry expressing his feelings for his spiritual master. Shams al-Din disappeared unexplainedly in 1247 and over the years Rumi composed nearly 30,000 verses expressing his feelings at this loss. Later spiritual friendships again inspired his poetry, notably the epic poem Masnavi-ye Manavi (Spiritual Couplets, mid-13th century), which had an enormous influence on Islamic literature and thought. Late in Rumi's life, or possibly after his death, his followers organized a Sufi sect called Mawlawiyah, or Mevlevi, known in the West as the whirling, or dancing, dervishes.

"Rumi, Jalal al-Din Mohammad," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000 © 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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