Who Rumi Was Not

Most reference books describe him as: “A Persian Mystic, and poet, who was born in 1207 and died in 1273.” What he says:

“I am neither Christian nor Jew
Neither Persian nor Moslem.
I am from neither the East nor West
Neither from land, nor from water.”

He is certainly rejecting the ideas that confine him in any particular location or religion:

“I am concealed, secret, sometimes,
Sometimes I appear, and become obvious.
Sometimes I am Muslim
Sometimes I am in the faith of Moses
Sometimes I am Christian.
In order to be a model to everyone
I manifest differently in every time.”

-Rubai

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1 Comment so far
  1. PARVIZ PARSAFAR September 1, 2009 5:46 pm

    It is very important not to mix up different issues. There are two aspects about the great Mowlavi’s life. One is where he was born and into which family. The other one is what his own philosophy is on humans’ physical belonging to a certain region or ethnic group.
    What is undeniable is that he was born in Balkh, which was part of Iran at that time, and more importantly into an Iranian family. That is both parents were Iranian, too. He also spent several years of his life living in his native country and studying under some renowned Iranian intellectuals at that time.
    The second aspect is his philosophy of belonging, which is evident in this poem. Here, he doesn’t believe in man-made boundaries of religion and borders. These are two separate issues, and if anyone thinks that he is denying his origin in this poem, I am afraid they are mistaken. I, too, believe there is no difference among human beings when it comes to human rights and values, but I cannot deny that I am an Iranian just because of that belief.