Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī
(Persian: جلالالدین مُحمّد رُومی), or simply Rumi (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273), was a 13th-century poet, Hanafi faqih, Islamic scholar, Maturidi theologian and Sufi mystic originally from Greater Khorasan in Greater Iran. Rumi's works were written mostly in Persian, but occasionally he also used Turkish, Arabic and Greek in his verse.
His Masnavi (Mathnawi), composed in Konya, is considered one of the greatest poems of the Persian language. Rumi's influence has transcended national borders and ethnic divisions: Iranians, Kurds, Pashtuns, Tajiks, Turks, Greeks, Central Asian Muslims, as well as Muslims of South Asia have greatly appreciated his spiritual legacy for the past seven centuries. His poetry influenced not only Persian literature, but also the literary traditions of the Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai, Pashto, Kurdish, Urdu, and Bengali languages. Rumi's works are widely read today in their original language across Greater Iran and the Persian-speaking world. His poems have subsequently been translated into many of the world's languages and transposed into various formats. Rumi has been described as the "most popular poet", is very popular in Turkey, Azerbaijan and South Asia, and has become the "best selling poet" in the United States.
He is most commonly called Rumi in English. His full name is given by his contemporary Sipahsalar as Muhammad bin Muhammad bin al-Husayn al-Khatibi al-Balkhi al-Bakri (Arabic: محمد بن محمد بن الحسين الخطيبي البلخي البكري). He is more commonly known as Molānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī (مولانا جلالالدین محمد رومی). Jalal ad-Din is an Arabic name meaning "Glory of the Faith". Balkhī and Rūmī are his nisbas, meaning, respectively, "from Balkh" and "from Rûm" ('Roman,' what European history now calls Byzantine Anatolia).
Rumi was born to Persian parents, in Balkh, modern-day Afghanistan or Wakhsh, a village on the East bank of the Wakhsh River known as Sangtuda in present-day Tajikistan. The area, culturally adjacent to Balkh, is where Mawlânâ's father, Bahâ' uddîn Walad, was a preacher and jurist. He lived and worked there until 1212, when Rumi was aged around five and the family moved to Samarkand. Greater Balkh was at that time a major centre of Persian culture and Sufism had developed there for several centuries. The most important influences upon Rumi, besides his father, were the Persian poets Attar and Sanai.
Rumi expresses his appreciation: "Attar was the spirit, Sanai his eyes twain, And in time thereafter, Came we in their train" and mentions in another poem: "Attar has traversed the seven cities of Love, We are still at the turn of one street". His father was also connected to the spiritual lineage of Najm al-Din Kubra. Rumi lived most of his life under the Persianate Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, where he produced his works and died in 1273 AD. He was buried in Konya, and his shrine became a place of pilgrimage.
Upon his death, his followers and his son Sultan Walad founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the Sama ceremony. He was laid to rest beside his father, and over his remains a shrine was erected. A hagiographical account of him is described in Shams ud-Din Ahmad Aflāki's Manāqib ul-Ārifīn (written between 1318 and 1353). This biography needs to be treated with care as it contains both legends and facts about Rumi.
Rumi's best-known work is the Maṭnawīye Ma'nawī (Spiritual Couplets; مثنوی معنوی). The six-volume poem holds a distinguished place within the rich tradition of Persian Sufi literature, and has been commonly called "the Quran in Persian". Many commentators have regarded it as the greatest mystical poem in world literature. It contains approximately 27,000 lines, each consisting of a couplet with an internal rhyme. While the mathnawi genre of poetry may use a variety of different metres, after Rumi composed his poem, the metre he used became the mathnawi metre par excellence. The first recorded use of this metre for a mathnawi poem took place at the Nizari Ismaili fortress of Girdkuh between 1131–1139. It likely set the stage for later poetry in this style by mystics such as Attar and Rumi.
Rumi's other major work is the Dīwān-e Kabīr (Great Work) or Dīwān-e Shams-e Tabrīzī (The Works of Shams of Tabriz; دیوان شمس تبریزی), named in honour of Rumi's master Shams. Besides approximately 35000 Persian couplets and 2000 Persian quatrains, the Divan contains 90 Ghazals and 19 quatrains in Arabic, a couple of dozen or so couplets in Turkish (mainly macaronic poems of mixed Persian and Turkish) and 14 couplets in Greek (all of them in three macaronic poems of Greek-Persian).