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Find a copy in the library Finding libraries that hold this item Sufi path of love. This is the most accessible work in English on the greatest mystical poet of Islam, providing a survey of the basic Sufi and Islamic doctrines concerning God and the world, the role of man in the cosmos, the need for religion, man's ultimate becoming, the states and stations of the mystical ascent to God, and the means whereby literature employs symbols to express "unseen" realities.
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Soufisme -- Ouvrages avant Vie religieuse -- Islam. Islam -- Doctrines. Linked Data More info about Linked Data. But in these verses as in all of Rumi's poetry, it quickly becomes clear that the outward form is but a veil over the inward meaning. Separation from Shams al-Din, the "Sun of Religion," was but the appearance; separation from the Divine Beloved, "the Sun of the Sun," was the reality. Unlike most Sufi poetsor Persian poets in generalRumi practically never ends a ghazal with his own name, but either mentions no one or refers to Shams or certain other figures.
But Rumi often seems to have substituted Shams's name for his own as an act of humility and an acknowledgment of Shams's decisive role in his own transformation. In such lines, although he is singing of Shams's perfection, in fact he is uttering the mysteries of his own union with God and the exalted spiritual station this implies.
In this connection, the following anecdote from one of the oldest and most authoritative of Rumi's biographies is worth quoting:. He had put both his blessed feet in a brook and was speaking about the divine sciences.
In the midst of his words he began praising the attributes of the king of the fakirs, Mawlana Shams al-Din Tabrizi. Badr al-Din Walad the teacher, one of the greatest and most perfect of the disciples, sighed and said, "What a shame! What a loss! Mawlana said to him, "Why is it a loss? What shame is it? What is this loss all about? What caused it? What business has loss among us? Badr al-Din became embarassed and looked at the ground.
He said, "I was lamenting the fact that I never met Shams al-Din Tabrizi and never benefitted from his luminous presence. All my sorrow and regret arose from that. Mawlana remained silent for a long moment. Then he said, "Even though you have not attained to the presence of Mawlana Shams al-Dinmay God magnify his.
Page 5 mentionby the holy spirit of my father, you have attained to someone from each of whose hairs dangle a hundred thousand Shams-i Tabrizis, each bewildered at the comprehension of the mystery of his 6 mystery. After the disappearance of Shams, Rumi did not continue with his preaching for the general public, but turned all his attention to the training of Sufi initiates. Rumi's major works are the Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrizi of some 40, verses and the Mathnawi of about 25, verses. In addition, three collections of his talks and letters have been preserved.
It spans a period of almost thirty years, from sometime after the arrival of Shams in Konya to Rumi's death. This is an important point, for it is often forgotten that a certain portion of the Diwan was composed concurrently with the Mathnawi, during the last twelve or fourteen years of Rumi's life. Although a third of the poems in the Diwan are dedicated explicitly to Shams, most of them make no mention of any person, often ending with such phrases as "Be silent!
Chalabi was Rumi's disciple and became the immediate cause of the composition of the Mathnawi. In the Diwan both of these figures play a role similar to that of Shams: They are mirrors in which Rumi contemplates the Divine Beloved.
The Mathnawi "Couplets" comprises six books of poetry in a didactic style, ranging in length from 3, to 4, verses. Whereas the Diwan contains Rumi's individual ghazals and other miscellaneous poems arranged according to the rhyme scheme, the Mathnawi represents a single work which was composed in its present order.
The biographers state that Rumi began the Mathnawi at the request of his favorite disciple, Husam al-Din Chalabi, who had noticed that many of Rumi's devotees spent a good deal of time reading the.
Such works present Sufi teachings in a form readily accessible and easily memorized. They are much more suited to the warmth and fellowship of Sufi circles than the classical textbooks on. Such poetry could be read and enjoyed by anyone with a command of the language and a certain amount of spiritual "taste" or intuition dhawq , while the textbooks could only be studied by those with formal training in the religious sciences. Rumi immediately took a slip of paper out from his turban, upon which were written the first eighteen lines of the Mathnawi.
From then on Rumi and Chalabi met regularly. Rumi would compose the poetry and Chalabi would write it down and then read it back to him. Since the sixth book of the work breaks off in the middle of a story, it seems that Rumi died without completing it. Like other long didactic Sufi poems before it, the Mathnawi is a rambling collection of anecdotes and tales derived from a great variety of sources, from the Koran to the folk humor of the day.
Each story is told to illustrate some point, and its moral is discussed in great detail. The subject matter of the anecdotes and more particularly the digressions runs the whole gamut of Islamic wisdom, with particular emphasis upon the inward or Sufi interpretation. Most of the individual poems of the Diwan may be said to represent particular spiritual states or experiences, such as union with God or separation after union, described in appropriate images and symbols. Although the Diwan contains many short didactic passages, on the whole it appears as a collection of individual and separate crystallizations and concretizations of spiritual states undergone on the path to God.
The overall "feeling" of the Diwan is one of spiritual intoxication and ecstatic love. In contrast to the Diwan, the Mathnawi is relatively sober. It represents a reasoned and measured attempt to explain the various dimensions of spiritual life and practice to disciples intent upon following the Way.
More generally, it is aimed at anyone who has time to sit down and ponder the meaning of life and existence. In a sense one could say that the Diwan comprises so many flashes and gleams from the inward dimensions of Rumi's spiritual life. Each poem is a symbolical image of a mystical state he has experienced on the path to God or after having attained to the Goal.
But the Mathnawi is a commentary upon these mystical states and stations. It places them within the overall context of Islamic and Sufi teachings and practice. And it corrects the mistaken impression that one might receive by studying different poems in the Diwan in isolation and separating them from the wider context of Sufism and Islam. Very similar in style and content to the Mathnawi is the prose work Fihi ma fihi "In it is what is in it" , also written during the last few years of Rumi's life.
This work in fact represents transcriptions of talks given by Rumi to various disciples. Like the Mathnawi, it is very much a didactic work, explaining in detail and through a great variety of comparisons and analogies different dimensions of Sufi teachings. This relatively short work comprises a number of sermons obviously delivered not to an audience comprised only of Sufis but to a larger public.
The style and the fact that Rumi does not quote any of his own poetry place it in the early period of his life, before the meeting with Shams. One of the greatest authorities on Rumi holds that Rumi delivered these sermons before the death of his father when he was in his early twenties.
This supports the view that the role of Shams-i Tabrizi was mainly that of exteriorizing his inward knowledge and spiritual states in the form of poetry. Finally there are Rumi's Makatib or "Letters," documents of an average length of one or two pages. Most of these are addressed to various princes and noblemen of Kenya and in fact are letters of recommendation or requests for various favors written on behalf of disciples or friends.
A small number are addressed to family members and disciples. For the most part these letters do not deal with Rumi's spiritual teachings except in passing; the majority of passages that do throw light on his teachings have been translated here.
In contrast to many collections of letters by Sufi masters, the Makatib contain only one letter specifically addressed to someone who has asked for spiritual counsel no. Rumi's voluminous works present a kaleidoscopic image of God, man, the world, and the interrelationship of these three realities.
But in spite of the often bewildering complexity of the picture Rumi paints, all his expositions and explanations are so infused with a common perfume and so harmonious that one can readily agree with those who say that they are all reducible to a single sentence or phrase. Although his teachings can probably never be totally encompassed by any systematic exposition, certainly all of them express a single reality, the overriding reality of Rumi's existence and of Islam itself: "There is no god but God.
Page 8 How many words the world contains! But all have one meaning. When you smash the jugs, the water is one. Rumi never set out to write an organized textbook on Sufism or to give an exhaustive explanation of some or all of its teachings. Some of his contemporaries even objected to his unsystematic and anecdotal style, asking why there was no mention of "metaphysical discussions and sublime mysteries" M III Many great Sufis of his day wrote erudite and systematic treatises on Sufi lore.
But unlike them, Rumi did not "describe and define each station and stage by which the mystic ascends to God" M III Rumi answers his detractors in a way that expresses clearly his own role as he perceived it:. They said, "It is only legends and contemptible tales. There is no profound investigation or lofty inquiry. Little children understand it.
It is nothing but a few commands about what is approved and disapproved. In other words, "You may criticize my words if you like, but you should know that they are like God's own words: They are a message of salvation for mankind.
In many passages Rumi states clearly that his aim is not primarily to explain but to guide. His purpose in composing poetry and in speaking to his listeners is not to give them a scientific or scholarly exposition of this or that point of the Islamic teachings.
Nor is it to explain to them what Sufism, the inward dimension of Islam, is all about. He only wants to make them realize that as human beings, they are bound by their very nature to turn toward God and to devote themselves totally to Him.
In fact, we can say about Rumi what we can say about numerous other figures in the history of Islamic thought: he takes the principle of the "profession of God's Unity" tawhid as given and explains all that this principle implies for us as human beings in terms of our ideas, our activities, and our existence.
But this simple statement cannot begin to tell us why Rumi has attracted so much attention from his own lifetime down to the present day. That must be sought not so much in what he is saying but in how he says it. As soon as one separates Rumi's message from his own mode of expressing it, it becomes somehow dry and uninspiring. This is a major drawback of books about Rumiby dissecting his poetry and thought, they lose.
To appreciate Rumi in all his dimensions, one must read Rumi himself, not the scholarly commentators. But the Western reader faces a number of obstacles to reading and understanding Rumi's works. Leaving aside the well-known drawbacks of translations in general, there remain the constant references to Islamic teachings with which the reader may not be familiar. Rumi's universe is shaped by the Koran, the Prophet, and the Moslem saints, just as Dante's is shaped by Christ, the Bible, and the church.
But fortunately, Rumi's message is so universal and he is so liberal in his use of imagery drawn from sources common to all human experience that this obstacle is not a fundamental one. It can be overcome by a careful selection of texts.
As a result his essential teachings can be presented with a great richness of symbolism and imagery yet unen-cumbered by long explanations of obscure points, however useful such explanations may be in their proper place. A second obstacle is more difficult to overcome than the first: A thorough understanding of almost any passage in Rumi's works presupposes an acquaintance with the whole body of his teachings.
Rumi makes no attempt to begin simply and then gradually to lead the reader by stages into the profundities of Sufi teachings. His Diwan precludes such a procedure by its very nature. But even the Mathnawi, which from the beginning was a didactic work and which preserves its original form, makes no attempt to arrange material in terms of degrees of difficulty or complexity.
From the first line Rumi alludes to a whole range of Sufi theory and practice. In addition, Rumi's teachings are interrelated in innumerable ways. Practically every line of his poetry could act as the starting point for an exposition of the whole body of his teachings.
When Rumi's poetry is taught in traditional circles in the Islamic world, it is not uncommon for a master to spend months on a short anecdote from the Mathnawi or a single ghazal from the Diwan. By the end of a few years' study, the student may find that he has read only a small percentage of Rumi's verses.
But having studied these verses thoroughly, he will be familiar with the whole range of Rumi's spiritual teachings and be able to read the rest of his poetry with sufficient understanding to do without a master. Not, of course, that he will necessarily have become a master of Rumi's verse himself.
As every student of Rumi knows, his verses are an inexhaustible ocean, and ultimately the student's understanding will depend upon his own capacity. Page 10 The window determines how much light enters the house, even if the moon's radiance fills the east and the west.
In short, a thorough understanding of any one of Rumi's teachings entails some degree of understanding of them all. The reader can only benefit from Rumi's poetry to the extent that he is already familiar with the teachings it containsor, one should add, to the extent his spirit recalls and "recollects" them.
So a major purpose of the present book is to outline and explain briefly, to the extent possible in Rumi's own words, the central themes of his works. Sufi teachings can be divided into three broad categories. For Moslems, it is the knowledge revealed by the Koran. In such a perspective "works" means the application of this knowledge to one's everyday life.
For Moslems it is the practice of Islam. Within the context of this Islamic conception of knowledge and works, the Sufis emphasize a third element that is not set down so explicitly in the Koran and the Hadith: spiritual realization, or the ascending stages of human perfection resulting in proximity to God. Again the Sufis cite a saying of the Prophet: "The Law is my words, the Way is my works, and the Truth is my inward states.
The "Way" or Tariqah is then the method of putting the Law into practice. And the Reality or Haqiqah is the inward states and stations attained by the traveler in his journey to God and in God. The Law is like a lamp: It shows the way. Without a lamp, you will not be able to go forward. When you enter the path, your going is the Way.
And when you reach the goal, that is the Truth. Page 11 The Law may be compared to learning the theory of medicine. The Way involves avoiding certain foods and consuming certain remedies on the basis of this theory. Then the Truth is to find everlasting health and to have no more need for theory and practice. When man dies to the life of this world, the Law and the Way will be cut off from him, and only the Truth will remain.
The Law is knowledge, the Way is works and the Truth is attainment to God. M V introd. These then are the three dimensions of Sufi teaching: the Law, the Way, and the Truth; or knowledge, works, and attainment to God; or theory, practice, and spiritual realization. Knowledge of God, man, and the world derives ultimately from God Himself, primarily by means of revelation, i. Knowledge provides the illumination whereby man can see everything in its proper place. Thus "knowledge," or the theoretical dimension of religion, which becomes codified in the form of the Divine Law, situates man in the total universe, defining his nature and responsibilities as a human being.
Knowledge and theory find their complementary dimension in practice, or the Way, which is determined by the "works" or Sunnah of the Prophet, the norm for all God-directed human activity.
More specifically the Sufi Way is to follow the model provided by the Prophet's representatives on earth, the saints, who are the shaykhs or the spiritual masters. Once having entered the Way, the disciple begins to undergo a process of inward transformation. If he is among those destined to reach spiritual perfection, he will climb the ascending rungs of a ladder stretching to heaven and beyond; the alchemy of the Way will transmute the base copper of his substance into pure and noble gold.
The Truth or "attainment to God" is not a simple, one-step process. It can be said that this third dimension of Sufi teaching deals with all the inner experiences undergone by the traveler on his journey. It concerns all the "virtues" akhlaq the Sufi must acquire, in keeping with the Prophet's saying, "Assume the virtues of God!
The discipline of the Way coupled with God's grace and. In the classical textbooks, this third dimension of Sufi teachings is discussed mainly under the heading of the "stations" maqamat and the "spiritual states" ahwal.
From a certain point of view we can call this dimension "Sufi psychology"as long as we understand the term "psyche" in the widest possible sense, as equivalent to "spirit'' in Rumi's terminology. Sufi psychology could then be defined as "the science of the transformations undergone by the spirit in its journey to God.
For in Rumi's terminology, modern psychology is based totally upon the ego's study of itself. But the "ego" nafs is the lowest dimension of man's inward existence, his animal and satanic nature. Only God or the spirit can know the spirit, which is man's higher or angelic nature, Ultimately the ego cannot even know itself without a totally distorted viewpoint, for it gains all of its positive reality from the spirit that lies above and beyond it.
Only the spirit that encompasses and embraces the ego can know the ego. And only the saints have attained to the station whereby their consciousness of reality is centered within their spirits or in God.
In Sufi psychology, the "stations" are said to be the spiritual and moral perfections, or the "virtues," achieved by the traveler on the path to God. For example, once having actualized wakefulness, the traveler moves on to repentence and then to self-examination; or once having achieved humility, he ascends to chivalry and then to expansion.
A work such as Ansari's Manazil al-sa'irin, from which these examples are taken, classifies the ascending stations in ten sections according to one hundred different headings. But the general idea of all the classifications is the same: an ascending ladder of spiritual perfections that man must climb.
As for the "states," they are usually said to consist of spiritual graces bestowed directly by God and outside of man's power of acquisition. Unlike the stations, the states are not seen as moving in an ascending hierarchy, but rather as coming and going as God wills. However this may be, Rumi does not discuss the "stations and states" explicitly or as such. But he does discuss the inward spiritual experiences the traveler undergoes in great detail, as well as the attitudes and mental states man must try to achieve.
As indicated. In short, Rumi provides a detailed elucidation of Sufi psychology, but not in terms of the systematic schemes found in the classical textbooks.
Hence the student of his works must himself provide a framework within which these teachings can be discussed. The present work has been divided into three parts according to the scheme just discussed: knowledge or theory, works or practice, and attainment to God or "spiritual psychology. Without doubt, numerous other schemes could be envisaged. In any case, one would still have to agree with those who say that Rumi himself did not present his teachings as a "system," and that to systematize them is to run the risk of misrepresenting them.
Certainly anyone who claims to explain and comment upon Rumi's teachings needs to forewarn the reader of the difficulties involved in such an undertaking and to call to his attention the famous line at the beginning of the Mathnawi:. Everyone has become my friend in accordance with his own opinion. He has not sought out my mysteries from within me. It would have been possible to systematize and arrange Rumi's ideas within the present outline much more thoroughly than has been attempted in the present work.
However, this would have defeated my goal of allowing Rumi to present his teachings in his own words. The more one analyzes his works, the more they appear as a "philosophy" or perhaps as an assemblage of ideas relevant only to the history of thought, rather than as the living spiritual message he intended them to be. As far as possible, I have attempted to maintain Rumi's own words and means of expression. My own remarks are meant only as an introduction to what Rumi wants to say, not as an exhaustive explanation of his teachings.
The reader will often meet with certain inconsistencies in the passages quoted, or he may see that Rumi is employing a term in a meaning other than that which I have discussed in my introductory notes. Although one could clarify these inconsistencies and usages through a more thorough exposition of the theoretical basis of Sufi teachings, this might result in moving too far from the flavor of the original passages and from my stated aim of letting.
Rumi speak for himself. In any case, these inconsistencies reflect the original text, and one could say that in the original there is something providential about them. At the very least they remind the reader that any theoretical and literal explanation of Rumi's teachings can never suffice. If the reader really wants to know what Rumi is talking about, he must follow his advice and pass into the "meaning" beyond the outward form of his teachings.
Dissolve this headstrong form with spiritual travail! Beneath it you will find Oneness like a treasure! M I I need to say a word about my method of translating the selections from Rumi's works.
The efforts of R. Nicholson and A. Arberry have made Rumi one of the most translated figures of Islamic literature and thought. Nicholson's monumental edition and translation of the Mathnawi, along with his two volume commentary, published over a period of sixteen years, have put all students of Rumi forever in his debt. His translation of fifty poems from the Diwan for many years was the only serious study of this work in English.
Both of these scholars were extremely dedicated to accurate renderings of the original Persian. His fidelity is such that even additions to the text which are clearly understood in Persian and necessary for grammatical renderings in English are usually marked off by parentheses. In my own translations I have kept nearer to Arberry's method in that I have avoided parentheses and other unnecessary awkward-nesses in an attempt to produce readable English.
Often, however, I have gone farther than Arberry goes in his literal and prose translations, since I am more inclined to provide equivalent idiomatic expressions instead of an exact translation; and often I add explanations in the form of one or two words or a phrase in order to avoid the necessity for a footnote.
Nevertheless, the translations are all faithful representations of the original. All passages also translated by Nicholson or Arberry have been carefully collated with their versions, and I am satisfied that my own renderings are equally or more accurate see the Appendix.
It also needs to be pointed out that the present translation possesses one characteristic not found in the work of Nicholson and. Arberry: It maintains consistency in the rendering of certain important technical terms. One can conclude from a study of Nicholson's workand his student Arberry followed him in this regardthat he felt that certain terms can best be translated in different ways according to the context. In many cases one would certainly agree, but there are a few terms which play a key and central role in Rumi's thought.
Even though they may seem to denote different meanings in different contexts, when they are translated differently an important and even fundamental thread of consistency running throughout Rumi's works is lost.
My own opinion is that it is better to maintain a single technical term in English and to clarify the range of meanings it embraces through definition and demonstrating how it is employed in different contexts.
Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Chittick ,. This is the most accessible work in English on the greatest mystical poet of Islam, providing a survey of the basic Sufi and Islamic doctrines concerning God and the world, the role of man in the cosmos, the need for religion, man's ultimate becoming, the states and stations of the mystical ascent to God, and the means whereby literature employs symbols to express "unseen" This is the most accessible work in English on the greatest mystical poet of Islam, providing a survey of the basic Sufi and Islamic doctrines concerning God and the world, the role of man in the cosmos, the need for religion, man's ultimate becoming, the states and stations of the mystical ascent to God, and the means whereby literature employs symbols to express "unseen" realities.
William Chittick translates into English for the first time certain aspects of Rumi's work. He selects and rearranges Rumi's poetry and prose in order to leave aside unnecessary complications characteristic of other English translations and to present Rumi's ideas in an orderly fashion, yet in his own words. Thorough, nontechnical introductions to each chapter, and selections that gradually present a greater variety of terms and images, make this work easily accessible to those interested in the spirituality of any tradition.
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Be the first to ask a question about The Sufi Path of Love. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Dowload here. Translated by Radhia Shukrullah. Who better than Sultan Valad could explain to us the teachings of his father? For seventy years, says Aflaki, he illuminated the words of his father and master, miraculous, eloquent, in deciphering the mysteries and interpretation.
The Master awakens the sleepy soul of the student and allows him to climb the ascending steps to Paradise. He describes us the Skills of Soul Rapture. Sultan Valad was de zoon van Jalal ad-Din Rumi. Jalal ad-Din Rumi werd geboren in Balkh in Khorasan in Het is in zijn nagedachtenis dat zijn kleinzoon, Sultan Valad, ook Baha-ud-Din werd genoemd. This disciple of Imam Ghazali RA kept thinking along these lines for a few days and then wrote a letter to Imam Ghazali RA with the view of getting an answer to his dilemma along with some other questions.
Furthermore, he asked in his letter to Imam Ghazali RA for some advice and to teach him a supplication that he could always recite. He wrote in his letter that although Imam Ghazali RA has written numerous books on this issue,this weak individual is in need of something that he could always study and always act upon its injunctions. In reply to his letter, Imam Ghazali RA sent him the following advices.
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