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The Quatrains of Rumi

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Paperback Book
Sophia Perennis
July, 2008
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This is the first complete translation of the nearly 2,000 quatrains attributed to Jalaluddin Rumi, the famous 13th-century mystical poet. The result of 22 years of collaboration by an American Rumi scholar and an Afghan scholar of Persian literature, it should appeal to many lovers of Rumi’s poetry, not just specialists: readers seeking deeper understanding of his spiritual teachings than popularized books (often interpretive versions claimed as translations) can provide, as well as those interested in religious mysticism in general and Islamic mysticism (Sufism) in particular.

The world is green, with a rose garden in every direction.

And there is smiling from the reflected beauty of one with rosy cheeks.

On every side is a blazing gem from a mine.

And on every side is a soul joined with a soul.

In the context of the Islamic sufi poetry in the Persian language 800 years ago, “wine” and “drunkenness” do not involve alcoholic intoxication, but are metaphors for the “mystical taste” of spiritual grace and ecstasy. The lover’s longing and self-effacing love is not “romantic,” but spiritual love of the seeker for his sufi guide. This love is a means to the goal of pure worship of God Most High, the “only Beloved,” that necessitates self-effacement and mystical “drowning” in the reality described in the Qur’an: “Everything perishes except His Face.”

Based on the Persian of the original, complete, and uncorrupt Forûzânfar edition, The Quatrains of Rumi is translated with close attention to Rumi’s idiomatic usage, with the collaboration of a scholar from Afghanistan, whose native Persian remains close to Rumi’s own.

The “version-makers” of  Rumi’s poetry have helped to make him today’s most popular poet in the English language. But they have not served his intended meaning as well, often portraying him as a “universal” mystic who had somehow “transcended” Islam, even though his celebrated Mathnawi has been called “the Qur’an in the Persian tongue.” Gamard and Farhadi have laboured to demonstrate that Rumi’s universality is inseparable from his Islam—from the depth of his Islam.

How wonderful, that my beloved is contained within a robe,

And that the souls of two thousand bodies are contained within that body!

A thousand stacks of wheat are contained within a single grain.

And a hundred worlds are contained within the eye of a needle.

This magnificent tome includes the Persian text, English translation, Islamic mystical commentary, a manual of terms, and concordance. The quatrains (four-line poems) are arranged in subject clusters, such as “States of the Soul,” “Union with the Beloved,” etc. An extensive introduction locates Rumi’s quatrains theologically, geographically, and historically.




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