Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi

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Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi (Also known as Mevlana) (1207-1273 CE) - Turkish/Persian poet and Sufi mystic. The doctrines of Sufism are expression in his symbolic works and those of Hafiz. His major work is "Masnavi-ye Manavi" (Spiritual Couplets), a six-volume poem regarded by many Sufis as second in importance only to the Koran.

Mevlana who is also known as Rumi, was a philosopher and mystic of Islam. His doctrine advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him and to his disciples all religions are more or less truth. Looking with the same eye on Moslem, Jew and Christian alike, his peaceful and tolerant teaching has appealed to men of all sects and creeds. Mevlana was born on 30 September 1207 in Balkh in present day Afghanistan. He died on 17 December 1273 in Konya in present day Turkey. He was laid to rest beside his father and over his remains a splendid shrine was erected. The 13th century Mevlana Mausoleum with its mosque, dance hall, dervish living quarters, school and tombs of some leaders of the Mevlevi Order continues to this day to draw pilgrims from all parts of the Moslem and non-Moslem world.

One of the most well-known of the Sufi orders was founded in 1273 by Rumi, who was called Mevlana (Our Guide) by his followers (Mevlevi). The Mevlevi, or "Whirling Dervishes", believe that union with God can be attained in a dance called sema. Sema represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to "Perfect." Turning towards the truth, his growth through love, desert his ego, find the truth and arrive to the "Perfect," then he return from this spiritual journey as a man who reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation, to all creatures without discrimination of believes, races, classes and nations.

The centre for the Mevlevi order is in Konya in Turkey, where Rumi is buried. There are other Dervish orders - the Kadiris (founded in 1165), the Rifais (founded in 1182) and the Kalenderis.