Today is December 17th. For most people, this date has no significance. But today is an important day. It is the 738th anniversary of Mevlana Rumi’s “marriage with Allah”.
That’s a nice way of saying he died. Rumi, for those who may not know of him, is perhaps the greatest of Islamic Sufi poets. He was born in Afghanistan but his heritage is regarded by most to be Persian. His father had beliefs didn’t mesh well with the political climate of Persia, now modern day Iran. The family moved around and ended up in Anatolia, now Turkey. Specifically in Konya, Turkey.
When Turkey became an official nation in 1923, the country became secular. In 1925, the sama, the Whirling Devish ceremony was forbidden from being practised publically. However, in recent years, due to the popularity of Rumi and because of the tourist appeal of the ceremony, Turkey allows the Mevlevi Sama to be performed in the two weeks leading up to the anniversary of Rumi’s death. Here is a link for anyone interested in learning more about sufis and their poetry:
I wish I was in Turkey today. It is on my bucket list to see the Mevlevi Sama on the anniversary of Rumi’s passing. I would have loved to have laid flowers at his tomb in Konya and offer a prayer for him. It was one of two things I wanted to do when my parents and I visited Turkey but was unable experience, one because we had no time to travel to Konya, but also because we went in March and this event occurs only in December.
Why does Rumi appeal to me? I’ll tell you why. It is because I love God. And not in a preachy Muslim Christian Jewish organized religious way. I love God the way I love my mom and dad. The way I love my sister and my brother and every member of my family. Like I love my friends. In a quiet, intense way that I don’t share with others. And for a long time I thought that was some sort of blasphemy. I was brought up to believe in God without question, but Allah is aloof and untouchable.
In the course of my life, I did question the existence of God and probably will continue to question all things religious. I want proof for something there is no proof for. When I watched The Prince of Eygpt or The Ten Commandments, I used to cry when Moses meets God and talks to him. Jealous, angry, tears. Because I wanted to meet God and find out what I am supposed to do with this life given to me.
And then I came across the poetry of Rumi and those tears went away. His poetry speaks to God like a friend, a child, a lover. In his poetry, I found peace within my heart. In his words, I felt exactly what he wrote. He touched me and inspired me. So here is a poem that I love, that I feel Rumi wrote for God.
“In the Arc of Your Mallet” by Rumi
Don’t go anywhere without me.
Let nothing happen in the sky apart from me,
Or on the ground, in this world or that world,
Without my being in it’s happening.
Vision, see nothing I don’t see.
Language, say nothing.
The way the night knows itself with the moon,
Be that with me. Be the rose
Nearest to the thorn that I am.
I want to feel myself in you when you taste food,
In the arc of your mallet when you work,
When you visit friends, when you go
Up on the roof by yourself at night.
There’s nothing worse than to walk out along the street
Without you. I don’t know where I’m going.
You’re the road and the knower of roads,
More than maps, more than love.
In my final year at Elmhurst College, somewhere in 2009-2010, I wrote a poem. It was inspired by Rumi. It took a great deal of soul searching but I submitted it to the school’s student Art & Literature magazine and to my surprise, it was published. So on the occasion of Rumi’s marriage with God, I would like to share it here. And I hope that wherever he is, I hope he approves.
“Modern Sufi Muse”
My Beloved sends me smiley faces
on my cell phone
as I drive to the office in the morning,
wishing, yet again I worked closer to home.
He whispers to me, a tease
while I frantically write papers,
studying into the night,
mocking my lack of understanding.
He forwards me emails
promising bad luck if I break the chain
or telling stories of little children
and jars of pennies for Christmas presents
that bring tears to my eyes.
He peeks around corners
as I push my cart through the grocery store,
and laughs at my attempts to save money
with coupons I’ve clipped
from the Sunday paper.
He calls me incessantly when I’m working
while my boss stands over my shoulder,
watching me closely.
I pretend not to recognize the number.
He waits for me patiently when I get home,
feeling tired, hungry and beaten,
wanting to brush my teeth,
slip on my pjs and collapse into bed.
He takes me into His arms and
breathes dreams into me as I sleep,
I fly in cloudless blue skies,
soaring with countless white birds
and gaze into green fields of corn.
He nuzzles my cheek as I walk sandy shores,
swim in luminous seas until
my alarm goes off…
the snooze-button just outside of my reach.