1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Rūmī

RŪMĪ, (1207–1273). Mahommed b. Mahommed b. Husain albalkhī, better known as Maulānā Jalāl-uddīn Rūmī (or simply Jalāl-uddiīn, or Jelāl-eddīn), the greatest Sūfic poet of Persia, was born on the 30th of September 1207 (604 A.H. 6th of Rabīʽ I.) at Balkh, in Khorāsān, where his family had resided from time immemorial. He claimed descent from the caliph Abūbekr, and from the Khwārizm-Shāh Sultān ʽAlā-uddīn b. Tukush (1199–1220), whose only daughter, Malika-i-Jahān, had been married to Jalāl-uddīn's grandfather. Her son, Mahommed, commonly called Bahā-uddīn Walad, was famous for his learning and piety, but being afraid of the sultan’s jealousy, he emigrated to Asia Minor in 1212. After residing for some time at Malatīa and afterwards at Erzingān in Armenia, Bahā-uddīn was called to Lāranda in Asia Minor, as principal of the local college. Here young Jalāl-uddīn grew up, and in 1226 married Jauhar Khātūn, the daughter of Lālā Sharaf-uddīn of Samarkand. Finally, Bahā-uddīn was invited to Iconium by ʽAlā-uddīn Kaikubād (1219–1236), the sultān of Asia Minor, or, as it is commonly called in the East, Rūm—whence Jalāl-uddīn's surname (takhallus) Rūmī.

After Bahā-uddīn's death in 1231, Jalāl-uddīn went to Aleppo and Damascus for a short time to study, but, dissatisfied with the exact sciences, he returned to Iconium, where he became by and by professor of four separate colleges, and devoted himself to the study of mystic theosophy. His first spiritual instructor was Sayyid Burhān-uddīn Husainī of Tirmidh, one of his father's disciples, and, later on, the wandering Sūfī Shams-uddīn of Tabriz, who soon acquired a most powerful influence over Jalāl-uddīn. Shams-uddīn's aggressive character roused the people of Iconium against him, and during a riot in which Jalāl-uddīn's eldest son, ʽAlā-uddīn, was killed, he was arrested and probably executed; at least he was no more seen. In remembrance of these victims of popular wrath Jalāl-uddīn founded the order of the Maulawī (in Turkish Mevlevī) dervishes, famous for their piety as well as for their peculiar garb of mourning, their music and their mystic dance (samā), which is the outward representation of the circling movement of the spheres, and the inward symbol of the circling movement of the soul caused by the vibrations of a Sūfī's fervent love to God. The establishment of this order, which still possesses numerous cloisters throughout the Turkish empire, and the leadership of which has been kept in Jalāl-uddīn's family in Iconium uninterruptedly for the last six hundred years, gave a new stimulus to his zeal and poetical inspiration. Most of his matchless odes were composed in honour of the Maulawī dervishes, and even his opus magnum, the Mathnawī (Mesnevi), or, as it is usually called, The Spiritual Mathnawī (mathnawī-i-maʽnawī), in six books or daftars, with 30,000 to 40,000 double-rhymed verses, can be traced to the same source. The idea of this immense collection of ethical and moral precepts was first suggested to the poet by his favourite disciple Hasan, better known as Husām-uddīn, who in 1258 became Jalāl-uddīn's chief assistant. Jalāl-uddīn dictated to him, with a short interruption, the whole work during the remaining years of his life. Soon after its completion Jalāl-uddīn died, on the 17th of December 1273 (672 A.H. 5th of Jomādā II.). His first successor in the rectorship of the Maulawī fraternity was Husām-uddīn himself, after whose death in 1284 Jalāl-uddīn's younger and only surviving son, Shaikh Bahāudd-īn Ahmed, commonly called Sultān Walad, and favourably known as author of the mystical mathnawī Rabābnāma, or the Book of the Guitar (died 1312), was duly installed as grand-master of the order.

Jalāl-uddīn's life is fully described in Shams-uddīn Ahmed Aflakī’s Manākib-ul ʽārifīn (written between A.D. 1318 and 1353), the most important portions of which have been translated by J. W. Redhouse in the preface to his English metrical version of The Mesnevī, Book the First (London, 1881); there is also an abridged translation of the Mathnawī, with introduction on Sufism, by E. H. Whinfield (2nd ed., 1898). Complete editions have been printed in Bombay, Lucknow, Tabriz, Constantinople and in Bulaq (with a Turkish translation, 1268 A.H.), at the end of which a seventh daftar is added, the genuineness of which is refuted by a remark of Jalāl-uddīn himself in one of the Bodleian copies of the poem, Ouseley, 294 (f. 328a seq.). A revised edition was made by ʽAbd-ullatīf between 1024 and 1032 A.H., and the same author's commentary on the Mathnawī, Latā’if-ulmaʽnawī, and his glossary, Latā’if-allughāt, have been lithographed in Cawnpore (1876) and Lucknow (1877) respectively, the latter under the title Farhang-i-mathnawī. For the other numerous commentaries and for further biographical and literary particulars of Jalāl-uddīn, see Rieu's Cat. of the Persian MSS of the Brit. Mus., vol. ii. p. 584 seq.; A. Sprenger's Oudh Cat., p. 489; Sir Gore Ouseley, Notices of Persian Poets, p. 112 seq.; H. Ethé, in Morgenländische Studien (Leipzig, 1870), p. 95 seq., and in Geiger and Kuhn's Grundriss der iranischen Philologie (Stuttgart, 1896-1904), vol. ii. pp. 287-292. Selections from Jalāl-uddīn's diwan (often styled Dīwān-i-Shams-i-Tabrīz) are translated in German verse by V. von Rosenzweig (Vienna, 1838); into English by R. A. Nicholson (2nd ed., 1898) and W. Hastie (1903).  (H. E.)