Turkey, World, Culture

Turkey: Passing of mystic, poet, scholar remembered

13th century poet Rumi played key role in Anatolia becoming land of love and wisdom, says top religious authority

Seyit Ahmet Aytaç   | 17.12.2018
Turkey: Passing of mystic, poet, scholar remembered

By Melike Kinaci

KONYA, Turkey

Turkey’s top religious authority on Monday marked the day some eight centuries ago when a legendary Muslim Sufi mystic leaped to his long-sought union with God.

Thirteenth century poet and scholar Jalaluddin al-Rumi played a large role in Turkey “becoming a land of love and wisdom. In the establishment of the consciousness of being nation and the ummah [community], Rumi also has a very large share,” said Ali Erbas, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, in the central Konya province, where Rumi is buried.

“We are the members of a nation and civilization which knew brotherhood, love and peace as the highest values. There is no separation in this civilization, there is unity; there are no fights or individualism, but there is unity, peace, solidarity and friendship,” said Erbas.

Turkey marks Rumi’s passing in 1273 every year on Dec. 7-17.

Born into a Turkic family in 1207, in what is now Afghanistan, Rumi is one of the most widely read philosophers in the world, with teachings that transcend boundaries of race, color, and religion.

In Turkey Rumi is fondly remembered by his followers as Mevlana -- which means scholar.

Rumi's poem the Masnavi, with more than 50,000 verses, is considered the most influential work in Sufism, and has been translated into 25 languages.

He penned the poem on man’s predicament in his search for God after losing his friend, the wandering dervish Shams Tabriz.

Upon his death in 1273, Rumi’s followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the Sama ceremony.

Every year, an international commemoration ceremony marking the anniversary of Rumi’s union with God, known as Sheb-i Arus or the night of union, is held in honor of the Muslim scholar.

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