After Burhan al-Din Tirmidhi passed away, Rumi began lectur­ing in the madrasa in Konya and training students. He had tak­en his first lessons from his father, the king of scholars. On the one hand, Rumi lectured in the seminary, held conversations with those seeking the truth, and answered their questions; on the other hand, he guided the lovers of God and warned them.This way Rumi became the sultan of scholars in the religions sciences and other sciences, like his father, and he also became the sultan of gnostics in the area of Sufism. The public admired Rumi very much. In the view of the sultan, notables, and the common folk, he was known as a most elevated Muslim, an insan al-kamil, because of his devotion to worship, dedication to fasting and praying, virtues, humanity, graciousness, modesty despite his great knowledge, abstinence from the world, his commitment to the Muhammadi path just like his father, and his crystal clear life. 

It was around this time that an event occurred that was going to change Rumi’s life. Shams al-Din of Tabriz came to Konya. This poor person who came, Shams of Tabriz, enraptured Rumi, the great scholar, busy with his lectures, and cautious great Sufi and spiritual guide. He made him into an ardent lover of God.

Who was this Shams al-Din of Tabriz who brought about such a big change in Rumi’s life? Aflaki writes that Shams’ father was Ali, son of Malikdad. Since he was born in Tabriz, he may have been of the Azeri Turks. It is clear from the Maqalat that he was very well educated and familiar with all the sciences of his day. Since he never stayed in one place for a long period ot time and traveled to many places, he was given the nickname “Shams-i Perende” (Flying Shams) He also is called “Kamil-i Tabrizi” (the perfect one of Tabriz) since he was a perfect man. Although he was a great saint, he concealed himself and his saintly miracles from everyone. He lived in towns anonymous­ly, and whenever he became known, he would depart that town. During his travels, he never would stay at dervish lodges or seminaries. He would lodge at inns, and closing his door tight­ly, he kept nothing inside except for a rush mat to sleep on. He dressed as an ordinary tradesman, never wearing the glamorous clothing of shaykhs. Sipahsalar Faridun Ahmad fd. 1284) describes him as the one who attained the bliss of closeness to God while still being alive: the sultan of the saints, pole of the gnostics, heir of the prophets, the crown of those loved by God, and he writes that Rumi was an insan al-kamil, possessor of clairvoyance, and possessor of spiritual states. Shams was like Moses, in his close connection with God, and like Jesus, in his secluded and solitary lifestyle, may peace be upon them.22 If he had not possessed these attributes how could he have befriended Rumi? How would these two saints, lovers of God, have united like two seas? In his Ibtidaname, Sultan Valad likens the meeting of Shams and Rumi to the meeting of Moses and Khidr. As is commonly known, although Moses was a prophet who attained the station of kalim Allah (one who has spoken with God), he admired the lovers of God and sought them out. Similarly, although Rumi had attained the highest levels of seminary teacher and spiritual guide, he still admired and loved the lovers of God. Contrary to the misconception of some, he was not looking for a spiritual guide. He was reared by the knowledge and gnosis of a peerless father, Sultan al-UIama, and became a spiritual guide passing through the levels of spiritual journey under the guidance of the greatest spiritual guide, Burhan al-Din Tirmidhi.

Shams also were a great personality. He too loved God like Rumi. He also had traveled to many locations and seen numer­ous scholars and shaykhs, and in his own words, he was unable to find what he was looking for in any of them. No one really could understand his spiritual state. No one could comprehend the truth of his secrets. Rumi had attained levels of perfection, settled in Konya, became a teacher and a spiritual guide by the time he had reached fifty years of age. He no longer needed to go anywhere or search for anything. A sham, however, had exceeded sixty years of age and still was wandering around look­ing tor a spiritual guide, yet unable to settle anywhere. In his book Maqalat, Shams writes: “I left Tabriz in order to find a spiritual guide, I left the town but I could not find a spiritual guide. The universe is not empty, so there must be a spiritual guide somewhere … I had a Shaykh in Tabriz called Abu Bakr. He would weave baskets and make his living from this. I beneficed from him very much. But I had something that my shaykh did not see in me. In fact, nobody could see it. ”

We do not know for sure to which Sufi order Shams belonged. According to some scholars, he was devoted to Baba Kamal, one of the deputies of the great saint Najm al-Din kubra, Sultan al-Ulama’s spiritual guide who was martyred while fighting against the Mongols. Others say he was from the Ahbariyya branch of the Khalwati chain. However, as mentioned above, Shams himself states that he was the dervish of Shaykh Abu Bakr of Tabriz. In fact, Shams was not a dervish who would stick to the basket-maker Abu Bakr who could not see what was in him and boasted that he was a shaykh. He confesses: “I left him and he was very sorry” Who knows, he might have confronted his shaykh with his mistakes and left. No one knows for sure. Shams could not see anything in the shaykh who could not sec anything in him.

In those days, Shams was unable to find what he was look­ing for in the famous shaykhs whom he met in different places, got to know, and whose lectures he attended. He found himself unable to devote himself to them. He was looking for a perfect spiritual guide. In his mind, there was the image of a pure, untar­nished shaykh living like a Companion of the Prophet, complete­ly on the Muhammadi path. However, since he saw flaws in the persons he met who claimed to be shaykhs, he could not devote himself to them. He was saddened whenever he could not find the Islamic way of life in those whom everybody respected great-ly and whose hands everybody kissed. He said in his Maqalat: “It is only yesterday that he left his mother’s womb and today he is claiming: ‘I am the Truth.’ How can someone born from such and such a woman say he is the Truth. Most of these shaykhs are the bandits of Muhammad’s religion. They block people’s ways. “Shams always stayed away from the shaykhs who were after ostentation and reputation, and until he met Rumi he did not devote himself to any guide. When Shams-i Tabriz met Rumi, , when he saw the truth in him, he said: “I found what I was look­ing for in my Hudavendigar, Rumi, “ and he stayed in Konya.

Aflaki relates that prior to their meeting in Konya, Rumi and Shams met in Damascus. He writes that one day while Rumi was in the marketplace someone dressed entirely in black with a con­ical hat kissed Rumi’s hand and told him: “O judge of the realm of meanings! Find me! Understand me!” and then vanished into the crowd. He narrates that this man was Shams. Shams arrived in Konya on Saturday morning October 23, 1244. As was his habit, he directly went to an inn. It is said that he went to the Pirincciler (rice farmers) or sekerciter (sugar farmers) inn and rented a room. It is also narrated that for the public to think of him as a rich tradesmen, he put an expensive lock on his door worth three dinars and tied the key to an end of his turban and let it hang from his shoulder. However, there was nothing in Shams’s room other than an old rush mat, a broken jug, and a sun-dried brick he used as a pillow. There is no record of how long after he came to Konya he met Rumi.

The accounts of his meeting with Rumi are numerous. According to Aflaki’s account, one day Rumi came out of the Iplikci madrasa accompanied by his students and disciples and riding his donkey. At that moment Shams al-Din of Tabriz ran into Rumi. Holding on to the reigns of the donkey, he stated the above. However, Sipehsalar narrates the meeting of Rumi and Shams like this: Shams al-Din of Tabriz arrived in Konya at night. He went to the Pirincciler inn. There was a decorated sofa in front of the inn’s gate. Usually notable people would sit on that sofa. Shams sat on that sofa in the morning. It became clear to Rumi that Shams arrived through the holy light of sainthood. Coming out of their home of happiness, he went in that direction. On the way, people tried to approach him and to show their respect for him. At that moment Rumi’s glance suddenly coin­cided with Shams. He understood that the holy person foretold to him in his dream was this person. He said nothing.

Mevlana Hudavendigar came and sat on the other sofa fac­ing Shams. For a while they kept quiet. Then they began to converse:

Shams: Is Prophet Muhammad greater, or Bayazid Bistami?


Rumi: What kind of a question is this? Of course, Prophet Muhammad is greater.

Shams: Yes, but Muhammad says: “Sometimes my heart gets veiled. Therefore, seventy times I seek refuge in my Lord and ask for forgiveness, ” while Bayazid says: “I dissociate myself from all imperfect attributes. What great an event is my cre­ation and appearance” and “there exists nothing under the robe I wear other than God.” And he sees himself superior. What do you think in this matter? What do you say?

Rumi: Muhammad was advancing seventy levels everyday. And every time he advanced to a higher level he was ashamed of his state in the lower level and asked for forgiveness. On the other hand, Bayazid was amazed by the greatness of the first level he reached. He lost himself and said these words.

After this conversation, Rumi and Shams both left the sofas they were sitting on and shook each other’s hands and hugged each other. Then in Jalal al-Din Zarqubi’s small room, they had conversations for six months. 24 In Ibtidaname, Sultan Valad expresses their closeness and admiration: “When Rumi saw Shams’ face, the secrets opened up for him. He saw unseen things. He heard things that he never heard from anyone. It was almost as if Rumi’s shadow disappeared in Shams’ holy light. “In this closeness, in this true friendship, in this divine love, one cannot claim superiority or emphasize a difference by say­ing who became whose spiritual guide, or who became whose disciple. This couplet of Amir Khusrau Dahlavi describes the situation of the two lovers of God: “I became you and you became I. I became the flesh and you became the soul. After this nobody can claim I am separate and you are separate. “The fact that these two great saints met, loved each other as true friends of God, and continuously spent time together was not well received by those around them. Rumi’s students, disciples, notable imams, and religious men, even members of his own family hated Shams because they could not see and sense the truth, love, and power of faith in Shams who had such an influ­ence on Rumi.

Rumi’s wife Kerra Khatun related that before Shams arrived, Rumi read his father Baha al-Din Valad’s book Ma’arif under a tall candle till the dusk. Shams not only kept him from reading his father’s book, but he also did not let him read the Collected Poems of al-Mutanabbi that Rumi loved very much or any other book. This was because he gave importance to the knowledge of heart, Divine Inspiration, and Divine Attraction but not to the knowledge that was going to be forgotten, that was going to be a burden to the human being, and that was going to inflate one’s ego. The knowledge of heart is not learned from books. He was convinced that even if a man lives six thousand years, even if he were given six times Noah’s lifetime, what is obtained by strug­gling for thousands of years would not equal Divine Inspiration gained through being united with God for one moment. Shams took conversation and God’s Attraction as fundamental. He held that knowledge was not an end in itself but a means of letting us know of our inadequacy in realizing the truth and understanding God. Therefore, by separating Rumi from the things he loved very much, Shams was trying to bring Rumi even closer to God to whom Rumi was already close.

He distracted Rumi, who had been spending most of his time reading books in the meeting hall of the madrasa, from full devotion to those books. He also did not allow everyone to see him. Sitting at the gate of the seminary, he asked of those who came to see Rumi, “What did you bring as a gift of pleading and gratefulness? Show me that and I shall show you Rumi. “ One day when someone got angry with this strange man and asked, “What did you bring so that we also need to bring something?”, Shams replied, “I brought myself, I sacrificed my head for his sake. ”

In Ibtidaname, Sultan Valad describes how close Shams was to Rumi and how much he influenced him: “When the public saw this attachment, this loyalty, this rapture, and this love, they were envious and began criticizing. Shaykhs and other important people openly started rumors saying: “What kind of a man is this that he changed Rumi so much? While none of us see goodness in Shams, why does Rumi view him as a superior man and honor him? He has neither spiritual state nor knowledge. Is it possible that we might call him a man of the Divine Glance and conclude that the eye of his heart is open?” When Shams saw that things were getting out of control and all people were turning against him, he suddenly vanished one day After fifteen months and twenty days, Shams left Konya on February 15, 1246.

In Ibtidaname, Sultan Valad writes that Rumi was very sad about Shams’ departure and would not even look into the faces of those who had caused him to leave. He also reports that these people regretted what they had done, and Rumi forgave them. 25 While Sultan Valad writes that Shams went directly to Damascus, Sipehsalar relates that it was not known where Shams went first. After some time, Shams sent a letter to Rumi from Damascus, and this way it became clear that Shams had gone to Damascus.
When Shams wrote a letter to Rumi from Damascus, Rumi replied. In those days since there was no postal service as there is today, letters were carried by special messengers, and it took a long time. In Aflaki’s Manatqibu’l-Arifin, there are four letters to Shams written by Rumi in verse. From these poetic letters, I have taken some couplets as an example of their conversation:

0 light of my heart, come! O the aim of my struggles, come! You know that our lives are in your hands. Don’t make the sweet life difficult. Don’t torment your slaves, come! O love, O beloved, overcome the obstacles, leave stubbornness and come!
O graceful person of the world! I send my greetings to you. Know that my health and illness are in your discretion. Even if
I am not physically with you and serving you, my spirit and heart are most surely with you.
May the life of our honorable master be long. May God be his protector and cherisher. May there be nobody deprived of love and with frozen hearts in his joyful and warm assembly full of sweetness and beautiful conversation.

After receiving a letter from Shams, Rumi called to Sultan Valad. He gave him some money and said: “You go as a messen­ger. Spread this money under his feet. And ask him for a favor on my behalf. Those who treated him badly are remorseful. Let him do us a kindness and come back. “Sultan Valad eagerly accepted this mission. He also loved Shams very much. He had seen the greatness of Shams and understood his truth. In describing his travel to Damascus, Sultan Valad relates: “I ran without getting tired, I crossed the mountains without regarding them as anything more than a piece of hay. The thorns of the way appeared to me as roses. “

Aflaki writes that Sultan Valad went with twenty people. They found Shams in Damascus. Sultan Valad did as he was told. He spread the money at Shams1 feet. When Shams saw the money, he smiled and replied: “Why does Rumi of Muhammadi character busy us with money? His request is more than enough. “ He then accepted the request to return to Konya. Sultan Valad and his friends stayed a few days in Damascus. Whirling cere­monies were performed. They rested and then set out for Konya with Shams.

When the caravan from Damascus approached Konya, Sultan Valad sent a bearer of good news to his father. When Rumi received the good news, he came out of the city to wel­come them with dervishes, important officials, and Rumi’s employees. On May 8, 1247 Shams honored Konya once more with his arrival. When Shams saw Rumi, he got off his horse and they hugged each other. Two seas of the realm of meaning reunit­ed once more.

When Shams returned to Konya, his adversaries initially were remorseful for what they had done. Like Rumi, Shams for­gave them all because both Rumi and Shams were of Muhammadi character. It is well known that the Prophet forgave those who stoned him in Ta’if and wounded him in his feet. Rumi already had forgiven those who worked against Shams and spread rumors about him before Shams returned. Shams followed the same path.

He was lenient with those who mistreated him and forgave their misdeeds. Whirling ceremonies began to be arranged, and both Rumi and Shams received invitations from various people. But the days that passed in joy and enthusiasm with whirling cere­monies did not last long. Grudge and hate surfaced once more. Rumors against Shams flared up again. Lies and instigations soon followed and spun out of control. This time the instigations were more intense. In Sultan Valad’s account. Shams, who could not stand insults and threats, said: “This time when I leave, I will leave in such a way that nobody will find my trace. I will vanish such that time will pass and even the dust of my trace will not be found. They will say: ‘Definitely an enemy of his must have killed him. ‘” Shams had left Damascus with Sultan Valad and his friends with such hopes and such great longing, crossing moun­tains and rivers. Now these immature people who envied him, his devotion to Rumi, and Rumi’s respect and closeness to him continuously were harassing him. Since Shams was a very good person, he buried the attacks and gossip of the bad intentioned who envied him and did not let Rumi know. Shams’ wife Kimia, whom he loved very much, died shortly after their wedding. No matter how great a person, Shams was also human, after all. The death of his wife on the one hand and the gossip on the other had worn him out. He had no power to stand against the insults and threats. His attachment to Rumi and the truth he saw in him was keeping him alive. On a Thursday in December 1247, Shams disappeared.
According to Sipehsalar, on the morning that Shams disap-peared, Rumi went to the madrasa; unable to find him, he became very sad. He immediately went to the room where Sultan Valad was sleeping and called out to him: “Baha al-Din, why are you still sleeping? Get up and look for your shaykh. Our spirits once more are deprived of his pleasant smell. “27 However, Aflaki relates two different accounts about Shams1 disappearance. According to the account from Sultan Valad, when Shams and Rumi were sitting together, someone from outside called Shams.

Shams told Rumi: “They are calling me to death.” After a short silence Rumi recited the following Qur’anic verse: “Know that creation and command is His. How great is the Lord of the Worlds, “Upon hearing this Shams went outside; seven people waiting for him in hiding jumped on him and martyred him with knives. Shams screamed and all of them fainted. When Rumi heard Shams’ cry he said: “God does as He wills and judges what He wills.” When Shams attackers came to themselves, they saw a few blood drops on the ground but Shams was gone.

Aflaki’s second account is as follows: Shams had been martyred and his body thrown into a well. One day Shams entered the dream of Sultan Valad and showed him the well in which his body had been thrown. He then went with a few friends and removed the body from that well and buried it near Rumi’s madrasa next to Amir Badr al-Din Gowhartash, who had built it.

Under the light of these accounts decorated with fantasies, we must wonder if Shams disappeared as he had said: “I will leave in such a way that nobody will find me.” Did he go on a journey with no return, or was he martyred? Only God knows the truth. When we consider Aflaki’s accounts, we can draw such a conclusion from these accounts: When Shams was with Rumi, he was called outside, but he never returned and never was seen afterward. Did those who called him kidnap him? Did they kill him? Did they help him go somewhere outside Konya? Did Shams go to Damascus where he had gone before? The answers are not known for certainty. The only thing to know is that Rumi did not know anything about Shams being martyred. Did they keep such a tragedy secret from Rumi? Did such a tragedy occur at all? How can truth be kept secret from a great saint? Just as he had noticed the first arrival of Shams in Konya with the holy light of sainthood, as Sipehsalar writes, just as he came to the Pirincciler Inn where Shams lodged and found him, he would know that Shams was martyred and would not go twice to Damascus in search for him. As Abdulbaki Golpinarli (d. 1982) writes, “The Qur’anic verse recited by Rumi, Shams’ cry, the fainting of the assassins, and the few drops of blood on the ground arc epic components that mystical thinking was involved in this event. “ 



Sultan Valad describes Rumi’s state after Shams disappearance as follows: “After his departure, Rum almost lost his mind. The Shaykh who issued religious rulings became an ardent poet of love. He was an ascetic and became a bartender, but not a bar-tender that drinks and sells the wine made of grapes. The spirit that belongs to the holy light does not drink anything but the wine of light. ”30 Rum whirled day and night, and his crying was heard by all, young and old. Whatever gold and silver he received, he would give to the musicians; he gave everything to charity. To those who claimed to have seen Shams, he would bestow his garment if he did not have money. As Sultan Valad writes in his Ma’arif: “Someone told Rum that he saw Shams ad-Din. Rum gave him the garment he was wearing. They said to Rum: ‘This man is lying. The news he gave has no substance. Why did you give your garment to him?’ Rum said: ‘Whatever I gave him was indeed only for this lie. If what he had told had been the truth, I would have given my life. “In Ibtidaname, Sultan Valad writes that Rum went to Damascus to look for Shams, and in Damascus many people became his disciples. The people of Damascus had not seen such a love since Adam, and they admired Shams as a great saint since such a unique person as Rum was looking for him. Sultan Valad goes on to say: “Rum could not find Shams in Damascus, but he saw that Shams’ truth and secret rose like the moon in his existence and said: ‘Physically we are far away from each other, but beyond soul and body we are one light. See him or see me, O seeker, I am he and he is me. ‘In Ibtidaname, Sultan Valad writes about the oneness of Rum and Shams in spirit: “Shams of Tabriz and my father—may God bless the secrets of both— were among the elite of the most beloved servants of God. They were one person, one holy light. Separate in appearance bur one in truth. “He relates that after a few years, Rumi went to Damascus for a second time with his disciples. He stayed there for months. The date of Rumi’s first as well as second Damascus trips are not known. Sultan Valad says that his father took his first trip to Damascus a few days after Shams’ disappearance but fails to report how long he stayed in Damascus on his first trip. His second trip was made a few years later.

Rumi gave up hope after he failed to find Shams in spite of all of his searching. He also had heard the rumors about his murder. Now he was also aware that his son Ala al-Din Chelebi was involved in this. He found consolation in expressing his feeling through poetry filled with love and longing. I will share one from among many of these poems of longing:

O Friend of Heart! What a pity, you left us with sorrows and longing, and went away.I know you didn’t want 10 leave us. You complained and lamented. Rut this was not good. You obeyed the unchangeable judgment and walked away and left.

You ran in all directions. You sought remedies (to change the situation and) to stay with us, you made up excuses. But you couldn’t find a remedy and you went without having a remedy.

What happened to your lap full of roses, to the luminous face like the moon? How did it happen that you went under the soil lowly and in shame?

How did you leave the assemblies of friends and the ranks of friends that were with you all the time and go under the ground among ants and snakes?

What happened to those meaningful words and beautiful speeches? What happened to the. mind that was familiar with divine secrets?

What happened to those hands that were holding our hands? What happened to those feet that walked to the gardens of Meram, to the rose gardens?

You were graceful and gracious; you knew how to win peo­ple’s hearts and how to love people. Now you went to the soil which doesn’t like people and swallows them.

What happened? What kind of an idea came to your mind so that you would take a curved and difficult road?

When you set off on that road crying, the heavens, too, started shedding tears and the moon scratched its face,

My heart has been filled with pain. What do I know? What should I ask? You tell me, did you go awake?

Now that you left us, did you choose the company of lovers of God and saints? Or have you been deprived of love? Or did you go in denial?

What happened to those sweet answers you gave to the questions you were asked? Now you stopped talking and gave up on speaking.

What kind of a fire is this? What kind of a longing is this? Like a guest, you never let anybody know and went away

Where did you go? Even the dust of your way cannot be found. The road that you took this time is indeed a road full of blood.

From these two great saints who saw the truth in each oth­er, admired each other, which one was superior?

It is a mistake to compare saints who have effaced their selves in divine love. These holy personalities who are cleansed from all human contamination, released from physical desires, blessed with the manifestation of God, submerged in the ocean of Unity, and self-effaced cannot be superior to one another. Is it not the same sunshine that is reflected by many mirrors that are free from dust and dirt? Can these be distinguished from one another?

When Rumi was looking for Shams in Damascus with his heart burning with the fire of longing, the gnostics of Damascus were fascinated by Rumi’s knowledge, gnosis, and love. Those whose eyes were dazzled with Rumi’s holy light were surprised to see a spiritual guide looking for a spiritual guide. Just as Rumi was looking for Shams, Shams had been looking for Rumi. Shams could not find what he was looking for in the famous shaykhs and spiritual guides in the towns he had visited, but when he found Rumi, he said: “Ever since I left my home town I have not seen any shaykh other than Rumi. I found what I was looking for in Rumi. “What had these two seen in each other? What had they found? They became mirrors for each other. They transcended the levels of shaykh, spiritual guide, deputy, and dis­ciple and saw what was inside them. Therefore, there is no use to consider either of them as the spiritual guide of the other. Why should we keep ourselves busy with these thoughts? Why should we say that there is a difference between them? We should know that both of them were among the most advanced scholars, gnostics, and spiritual guides of their time. There were many similarities of opinion and understanding between them. It is also a huge mistake to think of Shams only as an unconventional dervish who excited the great scholar Rumi and brought him to spiritual ecstasy and not to see Shams1 knowledge and gnosis.

Shams was a great scholar just like Rumi. As can be seen in his Maqalat, one clearly notices from his elaborations on issues that he was familiar with tafsir (Qur’anic commentary), hadith (Prophetic Tradition), poetry, and all sciences of his day. Like Rumi, he also did not like philosophy. According to Shams, it is possible to attain the truth only by adhering to the Prophet’s way, refraining from ostentation, becoming a person of spiritu­al states, practicing what one believes in, and by divine love. Like Rumi, Shams was a lover of the Prophet. Just as Rumi declared: “I am the soil under the feet of Muhammad Mukhtar,” Shams also pronounced: “I would not exchange even an issue seeming to be of the least importance from the Sunna for a book like Qushayri’s al-Risalah or other such important texts. Compared to the Prophetic Traditions, all those books are tasteless and dull. ”

Rumi and Sham’s views were unified in terms of abiding by the Law, advancing religious practice from imitative to a con­scious level, and walking on the path of faith and love far from ostentation. There might have been small differences between them in terms of methodology. Rumi was cautious; Shams was ardent and enthusiastic. But if Shams had not come, Rumi would have been second Sultan al-Ulama. Maybe he would have written tales in the Mesnevi similar to those found in Mantiq al-Tayr of Farid al-Din ‘Attar (d. 1220 A. D.). Ardent love poems would not, however, have been written. The Divan-i Kabir would not have come to be. As Abdulbaki Golpinarli writes, “If Shams had not come, Rumi would not have become Rumi and would have remained a shaykh from the ranks of many shaykhs, a Sufi among countless Sufis. But it is also a fact that if Rumi had not seen Shams, nobody ever would have heard of Shams. Rumi was already ready for ecstasy He was like an oil lamp that was cleaned, filled with oil, its wick prepared. For this oil lamp to flare up, a spark was needed. Shams served that very purpose. And then Shams became like a moth to that flame. He gave his life to it and joined the light. Shams was a mirror to Rumi. Rumi saw in him the truth encompassing the whole universe and himself. And he fell in love with himself and praised himself. ”

Shams of Tabriz is just a pretext.
We are the one praised in beauty.
We are the one praised in grace.
But to conceal this truth from the public, he said:
“He is the graceful King and we arc the poor. ”

If people were able to see what was in themselves and the truth in each other like Rumi and Shams, the world would become a paradise. Human beings would live in constant peace, wars would disappear, all the weapon factories would close, and there would be no hunger in Africa or elsewhere. The world would live in comfort. Rumi says: “Our bodies that we see in this world are actually the shadows of our real existence. In fact, we live above these shadows. “

In the world we live in today, in the age of the atom, in an age where people are chasing only after materialistic gains; aren’t there no more Rumi’s or Shams? New saints are not com­ing from the Khorasan region to Anatolia. They are not com­ing, but the Islamic countries are not empty. How well spoke Baba Kemal Khojandi: “Do not think that die lovers of God, the saints have all gone and the city of love has become empty The world is filled with people like Shams of Tabriz, but where arc the men like Rumi to see the truth in them?”

Now Rumi gave up hope of finding Shams alive and -stopped looking for him. He understood that he would not be able to find Shams in Damascus or elsewhere, but as Sultan Valad put it, he found him in his heart. He had found him but his eyes were still looking for a friend of heart like Shams. Although his family, sons, friends, students, and disciples surrounded Rumi, he felt an emptiness inside, and he felt alone. Surely the greatest friend of humans is God. Doesn’t He say, “Wherever you are I am with you” Rumi expresses this truth as follows: “There is someone hidden here. Don’t think that you are alone. “

Bur Rumi was in need of a friend of God, a mirror, and a horizon of spirit like Shams who would share this feeling and let him sense what was within him. Without such a friend, he was unable to find peace. Yahya Kemal expresses this spiritual loneliness in his poem “Horizons”:

Spirit cannot live without horizons
Spirit searches for a spirit horizon
Those great prophets whose spiritual horizons were vast
But they are the exceptions beyond our discussion
They were very happy in this world
Living with their disciples and companions
What horizons and what nice spirits they had, O Lord!

Later on, Rumi would captivate the matter of the mirror of the spirit in a passage of the Mesnevi:

The soul’s mirror is naught but the face of the friend, the face of that friend who is of yonder country (the spiritual land).When your eye became an eye for my heart, my blind heart went and became drowned in vision.

I saw that you are the Universal Mirror unto everlasting: I saw my own image in your eye.

I said, “At last I have found myself: in his eyes I have found the shining Way.”

(But) my image gave voice from your eye (and said), “I am you and you arc I in (perfect) oneness.”

After Shams, Rumi’s friend of heart, mirror of spirit became Salah al-Din of Konya. Rumi escaped spiritual loneliness with this companion and friend of heart. He found peace and tranquility.

After Shams, Rumi’s friend of heart, mirror of spirit became Salah al-Din of Konya. Rumi escaped spiritual loneliness with this companion and friend of heart. He found peace and tranquility.





Fundamental’s of Rumi’s Thought: A Mevlevi Sufi Perspective by Şefik Can



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