Mawlana Rumi’s Works


It means Great Diwan. This great work of Mawlana Rumi which contains his ghazal, terkib-i bend and rubai (quatrain) came into existence with 21 diwan and rubais arranged to the spoken rhythms.
The occupation of poetry in Persian literature showed crucial improvements especially among the palace environment before Mawlana Rumi. First big delegates of sufi poem had been educated and suns had started to be accepted; they succeeded to reflect poems as the most important instrument of expressing spiritual emotions and thoughts.
It was evident that Mawlana Rumi was familiar with both Arabic and Persian literature in these two poem type before his life with Shams. Especially the most important representatives Senai (dtn.1311) and Attar (dth.1221) were dealing with sufistic poems for a long time and it was known that their poems were read in the meetings.
However, just like the way it was felt for music, there was a negative approach to poems because of the effects of some close relations of poets with the palace environment which were not approved by some religion intellectuals at those times in Muslim societies, and it was possible to find hints from some expressions in the sources written in the first period that Mawlana Rumi who was a big religion intellectual was being accused of for this very reason. On the other hand, from these same expressions it was understood that Mawlana Rumi Family had an indulgent religious life in Anatolia different from the one in Khorassan which was their homeland and the reason of his leading towards poetry was that the Anatolian people liked verse and harmony. Naturally Hz. Mawlana Rumi inclined towards poetry and music which were the unique way of answering a lover soul’s excitement and with the encouragement of Shams, he started sama. He took poetry, music and sama as spiritual mates to himself and he always expressed his excitement, enthusiasm, happiness and sorrow by these, he also searched comfort and peace in them. We know that most of the ghazals were sung especially after the disappearance of Shams-i Tebriz. These enthusiastic verses at the time of sama were engrossed by his lovers and they were classified according to aruz rhythms.
Fuad Köprülü noticed some flows in the poems of Mawlana Rumi who never claimed that he was a poet and who always complaint that words were inadequate for expressions. Fuad Köprülü admitted that the poet was emphasizing the highness in hymn lyricism in his verses that reflected his spirit, all his sincerity, deepness with pure bareness and that he should be counted as the biggest Sufi poet who read poems in Persian language.
As it is known, ghazals main theme is love. The poet covers and expresses both his inner feelings and world and the components from outer world and he performs them with high art sensitivity. Within this concept, Mawlana Rumi was an intellectual who learned all information of that period, knew India-Iran and Greek-Roma mythology and who could use verse and hadiths where it was necessary and there was an important role of nation component in his poems. The panorama of diwan is being designated by wide social environment such as, Turkish proverbs, traditions, customs, public idioms, public beliefs, former times’ opinions, villages, cities and the kadis (judges) who took bribes from the children who threw stones to insane people in streets.
Mawlana Rumi mostly used Shams-i Tebrizi’s name in the pen-name instead of his -which was an unusual usage- for this reason his work Diwan- x Kebir was also called Diwan-i Shams or Kulliyyat- i Shams. In some of his verses few in number, he preferred to use the word "hamu?” which meant sus” (be quiet) or the names Salahuddin and Husameddin as pen-names.
Interest to Diwan-i Kebir was definitely lesser than the one shown to Mathnawi and the studies carried on it were limited to selections and some couplets or explanation of verse form and description. That’s why written versions are rarely seen. Couplet numbers change mostly from 30 thousand to 50 thousand in both written and published old printed texts in India and in Iran. It also caused the number of couplets to become more as some other verses of other poets were involved as well. The work’s scientific text was compared to 9 old writings and the poems which were not belong to Mawlana Rumi were cleaned up as many as possible by the valuable scientist Bediuzzaman Furuzanfer from Iran and it was published under the name of Kulliyyat-i Shams or Diwan-i Kebir in 8 big volumes. (Tahran, 1336 - 1345 h. ؟ I-VI volumes in alphabetic order total of 36.360 couplet ghazals and terkib-i bends; dictionary, index and explanations in VII volume; 1995 rubai in VIII volume.) This work was published in Iran many times on the basis of Furuzanfer publication.
Diwan-i Kebir was translated into Turkish by the big expert and scientist Abdulbaki Gölpınarlı and published between the years of 1957 and 1974. The translator based his translation on the writing (pages 68 - 69) in the Museum of Mawlana Rumi. This text has 44.834 couplets. Diwan-ı Kebir was translated into English by Nevit Oğuz Ergin on the basis of Gölpınarlı s translation and this translation of which XII volumes were published in 2000 was being published in the U.S.A. (California) by the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture.
Many selections from Diwan-1 Kebir were in the publication field sometimes with their explanations in or out of the country. Midhat Bahari Beytur has translated the anthology of the poet and tezhire writer Rıza Kull Hand Hidayet from Iran, Diwan-i Shams’ul- Hakaik, into Turkish and had it published as Selected Poems from Diwan-i Kabir. (This three-volume work which does not belong to Rumi was published in 1944 by Turkish Ministry of Education.) In the west, Mawlana Rumi and his poems were known from the translations by scientists and litterateurs such as J.Von Hammer, Friedrich Ruckert, Rosenzweigh-Schwannau, Nicholsan and Bausani. Coleman Barks’s translations to English are read with pleasure today. There are so many publishing in countries like Iran and Pakistan.
Persian texts of the rubais in Diwan-1 Kebir were first published in Istanbul by Walad Chalabi İzbudak (1867 - 1953) in 1314 and this work was translated into Turkish by M. Nuri Gençosman later on. Abdulbaki Gölpınarlı translated 1765 rubai at the end on the basis of Diwan-1 Kebir in Turkish and published as Rubailer (Istanbul, 1964). Şefik Can who is known from the deep work on Mawlana Rumi and his works lately published 2217 rubai translations with their Persian texts. Rubai translations and also selections were done and published by many people. Some of them were A. Gölpınarlı, Hasan Ali Yücel, Asaf Halet Chalabi, Hüseyin Rıfat Işıl, M.N.Gençosmanoğlu, Feyzi Halıcı, Talat Sait Halman and Hamza Tanyaş.


The fundamental and one of the most important elements that composed Islamic culture and civilization which mixed by different nations with same values for centuries is certainly Sufism. Sufism which means commending and practicing of Islam has been told in many valuable works by experts of science, idea, heart and art throughout years. One of the Sufistic masterpieces that describe thoughts on God, universe and mankind and subjects on individuals and society in the best way is Mawlana Rumi’s Mathnawi.
Mathnawi eventually is the name of the format of verse in classical literature in Islamic world circle. In this format each couplet is rhymed with each other and as there is freedom and independency in the rhymes long story or novel type books, didactic works are written in Mathnawi format. As Mawlana Rumi called his own book with this word and did not give another name, the word "Mathnawi” became its proper name since it was written.
According to the information that was given by the oldest resource of Mawlawi, Chalabi Husameddin who was connected to Mawlana Rumi with great love and respect once asked him to create a work which would inspire the dervishes on suluq discipline and the realities of Sufism and he requested him to admire Mathnawi direction a little more as ghazals which were written till that time had a great total. He took out a piece of paper on which the first 18 couplets were written from his turban and said that he had also thought about it and he created that enormous monument which was composed of 6 volumes and 26 thousand couplets within the last 10 -15 years of his lifetime by Mawlana Rumi talking and Husameddin Chalabi writing and reading aloud to him and Mawlana Rumi making the necessary corrections.
Mawlana Rumi explained the content and the aim of Mathnawi to be written as; “This book is Mathnawi. It is the basis of the basics of reaching and explaining all believing secrets. It is the biggest fiqh of God; is the brightest Shari’a of him and proof that can not be denied.” "It is the recovery of hearts and shellac to sorrows in fact. It explains and defines Qur’an in the best way. It was written by writers whose fame was huge and souls were dutiful by their own hands.” (Gölp., 1, p.3-5).
“The book explains this: Shari’a is like a candle: it shows the way. However, as the road may not be taken by taken a candle into hand, it may not be taken without a candle either. If you are on the way, your way is Sufi Path; if you reach in the way you desire that is the truth. (...) Or Shari’a is just like learning medical information; it means dieting, taking medicine according to medicine information; reality is finding peace and comfort eternally.” (Gölp., V, p.3-4)
Mawlana Rumi says that “Our Mathnawi is a store of oneness; that sees everything but oneness in it is effigy.” (İzb., VI, 1528) and he explains his unification concept as:
"Even though there are hundred books, all would be consisting of a unique kind. Within these hundred sides, there is only one turning point, direction.
“All these roads go to one house. These thousands of spikes come into existence from one seed.”(İzb., VI, 3667-68)
Mathnawi was composed of 6 volumes (notebooks). According to famous British Orientalist Reynold A. Nicholson (1868 - 1945) who prepared the scientific text (edition critique) and translated it into English and wrote explanations there are 25632 couplets in total in Mathnawi. Each volume has an introduction and subjects are given in titles within the text. It was put as in Failatun failatun failun meters of aruz Remel form. It was published many times within the country and abroad, as being the mostly read work in Sun field and also as a work on which many explanations have been written. There are many written copies of the work which go back to the years when they were written.
Mathnawi as mentioned above is an enormous masterpiece in which thousands of verses, hadiths, proverbs, performances, stories, anecdotes and almost 26 thousand couplets exist in 6 volumes. Many subjects that interest author, individual and the society are covered in this work called “Magz- i Kur’an” in other words “The Essence of Qur’an”. It analyses all matters in details and with proofs in an extremely fluent, absorbing and convincing way.
Famous expert Abdulbaki Gölpınarlı who states that the most obvious characteristic of Mawlana Rumi’s work is the easiness makes valuable observations on the style and the content of Mathnawi: "Biggest virtue of the poet maybe the first one association is at a unique level in Mawlana Rumi. Mawlana Rumi who knew all about that period, spoke couple of languages and read all poets’ poems; along with these who had an extraordinary flowing intelligence, a delicate spirit, unique rapture, unique love, unique understanding and discovery ability; besides, Mawlana Rumi who was the representative of joy, enthusiasm, admiration and thus, all the meanings of the spiritual world was telling, event following events in minds, stories appropriate to these events, grouping words and continue like this. When he was telling a story he made a human or an animal talk but all of a sudden, talking human or animal turnds out to be him. (...) This excellent tahkiye style ends with the spiritual analysis of the story and moreover sometimes a brand new event needs to be started before the former one is finished. (...)
Mawlana Rumi talks about Islamic Theology regulations to Greek Philosophy and its Islamic version Hukema Philosophy; creation and evaluation within this system and the epics of big Sufis. Reality is taken into consideration from time to time in Mathnawi. It is not only in stories. He also is so eager to reflect reality when he is telling about the places where he has been and seen. The customs, traditions, thoughts and understanding of a whole century are alive; touchable and visible. (...)
In Mathnawi, the real influence is Hakim-i Senai and especially Ferideddin-i Attar. Aflaki said that he requested from Mawlana Rumi to write a book in the style of "Ilahi Name” and in the “Mantik-al Tayr” verse work while Chalabi Husameddin was trying to convince Mawlana Rumi to write Mathnawi, Hakim-i Senai's ‘Ilahi Name’, Attar’s ‘Musibet Name’ and the readings of “Mantik- al Tayr”.
Therefore, Mathnawi itself is a world of culture from the beginning up to the end. Among the works of the world, this book has a distinguished level and is unique among the mystical and sufistic poems.
In brief, Mawlana Rumi who aimed to put love of God and Prophet into hearts and who supported that Islam should be experienced in sincerity at love level announced his ideas basically through this work to many people. Studies about Mathnawi which sourced our thoughts and feelings and left deep and clear remarks in our cultural lives had begun at early period in Anatolia: it was loved by scholars, authors and poets also by government people, trades and public and was owned gradually increasing interest. This valuable book was read by men-women, old-young at all levels throughout centuries; it was told to members of the tariqah(path) and to public by Mathnawi readers, it was translated and explained by many scientists and men of sufism, many selections were taken, it was organized according to the subjects, dictionaries were prepared and it was the inspiration to other, works and the products of art and literature.


This work which means “There is in it what is in it” was written in Persian prose. It is a form of organized chats of Mawlana Rumi by his friends and relatives most probably by Sultan Walad. (Likewise according to custom, the work Maarif by Sultanu’l-Ulema and BahaeddinWalad and the work Makalat by Muhakkik-i Tirmizi and Shams-i Tebrizi were written after the chats at their gatherings.) The name Fihi ma fih was not used in the old copies, as a title “Esraru’l-Celaliyye” was used.
Fihi ma fih is a medium volume work which consists of various chapters. Numbers of the chapters are different in various copies but there are more than 70 chapters in printed copies. In some parts of the book it was addressed to the famous Seljuk vizier Muineddin Pervane and Shams, Seyyid Burhaneddin and Salahaddin-i Zerkub were mentioned. This work shows Mawlana Rumi’s religious and sufistic point of views and his ideas in various subjects in a clearer and barer way compared to Mathnawi. This work that was written in a very plain Persian is also an important source which demonstrates some characteristics of that period. The chapters start as answers to a question or an announcement of an event or description of a hadith or verse. Moreover, tasavvufi menkıbeler, classical east stories, legends and stories were used, tyranny of Mongollar was mentioned and their defeat was indicated.
This work which did not gain the fame Mathnawi and Diwan-ı Kebir got, had 36 written copies in Mawlana Rumi Bibliography. First printing of the work was in 1318/ 1900 and 1333-4 / 1915- 6 in Iran and in 1929 Fihi ma fih’s scientific publication was done by sincere scientist Bediuzzama Furuzanfet from Iran in India (Tahran 1951), finally this word’s commentary publication was done by Cafer Muderris-i Sadikl one mom time and this work was published in Tahran under the name of Makalat-1 Mawlana Rum ؛ (Fihi ma fih) in 1994.
Fihi ma fih was translated by our last Mathnawi expert Ahmed Avni Konuk (dth.1938), this translation which consisted of 73 chapters was published with new letters/alphabet by Selçuk Eraydın in 1994 in Istanbul later the death of the translator.
Second translation was done by Meliha Ulker Tarıkaya (Anbarcıoğlu). This translation that consists of 61 chapters and published by B. Furuzanfer was published in 1954 by Turkish Ministry of Education.
Finally, Abdulbaki Gölpınarlı thought these two translations were not enough and he rearranged the text (which had not been published) and published the translation from this text in 1959 in Istanbul.
Fihi ma fih was translated and published in Urdu language in 1929 by Abdulmecid and in 1991 by Abdurreşid Tebessum. It was also translated into English by A. J. Arberry (New York, 1972) and Wheeler Thackston (Putney, VT, 1994); into French by Eva de Vitray - Meyerovitch (Paris, 1976) and into German by Annemarie Schimmel (Munich, 1988).


This work was formed by gathering the letters written by Mawlana Rumi to his relatives, friends, some scientists, especially to government people and to important people. These letters in many of which someone was being advice or a solution to someone’s trouble was being searched were written in various reasons. This work was important at the period of Mawlana Rumi’s.
B.Furuzanfer makes the following observation on Maktubat’s style and importance: “When the style of the letters are analyzed, it should be placed among the writings that also have no indication of art plays as it was written in a plain style. By leaving aside the titles that causes heavy burden to art, other parts are plain. Sometimes it is so eloquence, so exciting and so effective. (...) In relation with the subjects of the letters, by the eloquent Arabic and Persian poems, Qur’an verses and hadiths donate hundred types of beauties.” “It is essential to read the letters in order to enlighten the life of Mawlana Rumi and understand Mathnawi. Many characteristics of Mawlana Rumi’s life style, explanation of Aflaki and the indefinite subjects in hi Menakib is only possible with the help of the letters.”
The Persian text of this work whose copies are rare was corrected by the last sheikh of Uskudar Mawlawihanesi Ahmed Remzi Akyurek (1872- 1944) and it was published under the name of “Mawlana Rumi’s Letters” by our famous medical historians Prof. Dr. Feridun Nafiz Uzluk (1902 - 1974). In this text there are 147 letters. There is an introduction on the 1 - 27 pages about the content by Uzluk. At the beginning of the Turkish side (p.I -IV) there is a teller of the works of Mawlana Rumi by the last sheikh of Mawlana Rumi Dergah (dervish convent) Walad Chalabi (1867 - 1953); there is the same takrizi in Persian at the beginning of the Persian side and a preface by Ahmed Remzi Akyurek and another takrizi by Hüseyin Daniş (p. 6-7). This copy was being criticized by the old teachers of Darülfünun and by Şerafeddin Yaltkaya (1879 - 1947) who was one of the Presidents of the Religious Affairs. Abdulkadir Gölpınarlı who thought the 21 Maktubat text was insufficient took the 79 numbered copy in the library of Mawlana Rumi Museum as a base and by comparing the 6 written copies he re-structured the text (which was published), translated it and he published with valuable notes in Istanbul in 1963. Finally, the criticized text of the Maktubat was published in Tahran by Tevfik Subhani in 1371/1992.


It is a prose work consisting of seven sermons of Mawlana Rumi in Persian. These sermons were most probably written by Sultan Walad or Chalabi Husameddin however they were not left as the way they had been told, by keeping the original format they were all checked and some additions were done.
The sermons in the work start with a chosen introduction consists of munacat, na’t and pray sentences; some topics such as spoiling of the society, avoiding sins, power of belief, good worship were explained with stories under the light of verse hadiths. There are quotations from the words of mutasavvıf poets Senai and Attar from whom Mawlana Rumi was effected and couplets from Diwan-1 Kebir and Mathnawi in this book. Majalis- i Saba is especially important as it reflects Mawlana Rumi’s thoughts before he met Shams.
This is a small work whose copies are rare. The Persian text which was corrected by Ahmed Remzi Akyurek was published under the name of "Mawlana Rumi’s Seven Advice” by foe translation of Kitapçı Rizeli M. Hulusi. Walad Chalabi’s introduction at the beginning of printed Maktubat was also placed at the beginning of Majalis-i Saba with some additions. In this book there is also a research writing which is 108 pages on the lives of Sultanu’l Ulema, Mawlana Rumi and Shams-i Tebriz, the introduction of F.Nafız Uzluk who was in charge of printing of the book and a preface of the proofreader.
This text and the translation which were created with basis of the copy from Istanbul Selimağa Library h.788 dated responding foe one in Konya Mawlana Rumi Museum h.753 dated were not liked by Abdulbaki Gölpınarlı who reflected his dislike by saying: “This job could not be succeeded because of the correction and translation faults by Dr. F.N. Uzluk who attempted to do the job with good will.” For this reason, by taking the 79th numbered copy in foe library of Mawlana Rumi Museum as a base, he retranslated it which was published in 1965 in Konya. The text of the writing which belongs to Majahs-i Sab’a was published in Tahran by Tevfik Subhani in 1986 ( 1994).

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yakup Şafak