The Rumi Studies Group

A one day seminar at IAIS
Legacy of Rumi (d. 1273) in Later Islamic Philosophy and Poetry

Various speakers
9am, Saturday 3 December 2011. Download Legacy of Rumi programme

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The Rumi Studies Group supports scholarship, publication and research into the philosophical poetics, mystical teachings and legacy of Mawlana (an honorific meaning ‘Our master’) Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273) - arguably the most important Sufi poet in the Islamic world. In the USA, Rumi has been at the best-selling poet for several decades now.

One of the most prolific poets in any language in the world, his lyrical output amounts to some 35,000 verses (3230 ghazals composed in the widest variety of metrical patterns ever used by any Persian poet), while his epic mystical work, the Mathnawi, totals over 25,000 verses.

In modern Turkey, even though all his works were in Persian, he is currently considered to be a Turkish national icon, his death-day celebrated by a special national holiday (Dec. 17th) every year, during which the President, Prime Minister and other dignitaries all gather in Konya (the city where he lived most of his life and died) to give speeches about his poetry, mysticism, importance and influence, and to watch the Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi Sufi Order (originally founded by Rumi) perform their sacred dance. His poetry is also a source of national pride in Iran and Afghanistan, where his iconic cultural stature is akin to Shakespeare in Great Britain. While Rumi’s importance has been recognized in Persianate countries for over a century now (scholarship and research on his oeuvre is a large industry in Turkey and Iran), in the West his popularity has only recently reached a stage where a journal devoted to legacy and thought is demanded. For this reason, the Rumi Studies Group at the Centre of Persian and Iranian Studies at the IAIS and the Rumi Institute, Near East University, Cyprus, has inaugurated the publication of the Mawlana Rumi Review.