By Dr A Q Khan
June 29, 2015
Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi’s work is well known to those who speak Urdu and Persian. His
Masnavi is world famous and has been dubbed as “the Quran in the Persian
Maulana Rumi and Omar Khayyam are the two
Persian poets/writers who are extremely popular in the west and whose works
have been translated into a number of European languages. Omar Khayyam’s work
(Rubaiyat) consists of romantic poetry while Jalaluddin Rumi’s work is
spiritual and highly instructive.
There are many translations of Rumi’s
Masnavi into Urdu, a few of which I am familiar with. These are: 1) Shibli’s
Biography of Maulana Rumi; 2) Qazi Sajjad Hussain’s Urdu Poetic Translation of
Rumi’s Masnavi; 3) Sqd. Leader Waliuddin’s Subak-e-Sel, Masnavi and 4) Maulana
Shah Hakim Muhammad Akhtar’s Marif-e-Masnavi.
Because of the sanctity of the holy month
of Ramazan, I don’t feel like writing about the dirty politics prevailing in
the country. My last few columns on ablutions, bathing, namaz, zakat and the
benefits of Namaz on health have all led up to the strictures of Ramazan.
Because Rumi is a highly respected personality and is famous for the divinely
inspired Masnavi, I would like to quote from his works for the benefit of those
who are not very familiar with his work.
First Some Information on the Life Of
was born Muhammad Jalaluddin, but was commonly known as Maulana Rumi. He was
born in 1207 in Balkh and belonged to the family of the first Prophet, Abu
Bakr. He was the grandson of King Khwarism Shah and his father was Shaikh
Bahauddin. In 1213 the family migrated to Neshapur and there Rumi met the most
famous, illustrious religious scholar of his time, Shaikh Fariduddin Attar, who
presented his famous book, Asrar Nama, to him. Rumi married at the age of 18
and when he was 25 they migrated to Damascus for higher learning and from there
to Konia. It was here that he met the famous saint, Shams Tibriz, and became
his disciple. His famous Masnavi was written in 1263 and he died in 1273 in
Konia at the age of 68 and was buried there.
Rumi’s style of writing in the Masnavi is
very interesting and captivating. His descriptive essays are highly instructive
and laced with invaluable comments, suggestions and advice. According to
Maulana Shah Hakim Muhammad Akhtar, no other book in Persian contains such
complicated and difficult matters, yet these are dealt with in simplicity and
lucidity. It is not only a book of philosophy, but also one of learning, faith
and spirituality. Those who are familiar with the works of Shaikh Saadi will
notice a certain resemblance between the writings of these two great saints.
While the Masnavi contains old stories
retold in a simple way, these have been illuminated with instructions and
guidance. Here follows one such story: A companion of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)
became seriously ill. The Prophet (pbuh) went to enquire after his health. He
found him to be extremely sick and weak, almost dead. The Prophet (pbuh) showed
great concern and affection, which made the patient relaxed and happy. He
praised his sickness, saying that it was because of it that the Prophet (pbuh)
had come to see him.
After having enquired about his health, the
Prophet (pbuh) asked him whether he remembered what he used to pray and ask for
from the Almighty when he was healthy. He replied that he always prayed to
Allah to punish him in this world and in the hereafter for his wrongdoings. Now
he was in such a condition that he could not even offer regular, normal
prayers. The Prophet (pbuh) showed visible signs of displeasure and anger and
instructed him never to pray in that fashion again. He called prayer of that
kind a negation of Allah’s Greatness and Magnanimity, a Kufr to ask Allah for
trouble while giving the impression that he was strong enough to face the wrath
and chastisement of Allah.
Then he advised that one should always pray
to Allah to be Kind, Magnificent and Beneficent to gain the best in this world
and in the hereafter. With this anecdote as background, Maulana Rumi advised
that one should always pray to Allah for safety and tranquillity in both worlds
while expressing one’s weakness and helplessness and should never ask for
Allah’s wrath and punishment. If someone is unwell, we should pray for that
person’s recovery and, at the same time, seek out a good physician for proper
treatment. One should never wish for death when seriously ill, but should
beseech Allah to forgive one’s sins and give health and tranquillity.
Another story goes that once an aged person
was praying in the sun when shade was available. A religious scholar saw him
and reprimanded him by saying that he was going to land himself in trouble by
doing so. The moral of the story was that when something could be done conveniently
and comfortably, inconvenience and discomfort should not be opted for. Maulana
Rumi mentioned a Hadith-e-Nabvi in this respect saying that whenever the
Prophet (pbuh) had a choice of two options, he always chose the most convenient
and comfortable one, provided it was not sinful or forbidden.
This is the holy month of Ramazan, about
which it is said that, during this month, all the doors of Jannat are opened
and all the doors of Dozakh are closed. However, it should be remembered that
this does not mean that one can indulge in all sorts of wrongdoings like
corruption, hoarding, illegal increase of prices, adulteration, hypocrisy,
fighting, etc. without fear of punishment. No one will escape the wrath of
Allah. The Almighty has clearly ordained that He is a great Forgiver, Kind and
Benevolent, but that His Wrath and Chastisement is awful and extremely painful.
Tailpiece: The scorching heat and load
shedding has taken its toll. Almost a thousand people have died, greatly
because of load shedding and subsequent heat stroke. I’m sure we all remember
how, before the last elections, Shahbaz Sharif boasted that the problem would
be solved within six months and that he later camped at Minar-e-Pakistan to
ridicule the Zardari government.
The situation is now even worse. The money
spent on showpieces like the metro-bus could have been more usefully utilised
for energy production. Then we also witnessed the false promises of 50,000MW
power for the next 500 years with Rs1 billion revenue per day to come from the
Reko Diq mines. Unfortunately, our country is full of liars and cheats with no
accountability to make them pay for their misdeeds. Allah’s wrath is truly
terrible and will fall on the wrongdoers, even if they seem to have respite for
the time being.
To be continued