Foreign Policy Blogs

Rumi is 800 this year

Rumi is 800 this yearThe poet Rumi, who is celebrated now in American poetry circles for his poems of love, would be 800 this year.  Jalal ad-Din Rumi was born in the year B.C.E. 1207 (that's a politically-correct A.D., more or less) in what is now Afghanistan; his family moved from Afghanistan during the Mongol invasions, travelling through Central Asia to Baghdad, Mecca, Damascus, and eventually settling in Western Turkey.

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.   

Rumi is closely identified with Sufi mysticism.  He was also a composer of music.  The Freer-Sackler Gallery in Washington DC (part of the Smithsonian Institution) had a celebratory evening earlier this month, featuring his music as played by Turkey's Ahmet Ozhan ensemble (please excuse, Mr. Ozhan, the lack of proper diacritical marks on your name).  The Embassy of Turkey to the United States sponsored this first event of the Freer-Sackler's year of Rumi celebrations.  Mr. Ozhan is considered the premier interpreter of the music of Jalal ad-Din Rumi.

The Freer-Sackler will continue to celebrate the many accomplishments of this world literary and religious figure throughout the year.  If you can't get to the Freer, however, you can still read the world's best-selling author by visiting your local book shop, and you can find more information about this revered author, composer, and religious figure at the following sites:

Quotes from Rumi's work
A quick biography
Deciding on a Rumi translation
The Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution

Special thanks this week to everyone who wrote in to comment!