In recent years the stirring, unforgettable poetry of Jalālu’l-Dīn Rūmī (1207–1273), the great Sūfi teacher and the greatest mystical poet of Iran, has gained tremendous popularity in the western world. Although he died over 700 years ago, his poetry is timeless. In the best modern translations, the passion and playfulness of his words reach across the ages to communicate themselves to people today with an undiluted fervor and excitement.
Rūmī produced an enormous body of work — as many as 2,500 mystical odes, 25,000 rhyming couplets, and 1,600 quatrains — some of it instructional, some personal and emotional, much of it sublimely beautiful. The present volume includes over 100 of his finest lyrics, including “The Marriage of True Minds,” “The Children of Light,” “The Man who Looked Back on his way to Hell,” “The Ascending Soul,” “The Pear-Tree of Illusion,” “The Riddles of God,” and many more.
“In some of these poems,” says A. J. Arberry in the Introduction, “the mystic’s passion is so exuberant, his imagination so overflowing, that we catch glimpses of the very madness of Divine experience.”