KARACHI: “The place of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi in the history of religions is like a bridge between faiths and beliefs of the world, as he perceived religion in a broad spectrum. Famous Sufi Shamsuddin of Tabriz was not the spiritual instructor of Rumi, the greatest mystical poet of all time.”

Mohammad Rasheed Noorani, a prominent intellectual and educationist, expressed these views while speaking at a literary event entitled ‘Chiragh-i-Ma’arfat: Recitation of Rumi’s Mystical Poetry’ held at the Arts Council on Sunday evening.

The night of mystical love poems of Rumi interspersed with anecdotes from Masnavi was recited soulfully by Rasheed Noorani. Farah Yasmeen, the wife of Mr Noorani, rendered the translations of the original verses into Urdu and English.

Mr Noorani heads the Continuing Education Programme at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, and has taught elective courses on the relationship between Maulana Rumi and Shams Tabriz.

Rasheed Noorani recited six ghazals from Divan-i-Shams Tabrizi, aka Divan-i- Kabir, and narrated two anecdotal stories from Masnavi to enthral the small but knowledgeable audience.

All pieces recited were set to Persian tunes that were performed live on the stage as the background to the recital.

Mr Noorani, talking to Dawn, said that Rumi perceived religion in a broad spectrum. Rumi believes that the blessings of God are like the sun, which shines and benefits everyone, he said, adding that according to Rumi every human is equal in the view of God, who loves His creatures. Rumi’s broad vision about humanity made him a bridge between different faiths of the world.

But his meeting with Shams Tabriz is the key to his inclusivity, he said, adding that Shams operated beyond form and doctrine.

Mr Noorani told the audience that Shams once said that if the Ka’aba were suddenly lifted out of the world, we would see that each person would be really bowing (five times a day) to every other person. In other words, if the icons of religions could dissolve, we would be left with the radiance of one another.

He said it was a wrong perception that Shams Tabriz was the spiritual instructor of Rumi. Both the great personalities were great friends and had enormous love and respect for each other.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2019