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Jan 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/28/99
I am forwarding below post from soc.culture.iranian. By mistake, they are
referring to Rumi as a Turkish nationality. But, it might be of interest to

US National Public Radio program on Rumi's Sufi music.

Most stations which carry this program will air it this
weekend.. check the website for local listings (some international
stations carry it also) and info about the program -

>From the web page:

Program 404: Week of January 24, 1999

Scholar, poet, saint . . . the 13th century Turkish mystic, Mevlana
Jalal al-Din Rumi, known as Rumi, gave his name to the Sufi sect
called the Mevlevi, whose traditions include whirling dervishes,
inspirational stories, and music of surpassing beauty. Host Ellen
Kushner delves into the spirit and poetry of this remarkable man, with
a look at brand-new translations of his verse that are touching a
chord across America, and new releases of music inspired by his life
and work.


Jan 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/30/99
I think the below posting should not be called a "mistake". Mevlana was not
born in Anatolia (which is now where the modern Turkish Republic is
situated) but his entire work was written and done at Konya, which is a
Turkish city. It is only fair to call him Turkish not only for that ,but his
family lived in that country ever since, for more than 700 years! They did
became a Turkish family.

It is common practice to call someone from a country if they lived most of
their life there or do the things they are famous of there, even if they are
not born there. Is Hitler a German? (He was born in Austria.) Is Haendel
English? Is Rifat Ozbek (the houte couteur designer) English? (He was born
in Turkey.) The list is endless.

Anyway, understanding the feelings of other natianals, my wife (who is the
22nd grand-daughter of Mevlana) and I had decided not to call Mevlana as
Turkish when creating the web site We called him
Anatolian for which I hope there will be no dispute. Please feel free to
visit the site.

All the best.


Mahmoud <> wrote in message

Ibrahim Gamard

Jan 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/31/99
Dear Riza,
As-salāmu `alaykum,

This topic is certainly a controversial one, since Mawlānā Jalāluddīn
Muhammad (may God sanctify his soul) is claimed by the countries of Türkiye,
Irān, and Afghanistān as "theirs." I think it is fair to call him by the more
neutral term "Anatolian," as you do on your very nice website
( ), since he spent most of his life in the geographical
area known as Anatolia. To say he was a "Turkish mystic" has a similar meaning,
since the area is now called the Republic of Türkiye, but it has the difficulty
of implying that the language in which he communicated his mysticism was
Turkish, which is not the case. About 99% of his poetry is in Persian and 1% in
Arabic (he wrote much more Arabic poetry than most people realize, but it is
unfortunately not very accessible in the Arabic-speaking world today). There
are occasional Turkish and Greek words and phrases in his poetry. Turkish
scholars have, as one would expect, researched everything that could possibly
have been composed by Mawlana (spelled "Mevlana" in Türkiye) in the Turkish

The city he spent most of his life in, spelled in his day "Qūniya," now
spelled "Konya," had been known for over a thousand years as "Iconium"-- a
Greek city. In the New Testament, the Christian missionary Paul is mentioned as
visting and preaching in Iconium on three occasions. The Anatolian region had
long been called "Rūm" by the Arabs (and a chapter, or sūra, of the Qur'ān is
called "Rūm"), since it was ruled by the Byzantine Empire, formerly the Eastern
Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Constantine founded Constantinople (now called
Istanbul) as his capital. The people who lived in "Rūm" were called in Persian
"Rūmiy-ān" and an individual would be called so-and-so the "Rūmī," or person
from the land of "Rūm."

After the Saljuq Turks defeated the Byzantine armies, they ruled most of
Anatolia, and made Iconium their capital their capital in 1097, calling it
"Qūniya." By the time Mawlana's father was invited to move with his family to
Konya, the city had been the Saljuq capital for over 130 years. However, it
seems likely that the majority of common people there still spoke Greek in
Mawlana's day. Since the Saljuq Turks had been moving through Central Asia for
centuries, they had long been influenced by Islamic Persian culture. As a
result, the rulers and most-educated Saljuqs understood Persian and had the
highest respect for Persian-speaking scholars such as Mawlana's father. And, of
course, such Persian-speaking scholars were highly educated in Arabic, not only
the Qur'ān and Traditions of the Prophet, but other Arabic classics.
Persian-speaking sufis were also very familiar with Quranic verses and
Prophetic sayings in Arabic. For example, the conversations of Shams-é Tabrīz,
preserved in Persian as the "Maqālāt-é Shams-é Tabrīzī," is filled with quotes
from the Qur'ān, sayings of the Prophet, and has a very high percentage of
Arabic vocabulary.

As for Mawlana's ancestry, his family was from the region of Balkh (now
located in the country of Afghanistan). Balkh had for centuries been a center
of Islamic learning after the Arab conquest (about 711). Balkh was an extremely
ancient city (and was called the "Mother of Cities." It was in a
Persian-speaking area of eastern Persia, the land believed to be where
Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism lived. Due to the centuries-old
westward influx of Turks, it is possible that by Rumi's day many people in the
Balkh area had some Turkic ancestry. The most prominent families certainly must
have taken pride in their Arab ancestry. Mawlana's ancestry probably was part
Arab, but the claims by Aflākī in his hagiography of Mawlana (known as
"Manāqib-é `Ārifīn," written in 1353) that Mawlana was a descendent of Abu
Bakr, the Prophet Muhammad's first successor, as well as being the grandson of
a royal princess (the daughter of the King of Khorasan) are believed by
scholars to be fictions added to his life in order to strengthen his reputation
as a special saint.

According to one scholar, Mawlana was probably not born in Balkh (a
metropolis prior to the Mongol invasion), but in a small town about 90 miles
east in the valley of Wakhsh River, which flows into the Amu Darya (Oxus)
River. Since this region is north of the Amu Darya, it is in present-day
Tajikistan. This area, culturally a part of Balkh, is where Mawlana's father,
Baha'uddin Walad, was a preacher and jurist [111]. He lived and worked there
between 1203 and 1211 and then in Samarqand in the year 1212 [112]. He
presumably returned to Balkh, since he and his family emigrated from there to
Anatolia about 1216 or 1217 [113]. It must also be kept in mind that
Bahau'uddin was called the "Great Master of Balkh," (Khodāwandgār-é Balkh) and
that Mawlana's earliest biographers mentioned only Balkh as the family's
origin. Therefore, Mawlana's father must also have been very active in Balkh as
a preacher, scholar, and spiritual leader with numerous disciples-- and not
merely a rural preacher. He was a "Balkhī," a man of Balkh.

111. Schimmel, I Am Wind, You Are Fire, p. 11, where she refers to an (1989)
article by Fritz Meier: "Afghan and Persian admirers still prefer to call
Jalaluddin 'Balkhi' because his family lived in Balkh before migrating
westward. However, their home was not in the actual city of Balkh, since the
mid-eighth century a center of Muslim culture in Khorasan (now Afghanistan).
Rather, as the Swiss scholar Fritz Meier has shown, it was in the small town of
Wakhsh north of the Oxus that Baha'uddin Walad, Jalaluddin's father, lived and
worked as a jurist and preacher with mystical inclinations." Wakhsh is
mentioned once in the Mathnawi, IV: 3319. It is mentioned in Mawlana's father's
book of sermons (Ma'arif), Vol. I, p. 345, 355, 369; Vol. II, p. 61, 138. It is
also mentioned in Aflaki, p. 33.
112. Bausani, p. 393 [ "Djalāl al-Dīn Rūmī." In The Encyclopaedia of Islam: New
Edition, Vol. II (C-G), pp. 393-397. London: Luzac & Co., 1965], who cites
Faruzanfar's Introduction (pp. 37-38) to the Ma'arif of Mawlana's father,
Baha Walad. Baha Walad refers therein to the kingdom and the Sultan of Wakhsh.
113. Bausani, p. 393.
--adapted from the Introduction to the unpublished manuscript "The Quatrains of
Rumi," by Ibrahim Gamard and Ravan Farhadi


Based on the above, the government of Tajikistan could also claim Mawlana
as being a Persian-speaking Tājik from their country!

It is certainly true that Mawlana's family soon became a Turkish family,
and a very prominent one indeed during the past 700 years. I would like to
point out to the readers the special significance of Riza Pacalioglu's
reference to his wife as the
22nd grand-daughter of Mevlana. Although there are thousands of descendants of
Jalaluddin Rumi's family in Turkey (and Syria) today, the reference here is to
a very special branch of this family who have been the continuous hereditary
leaders of the Mevlevi ("Whirling Dervish") Sufi Order, called the Chelebi
family. Mr. Pacalioglu's wife is the daughter of the late Jalaluddin Chelebi,
the previous leader of the Mevlevi Order. And she is the sister of the present
spiritual leader of the Mevlevi Order, the "Hazrat-é Chelebi" and holder of the
"Maqām-é Chelebi" (rank of chief Chelebi), whose name is Faruk Hemdem Celebi
(the 14th Chelebi, Farrukh Chelebi, died in 1591; the 25th Chelebi, Sa`īd
Hamdam Chelebi, died in 1858).

Sincerely and respectfully,

Ibrahim Gamard


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