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Mevlana :: Mevlana's Place in Mystic Literature

Mevlana's Place in Mystic Literature

A poet later wrote of Mevlana "Is there an adept whose master is not Mevlana..." Indeed the works of Mevlana had a great influence on the development not only of Islamic philosophy , but of mystical and poetic literature throughout the Islamic east. His mystical system had already attracted followers among the poets and writers of the day during his lifetime, and after his death, spread through his works into the madrasas and mystical convents opened in his name.

Yunus Emre, the 14th century Turkish poet, wrote: "Since the day the great Mevlana singled me out, His blessed visage has been mirrored in my heart".

This poet expresses, in his verse, the same kind of mystical approach as Mevlana, but interpreted for the first time in Turkish. He shared with Mevlana a similar mystical devotion, a similar understanding of universal love. Among the other devotees of Mevlana from the same period are Asik Pasha and Ahmet Gulsehri, who express their reverence for him in their works. Others to follow in his paths were the 15th century poet Huda Salih Dede; Rahmi and Fasih Dede, from the 16th century; the 18 th century poets Seyh Galip and Esrar Dede; and the 19th century poets Kececizade Izzet Molla, Enderunlu Fazil, Akif Pasha and Pertev Pasha, and Yenisehirli Avni, among countless others.

Mevlana is well known as a mystic throughout Islam, and particularly in Moslem Iran, Pakistan, Indian and Afghanistan, where he became especially widely read and interpreted after the 14th century. His lyric poems and quatrains are among the gems of popular literature, widely available and quoted by literate Moslems. Muhammed Ikbal, Pakistan's national poet was a great admirer of his works and claimed to have been much inspired by Mevlana.

The great mystic became known to western readers only in the mid- 19th century, with the first translation of his lyric poems into German by the Austrian historian Josef von Hammer . But since then his works have become the subject of serious study by western scholars in a number of countries and many extracts from his poems have been translated into European languages, selection from the Divan-i Kebir being first translated into German by the German poet Friedrich Ruckert; and from the Mesnevi by Georg Rosen. Later, the French orientalist, Clement Huart translated the Menakibname, Eflaki's famous work on the legend of Mevlana into French and R.A. Nicholson, of Cambridge University translated the entire Mesnevi into English with commentary. Study of the works of Mevlana was maintained by his successor, J. Arberry in later years. Research into h is life and works is now widespread in western academic circles. One of the scholars who has contributed a great deal to the growth of a popular appreciation and widespread understanding of his philosophy and works is Annemarie Schimmel of Harvard University in the U.S.A.

At an international Mevlana congress held triannually in Konya academicians from allover the world gather to discuss the works and mystical philosophy of this universal poet.


Above text and pictures are from the book titled "Mevlana and the Mevlana Museum".

You can purchase "Mevlana and the Mevlana Museum" book and other Turkey related books from Explore Turkey Bookstore.


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