Saviours of Islamic Spirit - Mawlana Jalal-ud-din Rumi (RA)

The World of the Heart
The message of love diffused so vigorously by Rumi could not have taken roots without a liveliness and warmth in the heart of those to whom it was addressed. In his lime too, however, people were increasingly losing sight of the power and efficacy, vigour and energy possessed by the heart. Intellect was gaining ascendancy over heart : mind was being enlightened leaving the heart dull and cool. The instigating self of man, comprising appetite and earthly temptations, was taking hold of him as a result of his worldly pursuits. Rumi called attention towards the fathom­less 'vitality of the spiritual entity residing in the human heart; he narrated its wonders and miracles. He reminded that every man has a world of his own which can accommodate the most far-flung empires of this earth without any danger of its being devastated by the enemy.
"Heart is the abode of peace, O friend ; 'tis a country, Whose citadel is strong, wherein reigns peace and amity."
The heart is abode of security, O friends; (it has) fountains and rose-gardens within rose-gardens." Rumi says that the gardens of our terrestrial world are short­lived, but those of the heart of man are everlasting; the former take a long time in being raised and implanted but can be laid waste in no time while the latter can instantly be brought into being without any danger of its ever withering away.
"The flowers that grow from plants are (living but) a moment; the flowers that grow from Reason are (ever) fresh.
The flowers that bloom from earth become faded; the Mowers that bloom from the heart-oh, what a joy!";
Rumi tells us that instead of directing our efforts to the pursuits of worldly pleasures and carnal enjoyment, we should endeavour to drink the elixir of Divine love, for only this can transmute our souls into a majestic and lofty state, enabling us to enjoy the bloom of true happiness, irrespective of our station and age.
"Eat your heart (in love of God), that you may be young always, (and that) your Visage (may be rosy) with Divine illumination, like the arghawan? (pink blossom of the Judas tree)
To become intoxicating thyself like wine (of divine love) seek a heart, good and purer; It shall make thee smiling and cheerful like a flower."
Rumi, however, rings a note of caution that one should not be misled by the mention of 'heart' by him. He does not mean the heart that abides in the body and throbs, which is a seat of carnal desires and sexual appetites, completely oblivious of the taste of love and the richness of conviction, devoid of the frenzy of spiritual passion, and whose garden never blooms. That is not a human heart-it is a slab of stone.
"Is narrow and dark as the souls of Jews, (being) destitute of (spiritual) savour of the loving King.
Neither has the radiance of the Sun shown into that heart, nor js there (in it any) spaciousness or opening of the door.'"
This heart too, undoubtedly, resembles the heart of an illuminated person, in its shape and make, but it really bears no relation to the other except that both are denoted by a common name. Water is the name for both-that which is found in a swamp and that which flows in a river; but, one can quench the thirst by the latter while the former being mixed with dust and filth is quite useless. The two hearts differ exactly in the same manner; one belongs to those who are saints and sages, having a purer and elevated soul, while the other throbs in the body of an uncouth libertine, no better than a dead-weight and a piece of flesh :
"You say, 'I too have a heart'; (but) the heart is above the empyrean, it is not below.
Certainly in the dark earth also there is water, but 't is not proper for you to wash your hands with that water,
Because, though it is water, it is overcome by the earth. Do not, then, say of your heart, 'This too is a heart.
The heart that is higher than the heavens is the heart of the saint or the prophet."
Rumi, then, holds out hope for the common herd as well. He says that the human heart is, after all, a precious treasure which is never discarded by God. He is willing to accept every heart presented to Him, for He has not an eye on the profit.
"(There) that Gracious One hath purchased the piece of goods that no people would look at on account of its shabbiness.
With Him no base coin is rejected, for His object in buying is not (to make a) profit."
Rumi advises that since the belly of man is a veil between him and the Supreme Being, it should be cast aside. Once man rises above carnal appetites and earthly desires, the mysteries of the spiritual realm are laid bare before him.
"Leave the belly and stride towards the heart inspirit), in order that the salutation may come to you from God without (any) veil."

Place and Worth of Humanity
The autocratic kingdoms of the middle ages, their unjust and tyrannical ways of government along with the continued warfare between powerful despots, which always held a bleak future for the people, had, in consequence, brought about a sense of despondency and inferiority amongst the people. The people had lost their worth in their own eyes. In this atmosphere of mental torpor came the Iranian mysticism which zealously propagated the negative doctrine of fana, or annihilation, which meant the loss of ego and a passing away of the human consciousness in a mystical union. The inevitable result of these teachings was that the ideas of self-affirmation and self-perfection, which are at the root of courage and manliness, struggle and betterment, had come to be looked down upon as unpardonable spiritual sins. The Iranian mysticism, in its zeal to propagate the cultivation of divine attri­butes and the absorption of individual self in the Universal Ego through annihilation of the Self, had depicted such an enlarged portrait of the baser elements in the human self that one felt ashamed of the manhood. It had come to regard the negation of mandom as the ultimate end. This spirit of non-worldliness and renunciation of physical activity, denigration of humanity and the negation of Self had also made inroads into the literary composi­tions of the time. The doctrine preaching negation of the world and life had imperceptibly brought the urge of life to a standstill within the people who were overtaken by a sense of dejection and helplessness, and who sometimes regarded themselves as baser than even the beasts and vegetable growths. Man had thus become completely oblivious of his exalted position in this universe and the boundless possibilities of his spiritual and material progress through the unfolding of individual potentialities. In order to remove this misunderstanding and rectify this defect, Rumi forcefully expounded the theory of the exalted position enjoyed by man, in his own inimitable style, which lit the flame of self-affirmation, hope and confidence in the hearts of men. The melodius epics elevating the position of man, sung by Rumi, have had a far-reaching effect on the subsequent Islamic poetry and opened a new vista of thought for the mystics and poets after him.
Rumi invites man's attention to his unique creation as a human being. This is a Divine boon, he asserts, and a special favour from God ; His robe of honour, prepared and reserved for Adam's progeny alone. This 'human creation' has been repeatedly referred to by God in the Quran in the eulogistic expression of Ahsan-i-Taqwim, that is, of the best stature.
"Read in {the Sura entitled) Wa'l-Tin (the words), (We created Man] in the best proportion, for the spirit, O friend, is a precious pearl.
(That spirit created) in the best proportion surpasses the empyrean: (that spirit created) in the best proportion is beyond (the range of) thought."
Rumi asks: Who else except man was crowned with the epithets, "IVe have honoured the children of Adam"* and "We have given thee Abundance" by the Lord of the Worlds?
"Did this heaven ever hear (the words) We have honoured which this sorrowful Man heard (from God) ?'
The tiara of We have honoured (the sons of Adam] is on the crown of thy head ; the collar of We have given thee hangs on thy breast."
Rumi tells us that man is the centre and essence of this universe ; lie unites the inward and outward aspects of all crea­tions; he is the source of all goodness and beauty in the world ; he is the best of creations; in short, he comprises a universe in his own self.
"(He is) a sun hidden in a mote: suddenly that mote opens its mouth (and reveals the sun).
The heavens and the earth crumble to atoms before that Sun when he springs forth from ambush.
Thou art the sea of knowledge hidden in a dewdrop ; thou art the universe hidden in a body three ells long."
Man, Rumi says further, is the ultimate end of creation and it is for him alone that the universe was created by God. The entire creation, therefore, is bound to serve him.
"Every wine is the slave of this (comely) figure and (fair) cheek (of thine): all the drunken feel envy of thee.
Thou hast no need of rosy wine: take leave of (its) rosiness, thou (thyself) art (its) rosiness.
Man is the substance, and the celestial sphere is his accident; all things are (like) a branch or the step of a ladder: he is the object.
Thou seekest knowledge from books-oh, ridiculous ! Thou seekest pleasure from halwa (sweetmeats)-oh, ridiculous !
Service to thee is imposed on all existence as a duty: how should a substance beg for help from an accident?"
And this is not all, man displays the Divine attributes and is a medium through whom God reflects His signs and lustre of bene­ficence.
"Adam is the astrolabe of the attributes of (Divine) Sublimity: the nature of Adam is the theatre for His revelations.
Whatever appears in him (Adam) is the reflection of Him, just as the moon is reflected in the water of the river.
Know that (the world of) created beings is like pure and limpid water in which the attributes of the Almighty are shining.
Their knowledge and their justice and their clemency are like a star of heaven (reflected) in running water."
Rumi, however, still not satisfied that he has been able to narrate sufficiently the excellence of the son of Adam, adds that it is, in reality, something which cannot be described fully.
"If I declare the value of this inaccessible (pearl), I shall be consumed, and the hearer too will be consumed."
And who can really assess the worth of man, a creation so sublime and grand, but the pity is that man himself does not know how precious he is. He is ever willing to sell himself at a trifling price.
O thou to whom reason and foresight and intelligence are slaves, how art thou selling thyself so cheaply?"1 Rumi then says that Allah is Himself the purchaser of man, for only He knows the worth of His supreme creation :
"He is our Purchaser- God hath purchased: hark, rise above anxiety for any (other) purchaser.
Seek the Purchaser who is seeking thee, One who knows thy beginning and end. "
But Rumi adds that the qualities of head and heart which make man a human being are born in those who cultivate them and not in those who remain beasts in the garb of men, nor yet in those who have been led astray by their carnal desires and the temptations of their baser-self. Those who lack these qualities are not men but lifeless caricatures of human beings :
"These (others) are not men, they are (mere) forms: they are dead with (desire for) bread and killed by appetite."
It was, however, difficult to find in the days of Rumi, as in every other age, those who could be called human beings in the true sense of the word. An overwhelming majority of the people who passed under the name of human beings were no better than beasts and reptiles in their conduct and behaviour, and Rumi had grown weary of them. Being himself in search of man, he has given expression to his quest in this parable :
"Yesterday, with a lamp, the Sheikh went round the city.
'Tired of these beasts, a man I want,' (said he),
'These easy-going mates, they have sickened me.'
'A lion of God ; or Rustam, the son of Zal, That's now my fancy.'
'He is not to be found, I have sought him long' said I; 'A thing not to be found ? That's what I desire, said he.'