My long-time dream came true when I visited Konya (Turkey) in the first week of April 2017, to pay my respects to the 13th century great Sufi saint, a dervish, philosopher, spiritual leader and a preacher of Divine love, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. Rumi do not belong to a particular religion or sect. His words of wisdom and his message of love is for all mankind, irrespective of their religious beliefs.
The ancient city of Konya is the second most visited city of Turkey after Istanbul. Apart from its historic significance, Konya has become a pilgrimage city not only for Muslims but also for people of other religions who seek spiritual guidance from Rumi’s poetry and treat Rumi as their spiritual leader. Rumi spent most of his life in Konya and was buried there. In 1927, his monastery was converted into a museum named as Mevlana Meuseze or the Maulana Museum. Maulana is a religious title for respect. In the west Maulana is known as Rumi and the museum named after him as Rumi Museum.
Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi was born in Balkh (now Afghanistan) in 1207 and came to Konya alongwith his parents when he was only 12 years old. Rumi became a great religious scholar of his time and started teaching Koran and Islamic Sharia to his students. After meeting with Shams Tabriz at the age of 37 his whole life changed. He became a whirling dervish and followed the footsteps of his Murshed Shams.
Shams Tabriz filled Rumi’s heart with Divine spiritual enlightenment and taught him the knowledge what he could not learn from the books. After that Rumi started writing poetry. He wrote 70,000 verses in a period of 25 years. Rumi’s poetry, written in the Persian language, has been translated in all the prominent languages of the world, and thus Rumi has become the best known, most respected and the most read poet of the world.
Rumi Museum is opened daily from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm and the admission is free. Before entering the Rumi’s shrine, everyone is required to wear thin plastic covers on shoes as respect for the holy place. In the main room there are many tombs of Rumi’s family and followers. Rumi’s tomb is covered with a large thick cloth embroidered in gold with a big green turban placed on it. Besides his tomb there is the tomb of Rumi’s father, Maulana Bahauddin Valed.
In the next room, placed in the glass cases are the hand written books of Rumi’s poetry written in Persian language, hand written Holy Quran in various periods, clothing belonging to Rumi and his son Sultan Veled, caps belonging to Rumi and his Murshed Shams Tebriz, etc. The next is the prayer room for men and women. The main shrine was built by Seljuk emperors while the rooms in front of the main shrine were added in the times of Ottoman Sultans and became a part of the Rumi Museum.
Rumi left this world on 17 December 1273. This day is remembered every year as his leaving this world and “wedding with God”. Every year, on 17 December, pilgrims from all over the world come to Konya to pay their respects to the 13th century great poet and Sufi saint. They participate in religious ceremonies and witness the whirling dervishes performing live in front of the pilgrims.