Wednesday, December 20, 2006

UNESCO names 2007 ‘Year of Rumi’

ISLAMABAD: The mystic literature of Islam is a source of inspiration and following its universal values of love, peace, harmony and tolerance can bridge the gap between the East and West, said [Pakistan's] Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Monday.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has designated the year 2007 as the ‘Year of Rumi’ to develop inter-faith dialogue and spread his message of humanism throughout the world.

Speaking as chief guest at the launch ceremony of Rumi Forum, Hussain said that Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi was the greatest Turkish Sufi inspirer and had championed the cause of peaceful co-existence and mutual respect. He said that through the forum, Rumi’s teachings would be made widely known to the people of Pakistan and the bond of friendship between the two countries would be strengthened.

The senator said that during his visit to the US, he inquired, at a number of popular bookstores, about who the most widely read Turkish poet was, and he was surprised to learn that it was Rumi. “If there is any general idea underlying Rumi’s poetry, it is the absolute love of Allah and his influence on the thought, literature and forms of aesthetic expression in the world of Islam,” he added.

2007 marks the 800th anniversary of the great spiritual and literary Muslim figure, Rumi. Born in Balkh, Afghanistan, in 1207, Rumi was a conservative cleric in his youth but upon his meeting with wandering dervish Shams Tabriz in 1247, he metamorphosed into an entirely different personality and from then on preached the message of Islam. His six-volume Mathnavi and Diwan Shams Tabriz were best sellers in the US and Europe. He was also a major influence on some of the most popular names in the Islamic world, including Allama Muhammad Iqbal, who considered himself as Rumi’s Hindi Mureed (Indian Disciple).

staff report/Daily Times, Pakistan


TomCat said...

Excellent article, Jude. The only conflicts between the different faiths occur, because fundamentalists insist that their access to divine revelation is exclusive and refuse to tolerate any who do not shair their dogma.