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View Full Version : The Erasure of Islam from the Poetry of Rumi



noraina
01-06-2017, 04:01 PM
Assalamu alaykum,

This is a fascinating and very well-written article. I've often felt when reading any English translations of Rumi's work that any solid references to Islam are taken away so that his poetry seems more 'spiritually universal'. I know not everyone agrees with his writings or aqeedah - but this is also looking at a general trend far beyond Rumi. It just seems so ironic that he is the best-selling poet of America and yet many who read his works will fail to realise that he was a Muslim and that the 'civilisation' and 'culture' they so love in his poetry in grounded in the Islamic world. As with so many aspects of 'Muslim' culture that are popular, there's been a real attempt to separate them from their Islamic roots as much as possible.

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-...poetry-of-rumi
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Born_Believer
01-07-2017, 10:00 PM
good read! I was surprised to read that Rumi is the best selling poet in the US. It's also sad that a lot of the english translations I have read of Rumi seem to have missed the point completely. I'll be looking forward to purer translations of his work.
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noraina
01-08-2017, 10:15 AM
Originally Posted by Born_Believer
good read! I was surprised to read that Rumi is the best selling poet in the US. It's also sad that a lot of the english translations I have read of Rumi seem to have missed the point completely. I'll be looking forward to purer translations of his work.
It is something I'd vaguely noticed before - most English translations of his work seem to miss the essence of his work, that he was describing his love for Allah swt and Islam. I suppose it comes from that Orientalist mind-set a lot of people had in the past when they would approach anything Eastern in nature.

It would be very interesting to see though how any truer translations would sell in the US.
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anatolian
01-08-2017, 10:55 AM
Teachings of Rumi are controversial to some. He can be regarded as the chief sufi scholar of the 13th century. But we come to the same sufi versus traditional Islam conflict again. Some non-Muslim mystics benefit from this conflict and try to patch him to irriligious miytisizm. For me he was just a good Muslim scholar and did a good job. These sufi scholars preached Islam and many non-Muslims became Muslims by their hands.
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noraina
01-08-2017, 01:12 PM
Originally Posted by anatolian
Teachings of Rumi are controversial to some. He can be regarded as the chief sufi scholar of the 13th century. But we come to the same sufi versus traditional Islam conflict again. Some non-Muslim mystics benefit from this conflict and try to patch him to irriligious miytisizm. For me he was just a good Muslim scholar and did a good job. These sufi scholars preached Islam and many non-Muslims became Muslims by their hands.
Yes, a lot of the time when discussing Rumi that 'Sufism vs Orthodox Islam' conflict arises, and I suppose those who then do translate his work emphasise that division to make his come across as somehow 'not really Muslim or influenced by Islam'.

I understand he went much less for literal interpretations and more for symbolism and metaphors. I haven't studied him enough to have my own opinion about his school of thought, but while one might not agree with everything he wrote, he was definitely a Muslim scholar of his time who was very influential.
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