Creative writing

Religion: Rumi – from scholar to saint

Rumi, the great Sufi poet, was actually a scholar of sharia law (Islamic law).  His responsibilities included making legal rulings and giving unapologetic lectures on how to resolve conflicts.

One day, a man in rags approached Rumi and changed everything.  The following exchange, according to legend, occurred:

Pointing to Rumi’s legal books,

the man in rags asked,

‘What’s this?’

‘You wouldn’t understand’,

Rumi responded disdainfully.

The man in rags

fixed Rumi in a stern gaze,

waved his arm,

and set the legal books on fire.

He waves his arm a second time,

and the books went back to their normal appearance.

Shocked at what happened,

Rumi asked,

‘What was that?’

‘You wouldn’t understand’,

the man in rags said.

He then disappeared.

The man in rags was Shams of Tabriz.  After meeting him, Rumi decided to end his profession as a scholar of sharia to follow the mystical path of love and spirituality (Sufism) which Shams of Tabriz represented.


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