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Prose introduction from Masnavi

Prose introduction from Masnavi

From a manuscript of Rumi, Masnavi (A long work of rhyming couplets), dated AH 1063 (1652–53 AD)

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Elliott 264, fol 18v

Rumi dictated his masterwork to a scribe as he was approaching the end of his life. Scholars have observed that it synthesised everything Islamic culture had incorporated in the first 700 years of its existence. This included Arab sources as well as Hellenistic, Jewish, Christian, Persian and Indian traditions. In this way Rumi transcended his Islamic faith, creating, in the words of 13th-century philosopher Ibn ʿArabi, a ‘religion of Love’.

This copy of the Masnavi has annotated margins (not visible in this image), which attests to the interest that scholars from all over the world have shown in studying Rumi’s writings.

Rumi remains one of the bestselling poets of all time.