This is the first complete translation of the nearly 2,000 quatrains attributed to Jalaluddin Rumi, the famous 13th century mystical poet. It is the result of over 22 years of collaboration by an American Rumi scholar and an Afghan scholar of Persian literature. It should appeal to a wide variety of lovers of Mawlana Rumi's poetry, not just specialists: general readers who seek a deeper understanding of his spiritual teachings than popularized books (often interpretive versions claimed as translations) can provide, as well as those interested in religious mysticism in general and Islamic mysticism (sufism) in particular. The quatrains are ordered according to stages and themes of the 'lover and beloved' (spiritual disciple and sufi master). Most of the translations are followed by explanatory notes: those intended for the general reader have asterisks and often refer to the Notes, an appended glossary. Readers who have access to previously published translations and versions of the quatrains can use the appended Concordance to make comparisons. Quatrains in the earliest manuscripts that have been found to be composed by earlier poets have been identified and placed in another appendix. Few of the quatrains have been previously translated by scholars; the quatrains in popularized books are often distorted versions, mostly rendered by authors who do not know Persian; those who do often tend to omit, change, or add. Here, the poems are presented in the context of the Islamic sufi poetry in the Persian language 800 years ago: 'wine' and 'drunkenness' do not involve alcoholic intoxication, but are metaphors for the 'mystical taste' of spiritual grace and ecstasy. The lover's longing and self-effacing love is not 'romantic', but spiritual love of the seeker for his sufi guide. This love is a means to the goal of pure worship of God Most High, the 'only Beloved', that necessitates self-effacement and mystical 'drowning' in the reality described in the Qur'an: 'Everything perishes except His Face.'
Religion-Spirituality, Islam, Sufism,