The name Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi stands for an ecstatic flight
into the infinite love.
Mevlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi was born 6 Rabi'al-Awwal 604 (30
September 1207) in Balkh, a city in the north of Afghanistan.
His father and mother were well known for their comprehension
(irfan) and scientific knowledge. His mother was Mu'mine Khatun,
the daughter of Rukn al-Din, the Emir of Balkh. His lineage by
his mother descended from Ali, the third Caliph of Islam. His
Father Baha al-Din Walad,was called the Sultan of Scholars
Migration From Balkh
Baha al-Din Walad decided to leave Balkh before the coming Mongol
threat. Immediately after their leaving, Balkh was destroyed by
the troops of Jenghiz Khan.
The journey, which started from Balkh while Mevlana was only
five or six years of age, lasted years, and extends via Baghdad
and Mecca to Damascus, Malatya, Erzincan, Akshehir and came to
a halt in Larende (Karaman) in Turkey.Here Mevlana's father continued
his lectures in the madrasa of Karaman.
When Sultan Ala al-Din Keyqubat I learned that Baha al-Din Walad
was in Karaman, he invited him to Konya, the capital of the Seljuks,
Mevlana's father died ther on February 24, 1231 Two years after
his father's death Mevlana and Sayyid Burhan al-Din left for Halab
and Damascus for four (or seven) year.
Back in Konya Mevlana mets the man that opened his heart to divine
secrets,Shams al-Din Tabrizi. Mevlana died in the winter of 1273,
on Sunday, 17 December 1273. while the sun was setting.
People from every religion were joining in at Mevlana's funeral,
Muslim and non-Muslim. When a group of Muslims said to the non-Muslims:
"What business do you have with this funeral? Mevlana was
the leader of our religion. " They replied: "We realized
the truth of Moses, Jesus and other prophets from Mevlana's plain
words and saw in him the actions and personalities of the prophets
as we have read in our own Holy Books. Just as how you Muslims
recognized him. Just as you loved him, we loved him too, and became
slaves for him far more than you did."
A Greek monk added: "Mevlana was like bread. No body can
keep himself away from needing bread. Have you ever seen a hungry
man who refused to eat bread?"
His tomb, which is also known as the Green Dome (Qubba-i Hadra),
was built by the efforts of Sultan Walad and Ala al-Din Qaysar,
and by the material support of the Seljuk Emir, and his Georgian
wife Gurju Khatun. Its architect was Badr al-Din from Tabriz and
was completed a year after Mevlana's death.
On the 1st of November, 1922 Atatürk addressed the Turkish
Parliament. In his address, he touched on the subject of religion
several times. Saying that Islam was a tolerant and modern religion,
which the Arabs had understood and applied according to their
own physical conditions. But that over the centuries Islam was
diverted from its original purity 'by rulers and some religious
leaders, who had gone along with those rulers.'
According Atatürk, Mevlana was 'a mighty reformer, who had
adapted Islam to the Turkish soul.'
While visiting Konya on the 20th of March 1923, 'The Sufi-Vatican'
build around the shrine of Mevlana, Atatürk is quoted as
'Whenever I'm to come to this city I feel excitement inside. The
thoughts of Mevlana envelope me. He was a great genius, an innovator
for all ages.'
Ataturk visited the convent and tomb of Mevlana. He stayed for
over three hours.
He witnessed a performance of the whirling dervishes and was full
of praise. Ataturk stated that approaching God with music and
movement was the 'most natural statement of the Turkish mentality.'
Atatürk expressed even Mevlana-ideas in his sayings. Mevlana
wrote: Whatever there is in this world involving love, I'm there.
Whatever there is in involving war, I'm not there.
Atatürk simplified it to: "Peace at home, peace in the
But Ataturk had something going on in his mind.
Over hundreds of years an increasing number of valuable artefacts,
including manuscripts, inscriptions, calligraphical panels and gold
and silver candelabra had been carefully preserved by the Mevlevi's.
When he saw the large number of artefacts, he commented that those
rendered 'a valuable museum collection.'
Despite all the praise of Atatürk, who made the head of the
Konya Mevlana Dergah the first vice president of the first Parliament
of Turkish Republic, a decree was issued on 30 November, 1925.
It went into history as the Black Monday for the Sufi's:
The day that a new law ordered the closing of the Tekkelerin (dervish
convents), zâviyelerin (dervish lodges) and türbelerin
(mausoleums). Law nr. 677 was the end of the Konya Dergah, the central
Tekke of the Mevlana Order. The last Head of the order, his family
and many Mevlevi's fled Turkey to settle in Haleb (Aleppo) Syria.
The 21st generation grandson of Mevlana was the first after Mevlana
himself to be born outside Konya, in Aleppo, Syria, in December
As if the closing was not enough, Atatürk put a minimum of
three months imprisonment and a fine to the use of descriptions
as sheik, dervish, disciple, dede, çelebi, seyyit, babalik,
emir etc. Not only the use of these or other mystical names was
forbidden, but also those 'who serve them' had to be jailed for
at least three months.
Images provided by Murat Kirbaçoglu