Spiritual Travel with Mathnavi Stories
Author: Nahid Abqhari
Publisher: Bang-e Ney
Year of publishing: 2010/first edition
No. of Pages: 237
Size: 17× 25
◙ English text is available.
About the book:
The book of ‘Spiritual travel with Mathnavi stories’ includes summaries and shortened stories, some anecdotes and references of Mathnavi (one of the Rumi (a famous Persian poet) books). In Mathnavi book, the work of Rumi that was written about carefully selected stories a lot of attentions are taken into account for symbolizing. While ‘Spiritual travel with Mathnavi stories’ does not have many pages, it includes all 6 volumes of Mathnavi in a precise form. In fact, this work is a glance to a very long series of stories that Rumi put from its spirit in writing and designing of them. In these stories, he depicts the details of his self-soul for enthusiastic readers. In other words, the results and consequences of these stories are stated in a scientific narration in the place and position that had been Rumi’s main goal from designing and interpreting (Mathnavi Manavi) them. Mathnavi stories according to his interpretation express criticisms of human being state. A creature in him the talent and capability of reaching to the Godly perfection is placed but now is imprisoned in a materialistic and isolated form. Iranian Rumi researcher and capable writer of this work that spends a life span for clarifying Rumi’s philanthropic messages and thoughts in this valuable book deciphers Rumi’s anecdotes and stories in a popular and folksy way due to her capabilities she gained in researches she conducted about Rumi. In this way, she made the understanding of Rumi’s anecdotes and stories easy for humans especially the youth that are thirsty for receiving Rumi’s guiding messages.
The writer of this valuable work by expressing Rumi’s stories very precisely and narrating them simply, fluently and in a folksy way attempts to scrutinize the linguistic contents of them and meanwhile states clearly their symbolized and coded messages with a glance to symbolizing and DE familiarizing that are Rumi’s particular style in storytelling and transferring of messages. Additionally, in the explanation of each of the stories and anecdotes, she tries to explain unfamiliar concepts and expressions to addressees who are interested in Rumi.
About the Author:
Nahid Abqhari (1967-Iran)
Nahid Abqhari is a famous Iranian Rumi researcher who has conducted extensive research in human sciences. Due to deep devotion to Jalal ad-din Rumi the writer has spent most her time to introduce the great mystical scholar and his outstanding works to the Iranians and to the world at large. By carefully studying Rumi’s works and the books written about Rumi, the author has produced a series of valuable books about the great mystic scholar. Her book entitled ‘Description of Mathnavi’ containing 6 thousand lines is a comprehensive commentary on Rumi. In another book entitled ‘A Spiritual Study of Stories of Mathnavi’ Abqhari has collected a lovely summary of almost all the stories, parables, anecdotes and allegories in the Mathnavi. Beside ‘Stories of Rumi’s Mathnavi’ which has been described above, the author has written two other books entitled ‘Articles about Mathnavi’ and ‘The Story of the Reed’. Nahid Abqhari is living in Mashhad and is compiling other books of commentary about Rumi.
-Ancient Tales (4 Vols.)
-Spiritual travel with Mathnavi stories’
-Commentary on Mathnavi.(6 Vols.)
-The Stories in Rumi
-Untold Stories about Constitutional monarchy
King’s falling in Love to a Slave Maiden
This anecdote that Rumi himself had considered that ‘Human’s state account’ is in fact an allegory of ‘human’s state’ as in Human the potentiality and talent of achieving ‘Godly Perfection’ is granted while he is isolated and captured and by ‘the mean materials’ in ‘the world of sensibilities’.
This anecdote is about a learned king that in the way of hunting, he himself was hunted by the love to a slave maiden. After buying her and taking her to his court and making love with her, the maiden became patient. The most knowledgeable physicians gathered in the court by the king’s order and while they all claim that due to their knowledge and resourcefulness they are able to cure any diseases, since they disregarded the will of God because of their vanity and superciliousness, they failed to cure the maiden by all possible means. When the king found out the physician s’ inabilities, he ran to the mosque bare foot and took refuge to God and asked Him to cure the maiden. He wailed and cried before the alter to that degree that he fell asleep there. Because of his sincere prayers, God had a favor so in a truthful dream he was told that he was sent an honest physician that in his remedy there are God’s power and the Absolute’s Magic. In the coming morning and old physician like a sun in a shadow came to the court and started to cure the maiden in a particular way. By checking the symptoms of her disease like the maiden’s pulse, the physician said the king that the previous Physician s’ cure worsened her disease due to their unawareness of her internal (psychological) situation.
‘The Godly Physician’ noticed a secret and found out that her disease is not because of a physical disorder but is as her heart belongs to somewhere else. When the physician was alone with the maiden he started to ask her about her previous city and her affections there and he noticed that when they called the name of her previous city, Samarghand, her pulse beat faster. Finally, he found out that the maiden loved a goldsmith in Samarghand that resides in Ghatafar Street of the Sarpol neighborhood. As the physician asked, the goldsmith was brought from Samarghand to the court and the maiden was given to her. For six month, they were making love with each other and the maiden got cured completely. Then the Godly physician made some syrup for the goldsmith. After drinking that before the maiden, the goldsmith started to have a fever and he became pale, yellow and ugly and the maiden hated her as her love was just for his good-looking appearance. This mean and shameful love of the maiden to the goldsmith was an impediment for her love and unity with the king.
Killing of the goldsmith by the physician was ordered by God like the story of prophet Khezr (Elias) that killed a boy and the people did not find out the mystery of the reason for that act; however, the prophet was God’s representative and his act was God’s. The prophet did that as God had found that expedient and even Moses with all his knowledge and cognition could not understand that.
In this anecdote, the king is a symbol of ‘lofty spirit’ that had been abandoned from the ‘High World’ and is capture in the ‘world of senses’ and ‘body cage’. The maiden is a symbol of ‘human’s ego’ at its meanest stages. Her love to the goldsmith is a secret that releasing from ‘worldly mean properties’ is not possible except ‘the assistance and guidance of a Godly sage’.
Rumi formed this anecdote by using different themes from Char Maghale (The Four Articles) of Nezami Aruzi , Eskandarname (The Account of Alexander) of Nezami and Ghanun (The law) of Avicenna. By adding some elements innovatively, Rumi narrates a story of ‘our state’ and as it is his way in narrating this story, from each element of this anecdote, Rumi came to a conclusion.
The very theme of Rumi’s words here is that the human in the ‘Life Highway’ is captured by ‘his mean ego’ unwillingly and this very ego is entrapped by worldly mean properties. Rumi considered the way of releasing from this entrapment as ‘an inner clamor’ that causes ‘the Forgiver’s favors’ and as a sincere turning to The Right to appear a Godly Physician in favor of a broken heart and in curing that the Absolute Magic can be seen that how with its assistance the dust of the mean properties would be removed from the mirror of the heart and following the steps in the God’s Path is possible in this world.
The Parrot and the Grocer’s Businessman
A poor parrot lost its head feathers by the blow the grocery man, in whose grocer’s shop the parrot is kept, hit it. So, it kept sitting silent and sorrowful in one corner of the shop and did not speak with anybody. The grocery man hit it as a punishment for it had broken the oil jars when it escaped from a cat. The parrot not speaking was continued until it saw a bald-headed ghalandar (a Gnostic group that as one of their customs, its members made themselves bald) wearing woolen clothes among the bazaar passer-byes. It shouted enthusiastically: ‘why did you become bald? Did you break the oil jars too?’
The theme of the story is drawing ‘false analogies’ and expressing the state of the ‘sages’ of God compared to the common people. Rumi brought this story to justify the deed of ‘the Godly physician’ in the story of ‘King’s Falling in Love to a Slave Maiden’ to clarify this thought indicating that there is something wrong in killing the goldsmith, which is a symbol of the worldly properties, by the physician as the deeds of ‘the Perfect’ cannot be compared to the common’s. From Rumi’s view point the major mistakes of the common people is due to such wrong analogy drawings, analogies that cause unbelievers to consider the prophets and god selected people as themselves and not to be able the wonderful differences that are between those selected ones and themselves.
Naturally, this story For Rumi is like a glass in that he put the seeds of lofty sciences and high knowledge and in this way he attempts to tell what can’t be told by daily words and Rumi by these stories clarified one of his most significant principles and he explains there that the prophets and selected people are different or had been become different and the God’s features had filled their entire existence and the reason they live among the common people is to guide and to grant favors and blessings to the commons.
The Jewish King’s Dogmatism
At the time of the dawn of Christianity and beginning of its prevalence among different tribes, a dogmatic king that was still Jewish, was determined to eradicate Christianity. So, he killed many faultless people under the pretext of supporting his religion and as he found out that many Christians could save their lives by dissimulating, he consulted with his sly minister to be able to recognize these Christians too. The sly minister designed a plan. So he recommended the king to sentence him to death for being a Christian but later to refuse of killing him and just after ordering for the minister dismembering, to exile him to another city. Then the minister would join those Christians and would deceive them to make them love and trust him and after that he would plan to annihilate them.
This plan was successful and the minster by putting himself on a show of piety could be accepted by the Christians to that extent that all Christians became his follower whole-heartedly. In an appropriate opportunity, he called his twelve followers that he had chosen as his probable successor and gave each of them a scroll. In all scrolls, the minister had written that the follower would be his definite successor so he had to follow the scroll instructions that in fact were in contrast with the Jesus’ true teachings. Then, the minister killed himself. Consequently, the twelve selected Christians and their followers started a war with each other as each follower regarded himself the true successor. In those wars many Christians lost their lives.
During the Rumi’s life period, the Crusades did not come to an end and the Muslims and the Christians were still killing each other under the title of the religion. Even different Islamic sects were arguing hostilely. The Shia from one side and other Sunna denominations like Hanafi, Shafe’I, Hanbali, and Maleki from another side were thirsty to each other’s blood. They even were in contrast with followers of Sufism and other philosophical thoughts and their followers were bothered. In such situation, Rumi himself that was not secure from the superficial clergymen’s bothering and annoyances criticized the dogmatism in this story and by that he clearly said that the only difference between God men is at the surface level otherwise the ‘truth’ and massages of The Perfect words is just one.
There is a delicate point in connections of Rumi’s story series as by the end of the story of ‘King’s Falling in Love to a Slave Maiden’, he talks about the anthropoid evils that they don’t have to be trusted and given the dexterity and positions by which they put themselves on the show of piety and this is a spiritual connection to the beginning of the story related to the late periods of the first Christian century or the beginning of the second Christian Century that is a story about the religious dogmatism of the nescient people and the plans and intrigues of those seeking the leadership over the nescient.
In that story an anthropoid evil in a role of a minister founded an unthinkable sedition based on the blindly following of the king and the commons’ nescient.
The Description of Islam Prophet in the Bible
In the Bible some features of the Islam Prophet is mentioned. Some of the Christians when facing the name and adjectives used for the Prophet while studying the Bible expressed his name with a lot of dignity and respects. They kissed that honored name on the bible pages while they were others that did not do that. In the continuation of the story of that sly minister of the Jew king, Rumi said that the warring Christians could survive finally due to the very respect they had for the name of the Islam Prophet(Peace be upon him) and His name protected them like a strong fence.
Another Jew King
Dounblessl, what are written about the torturing of Najran Christians by ‘Zonavas’ are all originated from the Holy Quran in that it refers to this incidents that ‘Akhdudiyan were killed in a ditch full of fire… Towers Sura, verses: 4-8/85. In fact the Holy Quran there refers to a full of fire ditch on that the disbelievers were sitting and killed and burned those believers in God with a sever hatred. This incident also so painful that caused many researchers and historians to gather and retell what they could find form every scattered source.
A summary of the narration of this incident, mentioned in Sa’alabi’s ‘the prophets’ stories’, is as follows:
One of the followers of Christianity on Najran (a Northern place in Yemen) advertised for Christianity and some people joined him. The Jewish king there called ‘Zonavas’ opposed them and said: “If you don’t converted back to Judaism, I will burn you all. Finally he burnt many Christians that their numbers that had been mentioned to 70 thousand are recorded different in different accounts. Zonavas was the last king of Homayer tribe. By the end of his ruling, the army of Abyssinia, who were Christian, attacked him and added his territory to their land. In another narration it was mentioned that the incident happened as that king had been idol-worshipper and Akhdudiyan had been God worshipper and it seemed that Rumi used the narration of Sa’alabi as his source.
Reasons pertaining to that horrible incident are very different in different accounts of historians and Quran interpreters but our trust is based on the accounts that are similar more to what mentioned in Quran. According to some interpreters one of the Najran Christians, ‘Dus ZuSa’alabian’ could escape from Zonavas and for asking for justice he went to the court of Roman Kaiser that was Caser Justin (518-527 A.D.). As Caser Justin could not mobilize his army to the land of Zonavas due to the distance, he wrote a letter to Negus, the king of Abyssinia, since his religion was similar to the Christian to take your right C onsequently, Negus according to the caser request dispatched an army of 70 thousand to Yemen and after capturing there added that land to his territory. By the death of Zonavas that according to some accounts he was killed by some of Christians and according to others he committed a suicide in the sea, the sorrowful incident of Njran came to an end.
However there are many accounts about Zonavas, the most definite and logical statement about him is that he was inviting the Najran Christians to idol-worshipping and not Judaism so he was certainly an idol-worshiper.
Christian and Greek sources regard the date of Abyssinian-Yemenis the year of 542 B.C. The researchers wrote that the Abyssinians attempts to take Yemen had been started many years before that date and sometimes they won and sometimes failed that their attempts or wars was quite victorious at the time of Zonavas. This war seemingly for supporting of Christianity and the Christians and while Abraha of Abyssinia seemingly fought Zonavas for religious purposes, his real purpose was to expand the Abyssinians’ penetration to the middle of Arabian l ands. Even the Kiser of Eastern Rome by writing a letter to Negus was following political and economic motivations and he was keen to take the Arabian lands from the hands of the Arabs and replaced them with the governments of Egypt and governments of other lands of his emperorship as these lands were the main connecting road of different territories and were one of the most important economic bases of that time since these lands were adjacent to Beabelmandeb Strait that connects Red sea to the Indian ocean and was located in the middle of Arabic and African lands. So following this plan he decided to add the Southern Arabian lands to his emperorship by means of religion. To do that, he even dispatched some groups of clergymen and missioners to different parts of those lands to prepare the feelings and minds of the people residing there for the Roman penetration. Thus, He made Abyssinians to attack Yemen.