Contextualizing Rumi
Semeen Ali
RUMI: MAKERS OF ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION by Annemarie Schimmel Oxford University Press, 2014, 124 pp., 395
August 2014, volume 38, No 8

The book is a part of the series—Makers of Islamic Civilization and as the Series Editor has mentioned in the book—‘…the aim is to provide an introduction to outstanding figures in the history of Islamic civilization…’ Having said that, the book written by Annemarie Schimmel is a comprehensive introduction to one of the best known Persian poets and Sufi mystics Mawlânâ Jalâl-ad-Dîn Muhammad Rûmî or Rumi, as known to the western world.

Schimmel begins with putting the work by Rumi in the present context and trying to understand the relevance and the misinterpretations that his poetry has been subjected in recent times. It is not easy to understand his poetry nor can it be reduced to love between two people as can be misconstrued while reading his works. The book progresses in a chronological order to help the readers understand his life as well as the circumstances that shaped him and his thought processes. The first chapter traces his birth and his ancestors.

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