Stories about Rumi

The Breadwinner: A story unafraid of uncomfortable truths

The women and children of Afghanistan have perhaps paid the price of war most heavily. The ongoing conflict leaves nearly half of the children in Afghanistan out of school, while 87% of women in Afghanistan experience physical, sexual or psychological violence during their lifetime. It is against this backdrop of war and devastation that we find the heartfelt film, The Breadwinner. Based on the book of the same name by Deborah Ellis and produced by Angelina Jolie, the film follows the story of 11-year-old Parvana (Saara Chaudry), who navigates her life disguised as a boy, and attempts to survive ...

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The city of Sufism, saints and nirvana – Multan has more to offer than you think

Earlier this year, I took a trip to Multan that was meant to be an official excursion, and yet somehow proved to be a bit of a life changer. As I waited to board my flight, I “checked in” on my Facebook account, and in turn was presented various sites referencing Multan as the “City of Saints”. All I knew about Multan was that it was famous for its blue pottery and other textile items, which is why this revelation made me feel excited at the prospect of my trip to the city. Coming from Karachi, I genuinely did not ...

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How I jumped off the porch and wrote a book at the age of 21

When I was seven-years-old, I wrote a poem about a cat too afraid to jump off a three-foot porch. The cat’s name was Tom, and he was afraid of heights and thought he’d die if he made the jump. At the end of the two stanza poem, Tom makes the jump and realises he’s a fairly good jumper – as all cats are. From that day on, Tom isn’t afraid to jump off the porch. From that day on, Tom is brave. When I was 16-years-old, I fell in love with an amazing girl who would go on and break ...

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Konya: The city of legacies, spirituality and Rumi

As we returned home from our trip to Uzbekistan last year, we kept aside four days in Istanbul to break the journey. Since we had already travelled to Istanbul previously, we decided to spend some time in Konya, which is the burial place of celebrated scholar and Sufi poet, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. Situated in the heart of Turkey, Konya is very well connected to the world by road, high-speed rail, and air. We had made our reservations to reach Konya from Istanbul via Pegasus Airlines, one of the no-frills Turkish airlines where the return fare from Istanbul was $50 per person. The airline operates from ...

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The Forty Rules of Love taught me that we’ve been asking ourselves all the wrong questions

It is a well-known belief that God speaks to His people through the strangest of things. You could be sitting quietly, minding your own business, and out of nowhere emerges a sign that seems to be God sent. Or if you were me, you would have been walking around the airport bookshop, waiting for your delayed flight, and by sheer luck found a book peeking at you through the shelf. Generally, I don’t judge books by their covers, or their titles, but this one was different. I fell in love with Elif Shafak’s ‘The Forty Rules of Love’ the moment I saw it. This was despite ...

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Is Rumi an anti-dote for the post-truth America?

On January 5, 2017, the New Yorker published an article with a revealing title: “The Erasure of Islam from the Poetry of Rumi.” Rozina Ali—who is also the editorial staff of the magazine—raised an interesting issue: that in the West, Rumi, the 13th-century poet and scholar, is “typically referred to as a mystic, a saint, an enlightened man” but “less frequently described as a Muslim.”  Ali’s contention is that Rumi’s poetry has been decoupled by his English translators from its Islamic context, and that way they have effaced “historical dynamism” within the Muslim scholarship. Because “Rumi’s works reflected a broader push and pull between ...

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Why is a white or Arab guy playing Rumi?

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, better known as simply Rumi, is one of the most beloved poets of all time from Asia to the United States. An Islamic scholar, thinker, and Sufi mystic, he was born in the Eastern part of the Persian Empire – now Afghan territory – which is why it is surprising that Hollywood wants to cast Leonardo DiCaprio, an actor of Italian and German descent, to play him. What’s more, Hollywood wants to cast Robert Downey Jr as Shams Tabrizi, who happened to be Rumi’s spiritual instructor, close friend, and a source of inspiration for his ...

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Modern Romance: Revolutionising relationships and the internet romance realm

As the yearly calendar enters the blistering heat of July, I find myself contemplating all possible avenues of relief. My list starts off with ice-cold smoothies and ends on clichéd American action films, all to no avail. Ambling in misery, I walk into the local bookstore, skip a few shelves, and end up deciding to cool off this summer with 277 pages of Modern Romance. Aziz Ansari’s acute wit and candour instantly absorbs me — a testing, ardent 21st generation reader. Gone is the trusted, poetic approach to romance, inspired by Rumi’s ageless art of implication, favoured in the contemporary works of writers including Samantha ...

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The diary of an “innocent princess”

You know me. I am the one whose friendship request you ignored on Facebook. All I wanted was for us to be virtual friends. I could have liked your cover photo, and you could have commented on how deep that Rumi quote was. You know? The one I shared with the image of a tropical sunset? That is the image of the sun of our friendship going down in flames. It is not my fault that I was born to Mr and Ms Princess; my father was ridiculed throughout his school life for that name. My father fought through the adversities of ...

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This Ramazan, develop an attitude of gratitude

As I sit here writing this, I am exuberated with joy that Ramazan is almost here. We, Pakistanis, are always fashionably late; that should explain why we start fasting a day after most other countries do. Anyhow! Personally speaking, Ramazan is my favourite time of the year. A month I exclusively dedicate to my relationship with God, focusing on spiritual growth and reflections. It would be great if every Muslim tried to make a conscious effort in changing some part of their personality that needs to be improved during Ramazan. But unfortunately, it is sad to note how each year this month ...

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