The teachings of the Sufi poet and Islamic scholar Mevlana had a great impact on both mystical thought and literature all over the world. According to the stories, Mevlana, who was always beloved in the Islamic world, was deeply saddened by the loss of his teacher Shams-i Tebrizi, with whom he had explored the depths of spirituality. This loss caused great changes in his heart. He gave up everything and wrote the "Masnavi" of 25,000 couplets, which is considered the most perfect Sufi poem the world has ever known. For Mevlana, the meaning of true love was love for Allah and death was the day he would meet Allah. That is why the anniversary of his death, December 17, is not considered a day of mourning but a day of celebration. The Şeb-i Arus ceremonies held every year on December 17th means "Night of Reunion or Wedding Night".
What does Sheb-i Arus mean?
The Turkish equivalent of Şeb-i Arus is "Wedding Night". Wedding Night is known as the night of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi's death in Mevlevism. Since Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi considered this night as the night of reunion with his Lord, the lover, the anniversary of his death is also called "Wedding Night". Mevlana interprets death as a return to one's origin, as a "return to God" since its source is a divine substance; for him, death is not the disappearance of the body, but a journey towards God. The ceremonies held on the anniversary of Rumi's death in the weeks coinciding with December 17th, which have come to be known as the Reunion Anniversary International Commemoration Ceremonies, are also popularly known as "Şeb-i Arus". UNESCO has also declared 2007, the 800th anniversary of Mevlana's birth, as the 'International Year of Mevlana'.
Life of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi
Rumî, who summarized his life in three words, "I was raw, I was cooked, I was burnt", was originally named Muhammad Jalal al-Din. Mevlânâ and Rûmî are among the names given to him later. Mevlana Jalâleddîn-i Rûmî was born on September 30, 1207 in the city of Balkh, which is today in Afghanistan. The family left Balkh in 1212 and traveled to Mecca for pilgrimage through Nishabur, Baghdad and Kufa. Then they entered Anatolia via Damascus and Aleppo and settled in Lârende (Karaman) in 1222. Rumi's father was an important theologian, jurist and mystic. In 1228, upon the invitation of the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat, he became the head of the madrasah and moved with his family from Karaman to Konya, the capital of the Seljuk state. Upon the death of his father, Rumi succeeded him and gave lectures and sermons for many years. From time to time, members of different religions attended these lectures and conversations. Mevlana Celâleddin-i Rumi died in Konya on Sunday, December 17, 1273, at the age of 66. Rumi's body was buried next to the body of his father and a magnificent tomb, the Green Tomb (Kubbe-i Hadra) was erected around it. In the compound where this tomb, also known as the Mevlana Tomb, is located, there is a building formerly known as Mevlana's lodge (Dervish Lodge), which today serves as the Mevlana Museum. The museum exhibits Mevlana's manuscripts and mysticism-related artifacts of the sect. After Rumi's death, whirling dervishes, called Mevlevi, who perform the dance known as the Sema performance, founded the Mevlevi Dervish Lodge. Rumi's writings are considered the pinnacle of mystical art that transcends religious, cultural and ethnic boundaries.
Audio recordings of Mevlana's poems made the Billboard Top 20 in the US.
Mevlana "became America's best-selling poet" and his poems have been among the most frequently recited poems at weddings for decades. He has been compared to Shakespeare for his vast creativity and to St. Francis of Assisi for his spiritual wisdom.
American writer Deepak Chopra's collection of Rumi's love poems, translated by Fereydoun Kia, has been performed by Hollywood stars such as Madonna, Goldie Hawn, Philip Glass and Demi Moore.
The image of Mevlana and his tomb was featured on the 5000 Turkish Lira banknotes, which was in circulation between 1981 and 1994.
In Lucknow, the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India, there is an architectural monument known as the Rumi Gate, built in tribute to Mevlana.