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Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī

Tonight is the night

     is the night
It's the creation of that land of eternity
It's not an ordinary night,
     it's a wedding of those who seek God.
Tonight, the bride and groom
     speak in one tongue.
Tonight, the bridal chamber
     is looking particularly well.

— Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, from the poetry collection Hush, Don't Say Anything to God, trans. Shahram Shiva.

Rumi (1207–1273) was from the town of Konya in the Persian Empire, what is now modern-day Turkey. Rumi met a wandering darvish named Shams of Tabriz who introduced Rumi to the mystic practice of being in passionate love with God. Rumi went on to found a particular meditative practice within a community of Sufi mystics, what is still known today as "Sufi whirling." During this practice, in which Rumi would spin for hours on end in a trance-like state, Rumi would speak poems like the one recorded here, which were written down by other Sufis. It's worth imagining the poem being spoken breathlessly by a whirling darvish spinning about the room speaking with a musical cadence and a rapturous love for the Lover of our souls.

Michael Fitzpatrick

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