Jalaluddin Rumi was born on September 30, 1207 CE in a small town near Balkh in Khorasan (now Afghanistan). When he was about five years old, his father took the family to Samarqand, and then sometime between 1215 and 1220, he made his way west to Damascus. He then moved to Anatolia either at the request of the sultan (www.encyclopedia.com) or possibly because of the impending invasion by the Mongols (Schimmel, 1992).

He married a young woman at age 18 who had come with them from Khorasan. His first child, a son named Sultan Walad, was born in 1226. When his father died in 1231, Rumi took over his father's teaching position at the university in Konya and taught traditional theological sciences for several years.

In late October of 1244, Rumi was approached by a stranger who asked him a question which made him faint. The stranger, Shamsuddin of Tabriz, awakened in Rumi a mystical awareness and the two became inseparable. Rumi's family was jealous of Shams, and perhaps sensing the increasingly dangerous atmosphere, Shams one day disappeared.

Rumi was heartbroken, but it was at this point he became a poet, transforming his longing for the Divine Sun that he saw in Shams into ecstatic poetry, music, and whirling dance. After a while, Shams was found in Damascus, and Rumi sent his son Sultan Walad to bring him back. With Shams return, the sohbet continued, but the jealousy in the family grew to a point where Shams disappeared again, this time probably murdered by Rumi's son Alaeddin.

Rumi's collective work is called the Diwan-i Shams-i Tabriz. While Rumi was teaching and writing, his students urged him to compose a mystical mathnawi, which he did with Husamuddin, a student of his, starting around 1258. He continued to teach until his death on December 17, 1273.

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