Maulana Jalal-ud-din Rumi needs no introduction. For seven hundred years now his verse has inspired millions of men. Jami, the celebrated Persian poet. With the possible exception of Lucretius in the first century B.C., he is the only major thinker, throughout history, to express an entire system of thought in verse which has an aesthetic merit of its own. The sublime humanism of Rumi fired the imagination of mankind long before the West discovered the dignity of man. Dante was a young boy at the time of Rumi’s death. The great humanist of the West, Petrarch, came a full century after him; and Erasmus followed him two and a half centuries later. Hegel considered Rumi as one of the greatest poets and thinkers in world history. The twentiethcentury German poet Hans Meinke saw in Rumi ‘the only hope for the dark times we are living in’. The French writer Maurice Barres once confessed, ‘When I experienced Mevlana’s poetry, which is vibrant with the tone of ecstasy and with melody, I realised the deficiencies of Shakespeare, Goethe and Hugo.
Afzal Iqbal’s book ‘The Life and work of Jalal-ud-din RUMI’, published by Pakistan National Council of Arts, Islamabad, Year 1991, xiv.