In the end love leads us yonder
August 18, 2020 | By Jen Higgins-Newman, BHFH Program Manager, & Mohammad Siadat, current house resident
At Beacon Hill Friends House, not all of our residents are Quaker — in fact, most are not! Part of our work together is creating a space where residents feel comfortable sharing spiritual lives and personal practices with each other, from any tradition or source. It’s one beautiful way that we get to learn and deepen together.
Mohammad, one of our current residents, has been leading folks each week in reading through Rumi’s Masnavi, and has written this short piece to talk about that practice. – Jen
Every Monday night, some of my fellow BHFH residents and I get together and read poems from Masnavi by the Sufi poet, Rumi. Sufism, also known as Islamic mysticism, is known for its poems, in addition to its practices of singing and whirling dances (see the term, “whirling dervish”). As a practicing Muslim living in a Quaker community, it has been exciting for me to read Masnavi with my housemates and learn how they interpret Rumi’s metaphoric stories.
We read line by line and discuss the meaning of each verse, working to understand and interpret it in both Farsi (the original language) and in its English translation. Everyone shares their opinion and interpretation of the stories.
For example, the other night we read:
“ای برادر قصه چون پیمانهای است، معنی اندر وی مثال دانهای است. دانهی معنی بگیرد مرد عقل، نگرد پیمانه را گر گشت نقل.”
“O brother, the story is like a measure, the real meaning in it resembles grain (in the measure). The man of intelligence will take the grain of meaning. He will not pay any regard to the measure, (even) if it is removed (altogether)”– Masnavi, Second Book
Masnavi teaches the way of Sufism and love of God in short and long stories. Stories of ordinary people, kings and clergies, prophets and angels. But I can always find myself in those stories and relate them to my daily life. I am glad that I get to share the wisdom and love of Rumi’s poetry with my community. As Rumi says:
“عاشقی گر زین سر و گر ز ان سر است، عاقبت ما را بدان سر رهبر است”
“Whether love be from this (earthly) side or from that (heavenly) side. In the end it leads us yonder”– Masnavi, First Book
Yours in Spirituality,