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Categories: mevlana, sufism

Ali Yıldırım


Shams-i Tabrizi: One of the Important Mystic Thinkers of the Medieval Islamic World and the Symbol of His Union with Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi

Shams-i Tabrizi, an important mystic thinker of the medieval Islamic world, is renowned for being one of the closest companions of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi and for the mystical experiences they shared together. With his extraordinary personality and profound spiritual knowledge, Shams-i Tabrizi had a significant impact on Mevlana’s life and played a crucial role in the development of his philosophical system.

Life and Origin of Shams-i Tabrizi

Shams-i Tabrizi’s full name is Muhammad Shams al-Din, and he was born in the 13th century in the region of Horasan, which is now within the borders of Iran. His family lived in the city of Tabriz, hence the epithet “Tabrizi.” Shams chose the path of a dervish at a young age and traveled to various places in the Middle East to acquire spiritual knowledge.

The Encounter of Mevlana and Shams-i Tabrizi

After long spiritual quests, Shams-i Tabrizi arrived in Konya and there, he met Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi. The two were drawn to each other with an extraordinary spiritual attraction. Mevlana was deeply impressed by Shams’ profound wisdom and sincerity, developing great admiration for him. This encounter marked a turning point in Mevlana’s life.

The Spiritual Journey of Mevlana and Shams-i Tabrizi

Mevlana and Shams-i Tabrizi spent long hours together, engaging in conversations, sharing their thoughts, and discussing spiritual matters. Shams’ presence triggered a profound transformation within Mevlana. Under his influence, Mevlana began to write mystical poems and organize sema rituals. This process played a significant role in shaping Mevlana’s religious and mystical identity.

The Meaning and Teachings of Shams-i Tabrizi

Shams-i Tabrizi is considered an “enlightenment” in Mevlana’s life. His arrival was not warmly welcomed by Mevlana’s close circle, leading to Shams’ departure from Konya. However, this separation allowed Mevlana’s inner transformation to be completed and led to a greater appreciation from his disciples.

The Departure and Legends of Shams-i Tabrizi

The exact reason for Shams-i Tabrizi’s departure from Konya is not fully known, but various legends and stories circulate on the subject. According to some accounts, Shams left Konya due to the jealousy of Mevlana’s inner circle. In other tales, Shams-i Tabrizi is believed to have ascended to the heavens in a spiritual ascent. Whatever the reason, Shams’ departure left Mevlana in deep sorrow.

The Legacy and Influence of Shams-i Tabrizi

Shams-i Tabrizi did not leave behind any known written works in his own name. However, his words and stories are found in Mevlana’s works and even in the fundamental texts of the Mevlevi order. Shams’ spiritual teachings played a crucial role in shaping Mevlana’s magnum opus, “Masnavi,” and the development of Sufi thought.

The Heritage of Shams-i Tabrizi

Even after Shams-i Tabrizi’s passing, his spiritual legacy continued to exert its influence, and Mevlana’s ideas were disseminated by his students and followers. Even today, Shams’ words and teachings hold significant importance and appreciation in the world of Sufi thought.

Conclusion and Evaluation

Shams-i Tabrizi is immortalized in history as the closest friend and spiritual companion of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi. His arrival marked a significant turning point in Mevlana’s life and had a profound impact on the development of the Mevlevi order. Shams-i Tabrizi’s teachings and spiritual legacy continue to garner immense interest and admiration even in modern times.