The unknown face of Rumi – Sufism and Spiritual Consumerism in the West 2

The “creed of love” is not a free-floating, universalistic form of mysticism. Sufism is a complex phenomenon that includes a number of irreducible cultural, political and psychological elements as well as spiritual ones. Sufism is multiplex phenomenon and the essence of Sufi spirituality can not be fully examined outside of its varying interpretations and socio historical contexts.

– Dr. Yannis Toussulis –
Author of Sufism and the way of Blame: Hidden sources of a Sacred Psychology


I thought to continue this post with the excerpt from a NY Times article that Dr Toussulis cites in his book, but I wil do one better by quoting this from Dr Toussulis:

For centuries Konya had been the place of pilgrimage for traditionalist admirers of Rumi. As Westerners and Middle Easterners comingled, Mevlana (Title meaning  Our Master that used for Rumi) was being rapidly transformed into an object of religious kitsch and New Age Tourism. 

With that said it might be appropriate to talk about some discrepancies not know about Rumi.  I will start with a sentence from the NY times article and go from there

According to …

(The information here is taken directly from Dr Toussulis’ book Sufism and the Way of Blame)

According to the New York Times Rumi had “conceived the Dervish as part of his life long quest for religious rapture”.


For Rumi , movement was a spontaneous occurrence.The ritualized dance done by the Mevlevi as well as the Sufi order were formulated after his death. Such ‘dancing’ had been  a spontaneous expression of many sufis before Rumi, yet none of those Sufis ha “conceived” or invented such movements. Instead they found themselves overtaken by mystical ecstasy that caused them to move in particular ways which included whirling.

Religious Rapture

Rumi did not question for religious rapture. Instead he, sought spiritual knowledge of a direct and sapential quality that moved him to such rapture. Ecstasy for Rumi was secondary to intuitive knowledge, or better yet gnosis. And this knowledge was called by other Sufis a “knowledge of the presence” (ilm al-hudhur) or a a knowledge given directly by God. Though not limited to it, the God envisioned in thiscae was neverhtless shaped bythe Qur’an.


The Love envisioned by Rumi wasn’t  a species of Romantic love.  The love that the Sufis speak of can only be seen as a by product of something else and that something else is a continuing closeness to and longing for, an Ineffable God.It is not a desire for of the human form, or any concepts and imaginal constructs. No matter how deeply held. Rumi says; “Renounce the love of form. Love of faces and forms is not love..”

The latter saying needs to be repeated and Dr Toussulis goes on to say that ” According to Rumi and others like him, if you love the face or form of anything this is not the  love of which he spoke. Such love cannot be satiated in egocentric, romantic love; nor can it be discovered in New Age fadism or by conformity to legalistic  or literalistic forms of religion.


Stayed tuned for part 3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s