The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality
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The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality

Chapter 21

Selflessness


By Khurram Ali Shafique

The second part of the enclave is called ‘The Mysteries of Selflessness’.

Greeting from Rumi

Maulana Rumi greets you again. “Strive and find yourself in selflessness,” he says. “This is the easy path, may God know better.” Has he been watching over your progress?

Urfi of Shiraz

Next you see Urfi of Shiraz. He was a Persian poet who died young. “Question me not when I speak of love,” he says. “If I may not have tasted this wine, someone else must have.”

Dedication

Iqbal is addressing his nation like a lover:

“When God created me, a lamentation quivered on the strings of my lute and secrets stood revealed in it. Love, like the tulip, has one brand at heart and on its bosom wears a single rose.”

He takes this rose, the only one that was ever his own, and pins it upon the turban of someone who is lying asleep in deep slumber. This is the Muslim nation.

Prelude

“The individual holds a mirror to the society and the society to the individual,” Iqbal now addresses you. “Society is the link between what is to come and what has gone before. Since you have not known self from selflessness, you lost yourself in illusions.”

Then he quotes from Rumi, “These subtleties are like a sword of steel. If they defeat your wit, be gone already!”

DISCUSS

  • How are these four excerpts related to each other?
  • Does the self lose its freedom of choice when it falls in love?
  • “Since you have not known self from selflessness, you lost yourself in illusions,” says Iqbal. What can be these illusions?

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The emphasis shifts suddenly as it is found that the self attains perfection through selflessness.
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