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

Chapter 35

The Spirit of Muslim Culture


By Khurram Ali Shafique

A beautiful stream flows through the Hall of Reflections. It was originally crafted by Goethe to show his understanding of the Islamic concept of life.

1

The stream is sound asleep in the cradle of the clouds until it opens its eye in the lap of mountains. Linked with itself, unlinked with all, it merrily flows through the meadow, its graceful motion striking music from the pebbles. It is headed towards the boundless ocean.

2

Spring has fashioned a fairyland along the track of the stream. Roses attempt to attract it while the rose-bud laughs coquettishly, but unmindful of these green-robed beauties, the stream cleaves the desert and rends the breast of hills and valleys in its onward march towards the boundless ocean.

3

Stricken with drought, a hundred feeble brooks from woods, meadows, valleys and gardens and villas cry for help. The stream, having evaded all charms of the earth-rooted flowers, opens its breast to the winds of the East and the West, and clasps its weak and wailing fellow-travelers.

4

The stream is now a surging river surpassing dam dykes, narrow gorges of valleys, hills and glen. Made one like a torrent – passionate, fierce, sharp, restless and heart-inflaming – it arrives each time at the new and goes beyond the old. Linked with itself, unlinked with all, it merrily flows towards the boundless ocean.

DISCUSS

  • What is the Islamic concept of life according to ‘The Stream’?

  • What similarities may be seen between ‘The Song of Time’ and ‘The Stream’?


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Free translation of Goethe’s poem in praise of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) offering the German poet’s perception of the ideal of Islam.
Persian text