The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality

Special thanks to Iqbal Academy Pakistan.

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The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality

By Khurram Ali Shafique

IqbalThis is an interactive summary of the works of the Poet-Philosopher Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), one of the most significant disciples of Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) in modern times. It is a voice of hope and a call for bringing positive change.

The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality presents the works of Iqbal as a virtual reality: a "Garden of Poetry" which consists of five zones that come up successively. As you search for Joseph in this everchanging garden, you pass through seven stages and your role changes at each stage. The novel is divided into seven parts according to these stages while the 111 chapters of the book correspond to the total number of verses in Surah Yusuf, the 12th Chapter of the Quran.

Start reading now, or pick a chapter from the table of contents below.

Top Introductory Chapters

Chapters 1-5
1. A Parable Never Told 2. The Second Coming 3. 'Who is Rumi?' 4. Joseph 5. Enter the Garden
The first five chapters introduce the purpose of the book, the connection of Iqbal with Rumi, the mysterious character “Joseph” and five clues for finding him in "the Garden of Poetry".

Top Part 1: Dilemma

Chapters 6-17
6. The Poet 7. The System of the Universe 8. Love 9. Qalandar 10. Plato
11. The Poetics of the Garden 12. The Divine Vicegerency 13. Ali 14. Hajveri 15. Brahmin
16. Jihad 18. The Old Man of the Desert  
The reader's "self" rather than the mind interacts with the Garden of Poetry. The first stage, with the Poet himself as the reader's guide (Chapter 6), culminates on a vision of Rumi's mentor Shams Tabriz (Chapter 17).

Top Part 2: Reaction

Chapters 18-30
  17. Shams of Tabriz 19. 'Time Is A Cutting Sword' 20. Silent Tunes
21. Selflessness 22. Prophets 23. Pillars of Nationhoos 24. Kerbala 25. Machiavelli
26. Remembrance 27. The Collective Ego 28. Fatima 29. Abu Bakr 30. Quran
The Garden of Poetry is capable of "remembering." It is interacting with the reader, who has now become "part" of the Garden. Rumi's mentor Shams of Tabriz appears at the beginning of the second stage (Chapter 18) and guides the reader to the link between the Garden and the Quran (Chapter 30).

Top Part 3: The Reversal

Chapters 31-45
31. Goethe 32. The King of Afghanistan 33. Flowers of Sinai 35. Creation Stories 35. The Spirit of Muslim Culture
36. Hafiz of Shiraz 37. The Mind of Europe 38. Joseph of the West 39. 'Glory' 40. The Inner Child
41. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan 42. The Brotherhood of the Tavern 43. The Vision of Nezami 44. Mother 45. Shakespeare
The reader becomes aware of their own role as the protagonist. The German poet-thinker Goethe (Chapter 31) guides the reader through the biography of the Poet's mind, which ends on recognizing the English playwright William Shakespeare as Western counterpart of Mawlana Rumi (Chapter 45).

Top Part 4: The Highest Point

Chapters 46-60
46. Khizr 47. The Mysteries of Life 48. Phoenix 49. Spiritual Democracy 50. The Temple of a New David
51. Ideals Are the Keys 52. Revisiting the Past 53. Joseph in the Present 54. Fore-casting the Future 55. The Seven Stages
56. Unlocking the Mysteries 57. The Secrets of the Garden 58. Simorgh 59. The Five Wisdoms 60. The Fountain of Life
The reader finds Joseph and is now able to understand the working of the Garden through personal experience. This brings an insight into the past, present and the future. The legendary guide Khizr appears at the beginning of this stage (Chapter 46), which culminates on the Fountain of Life (Chapter 60).

Top Part 5: The Second Reversal

Chapters 61-75 will be added soon
Here the readers is offered a vision of the world in the light of the principles learnt in the Garden. The guide for this stage is Shabistry (Chapter 61), who leads to Mansur Hallaj (Chapter 75).

Top Part 6: The Lowest Point

Chapters 76-90 will be added soon
Here the reader is offered a vision of the inner world in the light of the principles learnt in the Garden. The guide for this stage is the Spirit of India (Chapter 76), which leads to the famous saint Mujaddid (Chapter 90).

Top Part 7: Climax

Chapters 96-111 will be added soon
Here the journey culminates on some possibilities about reconstructing the real world in the light of the lessons learnt in the Garden. This stage comprises of Chapters 91 to 111.

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“Khurram Ali Shafique is the first Iqbal scholar to have completed a much-needed requirement in Iqbal Studies that was being pointed out for the last few decades.

“It has been said about the Quran that 'part of it explains other parts of it' and the internal coherence in the writings of Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) has for long seemed to be inspired from this aspect of the Divine Word. The thread that runs through his poetry and the function of his lectures as an expression of his poetry were all aspects that were briefly touched upon in Iqbal Studies but no one had ever attempted to articulate the architectural whole of Iqbal's canon in order to show the intricacy of the complete design. This is what Shafique has done in The Republic of Rumi through a narrative that is remarkably readable and accessible without losing the depth that should be expected in such a work. This is a book for our times and of our times.”

—M. Suheyl Umar, Director, Iqbal Academy Pakistan

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