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

Chapter 47

The Mysteries of Life

By Khurram Ali Shafique

One of the stories which Muslim visionaries of the eleventh and twelfth centuries developed around Khizr was about the search for the Water of Life in the Realm of Darkness. In these stories, Khizr is the only survivor from a caravan that set out in search of immortality. He manages to find the Fountain of Life, drinks from it and attains an everlasting life.

The appearance of Khizr in the Garden of Poetry is his first major comeback in the world of literature since then. The seer seems to be inclined towards revealing the mysteries tonight and begins by explaining five topics suggested by Iqbal: roaming around in the wilderness, life, imperialism, socialism and the Muslim world.

The Wilderness

The caravan bell is ringing. Deer walk freely over sand dunes. The morning star appears like Gabriel looking down from above. Later, the setting sun becomes a reminder of the mysteries of Abraham. Travelers gathered around a water source look like believers thronging on a stream in Paradise.

Qais, besotted by the love of Layla, also took to the wilderness.


Farhad the Stonecutter is hewing away rocks with his pickaxe. He succeeds in bringing out a stream of milk from the rocks as desired by his beloved Shireen who, alas, shall end up wedding an emperor.


Western democracy is an instrument which can only play the melody of the ancient Roman Empire, whose mighty Caesars wanted to enslave the weaker nations.


The Russian Revolution arrives and workers, treated like beggars for centuries, break the idols of class, nationality, Church, empire and race. Fed up of weeping for a far away Paradise, the human nature breaks free of all restraints.

The Muslim World

The Muslim nation appears fragmented like a precious metal eaten up by the rust of European machinations. The clay of Hijaz becomes a brick in the Church, and the Middle East is being painted with Muslim blood sold by the Arabs cheaper than water. Asians are unaware that the unity of the Muslim nation is salvation for the whole of the East.

Khizr delivers a message from someone else. He says, “Rumi says, in the reconstruction of every structure, do you not know that the previous edifice has to be demolished first?”


  • What connection can you see between the views of Khizr on the five topics covered in this chapter?

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Khizr reveals the secrets of (a) roaming around in the desert; (b)  life; (c) the empire; (d) capital and labor; and (e) the World of Islam.
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