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

Chapter 49

Spiritual Democracy

By Khurram Ali Shafique

It was night when Khizr turned up. Now the night is over, as daybreak appears in the very title of the next poem: ‘The Dawn of Islam’. Has the prophecy of Khizr been fulfilled and a world been reborn?
‘The Dawn of Islam’ seems to be suggesting that. The poem appears like a gigantic parliament house in the Garden. The parliament house is dedicated to spiritual democracy and you are presiding over the current session jointly with Mustafa Kemal Pasha. You are entitled to hold this position regardless of your religion: your success in arriving here by following the principle of non-contradiction has qualified you.

The structure of the parliament house comprises of nine stanzas, as if each couplet of the ‘Indian Anthem’ has been expanded into a complete stanza and is not limited to India anymore.


The dimming of the stars is foretelling a bright morning as lifeblood starts coursing again in the dead veins of the East. The phoenix has risen. The prophecy fulfilled itself. It’s the same day, but a new morning.

Some invisibles have become visible: valor can be seen directly instead of having to be discerned through actions.


The morning breeze is carrying away the scent of the rose without having to pluck the flower, since the newly attained insight is capable of seeing the invisibles.


“You are the hand and the voice of the Eternal God, O negligent one!” says Iqbal. “Acquire certainty, for you have given away to doubt.”


In the early days of Islam, it appeared as if a lion had leapt out of the desert to overthrow the tyrannies of Caesar and Chosroes. Now it may be seen that it wasn’t a beast but a composite of principles: (a) the strength of Ali; (b) the faqr or the chosen poverty of Abu Dhar, a companion of the Prophet; and (c) the sincerity of Salman the Persian.

This is the thing that was mentioned to the Brotherhood of the Tavern in ‘March 1907’. Asians, enslaved for centuries by succession of local and foreign tyrants, are now trying to catch a glimpse of the Turks who have succeeded where even the more advanced Germans had failed.


Faith, action and an all-conquering love have become useable in this world. They replace weapons.


Eagles fall down from the sky. Stars drowned in a pool of blood are rising. Adept divers lie drowned in watery graves while the weakest swimmers emerge like pearls from the depths. Alchemists are eating dust while those who prostrated on bare ground have found the Philosopher’s Stone.

Arriving later than the rest, you have brought the vital message. You have brought life to the Garden.


Humanity lies fragmented. Greed has done that.


“Come, someone has arrived to buy the poor soul,” says Iqbal. “A caravan has arrived upon us after such a long time.”


Unmistakably, the “poor soul” is a reference to Joseph. You are the one who has arrived to buy him and Iqbal means that you have now reached the spot in the Garden where Joseph was kept.


  • How do the propositions presented in this chapter relate with your journey through the Garden of Poetry?

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Although rooted in the message of the Quran, the Garden is a place for everyone.
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