Art And Culture

Afghan Expert Renders Rumi’s Masnavi in English

Cover of the bookCover of the book

Prolific Afghan translator Jawid Mojaddedi has released an English rendering of the fourth book of Masnavi written by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi.

Titled ‘The Masnavi: Book Four’, this is the first ever verse translation of his fourth book. It presents Rumi’s most mature mystical teachings in simple and attractive rhyming couplets. It has been printed by Oxford World’s Classics, an imprint of Oxford University Press.

Rumi was a Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian and mystic. His works have been translated into many languages.

Masnavi, an extensive poem, is one of the best known and most influential works of Persian literature which conveys a message of divine love and unity. It is a series of six books of poetry that together number around 25,000 verses or 50,000 lines. Rumi began dictating the first book around the age of 54 in the year 1258 and continued composing verses until his death in 1273.

 Rumi Expert

Mojaddedi, known globally as a Rumi expert, published his interpretation of the first three books of Masnavi in 2004, 2007 and 2013, Iran’s Book News Agency Reported.

For ‘The Masnavi: Book One’, he was awarded the Lois Roth Prize by the American Institute of Iranian Studies for excellence in translation of Persian literature.

“Like the earlier books, Book Four interweaves amusing stories with homilies to instruct pupils in understanding God. It has a special focus on the mystical knowledge of the spiritual guide, elaborated through stories such as Solomon’s inspiration to the Queen of Sheba, and animal fables,” wrote about the book.

Born in Kabul, Mojaddedi along with his mother and brother, moved to Britain when he was five.

He received his bachelor’s degree and PhD in Middle Eastern studies from University of Manchester. He then worked as a full-time faculty member of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, where he taught Arabic and Islamic studies.

In 1998, Mojaddedi moved to the US. There, he worked at Columbia University for two years as an editor of Encyclopedia Iranica.

Mojaddedi’s analytical study, ‘Beyond Dogma: Rumi’s Teachings on Friendship with God and Early Sufi Theories’, was published by Oxford University Press in 2012.


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