Mohammad Jalalud'din Balkhi also known as Rumi biography and peoetry

Mohammad Jalalud'din Balkhi also known as Rumi, the thirteenth-century Afghan lawyer-divine and Sufi, widely considered literature's greatest mystical poet, understood very well the uncontrollable and idiosyncratic impact of poetry. Yet one wonders if even he, for all his intuitive grasp of language, humanity and the cosmos foresaw the deep and diverse influence his own work would have on readers throughout the world seven centuries after his death-or the myriad meanings enthusiasts would draw from his sprawling and contradictory poems.

In the Islamic world today, Balkhi is read for much the same reasons he was revered during his life: for his excellence as a poet; for his rare ability to empathize with humans, animals and plants; for his personal refinement; and, above all else, for his flawless moral center and ability to direct others towards good conduct and union with Allah.

Balkhi's work also has been read in the West for centuries and there have been informed references to him in the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and many other eminent writers. But in recent years the popularity of his work in the West has increased to a surprising extent: according to the Christian Science Monitor, Balkhi ranked as America's best-selling poet in 1997. His biography, or at least the highlights of his difficult but victorious life, should prove as inspiring as his poetry to his diverse and growing readership.

The key events of Balkhi's life-or those that appear to have shaped his poetry to a great extent-seem to have been his insecure childhood spent with his family roaming between countries at the time of the Mongol invasion; his close relationship with his father, the mystic Baha al-Din; his great popularity as an Islamic professor; and his unusually intense spiritual and emotional love for the dervish Shams al-Din of Tabriz.