The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition by Leonard Lewisohn
Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-73), founder of the Mevlevi Sufi order of “Whirling Dervishes,” is the best-selling poet in America today. The wide-ranging appeal of his work is such that UNESCO declared 2007 to be “International Rumi Year.” However, his writings represent much more than love poetry. Rumi was one of the preeminent thinkers of Sufism, the esoteric form of Islam. In this groundbreaking collection of 13 essays on Rumi, many of the world's leading authorities in the field of Islamic Studies and Persian Literature discuss the major religious themes in his poetry and teachings. In addition to discussing the ideas of love, ecstasy, and music in Rumi's Sufi poetry, the essays offer new historical and theological perspectives on his work. The immortality of the soul, freewill, the nature of punishment and reward, and the relationship of Islam to Christianity are all covered, in order to bring Rumi's poetry properly into the context of the Sufi tradition to which he belonged.