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Rumi: Whirling Dervish

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  • Posted July 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    For nearly 800 years people have called him Rumi, literally &quo

    For nearly 800 years people have called him Rumi, literally "the man from Rome or the Roman Empire." That meant the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire and it was crumbling fast. Much of it had recently been conquered by Muslim Turks. 

    But to his mother and father Rumi was Jalaluddin, meaning "Splendor of the Faith" in Arabic. He lived from 1207 - 1273 and moved within a very large area of  Central and Western  Asia bounded to the north by four ancient seas (Mediterranean, Black, Caspian and Aral) and to the south by Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea (see illustrated map page 2). Much of his adult life he lived with wife and sons in today's Anatolian Turkey in the city Konya, known to the Greeks and Romans as Iconium.
     
    See and read all about towering Persian poet and religious innovator Jalaluddin in the 2009 book RUMI WHIRLING DERVISH written and illustrated for children by American author Demi. I stress "see" because one of my granddaughters (age 11) recently, as a test, made almost perfect sense of the book from the illustrations alone. She also found the text clear and understandable, apart from the Arabic names and most of the illustrated ranslations into English of Persian religious verses.

    She especially liked Rumi's story "Nobody" about a man who knocked on God's door identified himself as "me" and was told to go away. After much meditating in a desert he saw his error and went back to God's house:

    "Who's there?" asked God.
    "You," replied the man.
    "Then come in," said God.There's no room for two here." (p. 24)

    Only with the visual, however, of on-line recordings of whirling dervishes in motion was our granddaughter able to make good sense of the book's title RUMI WHIRLING DERVISH. This is a great book to adorn your coffee table. It is easier for an adult to admire the stunning illustrations than for a child eight years and older (the intended reader) to grasp the whole text.

     -OOO- 

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