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How the nice Muslim poet Rumi helps in the present day’s displaced youth discover themselves

(RNS) — Friday (Sept. 30) is the 815th birthday of the world-renowned Muslim poet, Rumi. We are able to discuss this medieval trainer and poet within the current tense as a result of, like his up to date St. Francis of Assisi, Rumi’s life and writings proceed to encourage tens of millions of individuals all over the world. In reality, Jalaludin Muhammad Rumi stays this nation’s best-selling poet, in firm with the likes of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Frost.

Rumi is perhaps happy to listen to that he and his work are enjoying a central position in a brand new on-line artistic writing program designed to unleash the ability of self-expression for younger displaced individuals and Muslims in america. The challenge, known as Unfold Your Own Myth, is the brainchild of Unity Productions Foundation, a nonprofit media firm working in collaboration with KidSpirit, the world’s solely youth-led platform for constructing group by means of life’s large questions.

Youth ages 11 to 18 meet in small teams for a number of hour-long on-line and in-person workshops the place they be taught artistic writing and construct relationships with each other. The emphasis is on poetry, with members studying to put in writing in numerous varieties, from haiku to spoken phrase, following prompts from on-screen facilitators and ultimately producing unique works of their very own to share collectively.

Unfold Your Personal Delusion is each a dynamic writing workshop and a community-building program, designed to bolster the spirit and supply artistic company to younger refugees from Syria and Ukraine, in addition to Rumi’s personal homeland of Better Khorasan, simply north of present-day Afghanistan.

The challenge’s title comes from Rumi’s writings:

“Don’t be happy with tales—
How issues have gone with others.
Unfold your personal fable.”

Rumi’s poems have been timeless and related. They touched not solely the hearts of scholars who have been experiencing poem writing and poetic units for the primary time, but additionally these college students who have been well-versed in poetry and have been budding poets themselves.

His phrases are additionally the proper recommendation for youngsters who, discovering themselves in lecture rooms removed from residence, could really feel displaced and wanting to specific themselves in their very own phrases.

A statue of the poet Rumi in Buca, Turkey. Picture © Faik Sarıkaya/

Rumi speaks to their situation; as a boy he was a refugee himself. His father’s diaries inform how he, his household and a bunch of buddies left the Samarkand area forward of the Mongol invasions. Regional instability drove them first to distant Mecca, then to Damascus and at last to Rumi’s adoptive metropolis of Konya, Turkey.

His father’s diaries point out that this radical uprooting deeply disturbed his teenage son.

The journey took years and was formative for Rumi, as creator Brad Gooch’s current book, “Rumi’s Secret: The Lifetime of the Sufi Poet of Love,” information.

The Unfold Your Personal Delusion Challenge attracts on disruptive occasions in his early years, utilizing them as reference factors for in the present day’s displaced youth, serving to them to come back to phrases with their very own expertise. The workshops handle this in a visually participating manner by displaying chosen clips from Unity Productions Basis’s animated film, Lamya’s Poem. This soon-to-be-released function movie dramatizes Rumi’s youth, depicting his experiences in parallel with these of a Twenty first-century refugee, a woman named Lamya, who’s on the run along with her mom fleeing the civil conflict in Syria.

Like lots of the workshop members, Lamya has an energetic creativeness. Like them, she struggles with displacement however is helped by a e-book of Rumi’s poems in her backpack.

A few of Rumi’s best-known works discuss uprootedness and the will to relocate. His “Tune of the Reed” offers voice to a musical instrument comprised of a bamboo reed. Torn from a riverbed and made right into a flute, the reed has a voice and a narrative to inform:

“Take heed to the reed and the story it tells,
The way it sings of separation:
‘For the reason that day I used to be torn from my reed mattress,
My music has been a pressure of affection and ache.
I lengthy for One who understands the indicators
To mingle their coronary heart with mine.’
To heal a coronary heart that bleeds,
Pay attention, hearken to the reed.”

Poetry isn’t remedy, however writing poems will be therapeutic in the identical manner {that a} hike into excessive mountains will be therapeutic, offering altitude and a wholesome overview. The premise of the Unfold Your Personal Delusion Challenge is that we’re nearer to being entire after we discover our personal voices.

Flight from residence is rarely a straightforward choice, however typically it could actually provide recent alternatives. The challenge takes Rumi’s recommendation critically, offering a secure house to reclaim by means of language some possession over the tales of our lives.

(Michael Wolfe is a poet and creator of “The Hajj: An American Pilgrimage to Mecca. He cofounded Unity Productions in 1999. Sumreena Hussain is an authorized center faculty trainer and a scholar of the Miftaah Institute the place she research Islamic information. The views expressed on this commentary don’t essentially replicate these of Faith Information Service.)

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