Tuesday, November 28, 2023 | Jumada al-ula 13, 1445 H
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Centuries ago they wrote...

In life too there are opportunities that are left untapped, resources that are unexplored and talents that were not developed into skills

The northwesterly winds set in and we enjoy coolness of the air. It takes away the dry leaves and twigs from the trees. Sitting under the tree counting the unpicked riped and dried berries, makes one wonder about the berries that have been left uneaten.

In life too there are opportunities that are left untapped, resources that are unexplored and talents that were not developed into skills. And before we know the time line shifts and life has moved on. Along with it the trends and technology as well as mindsets.

But then we have to think about how we are still intrigued by thinkers of the ancient past, for instance Rumi. His words still strike a chord that makes you want to share it with others. In this information age Rumi still captures people’s imagination for his quotes are still shared as social media post.

So what makes them relevant in this century as well?

No matter how far Artificial Intelligence, AI, advances and gets involved in the mainstream, Rumi’s thoughts will still find inspiration and that is because the words connect with emotions. The originality of his concepts still hold people’s attention.

While there are many popular quotes here are some which bring focus to the self. Ocean is always an inspiration and here he said, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an entire ocean, in a drop.”

In other words we are not alone, we are not a separate entity. It also reminds us in the literal sense that what the environment is exposed to invariably has an impact on us.

A quote almost every one who knows Rumi’s work is, “What you are seeking, is seeking you.” The current day thinkers also say that what he meant was, ‘What you are seeking, is within you.’

Of course translations and interpretations can be drawn out in so many ways. Life then would have been so different as he was reflecting on life in a world eight centuries ago.

His words intriguingly takes us inward as this quote does, “We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us.”

Think about it - how special our mind could be and should be, but what do we fill it with?

Doubts and self doubts, expectations and disappointments, ambitions and failures, desires and anxiety are just some of them. But it is from the same space where creativity churns out, ideas originate from and where solutions are thought about.

The Sufi poet was born more than 800 years ago, and he continues to be one of the most read poets in many countries.

His words alone took him across the various lands and it is even more today with the new technology. It is still amazing how he continues to be discovered by generations after generations. As a poet he wrote in the Persian language and the most famous work continues to the epic Masnavi - Yiti Ma’navi meaning Spiritual Couplets.

While he looked inward and urged others to do so, another writer who is often remembered and quoted is Ibn Batutta who born in Morocco. Before all the popular travelogues we have been reading and watching, Battuta was out there exploring people, culture and land and came out with the most famous travelogue titled, ‘The Rihlah.’

According to the historians, Ibn Battuta travelled for almost 30 years and visited 44 countries. He was a trained judge and over the years he is known to be an adviser to many leaders. He was knowledgeable in geography, botany and experts of today say that he was also a social scientist, but writing he did and nations today preserve the writings with great historical value. He travelled and wrote what he saw and left a record of history and lifestyle. He would describe in detail about the cities he visited. One of the first quotes I read about was his description of Qalhat.

He had written, “It had fine bazaars and one of the most beautiful mosques.”

It would be ideal for anyone who visits Qalhat, to read these words while looking at the archeological discoveries. They walked on this land and reflected by looking at the same moon and the oceans. One thinker chose to look inward and the other expanded his mind’s horizon by traveling. Both shared their thoughts and continue to inspire us. But both of them maintained their main focus throughout - faith.

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