Remember when I said he has no formal qualification? Scratch that, he was actually given an honorary doctorate by the University of Tehran (Iran’s premier university) for all of his… scholarship… right. With friends like this, who needs enemies!
Below is what Professor of Islamic Studies Omid Safi told Rozina Alia, the writer for New Yorker
“The erasure of Islam from Rumi’s poetry started long before Coldplay got involved. Omid Safi, a professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at Duke University, says that it was in the Victorian period that readers in the West began to uncouple mystical poetry from its Islamic roots. Translators and theologians of the time could not reconcile their ideas about a “desert religion,”with its unusual moral and legal codes, and the work of poets like Rumi and Hafez. The explanation they settled on, Safi told me, was “that these people are mystical not because of Islam but in spite of it.”This was a time when Muslims were singled out for legal discrimination—a law from 1790 curtailed the number of Muslims who could come into…”
“I see a type of ‘spiritual colonialism’ at work here: bypassing, erasing, and occupying a spiritual landscape that has been lived…by Muslims from Bosnia and Istanbul to Konya and Iran to Central and South Asia.” a gem from an actual real Rumi scholar, Omid Safi
Persians call Rumi’s Masnavi, “The Qu’ran in Persian.” It’s a storybook that embodies the spirit of the Qu’ran in simple, rhyming Persian for the non-Arabic speaking masses. One cannot understand the Masnavi w/o the Qu’ran, but alas “The Koran is hard to read.” remarks Barks.
But let’s go back to the quote I mentioned earlier. I’ve found the original Persian text (that Coleman can’t even read) and translated it into English. Notice anything?
Compare my mostly literal translation with Coleman’s ‘translation.’ My heart aches for those who only know Moulana Rumi via this orientalist garbage masquerading as a translation.
Take this second poem. All of the Islam is removed to the point where the poem is almost meaningless. ‘Home’ (dargah) in Persian is unnecessarily translated as ‘caravan’. This divergence from the original exposes the orientalist mindset of these ‘translators.’