The metaphysics of the heart in the Sufi doctrine of Rumi

Mohammed Rustom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the Masnavi-yi Ma'navi (The Couplets of Esoteric Meaning) written by the famous Muslim mystical poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273 C.E.), countless metaphysical teachings are interwoven into the fabric of the text. It is, as one author has called it, “an ocean of gnosis” (Nasr 1993: 183). For this short paper I have dipped into this “ocean of gnosis” and resurfaced with several of the most important passages in which Rumi lays out his metaphysical teachings concerning the “heart” (lubb, fu'ad, qalb and sirr in Arabic; dil in Persian), which is a key concept in Sufi literature. For the Sufis it is not the eye but the heart that “perceives.” In what follows I will first delineate some of Rumi's core teachings on the heart. I will then turn my attention to what he has to say about the heart as a means to seeing the Divine, for both human beings and God Himself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Religion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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