Sharib Press is delighted to announce an important publication venture. The six books that make up the Masnavi of the famous Sufi master and poet, Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), his great masterpiece of Sufi literature and spiritual wisdom, are available in audiobook format. The (only) complete English translation of the Masnavi (also spelled Mesnevi, Masnevi, Mathnawi, Mathnavi), which was made directly from Persian by Reynold A. Nicholson of Cambridge University and published between 1926-1934, was recorded by Sheikh Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri. Sheikh Jamil spent six years (2004-2010) recording the more than 1,400 pages of Nicholson’s translation. These recordings were beautifully recited in his home in Southhampton, United Kingdom, in a very calm and spiritually lucid manner.
The recordings are available in three different formats from Sharib press via the Zahuri website ( http://zahuri.org ). The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for the three published audiobook formats is 0-9549077-0-1. (Nicholson’s copyright expired in 2015, seventy years after his death.)
(1) CD: 69 CDs in WAV format (£75), 6 CDs in MP3 format (£35) or 1 flash drive in MP3 format (£25). Please see the Zahuri website for further details about ordering ( http://zahuri.org/MasneviCD.html ).
(2) The Masnavi English website ( http://masnavienglish.appspot.com ) of Nicholson’s English translation text (the first part of Book 1 and Books 2-4 uploaded so far), with each verse matched to separate recordings of Sheikh Jamil Morris’ recitation. In other words, his recorded recitations are divided into over twenty-five thousand separate MP3s matched to the English text of each translated verse. It is recommended to listen first to the beginning eighteen verses of Book 1 (“Listen to this reed…”), famously known as the “Song of the Reed Flute.” If you unselect “Continuous” in the left margin, then when you single click on any verse, the recorded translation of that verse will play and then stop. When selected the recitation will not stop until the end of the chapter. It is recommended to select a story from the index of Headings (such as, in Book 1, “The story of the green grocer and the parrot and the parrot’s spilling the oil in the shop”; and, in Book 2, “How Moses, on whom be peace, took offense at the prayer of the shepherd” through the next three sections (“How the High God rebuked Moses. . . . ,” “How the (Divine) revelation came to Moses. . . . ,” and, “How Moses, on whom be peace. . . .” ) to the end of the story. It is recommended to explore stories from the Masnavi first, before exploring topics of interest that may be more challenging and may require some intensive study in order to better understand.
(3) The continuous broadcast ( http://radio.mesnevi.org ) of Sheikh Jamil Morris’ entire English recitation, from the beginning of Book 1 through the end of Book 6 and repeated perpetually. This format allows no choice of verses from the Masnavi. It is recommended to listen frequently to the broadcast, and to half-listen until you hear a story or a topic that you find interesting. If you hear a topic or story that you wish to hear or read again in order to understand and appreciate it more, write down four or five (consecutive) words and look up the verse via the search box on the Persian-English-Turkish Masnavi website ( http://masnavi.net ). Then set the “Trans.” option to English and set the “Display Style” to “Translation Only” (or “Pers. and Tran,” if you wish to see the verses in both English and Persian, as well as to hear the verses recited in Persian). If you wish to hear the verses recited in English, you will need to find the Header for the particular section of verses that you are interested in. This can be done on masnavi.net by clicking on the back arrow until the Header (in bold print) is found. Write down the book number (1 - 6) and the first words of the Header and then go to the Masnavi English website ( http://masnavienglish.appspot.com ) and look for the Header in the index of Headers at the top of the page. Click on the Header and a page will appear with the Header at the top and the English translation. Then check the “Continuous” box in the left margin and single click on the header, or scroll down to a particular verse that you were looking for, single click on the verse, and listen to the English recitation that you want to hear—and listen to it as many times as you wish.
About the Masnavi
Even amongst the glittering ranks of the great Sufi saints, the thirteenth century mystical poet, Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, stands out as shining beacon of sanity, light, and love in today’s world seething with conflict, torment, and moral uncertainty. Though his spiritual grandeur rests on far more than a single book, he more than merits his current literary pre-eminence in East and West on the basis of his Masnavi alone. This is a book which plumbs the depths and soars to the heights of wisdom, morality, religion, humanity, spirituality, and all-encompassing Divine Love. Like a vast tree its roots draw inspiration from the heart of the Divine Secret and make it manifest in the form of stories and anecdotes containing humour and tragedy, conflict and love, passion and longing, duplicity and sincerity. Spreading out in diverse directions each branch sustains an abundance of mystical fruit. Vision, morality, ethics, contemplation, spiritual knowledge, prayer, commentary and sermons, jostle each other to attract our attention. In Mevlana’s own words the Masnavi is: “Most excellent as a spiritual resting place….thereby the free are gladdened and rejoiced.” The eternal verities of the Holy Qur’an pervade every sentence like sap in the tree. Ever-present, prophets and saints seem to be pouring their blessings on to it. Whilst the brilliant sun sparkles on every leaf, its cool shade seems to be inviting the seeker to the rest and the refreshment of Truth. The Masnavi consists of six books written down by disciples as it was recited in Persian in rhymed couplets and in the masnavi poetic meter. Professor Nicholson’s prose translation into English from the earliest manuscripts, though made over 80 years ago, remains the most scholarly and most widely acclaimed. It was originally published by E. J. W. Gibbs Memorial Trust in 1926. The book is read by Jamiluddin Morris Zahuri, a spiritual disciple and caliph [khalifa] of the late Dr. Zahuru ‘l-Hassan Sharib of the Chishti, Qadiri, and Gudri Shah traditions of Sufism. Jamil Saheb regularly visits the ‘Urs of Mevlana Rumi in December and has had strong connections with the late Hajji Nuri Baba and the late Hajji Ali Baba (his successor) of Konya.