Wednesday Jan 17, 2007

800 Years Later at Stanford, 1400 Years Later in San Jose

A colleague sent me a reminder that Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207–73)'s 800th birthday celebration at Stanford University will be held on Saturday January 27th, 2007. Mahmoud Zolfonoun will perform some muscial pieces, several Mawlana scholars will hold a panel discussion, and Robert Bly will be reading some translations of Mawlana.

To some readers, I've promised my first podcast will be a reading of the first few verses from Mawlana's Masnavi in the original Persian, followed by my own rough English translations. (Note that I'm by no means a Masnavi scholar. So, my reading and translation will only give you a very rough idea of  a very small corner of Mawlana's poetry. Masnavi, by itself, contains thousands of lines of poetry and Divan-e Shams, even more.)

The tickets for the Stanford event, including the catered dinner, are priced at $90 per person.

An English translation of Masnavi can be found here.

That same Saturday also coincides with the day of Ashura, the 10th day of the lunar month of Muharram, marked by Muslims since some 1400 years ago as a day of commitment to justice.

This year, I hear there may be a local Ashura procession in downtown San Jose. See here for BBC's account of Ashura, and here, for another scholarly account of its 'recent' history. The BBC notes that "Ashura has been a day of fasting for Sunni Muslims since the days of the early Muslim community. It marks two historical events: the day Nuh (Noah) left the Ark, and the day that Musa (Moses) was saved from the Egyptians by Allah. Shi'a Muslims in particular use the day to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet (pbuh), in 680 CE."

 

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