'Joking is teaching, so take care to listen - Don't look at just the joke's form of expression. To jesters every serious thing's hilarious, While to the wise hilarious jokes are serious' Rumi is the greatest mystic poet to have written in Persian, and the Masnavi is his masterpiece. Divided into six books and consisting of some 26,000 verses, the poem was designed to convey a message of divine love and unity to the disciples of Rumi's Sufi order, known today as the Whirling Dervishes. Like the earlier books, Book Four interweaves amusing stories with homilies to instruct pupils in understanding of God's meaning. It has a special focus on the mystical knowledge of the spiritual guide, elaborated through stories such as Solomon's inspiration to the Queen of Sheba, and animal fables. This is the first ever verse translation of Book Four of the Masnavi. It follows the original by presenting Rumi's most mature mystical teachings in simple and attractive rhyming couplets.
Jawid Mojaddedi is a native of Afghanistan, and read Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Manchester. He has taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Universities of Manchester and Exeter, and served as an editor of Encyclopaedia Iranica at the Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University. He is currently Professor of Religion at Rutgers University. His most recent publications include Beyond Dogma: Rumi's Teachings on Friendship with God and Early Sufi Theories (OUP, 2012) and for the Oxford World's Classics, The Masnavi, Book Three (OUP, 2013).