Original Research

Rumi whirling in a secular age: Applying medieval Sufi wisdom to the questions of our day

Arnold M. Meiring
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2390 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2390 | © 2021 Arnold M. Meiring | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 October 2021 | Published: 17 December 2021

About the author(s)

Arnold M. Meiring, Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


In a secular society, obsessed with materialism and consumerism, the 13th-century mystical teacher and poet, Jalaluddin Rumi (1207–1273), has found a surprisingly widespread following. While his work is often misunderstood and diluted, this research proposed the opposite: that Rumi may broaden his modern admirers’ worldview and bring about an encounter with God. This study thus applied the insights of an 800-year-old mystic to the questions of today. The research comprised of a qualitative literature research method that first explored the life and writings of Rumi, and then investigated the issues and yearnings of a secular society as proposed by philosopher Charles Taylor. The study showed that Rumi may indeed open up the enclosed secular worldview by adding significance to our living, God to our loving and hope to our dying.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article was a study in religion – applying the work of a medieval Sufi mystic to the philosophical questions of today. It also considered Anatolian history and Persian literature and offered philosophical options. It further related to missiology, as well as systematic and practical theology.


Rumi; Sufism; New Sufism; Islam; Persian poetry; Charles Taylor; secularism; time; living; death


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Crossref Citations

1. The thematic system in the construction of Arabic Sufism communities and Islamic identity
Muhammad Y. Anis, Mangatur Nababan, Riyadi Santosa, Mohammad Masrukhi
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 78  issue: 4  year: 2022  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v78i1.7469