The Other Cheek of Islam
The Jalaluddin Rumi Interpretation of The Holy Q'uran
by Rami E. Kremesti M.Sc., CWEM, CSci, CEnv
© 2016 All Rights Reserved
The idea of "The Other Cheek of Islam" was conceived in my mind around December 2004 in Beirut, Lebanon. I had recently returned to Lebanon from the USA where I had discovered Rumi a couple of years back and was completely mesmerised and amazed by his poetry. I was job hunting, so I had plenty of free time on my hands, and what better cause to devote one's free time to, than to translate the poetry of Rumi into Arabic and spread his inclusivist, reconciling view of all religions. It hurt me to realize that very few people had heard of him in Lebanon so I felt a sense of urgency in spreading his vision in Lebanon, in particular, where scars of religious conflict could still be felt , and at the regional level where things were not looking so good in Iraq, and East-West relations.
So this is how I started translating some of the most beautiful poems of Rumi into Arabic using Coleman Barks's "The Essential Rumi" and I created the First Jalaluddin Rumi Online Arabic Translation of Some of His Most Beautiful Poems page.
My view of Islam changed completely (from a total polemical hostile attitude that peaked in the wake of 9/11) to one of understanding and even appreciation. If what Rumi was preaching was Islam, then I found in it my Christianity. Knowing that his 6 Mathnawi volumes of poetry are considered the Persian Translation of the Quran, I realized that whatever is viewed as negative in Islam is simply a misinterpretation...
In this day and time, when Islamo-phobia is rampant in many parts of the world (the phenomenal Pat Robertson for example), where racism and materialism are plaguing humanity, what better anti-dote, what better light to spread than the vision of Rumi?
Below are some of the views/poems of Rumi that I find deeply Christian:
1. I read in Rumi a story about Ali, one of Mohammed's favorites and staunch followers, about forgiving whoever does you wrong until the Day of Judgement, no matter how many times they do you wrong, as a manifestation of the Christian teaching of "turning the other cheek".
2. Rumi's views on Women. Read his "She Is the Creator" poem on my Rumi page.
3. Rumi's introduction of Music in worship was a challenge to traditional Islam which bans the use of music in worship. Rumi to legalistic Islam was like Jesus to legalistic Judaism...
4. Rumi's poem "Come, Come Whoever You Are" is a mirror of Jesus's befriending of society's outcasts.
5. Rumi's poem "One Praise" unifies all religions and all humanity. A reminder of the Christian teaching "No Greek or Jew..."
6. Rumi's poem "Only Breath" depicts how he goes beyond religion.
7. Rumi's poem "No Flag" which can be read on my Rumi page, is resounding of the biblical story of The Good Samaritan.
8. Rumi tells in one of his poems that if someone steals your horse, let them have it. Horses are for getting ahead of others... This reminded me of Jesus's teaching to serve others by washing his disciples' feet and his teaching that if someone took your robe then let them have your tunic as well.
9. Rumi interprets the Quran's teaching of chopping the hands and the feet of heathen as symbolic of killing the desires of the "Nefs" which is our egoistic self... This I read in Rumi Discourses - From the Tongue of Hasan Dede
10. Rumi's vision of Islam is inclusivist unlike main-stream Islam. He views different religions as different expressions of the same universal truth. Different in words but the same in meaning. His Three Travellers Tell Their Dreams poem captures that spirit. Read it on my Rumi English page
Below I have compiled some of my musings and sarcasm mostly on Islam which I have published on Facebook. Some of the content aims to trivilialize the seriousness
of religious doctrine in an attempt to marginalize Islamic fundamentalism.
The highest form of greeting in Judaism and Islam is Shalom or AssalamuAleikum which means Peace Be Upon You in Arabic. This is because the Middle East is lacking in peace so it's a highly valued commodity. If peace were achieved in the Middle East, say in 100 years, will the way people greet each other evolve there to say Blissfulness Be Upon You? For surely blissfulness is a state that is higher than peace don't you agree with me? Posted on FB by Rami Ellias Kremesti
August 16, 2015 - isnspired by Sadhguru
Karma is not existence’s reward or punishment system as people seem to think.
Karma literally means action. We are referring to past action (which includes thought). From the moment you were born till this moment, the kind of family, the kind of home, the kind of friends, the things that you did and did not do, all these things are influencing you. Every thought, emotion and action comes only from past impressions that you have had within you. They decide who you are right now. The very way you think, feel and understand life is just the way you have assimilated inputs. We call this karma. August 17, 2015
PS: and the reason Bad Karma is self destructive is because it affects your brain chemistry and circuitry in such a way that the brain does not produce Anandamide any more
I sent a complaint to the BBC today to stop calling rainy weather bad weather because it is not helping really and this is not accurate it's a subjective opinion... I love rainy weather... especially storms... trees and grass love rainy weather... Flowers too... Fruit trees love rain... the whole plant kingdom loves rain... August 14, 2015
PS: I also dislike the way that they use Evolutionary terminology to describe the magnificience of nature and the intelligent design in it.... I dont think that the amazing engineering and biochemistry that are in a simple mosquito or fly "have" evolved... that is non-sense... there is intelligent design in these creatures...
To be a true Muslim means to abide by the Muslim principle "La iLahaiLLa Allah" which means "There is No God but Allah". To abide by this principle means to make no idol of anything or anyone in this world including the Self... I don't think Muslims realize how difficult that is... Anger is an idol... Love of money is an idol... love of power is an idol.... love of expensive clothes is an idol... Lust is an idol... love of good food is an idol.... expensive cars are an idol... jealousy is an idol.... hate is an idol.... laziness is an idol.... partying and getting drunk like an animal is an idol... getting fake tits and lips is an idol... gossip is an idol... thinking that you are smart is an idol.... August 10, 2015
"Existence is happening out of its inclusiveness, not out of exclusiveness. Not a single micro-organism can exist exclusively on its own...
So you being exclusive is ridiculous, but the whole world or at least the commercial forces and even some religions on the planet are constantly telling you that you are exclusive." Sadhguru August 5, 2015
Either Islam is a useless religion because it has failed to turn Arabs into decent people or Islam is great but the Arabs are hopeless ignoramuses...Posted on FB by Rami Ellias Kremesti, July 19, 2015
It hit me early this morning... Allah is spelled Al-Lah in Arabic which literally translates to The-No (in other words Nothingness, Darkness). So this reminded me of the Hindu God Shiva, whose name means "That which is not". Christianity talks about God and The Word (a vibration, Energy) or the Light (Jesus). Again Hindu theology talks about Shakti or Primordial Energy. Shakti embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva. Could we be talking about complementary concepts here? The Ying and the Yang? Posted on FB by Rami Ellias KremestiJuly 13, 2015
Islam is a very simple yet profound philosophy: Nothing matters but Allah The Creator... but once a Muslim espouses this belief, he/she must not harbor hate for the non-believers or enact violent Jihad against them because hate and violent action are an idol in themselves...
FB September 24 at 10:11am
I wonder if it ever occurs to the Muslims of the Middle East that Allah is not too happy with them?and the reasons behind that.... FB September 12 at 12:30pm
To Muslims, and strictly according to the Koran (Soura 37 #42), Paradise is a place where you sit around on soft couches, drinking beer and hanging out with dark eyed virgins (which is not a bad concept - if you were still a male teenager). When I tell this to some of my Western friends, they laugh... Religion is the Ultimate Hypnotizer... FB 31-10-2015
Click here to read about Women Reformists in Islam
I am sitting home on my couch in Sale, Manchester and I am musing... it is raining outside... Many thoughts are passing through my head.... Last night Protugal defeated France in the Euro 2016 Final... I thought what the French team lacked that made them lose was Spiritual Enlightenment... their faces, their eyes while playing the game showed that they were like programmed robot... I am positive their coach told them in the locker room "disable Ronadlo and the match is ours". Well that backfired... After two French players attached Ronaldo from opposite sides and almost broke his leg, the match lost its magic and so did the French team. They realized that what they did was wrong... Their Karma was consuming their conscience.... Ronaldo must have cursed them for doing what they did to them... And Instant Karma had its way the French lost their umph and lost the Final.... I watched the game at the Jones's in Leconfield near Beverly in Yorkshire, UK. At supper yesterday I shared with them the idea that evolution of human beings has been put on a standstill since the development of civilization... and that is why we have the phenomenon of STUPIFICATION of the masses.... TV programs, tabloids, the radio, most magazines are just beaming stupidity these days.... Massive information is being shoved down the throat of the average man who does not have the intelligence or the sharp intellect to sift through this rubbish and pick the gems....
Today I was thinking that the West is collapsing... as an Ideal.... Monkey politics in the USA and the UK.... its like the opposite sides are children screaming at each other without listening to each other.... what is this stupid bi-partisan politics in BOTH countries? why divide the people instead of UNITE them? why cant BOTH sides compromise and form a COALITION for the common good?
Today I am reading Zorba The Greek of Kazantsakis. I read this book more than 10 years ago in the USA but I am enjoying it just as much if not more reading it again... Zorba says to the author in it that a Hodja once told him in Thessaloniki that it is a grave sin not to sleep with a woman if she wants you... I disagree with that and in case it is true then I am a BIG sinner because I have done precisely that THREE times in m lifetime.... I think Zorba is mistaken because when the hormones take over the body of a man or a woman then the act of Sex is not Sacred any more.... that is why Adultery is a sin in the Monotheistic religions.... Sex is a simple reproductive act, why God made it pleasurable, I guess so that people reproduce.... but when the pleasure becomes the goal, not love, not Union then it is a Sin....
Rami E. Kremesti M.Sc., CWEM, CSci, CEnv
July 11, 2016