The essence of Rumi’s Mathnavi is contained in its first poem, ‘The Lament of the Reed’, which describes the anguish of the reed upon being separated from the reed bed, a metaphor for the sorrow that the soul feels when separated from the Divine.

Drawing analogies to the birth pangs undergone by the Virgin Mary as Jesus was brought into the world, author and Rumi specialist Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi talks about the relationship between physical and spiritual pain and the intensity of heartfelt supplication, the ultimate paradigm being Imam Ali’s famous supplication, Du’a Kumayl. 

Join us for an insight into one of the most quoted and studied poems in Muslim tradition.

About The Author

Headshot of Reza Shah-Kazemi

Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi

Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi specialises in comparative mysticism, Islamic Studies, Sufism and Shi’ism. He is the founding editor of the Islamic World Report and currently a Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies with the Department of Academic Research and Publications. He received degrees in International Relations and Politics at Sussex and Exeter University, before receiving his doctorate in Comparative Religion from the University of Kent in 1994. He later acted as a consultant to the Institute for Policy Research in Kuala Lumpur. He is also the author of Paths to Transcendence: According to Shankara, Ibn Arabi, and Meister Eckhart (2006) and The Other in the Light of the One: The Universality of the Qur’an and Interfaith Dialogue (2006), among others. Additionally, Shah-Kazemi has contributed to several volumes on Muslim spirituality and edited a Persian-to-English translation of the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia.