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The Poetry of Rumi: Book review of translations by Farrukh Dhondy

2 books of Rumi's translated works by Farrukh Dhondy

O pilgrim who visit the Holy Land

I’ll show you heaven in a grain of sand

Are you hooked already? You might have read many such snippets on Instagram and Pinterest. You might have even heard the poet’s name – Rumi.

Jalaluddin Rumi was a spiritual master and poet who lived in 13th Century Tajikistan. His poetry has influenced literature in the region and now through some great translations, continue to inspire us.

Farrukh Dhondy has translated some of them into a series of two books.

Rumi A New Translation and Rumi: A New Collection

I fell for the cover first of all, and the inside pages did not disappoint either. The poems are good…some are great.

Dance when the bowl of soul is shattered

Dance when you’ve nudged the blindfold off

Dance when the battle was all that mattered

Dance though the world stands by to scoff!

The poems have a musical way to lure you in. These are not meant to be read in a single sitting. Instead read, and re-read at leisure, savouring each one separately, one at a time.

Although the theme is a connection with God, as an atheist I still enjoyed reading the sentiment relating it to spirituality or even just as a plain old love poem. Some of them are presented as musings on life and how to live it holistically.

Envy is a poison, 

An illogical distress, 

The fact that your neighbor has more, 

Doesn’t mean that you have less.

Many translated versions of Rumi have been published and praised. The most popular ones hardly bear resemblance to the originals. They have been heavily diluted to be commercially acceptable to a Western audience. Almost all of them remove his Muslim identity which was the central theme of his poetry.

The New Yorker has a brilliant piece that explains this in detail. The article also suggests some well-researched translations that you could read, like the one by Jawid Mojaddedi.

I did not want to delve too deep into the history and poetic devices of Rumi and Sufism so I found these books by Farrukh Dhondy to be perfect for my palette.

Remember Haji wherever you roam

His love will have to make your heart his home.

Verdict: Must-Read for poetry fans

Note: The links are part of an affiliate program, which means that if you click on a link and buy something, I might receive a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you. 


  1. Pingback: Reading Challenge: 2020 (Poetry) |

  2. Aiman Parween says

    Hey! I uploaded a blog on Rumi- A New Translation by Farrukh Dhondy. I absolutely loved the book and found out you also talked about the same. And I am glad to see people appreciating the sufism and a sufi scholar. Check out my blog to read some book review..😊

  3. Pingback: Reading Challenge: 2021 (Short Reads) | Love, Life, & Beyond

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