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Rumi lost in translation? MEMO in conversation with Muhammad Ali Mojaradi

While Rumi is an internationally renowned poet, his ties to Islam are often forgotten or ignored, one man is working to change that

June 21, 2023 at 4:00 pm

The 13th century Islamic jurist and mystic Jalal Al-Din Muhammad Rumi is frequently dubbed ‘America’s best selling poet’ and 800 years after his death he has acquired a large following among wellness influencers and spirituality shoppers in the West. However, translations into English of Rumi’s work often obscure or erase his Islamic background and Muslim beliefs, instead depicting him as an anti-religion and pro-spiritual figure. These erroneous depictions have sparked a conversation about who the real Rumi was and what his poetry really says.

Join us as we speak to Muhammad Ali Mojaradi, founder of the Instagram and Twitter page Persian Poetics, which aims to provide authentic translations of Persian poetry into English, introducing new audiences to Persian-language literary tradition and heritage. We discuss the difficulty of translation, what Rumi means to different people and how living in the diaspora can lead to a loss of connection to the country of origins.

Mojaradi graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020 and founded the #rumiwasmuslim campaign to challenge fake quotes attributed to Rumi.

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