Jalaluddin Rumi was born in 1207, in Balkh, which is in Afghanistan. His father was an important scholar and teacher of that area. Around 1212 he moved his family to Smarkand, a city where the cultures of both Turkey and Persia met. The Mongol invasions were bringing death and destruction to a large part of the Muslim world at that time, and Rumi’s family and friends, journeyed westward to escape it.
They arrived in Konya in Turkey, and Rumi’s father was given a professorship and he taught there until his death in 1231. Jalaluddin Rumi, took over from his father, as university professor.
In 1244 there was a significant meeting of Rumi with a wandering Sufi, a lover of the Prophet Muhammad, the sun of Tabriz, Shamsuddin. Rumi and Shams became inseparable. The university professor in Rumi diminished, and his spiritual side increased. Rumi’s students became jealous of the close friendship with Shams, and this caused Shams to disappear. Forty days after the loss of Shams, Rumi ordered mourning robes. Rumi had changed. He now wrote or spoke poetry as never before. He whirled around reciting poems which expressed his longing and love, and which also expressed his astonishment with his own transformed state.