Understanding metaphor is vital to interpreting Rumi’s verse. While his message of Love is specific to the love of God, his overall message of tolerance is one of dismantling borders between religions, races, and ethnicities.
Many scholars have said that English translations of Rumi’s poetry have taken great liberty in poetic license, but the essential messages are applicable today. Common humanity is above all else.
It has been said that Rumi remained optimistic even though he suffered deeply. In times of suffering, fundamentalism, and rampant terrorism, the human race must remain optimistic that change will come, however slowly. That understanding, tolerance, and nonviolence will reign over religious factions and national borders.
Part of the beauty of Rumi’s poetry is that it can be appreciated by anyone. Everyone’s level of understanding may differ, but everyone can benefit from Rumi’s message of tolerance. Art, if it reaches the masses, has the power to raise people above suffering. Rumi the Fire of Love comes after a long hiatus from film. Muzaffar Ali has been focusing on fashion design endeavors as well as many other projects. As he explained in the first issue of Hu magazine, an endeavor of the Rumi Foundation, music has the potential to lift people’s spirits. Having organized annual Sufi music festivals around Mevlana Rumi and Indo-Persian Sufi poet, Amir Khusrau, Ali hopes the singing in these musical performances “should be accepted.” He has described the festival, Jahan-e-Khusrau as creating “a kind of spell which gives you that direct connection between the divine and yourself.” Adding that, “divinity is brought down to the audience; the audience becomes divinity personified…they get bathed in a light and their whole aura changes.”
As music has proved so powerful in these performances, it will also be a pivotal aspect of Rumi the Fire of Love. For audiences, both East and West, Ali’s latest film endeavor promises to be a thoughtful and vivid visual and auditory experience that will hopefully provoke audiences of all backgrounds to imagine the possibilities of living in a world without borders.