RUMI'S SECRET BY BRAD GOOCH
PUBLISHED BY HARPER COLLINS
REVIEW BY NAOMI GALLICHAN
Rumi’s Secret is the biography of Rumi, a Sufi love poet and popular Islamic Scholar from the 13th century. Written by Brad Gooch, who is known for his topical writing, he aims to bring light to what little is known about Rumi. He portrays an in depth map of his life and how he came to be someone who is still quoted for his wisdom today.
The book begins by fleshing out his early life, specifically that of his biggest influence. Rumi’s father was known as the Sultan of the scholars and highly respected in their city, which would now be present day Afghanistan. His father wanted more from their life so the family began their travels across the Middle East. Along the way Rumi grew and met many passionate men who imprinted on him. Over the course of many years they travelled to end in Turkey. I learned that this time was a turbulent one for the Middle East and more specifically for those of Muslim faith like Rumi’s family. Shortly after they moved through many of the cities, the Mongolian armies decimated many of them.
Once in the safety of Turkey, Rumi began to follow into his father’s footsteps and became a respected authority figure in the community. Years had passed and Rumi’s father died. This left a hole in Rumi’s life, and was somewhat filled by a wanderer known as Shams of Tabriz. Their controversial love for each other lasted only a few years but left Rumi with inspiration long after Sham’s death. Should they not have loved each other so deeply we would not have the beautiful words of Rumi.
While we read his words now and see a meaning of love for ones partner, Sham and Rumi’s love was one of respect and companionship; a love of deep spiritual understanding. I came to understand that Rumi’s inspiration had not been that of a lover in the context of our time but the love of a teacher and student. This is what inspired him to write poetry and teach the Quran in a way that resonated with him.
This book was well researched and the poetry was placed in a way that complimented the story and structure. I’m not usually one for biographies myself but I feel grateful to have learnt the history of Rumi’s poetry. I now have a deeper understanding of the Muslim faith and the social constructs of that time. A must read for any Rumi fan.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.