Jalal ad-Din Rumi is a series based on the life of the famed poet Rumi set during his childhood in his home city of Balkh. This series follows the young Rumi as he navigates the world around him whilst war and political tensions threaten his idyllic life.
Born as Jalal ad-Din Mohammad Balkhi, Rumi was born during the thirteenth century in modern day Afghanistan. This series documents both his childhood and adult years, shifting between the two timelines and exploring the people and influences that led to the creation of his phenomenal works whose excellence set him apart as one of the greatest minds in Islamic literary history.
Jalal ad-Din (as he is addressed in the show) grew up under the Khwarezmian Empire, a Turko-Persian empire that ruled over central and western Asia. Set on a backdrop of political skirmishes with neighbouring empires and civil unrest within his own, a young Rumi must learn to navigate this ever more complex world, a world which we see him navigate in his later life as a capable and respected official. Throughout both timelines we see how the world around him shapes and defines his work and develops his understanding of religion, philosophy and art with the series being interspersed with his beautifully narrated writings.
Undoubtedly his biggest influences in his poetry came from his idyllic childhood which is the focus of much of the series. Rumi’s father, Baha al-Din Valad, was a famous and respected scholar even having the title of Sultan al-Ulama (the sultan of scholars) bestowed upon him. Rumi is set to inherit this title from his learned father. He was also privileged enough to receive private tutorage from Syed Burhan al-Adin, the first in a long line of many renowned teachers Jalal ad-Din would have in his lifetime. This studious and nurturing environment allowed the young Rumi’s mind to be fostered through his understanding of the world with Islam at its core.
Jalal ad-Din’s childhood innocence and inherent goodness is set in direct contrast to his later life within the palace walls lined with scheming nobles and political tension. The wisdom and piety taught to him during his childhood is his only hope for his safety and for tackling the seemingly insurmountable trials of the empire.
This series also offers a glimpse into the traditional Islamic world conveying not only the beauty of its culture and art but also the beauty of its scholarly traditions and its emphasis on the importance of education. This fostering of minds and the preservation of knowledge within the medieval Islamic world is the true focus of this series with the character of Jalal ad-Din serving as an admirer, a student and a teacher in aid of this endeavour within his lifetime.
This series is a fitting celebration of one of the most influential and renowned voices of the Islamic world with Rumi’s work still celebrated in every corner of the globe to this day. This series is both stunning and informative and can help viewers of all ages connect to their literary heritage through the tale of its biggest name.
For more films and documentaries about Rumi read Who Was the Real Rumi? and for an animated feature film about his life try Rumi: the Animated Biography.