Rumi’s Dargah at night
I reached Konya after midnight. I took a cab from the airport and went to the city. I only had a backpack and nothing heavy to leave in the hotel room so I decided to roam near Mevlana Rumi’s dargah. As I reached the dargah, I saw a public gathering which was being addressed by the Mayor of Konya. He was campaigning for Erdogan. Sahour was served to all the attendees.
After Sahour, I went to Shams Tabrez’s Mosque (Shams Tabrez’s grave is located inside the Mosque) and offered Fajr prayers. While sitting there with my eyes closed, I fell into an hour-long peaceful sleep. Upon waking up I headed to my hotel room and slept for a few hours. I couldn’t sleep for long because my actual purpose of visiting Konya was yet to be fulfilled. I left the hotel and headed back to Shams Tabrez’s dargah. As a gesture of respect, I took his permission to visit his student, Mevlana Rumi. The short walk to Rumi’s dargah was full of anticipation because, in just a few minutes, I would finally visit the place I had dreamed of and waited for years. I felt peace, the kind of peace you feel once you take a break after a long journey, only to realize that the actual journey had just begun.
“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere; they are into each other all along – Rumi.”
Small prayer area inside Rumi’s Dargah
Inside Rumi’s Dargah
Inside Rumi’s Dargah
All the words in the world cannot do justice to what I felt when I entered Mevlana’s tomb for the first time. All I can say is that the feeling was surreal and something that I have not experienced ever again.
At the entrance of the hall of Mevlana’s dargah, which has been converted into a museum, I saw people putting on plastic bag shoe covers. I asked the security in charge if I could take off my shoes and walk barefoot to which he insisted that I put on the plastic shoe covers. After a small argument, however, he allowed me to take off my shoes and go in barefoot.
I entered the hall and started looking for Rumi’s grave (there were other small graves inside the hall as well). When I couldn’t find it, I ended up in a small prayer place inside the hall. I saw a man offering prayers so I decided
to sit there for a while, but as soon as he finished his prayers, I stood up and went towards him. Expecting him to be Turkish, I tried to communicate with him using hand gestures and broken words. “Rumi? Mevlana?” I asked. To which he replied in a perfect English American accent, “It’s over there.” I was relieved to find out that this person was an Iranian-American and that both of us were in Turkey for the same purpose of visiting Mevlana for the first time. Together we tried to find the exact location of the grave. It took us a while to realize that the grave was covered with a plastic separation because of maintenance.
I sat on the floor next to that plastic separation. My eyes were filled with tears. I complained to Mevlana about this unfair treatment. “Mevlana, this is not fair at all. After years of waiting, I received my call on such a day, when there is a wall separating us.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized that I was acting like a child, crying like a stubborn kid, and not happy with the privilege I had already been given. I gathered myself, closed my eyes, and surrendered my will by accepting the fact that this moment had nothing to do with the meeting of physical bodies; this was the love of souls and what I was seeking through this journey, was already inside me. Mevlana and I and all other souls have been created from the same infinite source of energy.
Mevlana is inside me, I am Mevalana. The simple law of attraction works here – “What you seek, is seeking you.” – Mevlana Rumi
After what seemed like hours, I stood up and headed towards the exit of the hall. There I saw the same person who had helped me find the exact location of Mevlana’s grave. I went to him and asked him his name which turned out to be, “Mohammad.” He told me he had not been to Shams Tabrez’s Mosque yet so I offered to show him all the places I had visited so far. He accepted my offer and we walked out to meet his two daughters, Haniya and Hadiya. After visiting the mosque, we continued looking for other interesting places. This family of three was so exceptionally kind and nice that I could not refuse their request of accompanying them to the various places they wanted to visit. Even though I was a stranger to them and they were strangers to me, we did not let that bother us and started talking about many things, including a Mosque in their neighborhood in Maryland, constructed by the Pakistani community, which I had visited during my stay in the US to attend the Moharram procession.
Entrance of Shams Tabrez’s Mosque & Dargah
Hussain & Mohammad outside Dargah
Outside Shams’ Dargah
We visited different places, and the more time we spent together, the more I was amazed by their kindness. Hadiya was very well organized; she had a whole list of things to do in Konya, while Hanya was more like her dad, just enjoying the moment. Muhammad did not let me pay for any site tickets and insisted on paying for the food as well. The day was nearing its end and it was time to say goodbye to these amazing people; we couldn’t add each other on social media as my phone’s battery died. I said goodbye, knowing that I would not meet them again. It was then that I understood that there are times when we should let people live forever in our memories and let the divine energy do its job of teaching us amazing lessons in amazing ways.
I returned to my hotel room and put my phone on charging. Suddenly I received a text message from one of my Indian friends. The message read,
“Ovais Sultan: Koi shakhs mile jo aam ho, aur jisme kashish ho, use musaafa zarur kijiye dargah k aas paas… Shayad koi khaas mil jaaye.”
Translation: If you meet someone at the Dargah, looking ordinary but having positive vibes or attraction, then do greet them; maybe you find someone special.
I smiled because I had already experienced just that.
This world is full of beautiful souls and whoever we meet comes to our life with a special purpose and they stay there till the purpose is accomplished. Sometimes the stay is long while other times it may just be to teach us a small lesson. We may never see these people again because their duty to us is complete. All we can do is to keep our doors open for everyone, for those coming in or for those going out. This is the purpose of our life – to be as transparent as possible and let the light pass through.
Graveyard outside Rumi’s Dargah