The Anatolian Mystic?
We receive quite a lot of emails at this site and the question most often asked is why we are calling Mevlana an Anatolian mystic. Although we answer almost all email we receive in person, we thought it may be better if we pre-answer that question here to save time.
Mevlana wrote almost all of his work in Persian (Farsi or Pharsi, the language of Iran), which was the dominating literary language of that period. His work is part of the school curriculum in Iran as it is in Turkey. So why not call him Iranian?
When someone is born in a different place than where he became famous, it is usually with the latter place that he is associated with. The famous composer George Frideric Haendel was born in Halle, Germany as a German citizen, but he became famous in England and nowadays he is mostly known as an English composer, his name is spelled in the Anglicized way as Handel and he is buried at the Westminster Abbey. Nevertheless, we have specifically refrained calling Mevlana Turkish, or Afhgani. Instead, we used the name of the geographic area where he lived, wrote and died.
Naturally, in 800 years the world's political map changed considerably. Countries that rule large parts of the world cease to exist (e.g. Ottoman Empire) and countries that used to cover extensive land shrink to become normal size countries that we expect nowadays (e.g. Great Britain and Iran. If you read the quote above you will see that we use the term "present day" next to the countries in where the two cities important to Mevlana's life are mentioned are situated. That is because neither Balkh, his birthplace, nor Konya, the place he spent most of his adulthood and where Mevlana wrote all his works are under the jurisdiction of the same countries as when he was alive. Balkh was a city of the vast Persian Empire then and Konya was a city under the jurisdiction of the Seljuks. Neither exist anymore.
On the other hand, it is a historical fact that "Rumi" simply meant Anatolian back in time and that is why Mevlana is called Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. Rumi, from the word Roma, was loosely used for the land of the old Eastern Roman Empire. Even the Seljuk sultanate that ruled Konya while Mevlana was living there was called "Sultanate of Rum." It is this fact that made us call Mevlana Anatolian. more
Calling Mevlana Anatolian, is equal to calling him Rumi.
There has never been a country called Anatolia, it is a sub-continent. We call someone from Europe, European, or someone from Africa, African. Then why not call Mevlana Anatolian, when he is from Anatolia?
That is what we thought, but judging from the emails we keep receiving we were wrong in our assumption. Nevertheless, we will continue to stand by the use of the term "the great Anatolian mystic". At least we try to show you, the reader that we have no intention to "steal" Mevlana's heritage from any country or race. That is against Mevlana's philosophy and it will be the most wrong thing to do for the descendants of Mevlana.
In his own words:
Mevlana belongs to everyone.