A new documentary tells the inspiring story of the life of Jalaluddin Rumi, a 13th century mystic who has become a best selling poet in 21st century America. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, Rumi Returning connects the founder of Sufism to his Islamic roots while celebrating his universal message of tolerance and peace.
The documentary follows Rumi's journey, from his childhood as a war refugee to his experiences as a poet and one of the greatest teachers of the ideal of love. In 2006, the film's producers and writers, Kell Kearns and Cynthia Lukas, were invited to Rumi's annual festival in his hometown, Konya, Turkey.
Lukas says that visit was the inspiration behind their work. "We felt the spirit of the thousands of people from around the world, of different faiths, from different nations, of different classes, all gathered at this tomb of Mavlana Jalaluddin Mohammad, known to the West as Rumi," she says. "We knew that there was something profound going on and people are being drawn to the tomb for a reason."
She says when they realized that Rumi's 800-year-old message is still relevant today, they wanted to convey it through film.
"His message is the message of all the great wisdom teachers and sages that we've had throughout history. And it is one of love, and it is one of tolerance and respect of others," she says. "The fundamental message of Rumi in our film is one of unity, global unity, that there is no separation between human beings," Kearns adds. "We are all one."