A Love Beyond Religion
A Feature Review of
Rumi’s Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love
Rumi has always been a miracle and a mystery to me. Like many other Americans, I first met Rumi in the dark days after 9/11, when this poet from the Muslim world made his unlikely ascent to the top of the best-seller charts. Raised in conservative circles, I ferreted his poems away from critical eyes, savoring them with all the relish of a guilty pleasure. His spiritual hunger, reckless love and tolerance of people no matter their faith or ethnicity spoke to me almost against my will. In his new biography, Rumi’s Secret, Brad Gooch captures all of these elements that have caused some to place Rumi in Walt Whitman’s family tree. At the same time, Gooch remains true to his title, preserving an air of mystery around the divine secrets Rumi himself found expressible only through poetry, music and the whirling dance of sama.