American scholar translates Rumi quatrains into English

September 23, 2008

TEHRAN -- An American psychologist and a former Afghan representative to the United Nations have translated all the quatrains of the Persian poet Molana Jalal ad-Din Rumi into English.

Ibrahim Gamard, an American psychologist along with Professor Rawan Farhadi, the former representative of Afghanistan to the UN completed the task after 22 years of work, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported on Monday.
Gamard in his recent visit to Konya said that he brought “The Quatrains of Rumi” to Konya to show his loyalty to Rumi and regarded this visit as an occasion to thank the 13th century Sufi poet.
The California-based Gamard indicated he was first introduced to Rumi’s philosophy through a group of Muslims who visited California in 1978, and since then he has been studying Rumi’s spiritual legacy.
“I converted into Islam in 1984 and made the Hajj pilgrimage in 1999. I have been learning Persian since 1981. I want to stay informed about Rumi’s ideas,” he said, adding, “However, my true love is to work with Rumi’s poetry.”
Gamard noted that he was introduced to Professor Rawan Farhadi in 1985, requested his help in translating Rumi’s quatrains into English, and the two started to work on translations.
The book contains the English translations of all of Rumi’s quatrains as well as their original Persian versions and commentary on them.
Gamard said they translated about 2,000 known quatrains of Rumi. “Eventually, we felt the need for compiling a book about these quatrains to offer them to readers. The quatrains of Molana have not been translated into English by academics with strict adherence to the originals. Rumi’s quatrains have been translated by many U.S. poets, who modified the text and deleted such words as ‘namaz’
[prescribed prayer], ‘prostration’ and ‘God.’
“By compiling his quatrains in a book with strict adherence to their originals, we seek to ensure a proper understanding of Rumi. Currently, only sample printouts of the book are available, but we believe that after this book is published, Rumi will be understood more correctly, particularly in the U.S.,” he said.