The Masnavi-I Ma’navi or Masnavi by Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi is one of the best known and most influential works of both Sufism and Persian literature. The Masnavi is a series of six books of poetry that amount to about 25,000 verses or 50,000 lines. The six books of the Masnavi can be divided into three groups of two because each pair is linked by a common theme. Books 1 and 2 are principally concerned with the nafs, the lower carnal self, and its self-deception and evil tendencies. Books 3 and 4 share the principal themes of Reason and Knowledge. Books 5 and 6 are joined by the universal ideal that man must deny his physical earthly existence to understand God’s existence. It is a spiritual writing that teaches Sufis how to reach their goal of being in true love with God.
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, popularly known as only Rumi, was 13th a century mystic Sufi poet. He was also a scholar, a jurist and an Islamic theologian, whose poems and writings have crossed borders to influence people and societies among Iranians, Turks, Greeks, Central Asian Muslims and many other nationalities. Considered as the greatest Persian poet, his works have been translated into many languages and is as one of the most popular poets in America.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Freytag, a German philologist, was born in Lüneburg. He studied philology and theology at the University of Göttingen, where from 1811 to 1813 he worked as a theological tutor. In the latter year he accepted an appointment as a sub-librarian at Königsberg. In 1815 he became a chaplain in the Prussian army, and in that capacity visited Paris. Freytag resigned his chaplaincy and returned to his investigations of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish languages, studying at Paris under Silvestre de Sacy. In 1819 he was appointed to the professorship of oriental languages at the recently founded University of Bonn, a post he maintained up until his death in 1861.