There Are A Hundred Kinds Of Prayer

Quatrain 81

Today, like every day, we are ruined, ruined (by "wine").1
Don't open the door of worry,2 but take up the lute!3
There are a hundred kinds of prayer,4 bowing,5 and prostration6
For the one whose prayer-niche7 is the beauty of the Beloved.8

--From "The Rubâ`iyât" of Jalâluddîn Rûmî (in the Dîwân-é Kabîr,
also known as "Kulliyat-é Shams" and "Dîwân-é Shams-é Tabrîz")
Adapted from "The Quatrains of Rumi," by Ibrahim Gamard and Ravan
Farhadi, an unpublished manuscript of over 800 pages.
Ibrahim Gamard and Ravan Farhadi (translation, footnotes, &

Notes on the text:

This quatrain has been translated by Reza Saberi, "A Thousand
Years of Persian Rubáiyát," 2000, p. 229 (c). A version of it was
made by Coleman Barks (based on a literal translation by John
Moyne), "Open Secret," 1984, 7 (b), reprinted in "The Essential
Rumi,"1995, p. 36 (see discussion of Barks' popular version of this
quatrain in "Corrections of Popular Versions" note 6).

Also, the second half of this quatrain was quoted by Sepahsalar
(see below), who said he was a disciple of Rumi, and who wrote
one of the oldest accounts of Rumi's life.

1. ruined (by "wine") [kharâb]: this word is related to the word for
"wine tavern" (kharâbât). Wine is forbidden in Islam, but wine-
intoxication in sufi poetry is a common metaphor for spiritual
states of ecstasy.

2. worry [andêsha]: also means thinking, thought, speculation.

3. take up the lute [rabâb]: this may refer to starting a musical
session [samâ`] of ecstatic movement (which might include
whirling and dance-like motions) while in an altered state of
(spiritual) consciousness.

4. prayer [namâz]: this is the Persian word meaning the Islamic
ritual prayer [salât, in Arabic], done five times a day by Muslims.

5. bowing [rukû`]: this is the second posture during the Islamic
ritual prayer (following the standing upright position), in which
one remains standing but bows while placing the hands on both

6. prostration [sujûd]: this is the third posture during the Islamic
ritual prayer, in which one places ones forehead to the ground (or
floor or carpet) and puts both hands on the ground on either side of
the head (with elbows raised above the ground).

7. prayer-niche [miHrâb]: a marker which indicates the direction
[qibla] of the ritual prayer, facing toward the Ka`ba (the cube-
shaped temple) in Mecca, Arabia.

8. lines three and four: this is a mystical interpretation of the Islamic
ritual prayer, meaning that Muslim mystics (or sufis) do not pray
only five times each day, but are praying in hundreds of ways
throughout the day while helplessly in love with God, the Only
Beloved and the Infinitely Beautiful.

The last two lines are quoted by Sepahsâlâr, the disciple and
biographer of Rumi, in Zendagî-Nâma-yé Mawlânâ Jalâluddîn
(pp. 40-42). He first described how Rumi prayed: "It was
witnessed by external eyes in this manner, that when the time for
ritual prayer [namâz] would arrive, he would face the prayer
direction [qibla]. His blessed face would become flushed. In the
prayer he would become absorbed in (a state of) being
overwhelmed and humbled without limit, and (in a state of)
neediness [neyâz] and submission without reckoning. He would
become entirely joined [muttaSil] with the attributes of the
Incomparable. For the aim of prayer is being united [ittiSâl], since
he said, 'The ritual prayer is being united with God, in regard to
which the outward (world) cannot comprehend.' And the Prophet
of God, may the blessing and peace of God be upon him, said
about the prayer: 'There is no ritual prayer except with presence of
the heart' [lâ Salâtu illâ bi-HuZûru 'l-qalb]. And at various times it
was witnessed that from the beginning of evening he would stand
[qiyâm] and testify the greatness (of God), (and then) he would be
immersed until the beginning of morning with (only) two sections
[rak`at] of prayer (completed). And it was witnessed that he would
be absorbed for one entire day and one night in bowing [rukû`] and
prostration [sujûd]."

After some poems, Sepahsalar goes on to say: "One time during
the winter season, he was residing in a religious college
[madrassa]. During the beginning of the night he prostrated upon a
carpet and many tears flowed from his blessed face, in such a
manner that from the coldness of the air his blessed beard and face
became filled with ice and became stuck to the floor. In the
morning, the companions prepared warm water and poured it upon
his blessed face, until the ice became entirely melted. And to
whom are the inner secrets of his ritual prayer revealed?"
Sepahsalar then quotes lines three and four of this quatrain.


emrôz chô har rôz, kharâb-êm kharâb

ma-g'shâ dar andêsha-wo bar gîr rabâb

Sad gôna namâz-ast-o rukû`-ast-o sujûd

ân-râ ke jamâl-é dôst bâsh-ad miHrâb

(rubâ`î meter: XXo oXXo oXXo oX)