Transliterations on

By Ibrahim Gamard,

April 2019

At the end of every translation on this website are Romanized transliterations (in blue font color) of the original Persian words used by Rumi. These are provided for those who cannot read the Arabo-Persian script. There are about 35 complete translations of Rumi's ghazals and about 150 selections of verses from the Masnavi--all of which are followed by full transliterations. It is possible to read the transliterated Masnavi selections on this website and hear them being recited at the same time, by opening up a second window containing another website ( that contains the same verses recited in Persian by an expert Iranian poetry reader). As an example, open the following page on the website here. Then scroll down to the transliteration in a blue font, starting at verse 1720. Open up a second window and go here. Next, start the audio recitation by clicking on the round button in the left margin of

Readers should be aware, however, that the transliteration system used on this website is different from the usual Iranian transliterations (either precise and academic, or inconsistent and common). This is because the Translator studied Persian with an Afghan scholar (in the translation of "The Quatrains of Rumi"). It would not be accurate to call these "Afghan transliterations." Rather they are transliterations of the "Darî" form of Persian--which is closer to Rumi's Persian than is the "Farsî" form of Persian.

Below is an example of a non-academic Iranian transliteration of the first four verses of the Masnavi (Book 1:1-4--"Listen to this reed flute, how it iscomplaining." This is followed by the Translator's transliteration on this website.

Beshno az ney chon hekaayat mikonad
Az jodaayee ha shekaayat mi-konad

Kaz neyestaan ta maraa bebrideh and
Dar nafiram mardo zan naalideh and

Sineh khaaham sharheh sharheh az faraagh
Ta begooyam sharh-e dard-e eshtiyaagh

Har kasi ku door maand az asl-e khish
Baaz jooyad roozegareh vasl-e khish


be-sh'naw în nay chûn shikâyat mê-kon-ad
az jodâ'îy-hâ hikâyat mê-kon-ad

k-az nayestân tâ ma-râ be-b'rîda-and
dar nafîr-am mard-o zan nâlîda-and

sîna khwâh-am sharHa sharHa az firâq
tâ be-gôy-am sharH- dard- ishtiyâq

har kasê k-ô dûr mând az aSl- khwêsh
bâz jôy-ad rôzgâr- waSl- khwêsh


(1) The earliest manuscripts of Masnavi begin: "beshnaw în nay" ("beshnaw az nay" is a later "improvement.")

(2) In Iranian Persian (Farsî), the classical "w" consonant has changed to a "v" consonant, due to Turkish (Safavid and Qajar) influence. That is why I transliterate "union" as "wasl" (not "vasl").

(3) In Iranian Persian (Farsî), the classical "a" vowel suffix has changed to an "e" vowel suffiz, again due to Turkish influence. That is why I transliterate "bebrîda," "nâlîda," "sharHa" (not "bebriide," "naaliide," "sharHe").

(4) In Persian, the letter "h," as in "bebrîdah," is not a real letter that is sounded; it only exists in writing to indicate that the word ends with a vowel. That is why I transliterate "bebrîda" (not "bebrîdah").

(5) In the spoken Persian of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, classical vowels "ô" and "ê" that were unknown [majhûl] in the Arabic language have been preserved (but lost in Iranian Persian). That is why I transliterate "khwêsh," "mê-konad" "kasê ("=a person"] (not "khiish," "mii-konad," "kasî"). Other examples: "milk" (= "shîr") and "lion" ("shêr" ["shayr"]) are both pronounced as "shîr" ["shiyr"]) in" Iran; "far" (= "dûr") and "friend" (= "dôst" ["dowst" as in "post office"]) are both pronounced as "dûr" and "dûst" ["duur," "duust"] in Iran.

(6) Transliterations of some Arabic letters can be a problem on the Internet, per dots that are combined with these letters. That is why I transliterate "aSl" for a-s(with dot below)-l. Other examples: "quTb" for qu-t(with dot below)-b; "riZâ" for ri-z(with dot below)-â; "aHâdîth" for a-h(with dot below)-âdîth; "'aZîm" for 'a-z(with dot above)-îm.

(7) I prefer to use short vowels "i" and "u" exclusively for Arabic words and "e" and "o" exclusively for Persian words. That is why I transliterate "shikâyat" (not "shekâyat"), "ishtiyâq" (not "eshteyâq"), "shukr" (not "shokr"), "sirr" (not "serr"), "sujûd" (not "sojood"); "mêkonad" (not "mêkunad"); "behesht" (not "bihisht").

(8) I distinguish between the Arabic letters "gh" (as in "ghayb") and "q" (as in "Haqîqat"--which Iranians tend to pronounce and transliterate as "haqhighat").

(9) For the "connective" (iZâfa), I prefer to use "-ê" (not the usual "-i" or "-e") because the acute accent makes the connective (iZâfa) easier to see.

(10) Some features found only in classical Persian are transliterated differently, such as "y" in the archaic subjunctive; example: "nîst-am-y" (= "I would not exist"); instead of the usual "khword" the rhyme sometimes requires the archaic pronunciation of "khward."