List of stories in the Masnavi

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The below list gives an overview of the stories in Rumi's Masnavi, as it appears in Reynold A. Nicholson's translation.

Book I[edit]

  • Preface (in prose)
  • Proem
  • The King and the Handmaiden
  • The Greengrocer and the Parrot
  • The Jewish King whose Vizier contrived a plot against the Christians
  • The Caliph and Laylá
  • The description of Mohammed in the Gospel
  • Another Jewish King who persecuted the Christians
  • The punishment inflicted on a man who scoffed at Mohammed
  • The Wind which destroyed the people of ‘Ad .
  • The Lion and the Beasts of chase
  • Azrael and the man who took refuge with Solomon Solomon and the Hoopoe
  • The Fall of Adam
  • The Holy War against the Flesh
  • The Caliph ‘Umar and the Ambassador
  • How Adam acknowledged, while Iblis denied, responsibility for sin
  • “And He is with you, wheresoever you be”
  • “Let him who desires to sit with God sit with the Súfís”
  • The Merchant and the Parrot which gave him a message to the parrots of India
  • The Spiritual Birds that are Divine Intelligences
  • Commentary on a saying of Faridu’ddín ‘Attár .
  • The respect paid to Moses by Pharaoh’s magicians
  • Commentary on a saying of Saná’í, and a Discourse on a Tradition of the Prophet concerning the jealousy of God
  • The harmfulness of being honoured by the people
  • “Whatsoever God wills cometh to pass”
  • The Story of the Harper
  • Explanation of a Tradition of the Prophet concerning Divine inspiration
  • A Story of ‘A’isha and the Prophet
  • Commentary on a verse of Saná’i
  • “Take advantage of the coolness of the spring season”
  • The Moaning Pillar
  • A miracle performed by the Prophet in the presence of Abú Jahl
  • The Prodigal for whom the angels pray
  • The munificent Caliph
  • The Arab of the Desert and his Wife
  • False saints
  • The power of Faith
  • Light and colour
  • Explanation of the Tradition that women prevail over the wise man, while the ignorant man prevails over them
  • The mystery of Moses and Pharaoh
  • “He has lost this life and the life to come”
  • The prophet Sálih and the people of Thamúd
  • The barrier between the righteous and the wicked
  • What is meat to the saint is poison to the disciple
  • The Divine Bounty and those who beg for it
  • The two kinds of “poor”
  • The World’s lovers
  • The proverb, “If you commit fornication, commit it with a free woman, and if you steal, steal a pearl”
  • The Grammarian and the Boatman
  • The Spiritual Guide
  • The Prophet’s injunction to ‘Alí
  • The man of Qazwín who wanted to have a lion tattooed on his shoulder
  • The wolf and the fox who went to hunt with the Lion .
  • The man who knocked at his friend’s door and, on being asked who he was, answered, “‘Tis I”
  • Description of Unification
  • Noah as the God-man
  • Why the Súfís who know God are seated in front of kings
  • Joseph and the guest-friend who could find no suitable gift for him except a mirror
  • Mohammed and the scribe who wrote down the Qur'anic Revelations
  • Bal’am son of Bá’úr
  • Hárút and Márút
  • The deaf man and his sick neighbour
  • Iblis the originator of analogical reasoning applied to the Word of God
  • Mystical experiences must be kept hidden from the vulgar
  • The contention between the Greek and Chinese artists
  • The Vision of Zayd
  • Luqmán and his fellow-servants
  • The conflagration in Medina in the days of the Caliph 'Umar
  • 'Alí and the infidel who spat in his face
  • 'Alí and his murderer
  • The self-conceit shown by Adam towards Iblís
  • The unworldliness of the Prophet

Book II[edit]

  • Preface (in prose)
  • Proem
  • The Caliph ‘Umar and the man who thought he saw the new moon
  • The fool who entreated Jesus to bring some bones to life
  • The Sufi who enjoined the servant to take care of his ass
  • The King and his lost falcon
  • Shaykh Ahmad son of Khizrúya and his creditors
  • The answer of an ascetic who was warned not to weep, lest he should become blind
  • The peasant who stroked a lion in the dark
  • The Súfis who sold the traveller’s ass
  • The greedy insolvent
  • Parable for those who say “if”
  • The man who killed his mother because he suspected her of adultery
  • The King and his two slaves
  • The King’s retainers who envied his favourite slave
  • The falcon amongst the owls
  • The thirsty man who threw bricks into the water
  • The man who planted a thornbush in the road and delayed to uproot it
  • Dhu'l-Nún and the friends who came to visit him in the mad-house
  • The sagacity of Luqmán
  • The reverence of Bilqís for the message of Solomon which was brought to her by the hoopoe
  • The philosopher who showed disbelief in the Qur’án
  • Moses and the shepherd
  • The Amír and the sleeping man into whose mouth a snake had crept
  • The fool who trusted the bear
  • The blind beggar who said, “I have two blindnesses”
  • Moses and the worshipper of the golden calf
  • Galen and the madman
  • The cause of a bird’s flying and feeding with a bird that is not of its own kind
  • Mohammed’s visit to the sick Companion
  • The gardener who separated three friends in order to chastise them singly
  • Báyazíd and the Shaykh who said, “I am the Ka’ba”
  • The novice who built a new house
  • Dalqak and the Sayyid-i Ajall
  • The Saint who rode a cock-horse
  • The dog and the blind mendicant
  • The Police Inspector and the drunken man
  • Iblís and Mu’áwiya
  • The Cadi who wept whilst he was being installed
  • The bitter grief of a man who missed the congregational prayers
  • The thief who escaped because his accomplice gave a false alarm
  • The Hypocrites and the Mosque of Opposition
  • The true believer’s stray camel
  • The four Indians who lost their prayers
  • The Ghuzz Turcomans and the two villagers
  • The self-conceit and ingratitude shown by the worldly towards the prophets and saints
  • The old man who complained to the doctor
  • Júhí and the child
  • The boy who was afraid of an effeminate man
  • The archer and the horseman
  • The Arab of the desert and the philosopher
  • The miracles of Ibráhim son of Adham
  • The beginning of the gnostic’s illumination
  • The stranger who reviled the Shaykh
  • The man who declared that God would not punish his sins, and Shu’ayb’s answer to him
  • The answer of the Prophet to ‘A’isha, who said that he performed the ritual prayer in unclean places
  • The mouse and the camel
  • The miracles of a dervish who was accused of theft
  • The garrulous, greedy, and somnolent Súfí, and his reply to the Shaykh who enjoined him to observe moderation
  • The nature of intuitive knowledge
  • John the Baptist and Jesus
  • Mute eloquence
  • The search for the Tree of Life
  • How four persons quarrelled about grapes, which were known to each of them by a different name
  • How Mohammed established unity amongst the Ansár
  • Solomon and the birds
  • The ducklings that were fostered by a hen
  • The miracles wrought by an ascetic in the desert

Book III[edit]

  • Preface (in prose)
  • Proem
  • The Travellers who ate the young Elephant
  • Bilál’s mispronunciation in chanting the call to prayer
  • Moses instructed by God how he should pray
  • The response to sincere prayer
  • The Countryman and the Townsman
  • The people of Sabá and the Prophets
  • How Jesus came forth from his cell and healed the sick
  • The Falcon and the Ducks
  • The people of Zarwán
  • Majnún and Laylá’s dog
  • The Jackal that fell into the dyeing-vat and pretended to be a Peacock
  • The Braggart who pretended that he had dined well
  • Bal’am the son of Bá’úr
  • “And thou wilt surely know them in the perversion of their speech”
  • Hárút and Márút
  • Pharaoh’s dream of the coming of Moses
  • The Mughal and the Egyptians
  • The conception and birth of Moses
  • The Snake-catcher and the frozen Snake
  • Pharaoh and Moses
  • The two Magicians who summoned their father from the grave
  • Comparison of the Qur’án to the rod of Moses
  • The Elephant in the dark house
  • Noah and Canaan
  • Infidelity and Predestination
  • The Barber and the Man with grizzled hair
  • The answer of Zayd to his assailant
  • The Companions of the Prophet and the Qur’án
  • The Lover who read a love-letter in the presence of his Beloved
  • The Poor Man who prayed that he might gain a lawful livelihood without work
  • Knowledge and Opinion
  • The Teacher who fancied he was ill
  • The Dervish who broke his vow
  • The far-seeing Goldsmith
  • The Magicians whom Pharaoh threatened to punish
  • The complaint of the Mule to the Camel
  • The Ass of ‘Uzayr
  • The Shaykh who showed no grief at the death of his sons
  • The Blind Man who regained his sight when he read the Qur’án
  • The patience of Luqmán
  • Buhlúl and the Dervish
  • The Visions and Miracles of Daqúqi
  • Moses and Khizr
  • The flight of Jesus from the Fool
  • The Children’s Tale of the Three Worldlings
  • The Hares and the Elephant
  • Noah and the building of the Ark
  • The Thief who said he was beating a Drum
  • The meaning of Prudence
  • The Vow made by the Dogs every winter
  • The Divine Providence manifested in the creation of Hell
  • Kings compared to the Báb-i Saghír at Jerusalem
  • The Súfí who fell into ecstasy on seeing an empty food-wallet
  • Jacob’s love for Joseph
  • The Amir and the Slave who took delight in the ritual Prayer
  • The Faith of the Worldly
  • Hidden Saints
  • Anas and the Prophet’s napkin
  • How the Prophet saved a caravan of Arabs from death in the Desert
  • Miracles wrought by the Prophet on the same occasion
  • Need and distress call forth the Bounty of God
  • The Babe that bore witness to the Prophet
  • The Eagle that carried off the Prophet’s boot
  • The Man who asked Moses to teach him the language of Beasts and Birds
  • The Woman whose twenty children all died in infancy
  • Why Hamza in his old age refused to protect himself with a coat of mail
  • The advantages of Deliberation
  • The death of Bilál
  • The World and the Body
  • Statute and Analogy
  • The reverence due to the Shaykhs from their disciples
  • Conventional and intuitive knowledge
  • Faná and Baqá
  • The Wakíl of Bukhárá and his Master
  • The appearance of the Holy Spirit in human shape to Mary, the Mother of Jesus
  • The most beautiful City
  • The Lover in the haunted Mosque
  • The worldliness of Galen
  • How Satan deceived the Quraysh
  • The Boy who beat a tomtom in order to scare a Camel on which they were beating a drum
  • Comparison of the true Believer suffering tribulation to peas being boiled in a pot
  • The Mathnawí and its critics
  • The outer and inner sense of the Qur’án
  • Why the Saints take refuge in mountains and caves
  • How the mountains joined in the song of David
  • The Foal that would not drink
  • The cry of the Devil
  • How each element in the Body is drawn to its original source, and the Soul likewise
  • The Prophet and the Captives
  • The Gnat and the Wind in the presence of Solomon
  • The perfidious Lover

Book IV[edit]

  • Preface (in prose)
  • Proem
  • The perfidious Lover (continued)
  • The Preacher who prayed for the wicked
  • The answer of Jesus to the question, “What is the hardest thing to bear?”
  • The Súfí who caught his wife with a strange man
  • The Names of God
  • Comparison of the World to a bath-stove
  • The Tanner who fainted on smelling otto and musk
  • The Jew who tempted ‘Alí
  • The building of the Farther Mosque (the Temple of Solomon)
  • “The Faithful are naught but brothers”
  • The unspoken Sermon of the Caliph ‘Uthmán
  • Man the Macrocosm
  • Comparison of the Prophet and the Moslem saints to the Ark of Noah
  • Solomon and Bilqís
  • The Miracles of Shaykh ‘Abdullah Maghribí
  • The Druggist and the Clay-eater
  • The Dervish and the Carrier of firewood
  • Ibráhím ibn Adham and his abandonment of his Kingdom
  • The thirsty man who climbed a walnut-tree and dropped walnuts into the water
  • Halíma and the infant Mohammed
  • The Worldly and the Spiritual
  • The Poet and the two Viziers
  • Pharaoh and Hámán
  • The Demon who sat on the throne of Solomon
  • How Cain learned the grave-digger’s trade
  • The Súfi who contemplated the beauty of the Garden in his own heart
  • Worldly knowledge and power a dangerous weapon in the hands of the wicked
  • “O thou that wrappest thyself”
  • The Slave whose allowance was reduced
  • Man half angel and half beast
  • Majnún and his she-camel
  • The Divine and the Thief who stole his turban
  • The World’s enticement and warning
  • The food of the Saints
  • Death the touchstone of pretension
  • The hypocritical Encomiast
  • The divine Physicians
  • How Abd Yazíd (Báyazíd) Bistámí predicted the birth of Abu‘l-Hasan Kharraqáni
  • How the wind blew perversely against Solomon
  • Abu’l-Hasan at the tomb of Abú Yazíd
  • The Man who took counsel with his enemy
  • The Prophet’s appointment of a Young Man of Hudhayl to command the army
  • The Ecstasy of Báyazíd
  • The wise, the half-wise, and the foolish
  • The Three Fishes
  • The ablutionary Prayers
  • The Man who failed to profit by the wise counsels of a Bird
  • Moses and Pharaoh as types of Reason and Imagination
  • The spiritual vision in which all the senses become one
  • Moses and Pharaoh
  • The World’s assault on the Unseen
  • The Purification of the Heart
  • I was a Hidden Treasure
  • “Speak ye unto men according to the measure of their understandings
  • The Prophet’s promise of Paradise to ‘Ukkásha
  • The royal Falcon and the Old Woman
  • ‘Alí’s advice to the Mother whose child was in danger of falling from the top of the water-spout
  • Like attracts like
  • The Prophet and the Arab Chiefs
  • Paradise and Hell are the effects of Divine Mercy and Wrath
  • The Argument between the Atheist and the Mystic
  • The Purpose of Creation
  • Why Moses was loved by God
  • The King and his Boon-companion and the Courtier who acted as intercessor
  • Abraham rejects the proffered help of Gabriel
  • The mystery of Life and Death
  • Body and Spirit
  • The Prince and the Witch of Kabúl
  • The Ascetic who laughed while the people were dying of hunger
  • Live in harmony with Universal Reason
  • The Sons of ‘Uzayr
  • “Verily, I ask pardon of God seventy times every day”
  • The weakness of the discursive Reason
  • Submission to the Saints
  • The Mule and the Camel
  • The Egyptian and the Israelite
  • The Pear-tree of Illusion
  • The spiritual Evolution of Man
  • Divine immanence in Creation
  • Dhu’l-Qarnayn and Mount Qaf
  • The Ant that saw the pen writing
  • The Prophet’s vision of Gabriel in his real form

Book V[edit]

  • Preface (in prose)
  • Proem
  • Parable of the Four Birds
  • Description of the Duck
  • The Prophet and the Greedy Infidel
  • The Light which is the Food of the Spirit
  • Description of the Peacock
  • Diversity of Intelligences
  • The Arab of the Desert and his Dog
  • The Sage and the Peacock
  • “No monkery in Islam”
  • Description of the Crow
  • The Gazelle in the Donkey-stable
  • Muammad Khwárizmsháh and the people of Sabzawár
  • Description of the Cock
  • “The Lowest of the Low”
  • The two Worlds
  • The value of Works
  • “And He is with you”
  • The Man who claimed to be a Prophet
  • The Devoted Lover
  • The Disciple who imitated the Shaykh
  • The Maidservant and the Ass
  • Parable of the Parrot which is taught to speak by seeing its image in a mirror
  • The Puppies that barked before they were born
  • The People of Zarwán
  • The Creation of Adam
  • The illusion of causes
  • Death and Resurrection
  • The infinite mercy of God
  • The Story of Ayáz
  • Laylá and Majnún
  • The Ascetic and his jealous Wife
  • The repentance of Nasúh
  • The Fox and the Ass
  • The Ass that envied the Arab horses
  • The Ascetic who made trial of his trust in God
  • Parable of the Camel
  • The effeminate Youth
  • The Man who was afraid of being taken for an Ass
  • Shaykh Muhammad Sar-razí of Ghazna
  • The Disciple in dreadof hunger
  • The Cow in the green Island
  • The Christian ascetic who went about with a lamp in the day-time
  • Debate between a Moslem and a Magian on the subject of free-will
  • The Dervish who reproached God
  • The beauty of Laylá
  • A story of Júhí
  • The Infidel and Báyazíd
  • The Muezzin with the harsh voice
  • The Cat and the Meat
  • The Amír and the Ascetic
  • Ziyá-yi Dalq and his Brother
  • Dalqak’s game of Chess with the Sháh of Tirmid
  • The Prophet on Mount Hirá
  • The World that is living, speaking, and hearing
  • The Guest who took offence and departed
  • A Father’s advice to his married Daughter
  • The cowardly Súfí
  • ‘Iyádí and the Greater Warfare
  • The Man who tormented his Carnal Soul
  • The Caliph and the Captain
  • The Magicians of Pharaoh

Book VI[edit]

  • Preface (in prose)
  • Proem
  • The Bird on the City-wall
  • The temptation of Free-will
  • The Hindu Slave and his Master’s daughter
  • The Thief who put out the light
  • The Story of Ayáz (continued)
  • The Fowler and the Bird
  • The Man whose Ram was stolen
  • The Watchman who cried out after the Robbers had gone
  • The Lover who fell asleep
  • The Turkish Amír and the Minstrel
  • ‘A’isha and the Blind Man
  • “Die before ye die”
  • A Poet’s rebuke to the Shí’ites of Aleppo
  • Parable of the Ant
  • The Man who gave the drum-call for breakfast at midnight
  • The Story of Bilál
  • The Story of Hilál
  • The Horse that went backward
  • Mohammed and Jesus
  • The ugly old Hag who wanted a Husband
  • The Dervish and the Man of Gílán
  • The Beggar and the House where nothing could be got
  • The Man who was desperately ill, and the Story of the Súfi and the Cadi
  • Sultan Mahmud and the Hindú Boy
  • The Turk and the Tailor
  • The Fakir and the Hidden Treasure
  • Shaykh Abu ‘l-Hasan Kharraqáni and his Disciple
  • Man the vicegerent of God
  • The Three Travellers and the sweetmeat
  • The Camel, the Ox, and the Ram
  • Dalqak and the King of Tirmid
  • The Mouse and the Frog
  • Sultan Mahmúd and the Night-thieves
  • The Sea-cow and the Pearl
  • ‘Abdu ‘l-Ghawth and the Peris
  • The insolvent Dervish and the Police Inspector of Tabríz
  • Ja’far-i Tayyár’s irresistible attack on a fortress
  • Parable of the man who sees double
  • The Khwárizmsháh and the beautiful Horse
  • The imprisonment of Joseph
  • The Three Princes who fell in love with the portrait of the Princess of China
  • The Sadr-i Jahán of Bukhárá and the Jurist
  • Story of two Brothers
  • The King who forced a learned Doctor to drink wine with him
  • Imra’u ‘l-Qays and the King of Tabúk
  • The Man who dreamed of a Hidden Treasure
  • The Cadi and the Wife of Júhí
  • The Prophet and ‘Alí
  • Hell and the true Believer
  • The Story of Nimrod
  • The miracles of Shaybán Rá’í
  • The Man who left his property to the laziest of his three Sons
  • Parable of the Child and the Bogle

References[edit]

  • The Mathnawí of Jalálu'ddín Rumi, edited from the oldest manuscripts available, with critical notes, translation and commentary by Reynold A. Nicholson, in 8 volumes, London: Messrs Luzac & Co., 1925-1940. Contains the text in Persian. First complete English translation of the Mathnawí.