Baha al-Din Muhammad-i Walad (Persian: بها الدین محمد ولد), more popularly known as Sultan Walad (Persian: سلطان ولد, Turkish: Sultan Veled) was the eldest son of Jalal Al-Din Rumi, Persian poet and Sufi, and one of the founders of the Mawlawiya (Persian: مولویه)order.
Life and Impact
He was given the name of his grandfather Sultan al-Ulama Baha al-Din Walad. Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi sent Sultan Walad and his brother Ala al-Din Muhammad to Aleppo and Damascus for the study of religious sciences. Sultan Walad was deeply trusted by Rumi, and it was him that Rumi sent to seek Shams Tabrizi after the disappearance of Shams.
Sultan Walad married the daughter of Salah al-Din Zarkub, Fatima Khatun. He had two daughters by her and one son (Jalal Ali-Din Arif). Sultan Walad at the insistence of his entourage, took up the succession which, at his father's death, he had declined in favour of Husam Al-Din.
With Sultan Walad, the Mawlawiya order starts in the true sense of the word, since he gathered the followers (Murids) of his father around himself and organized the order. He also erected a mausoleum for his father, which also became the center of his order. He died at the advanced age of nearly ninety years on 10 Radjab 712/12 November 1312 in Konya and was buried next to his father. For nearly fifty years he had lived in the shadow of his famous father, whose personality had determined the life and work of his son even beyond his death.
Ibtida Nama (The book of the beginning)
The first Persian poetic verse book of Sultan Walad, in the style Mathnawi (a type of Persian verse) is the Ibtidā-nāma (The book of the beginning), also called Walad-nāma (The book of Walad) or Mat̲h̲nawī-yi Waladī. Composed around 1291, it is written in the meter of the Hadiqe of Sanai. It constitutes an important source for the biographies o Baha al-din (Rumi’s father) and Mawlānā (Rumi) as well as for the early history of the order. It chronicles the history of the Mawlawwiya order, as well focusing primarily on Rumi. It also describes the predecessors and successors of Rumi. One of the students of Rumi, Salah al-Din Zarkub who had a close spiritual relationship with Sultan Walad is also mentioned. This work provides a first hand account by Rumi’s son who was very close to the many of the events described in the book. Overall, it is a hagiographical book, and promotes an image of Rumi as a miracle-working saint. It also provides a first hand account of the Mawlawwiya order and the major personages associated with its history, including Baha al-Din, Borhan alDin, Shams, Rumi, Salah al-Din Zarkub, Hosam al-din and finally Sultan Wad. The work contains over 9000 lines of poetry in Persian. A first critical edition was produced by the Iranian scholar Jalal al-Din Homai in 1937. A French translation appeared in 1988 through the efforts of Djamchid Mortazavi and Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch as ‘’La Parole secrete: l’enseignement du maitre Soufi Rumi’’.
(Persian: رباب نامه) Rabāb-nāma, a Persian Mathnawai, composed, at the behest of a notable, within five months of the year 700/1301 in the meterr ramal of his father's Mathnawī. It contains 7745 lines in Persian, 35 in Arabic, 22 in Greek and 157 in Turkish. A critical edition was prepared by Ali Soltani Gordfaramazi in 1980 and published in Montreal as a collaborative effort between McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies and the University of Tehran under the title: ‘’Rabāb-nāma az Sultan Walad, Farzand-e Mowlana Jalal al-Din Mowlavi’’. Sultan Walad composed the Rabāb-nāma between April and August 1301 at the request of certain saint whom Sultan Walad repeatedly praises in the text. This “man of God” approached Sultan Walad with the suggestion that since had already produced a Mathnawi in the meter of Sanai’s Hadiqe, he should now set to work on a mathwnawi in the same meter as the Mathnawi of his father, Rumi.
Sultan Wlad beings this work in an imitation the song of the reed flute (Persian: Nay) at the beginning of the Mathnawi, but instead has the Rabāb start the opening tale: “Hear in the cry and wail of the Rabāb A hundred chapters on the depth of love”
At one point Sultan Walad references his fathers work as being “sent-down”, suggesting he regarded Rumi’s writing as quasi-divinely inspired.
(Persian: انتها نامه) The Intihā-nāma is another Persian Mathnawi. It was composed for the purposes, and is a kind of summary of the first two mathnawī (Ibtida Nama and Rabab Nama). It contains about 8300 lines of poetry.
(Persian: دیوان ولد) The Diwan of Sultan, in Persian contains 9256 Ghazals and Qasida, and 455 quatrains. Approximately there are 12500 lines. Sultan Walad describes this as his first literary work, but he continued to add to it until his death. The Diwan has been published under the title: “Divan-e Soltan Walad, ed. Said Nafisi (ehran, Rudaki, 1959).
A sample Ghazal:
چون ز عشق رخ او نیست مرا هیچ قرار
آمدم باز که بینم رخ آن خوب عذار
می عشقش چو بنوشید دلم از کف جان
مست گشتم که نداندم سر خود از دستار
بدویدم بدر یار و بگفتم ای ماه
که برون آی ز پرده بنما آن رخسار
بنمود او رخ خود را که بمن بنگر لیک
طمع و طلم زنهار توهش دار و مدار
گفتم ای جان نظری کهن سوی این خسته دلم
که ز بدر رخ تو همچو هلالست نزار
غیر تو هیچ کسی نیست بعالم دیگر
از سر لطف بدان دست سر بنده بخار
گفت بگذار مرا رو غم خود خور یارا
تا نگردی تو هلاک و نشوم من افکار
عاشقان رخ من خونی و رندند و دلیر
تیغ بر روت کشند از سر غیرت ناچار
گفتم ای بت غم عشقت نه چنانست که آن
برود از سر من گر بکشندم بردار
چاره خود نیست مرا از دو یکی کار اکنون
یا بوصلت برسم یا که شوم کشتهء زار
از برای تو اگر کشت شوم باکی نیست
مرگ باشد پی آن شخص که باشد بیمار
فد من گشت خمیده مثل چنگ ز غم
بنوازش نفسی گرنه شد از عشق چو تار
گر بخوانی تو بر خویش مرا وررانی
کز غم عشق تو من هیچ نگردم بیزار
تا منم زنده فغانست نصیبم بجهان
گه کنم شوی بکوی تو گهی در بازار
تاج و تختست ولد را غم عشقت صنما
فخر آرد زغلامیت و ندارد او عار
Ma’arif-i Waladi (The Waladi Gnosis)
(Persian: معارف ولدی) Also called al-Asrār al-d̲j̲alāliyya. It is a Persian prose work in a style approaching the spoken language and containing accounts of Sulṭān Walad's thoughts and words. The title is an evocation of his grandfather's work by the same title. An uncritical edition appeared as an appendix to an undated Tehran print of Mawlānā's Fīhi mā fīh; a scholarly edition was prepared by Nadjib Mayil-i Hirawi, Ma'arif, Tehran 1367/1988. A collection of 56 of his sermons and lectures in the book demonstrates that he spoke from the pulpit in a straightforward and enganing manner. Sultan Walad punctuated his discourses with lines of verse from Persian poets such as Sana’i, Attar and his own father, Rumi. The Ma’arif has been pubhsed under the title “Ma’aref-e Baha al-Din Muhammad b. Jlal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi, Manshur beh Sultan Walad, edited by Najib Mayer Haravi (Tehran, Mowla, 1988)
Turkish and Greek poems
Besides approximately 38,000 lines of Persian poetry in Sultan Walad’s work, in the Rababb Nama there are 22 lines in Greek and 157 in Turkish. In the Diwan-I Walad, there are 15 Ghazals in Turkish besides the approximately 9200 Ghazals and Qasida in Persian, and four Ghazals in Greek. In the Ibitda Nama, there are 27 verses in Greek Thus Sultan Valad composed approximately 300 verses in Greek and Turkish.
Sultan Walad admits to his poor knowledge of Greek and Turkish.
For example in his Ebteda-Nama, Sultan Walad admits twice in Persian after some of the lines in Greek/Turkish:
بگذر از گفت ترکی و رومی
که از این اصطلاح محرومی
گوی از پارسی و تازی
که در این دو همی خوش تازی
Let go of the languages of Greek (Rumi) and Turkish (Turki) Because you lack knowledge in these two, Thus speak in Persian and Arabic, Since in these two, you recite very well.
And also elsewhere in Ghazal in his Diwan, he writes:: If I knew Turkish, I would have brought one to a thousand. But when you listen to Persian, I tell the secrets much better.
He also says: If I had known Turkish, I would have told you, the secrets that God had imparted on Me.
According to Mehmed Fuad Koprulu, the Turkish poems are: Written in a very crude and primitive manner and with a very defective and rudimentary versification replete with zihaf (pronouncing long vowels short) and imalā (pronouncing a short vowel long). Also according to Mehmed Fuad Koprulu: Sultan Walad’s motivation in writing Turkish poetry, just as it was with composing and reciting Persian poetry, was to raise the religious consciousness of the people of Anatolia, to guide them and instill in them a sense of the greatness of Mawlana and The fact he occasionally resorted to Turkish derives from his fear that a large majority who did not undesrand Persian, would be deprived of these teaching.
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Sufism and Tariqat
Sultan Walad was instrumental in laying down the Mawlawiya order and expanding the teaching of his father throughout Anatolia and the rest of the Muslim world. According to Professor. Annemarie Schimmel:
|“||I have always wondered what kind of Person Sultan Walad was the obedient son who never contradicted his father (unlike his younger brother, 'Ala al-Din, Shams al-Din's bitter enemy), and who tried to fulfill all of his wishes. Sultan Walad must have had a very strong personality to be able to carry out his duties and, toward the end of his life, to integrate his experience into the formation of the Mevlevi order. I know of only one other case in the history of Sufism which attests such a loving, complete surrender of a son to his father.||”|
- Franklin D. Lewis, Rumi: Past and Present, East and West: The Life, Teaching, and Poetry of Jalâl al-Din Rumi, rev. ed. (2008). pg 240: "Sultan Valad does not always display technical control of the meter ofhis verse, but he is a generally competent Persian poet
- Schubert, Gudrun. "Sulṭān Walad , Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad-i Walad." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007
- Franklin Lewis, Rumi Past and Present, East and West, Oneworld Publications, 2000. pg 237-40
- Matthias Kappler, Die griechischen Verse aus dem İbtidâ-nâme von Sultân Veled. In Matthias Kappler, Mark Kirhner & Peter Zieme (eds), Trans-Turkic Studies: Festschrift in Honour of Marcel Erdal, Istanbul, pp. 379–397.
- The Greek verses of Sultan Walad and Rumi have appeared in several redactions, gathered at 
- Franklin Lewis, Rumi Past and Present, East and West, Oneworld Publications, 2000. pg 239:”Sultan Valad elsewhere admits that he has little knowledge of Turkish
- Masnavi-ye Waladi, Ensha’e Baha’ al-Din b. Mawlana Jalal al-Din Muhammad b. Hussayn-e Balkhi, Manshur beh Mowlavi, ed. Jajal al-Din oma’I (Tehran: Eqbal, 1316/1937)
- Sultan Walad, ”Mowlavi-ye Digar:Shamel-e Ghazzaliyat, Qasayed, Qete’at, Tarkibat, Ash’ar-eTorki, Ashar-e Arabi, Mosammat, Robbi’yyat” Tehran, Sana’i, 1984. pg 556: ترکچه اگر بیلیدم بر سروزی بک ایدیدم طتچه اگر دیلرسز گویم اسرار علا
- Mehmed Fuad Koprulu, "Early Mystics in Turkish Literature", Translated by Gary Leiser and Robert Dankoff, Routledge, 2006, pg 253
- Mehmed Fuad Koprulu, "Early Mystics in Turkish Literature", Translated by Gary Leiser and Robert Dankoff, Routledge, 2006, pg 206
- Annemarie Schimmel, "Mawlana Rumi: yesterday, today, tomorrow" in Amin Banani, Richard G. Hovannisian, Georges Sabagh, Poetry and Mysticism in Islam: The Heritage of Rumi, Columbia University Press, 1994. pg 16
- Aflākī, Manāḳib al-ārifīn, ed. Tahsin Yazıcı, Ankara 1976-80
- Farīdūn Sipahsālār, Aḥwāl-i Mawlānā Ḏj̲alāl al-Dīn-i Mawlawī, Tehran 1325/1947
- Badi al-Zaman-i Furuzanfar, Risala dar taḥqiq-i aḥwalu zindagani-i Mawlāana Ḏj̲alal Din Muḥammad, Tehran 1315/1937, 41361/1982
- “Masnavi-ye Waladi, Ensha’e Baha’ al-Din b. Mawlana Jalal al-Din Muhammad b. Hussayn-e Balkhi, Manshur beh Mowlavi, ed. Jajal al-Din oma’I (Tehran: Eqbal, 1316/1937)
- Ma’aref-e Baha al-Din Muhammad b. Jlal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi, Manshur beh Sultan Walad, edited by Najib Mayer Haravi (Tehran, Mowla, 1988)
- "Sulṭān Walad , Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad-i Walad." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. Brill Online.
- Franklin Lewis, Rumi Past and Present, East and West, Oneworld Publications, 2000.