The Masnavi, or Masnavi-ye-Ma’navi, also written Mathnawi, or Mathnavi, is an extensive poem written in Persian by Jalal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi, also known as Rumi. The Masnavi is one of the most influential works of Sufism, commonly called “the Quran in Persian”.
The title Masnavi-ye-Ma’navi (Persian: مثنوی معنوی) means “The Spiritual Couplets“. The Masnavi is a poetic collection of anecdotes and stories derived from the Quran, hadith sources, and everyday tales. Stories are told to illustrate a point and each moral is discussed in detail. It incorporates a variety of Islamic wisdom but primarily focuses on emphasizing inward personal Sufi interpretation. In contrast to Rumi’s Diwan, the Masnavi is a relatively “sober” text. It explains the various dimensions of spiritual life and practice to Sufi disciples and anyone who wishes to ponder the meaning of life.