A wretch steals the words Sufis spoke,

and tells tall tales to simple folk.

The work of real men shines bright,

the vile have shameless tricks - not light.

-Mawlana Rumi, Masnavi, Book 1, Part 11, translation by @sharghzadeh

Popular mistranslations with corrections by @sharghzadeh:

Poem #1 ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing’:

Coleman Barks, ‘The Essential Rumi,’ page 36:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field, I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about,

ideas, language, and even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.

@sharghzadeh translation:

Beyond heresy and faith, theres another place,

we yearn for whats in the midst of that desert plain.

When the gnostic arrives there, he prostrates his face,

theres no heresy, faith, or place in that domain.

Original text:

از کفر و ز اسلام برون صحرائیست

ما را به میان آن فضا سودائیست

عارف چو بدان رسید سر را بنهد

نه کفر و نه اسلام و نه آنجا جائیست


az kufr o zih islām birūn ṣaḥrāʾīst

mā rā bih miyān-i ān fażā sawdāʾīst

ʿārif chu bidān rasīd sar rā binihad

na kufr o na islām o na ānjā jāʾīst

Poem #2Come, come, whoever you are’:

Translation of unknown origin:

Come, come, whoever you are.

Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.

It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times come, yet again, come, come.

@sharghzadeh translation:

Come again, come again, whatever you are, come again,

if youre an infidel or idolater, come again.

This doorway of ours is not a doorway of hopelessness,

if youve broken one hundred repentances, come again.

Original text:

باز آ باز آ هر آنچه هستی باز آ

گر کافر و گبر و بت‌ پرستی باز آ

این درگه ما درگه نومیدی نیست

صد بار اگر توبه شکستی باز آ


bāz ā bāz ā har āncha hastī bāz ā

gar kāfir o gabr o but parastī bāz ā

īn dargah-i mā dargah-i nawmīdī nīst

ṣad bār agar tawba shikastī bāz ā

Poem #3If you don’t have a woman that lives with you’:

Coleman Barks, Open Secret, page 19:

If you don’t have a woman that lives with you, Why aren’t you looking?

If you have one, Why aren’t you satisfied?

@sharghzadeh translation

If you dont have a partner why not seek one?

And if you find a partner, why not have fun?

Original text:

اگر تو یار نداری چرا طلب نکنی

وگر به یار رسیدی چرا طرب نکنی


agar tu yār nadārī chirā ṭalab nakunī

wagar bih yār rasīdī chirā ṭarab nakunī

Poem #4Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened’:

Coleman Barks, The Essential Rumi, page 36:

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.

Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kiss the ground.

@sharghzadeh translation

Today we’re broken, broken, like every other day,

open not the door of worry, grab the lute and play!

There are one hundred kinds of prayers and prostrations

when one faces their beloved’s beauty as they pray.

Original text:

امروز چو هر روز خرابیم خراب

مگشا در اندیشه و برگیر رباب

صدگونه نماز است و رکوعست و سجود

آنرا که جمال دوست باشد محراب


imroz chu har roz kharābīm kharāb

magushā dar-i andesha wa bargīr rubāb

ṣad gūna namāz as to rukūʿst o sujūd

ānrā kih jamāl-i dost bāshad miḥrāb

Poem #5Love comes sailing through and I scream’:

Coleman Barks, Unseen Rain, page 58:

Love comes sailing through and I scream.

Love sits beside me like a private supply of itself.

Love puts away the instruments and took off the silk robes.

Our nakedness together changes me completely.

@sharghzadeh translation

My idol, wine-praising with a sweet cry,

like jars of sugar, he sat by my side.

He set aside silk and a lute close by,

“We’re happy and without a self” he cried.

Original text:

آمد بت خوش عربدهٔ می‌ کیشم

بنشست چو یک تنگ شکر در پیشم

در بر بنهاد بربط و ابریشم

وین پرده همی زد که خوش و بی خویشم


āmad but-i khwash ʿarbaday-i may kesham

binishast chu yak tung-i shikar dar pesham

dar bar binihād barba o abresham

wīn parda hamī zad kih khwash o bekhesham

Poem #6 You say you have no sexual longing any more’:

Coleman Barks, Unseen Rain, page 19:

You say you have no sexual longing any more. You're one with the one you love.

This is dangerous, don’t believe that I have a love like that.

If one day you see a picture of how you think, you’ll hate yourself, openly.

@sharghzadeh translation

You say, “Our hearts are together, but were apart.”

But never think to yourself, “I have a pure heart.”

If you see a true reflection of your thoughts once,

youll say, “Im disgusted!” and desire a fresh start.

Original text:

گوئی که به تن دور و به دل با یارم

زنهار مپندار که من دل دارم

گر نقش خیال خود ببینی روزی

فریاد کنی که من ز خود بیزارم


ʾī kih bih tan dūr o bih dil bā yāram

zinhār mapindār kih man dil dāram

gar naqsh-i khāyal-i khwad bibīnī rozī

faryād kunī kih man zih khwad bezāram

Poem #7They try to say what you are, spiritual or sexual?’:

Coleman Barks, The Essential Rumi, page 37:

They try to say what you are, spiritual or sexual?

They wonder about Solomon and all his wives.

In the body of the world, they say, there is a soul, and you are that.

But we have ways within each other that will never be said by anyone.

@sharghzadeh translation

O love, fairies and humans know of you,

you’re more famous than Solomon’s ring too.

In the worldly form, you’re known as the soul,

I live with you in a way that birds knew.

Original text:

ای عشق ترا پری و انسان دانند

معروف تر از مهر سلیمان دانند

در کالبد جهان ترا جان دانند

با تو چنان زیم که مرغان دانند


ay ʿishq turā parī o insān dānand

maʿrūf tar az muhr-i sulaymān dānand

dar kalbud-i jahān turā jān dānand

bā tu chinān ziyam kih murghān dānand