The film examines the life, philosophy and poetry of one of the most important poets and mystics in the Islamic cultural sphere, Djalleledin Maulana Rumi (1207 to 1260). For centuries, he strongly influenced mysticism, poetry and music in the entire Eastern world.
His philosophy is designed around the idea of a love that leads to awareness and which binds people of all religions and races. Mystics in the Islamic world, sometimes called Sufis, are convinced that God is only to be found in those who reflect him, and serve as his vessel.
Even today, well-known singers from Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, all the way to Bosnia, use his poems again and again in their songs.
In the United States, as an example, Madonna recorded a CD of Rumi´s texts with other prominent Hollywood stars (Goldie Hawn, Demi Moore and Martin Sheen).
Theologians, Imams, and Rumi scholars are interviewed to explain the phenomenon of the current popularity of this 13th century poet, not only among mystics or in the Islamic world, but internationally, and in the United States, where a translation of his poems is a bestseller.
The verbal power and philosophical depth of Rumi´s ideas are expressed by well-known Austrian actors who bring poems and stories from and about Rumi. They are accompanied by the Iranian musician Nariman on ancient Eastern instruments.
The film accompanies the Bosnian Vahid, who is in search of his cultural identity and an Islam that he can accept, as he travels into Anatolian Konya to participate in the festivities that commemorate the anniversary of Rumi´s death. In Konya, Vahid meets Nariman, a musician from Iran, who has involved himself with Rumi´s ideas for many years.
In the course of the film, Nariman slips more and more into the role of Rumi, and Vahid into the role of his friend and master, Schams. Schams came as an unknown dervish to the then already famous theologian Rumi. He completely changed Rumi´s way of thinking, transforming the serious religion teacher into a love-drunk Sufi for whom dance, music and poetry became more important than visits to the Mosque.
Rumi´s journey to Konya has been described. His family fled the Mongols from the Afghani, then Persian, city of Balch, and came to Konya via Mecca.
The strong influence that Schams had over Rumi aroused distrust and envy in Rumi´s followers; this rejection became more and more powerful, until Schams left for Damascus. Rumi fell into despair, and sent his own son to Damascus to bring Schams back.
He was, however, subjected again to hostility by Rumi´s entourage, until one day he disappeared without a trace. Some say, he slipped away during the night, another theory says that he was murdered.
Rumi described his love for Schams, which was a heavenly love, and far from a physical one, and the pain of their separation in his work "Divan Schams".