Jalalu’d-Din Rumi’s The Masnavi and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist: A Study of Mystical Analogy

Reem Awni Resheq


The study examines the thematic and stylistic similarities between Persian poet Jalalu’d-Din Rumi and Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho in their understanding of the spiritual experience of reaching Illumination and Knowledge, both in the Sufi and Western Catholic mystical traditions, respectively. The significance of this paper emanates from the fact that despite the authors’ being temporally and culturally distant, their mystical visions intersect exceptionally, with decisive affinities manifested in selected books of Rumi’s poem The Masnavi (transcribed between 1258 and 1273) and Coelho’s novel The Alchemist (1988). The study compares the ways the works celebrate the mystic doctrines of intuition rather than rationality, renunciation, and the Oneness of God and his manifestations that guarantee the fulfillment of the main characters’ quest of reaching Illumination and Knowledge. The paper also highlights the metaphors of the journey, discipleship, and alchemy, which intertwine with the symbols of the desert and the treasure in both works and serve the aforementioned themes, to reflect the shared mystic vision of Rumi and Coelho.


Mysticism; Sufism; Western Catholic Mysticism; Intuition; Renunciation; Oneness; Journey; Discipleship; Alchemy; Desert; Treasure


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