“Out beyond ideas” by Rumi

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, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

Note: Above English translation by Coleman Barks. Below is the original in Persian, followed by an English  transliteration.


از کفر و ز اسلام برون صحرائی است
ما را به میان آن فضا سودائی است
عارف چو بدان رسید سر را بنهد
نه کفر و نه اسلام و نه آنجا جائی است

az kufr-o ze-islâm berûn, SaHrâyê-st
mâ-râ ba-meyân-é ân faZâ, sawdâyê-st
`ârif chô ba-d-ân rasîd sar-râ be-neh-ad
nay kufr-o na islâm, na ân-jâ jâyê-st

17 thoughts on ““Out beyond ideas” by Rumi

  1. well, i reached here by searching for the origin of this imprecise translation 🙂

    yet the main concept of the original poem and the translation is the same: utopia=no-where-land

    The Persian script is:

    از کفر و ز اسلام برون صحرائی است
    ما را به میان آن فضا سودائی است
    عارف چو بدان رسید سر را بنهد
    نه کفر و نه اسلام و نه آنجا جائی است

    • Thanks for the original verse in Persian.

      Well, the origin of this “imprecise translation” is Coleman Barks from his book “The Essential Rumi”. As I don’t speak Persian, I can’t say how precise it is, but as you do, maybe you can offer a better translation into English?

      • im afraid i could do the translation in the other way, but i give it a try.

        literal translation:

        Out beyond the heathendom and Islam, there is a field
        We have a business right there
        The gnostic man gives up when he reaches there
        There neither is heathendom, nor Islam, nor anywhere

    • Hi, I’d been looking for the Persian script of this verse for a while. Finally found it here! Thanks a lot! 🙂 I want to get a tattoo of the verse in Persian, but I need a bigger version of the text. Do you think you’ll be able to help?

      • Hi Prerna,
        Sure, I think it’s pretty easy, I just copied and pasted the persian script in openoffice writer (what I use instead of microsoft word though I’m sure that should work too), and I just selected the verse and increased the font size. Then you can print it out, or email it, etc. Here’s the persian verse again

        از کفر و ز اسلام برون صحرائی است
        ما را به میان آن فضا سودائی است
        عارف چو بدان رسید سر را بنهد
        نه کفر و نه اسلام و نه آنجا جائی است

        What a great idea for a tattoo! 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for the literal translation. Wow it is so different from Coleman Barks’. I am wondering if Rumi’s intention in this verse got through in Barks’ translation or not. What do you think?

    I like your translation, I also like Barks’ – his feels very poetic to me.

  3. Thank you for sharing the original script and the beautiful meaning of Rumi’s words. I have been searching for the actual script like forever. Thank you so much.

    • Amy, I don’t deserve the thanks for the original script, the previous commentator does, and I don’t even know his/her name! I hope you read his/her literal translation too in his comment above, it’s very different than Coleman Barks’ in a certain sense, though I think Barks did capture the essence.

      • What the Persian verses basically try to impart is that “We human beings give meanings and judgements to everything”. Everything just is. They all exist without having any knowledge of the meaning or judgement that we attribute to them.

        Now the Persian word سودا means “Trade, Exchange, barter”. The best meaning here could be Exchange.

        Here is my crude interpretation of the Persian verses

        Beyond the realm of heresy and faith there is a meadow
        Within that space, we each have understandings to bestow
        When the sage reaches that juncture, he’ll rest all his conjecture
        Since neither heresy, nor faith, not even that place, any longer has a place

      • Hi Cyrus,

        I love your interpretation! Thanks much.

        Yes, I also feel, ultimately what Rumi is trying to convey here is that, “Everything just is”.

    • Thank you Abdul Azim Khushnawa! It’s so interesting that one word can mean “trade” “exchange” “barter” “tension” “busyness” and “shopping” depending on the context! Would you change the translation into English?

  4. Pingback: I’ve asked Rumi and Heschel to speak to each other – see what they said! – (Juxtaposition 24.12.2012) | SOUL NEEDS: life-journey moments

  5. I like Cyrus’ translation of “beyond the realm of heresy and faith..” Rumi seems to be making a statement that can be applied to Islam but also universally as well. if the first thing we learn in this world is to recognize (a baby will stare at two dots with one dot below longer than one dot with two dots below because it looks more like a human face).. the second thing we learn is inevitably to judge and to separate the world into subjective and objective opposites (hot/cold, tall/short, heaven/earth, right/wrong, love/hate). And the third thing we learn is to place ourselves in this judged world by adopting societal roles and identities like a hermit crab (I’m a father/mother/son/aunt, nerd/jock/goth/preppy, music/business/science major, occupational/work standards, religious standards and behaviors, etc). At a certain point in one’s life some ask the question “Is there more?” and quest for alternative paths. I see Rumi acknowledging with this poem that the Sage (any human or perhaps an enlightened gnostic) realizes that the dualistic judgements and identities naturally learned throughout their life are not relevant. ideas of opposing elements (right/wrong, symbol/idea, wars/peace even the idea of you vs me) no longer make sense. Enlightenment in this sense is a return to one’s origin, before identities, roles, judgements and recognition. It is a return to unbiased experience — a mature, knowledgable effort to return to the effortless.. to source. what is important is… this. the world is… this. experience. love. being. these words are only symbols and as such do not begin to describe the meadow, the grass, or whatever lexicographic world the soul finds there, which is also here. life and death have no place in this origin of time, space, and the full and overwhelming variety of consciousness which dances therein. the beautiful and simple balance of source, where nothing is everything and everything is nothing which is.. this. that place, this place, is where We (capital W) will meet, conduct our business and share our understandings, and We will be.

  6. Pingback: Rumi On My Mind In FRA | paritoshsarda

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