by Jila PeacockI was born in Tehran to an English mother and Iranian father, and, although English was my mother tongue, my first written language was Persian, which I studied from the age of seven at my Iranian primary school. I remember being introduced at that time to snippets of Ferdousi in my first textbooks, to Sa‘di, my father’s favorite poet, and Edward Fitzgerald’s translations of Khayyam, which my mother would always recite by heart. My introduction to Hafiz came much later in life.
The first time I read Rumi’s story of Moses and the Shepherd, I was struck by the fact that the shepherd was much closer to God than Moses even though the shepherd’s conception of God was not even remotely plausible. Years later, when I revised this story, it appeared to me that Rumi had unravelled a deep mystery of divine love; in order to love God, one does not need to have a correct conception or description of God; what is required is a burning heart.