The Carters’ new daughter is named for a Persian poet who’s influenced artists for centuries.
When I woke up to the news that Beyoncé and Jay-Z had named one of their twins Rumi, the first thing I did was text my mother. Persian poets like Rumi and Hafez were threaded throughout my childhood, and I couldn’t believe that the reigning queen of American music had seen fit to tie herself and her family into an ancient Persian tradition — but also, I totally could. By bringing Rumi into their family in such a prominent, lasting way, the Carters have woven their story into a much larger tapestry of art and spirituality that stretches back centuries.
The Persian poet, Sufi philosopher, and Muslim scholar Rumi — full name Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, though “Rumi” is actually a Persian shorthand for “Rome,” or “West” — was born in 1207, and has long since influenced artists and thinkers with his insightful poetry and prose. While Rumi has been a crucial voice throughout the Middle East for centuries, he is also one of the all-time best-selling poets in the United States, thanks to the enduring ubiquity of his words of wisdom.
Even if you think you don’t know who Rumi is, chances are you’re familiar with his poetry. Lines like “Wherever you are, whatever you do, be in love” have become so omnipresent that their origin is frequently overlooked by the Western tendency to share quotes in self-help books and on Pinterest. But make no mistake: Rumi’s words are beautiful, meticulously chosen, and more layered than meets the eye.