Poetry /

Rumi's rooz o shab

Part 4
روز و شب


how are you?

Note: In Persian, as in many other languages, there is a formal and an informal way of speaking. We will be covering this in more detail in later lessons. For now, however, chetor-ee is the informal way of asking someone how they are, so it should only be used with people that you are familiar with. hālé shomā chetor-é is the formal expression for ‘how are you.’

Spelling note: In written Persian, words are not capitalized. For this reason, we do not capitalize Persian words written in phonetic English in the guides.


I’m well

Pronunciation tip: kh is one of two unique sounds in the Persian language that is not used in the English language. It should be repeated daily until mastered, as it is essential to successfully speak Persian. Listen to the podcast for more information on how to make the sound.

Persian English
salām hello
chetor-ee how are you?
khoobam I’m well
merci thank you
khayli very
khayli khoobam I’m very well
khoob neestam I’m not well
man me/I
bad neestam I’m not bad
ālee great
chetor-een? how are you? (formal)
hālé shomā chetor-é? how are you? (formal)
hālet chetor-é? how are you? (informal)
khoob-ee? are you well? (informal)
mamnoonam thank you
chetor peesh meeré? how’s it going?
ché khabar? what’s the news? (what’s up?)

Hello and welcome to lesson 68, the final part of our study of Rumi’s poem, Rooz o shab. In this lesson, we’re going to go over the last two lines of the poem. As always, let’s listen to my aunt Farnaz recite the entire poem:


dar havayat bee ghararam rooz o shab

sar ze kooyat bar nadaram rooz o shab

rooz o shab ra hamcho khod majnoon konam

rooz o shab ra kay gozaram rooz o shab

jan o del ra meekhastan az asheghan

jan o del ra meeseparam rooz o shab


So, hopefully you understood the majority of that, since we’ve learned the first four lines already. Also, hopefully you’ve memorized that portion. And this last part will be a piece of cake. So, as we said before, the concept of rooz o shab is a zekr in this poem, meaning it’s a mantra. Through repetition, you get lost in these words. Repeating them is like the whirling of the dervishes. They spin in a circle, and the earth spins as well- the spinning causes day and night, rooz o shab. So that’s what this is supposed to evoke, that same spinning, the concept of becoming lost, of becoming majnoon. And it all comes down to loss of the ego, of joining the world and the creator in spinning, becoming part of the whole. And now, let’s listen to my aunt Farnaz reciting the last two lines of the poem:


jan o del ra meekhastand az asheghan

jan o del ra meeseparam rooz o shab


So in these lines, we hear Rooz o shab at the very end, but before that, he changes to a different mantra, and that is the mantra of jan o del. So jan is the word for soul. Jan


And del is the word for heart. Del


So back to jan- this is a concept that comes up a lot in Persian culture. In fact, when you’re talking to someone, you can follow their name with jan- so for instance, you can refer to me as Leyla jan.

(Leyla jan)

And this means Leyla dear. Iranians refer to their loved ones in this way, and also just their dear friends. Jan can also become joon in conversation. Joon


So instead of leyla jan, it becomes Leyla joon. Leyla joon

(Leyla joon)


So you can practice this with your Iranian friends and family. Say you have a friend named Sarah, pronounced Sarah in Persian. You can call your friend Sarah joon

(Sarah joon)

or Sarah jan

(Sarah jan)

And this, again, is very common among friends. And not just friends of opposite genders, or romantic partners- men can call men joon, as can women. So again, this word for soul or life is jan


And del again is the word for heart. Del


So heart and soul, jan o del

(jan o del)

Also in this sentence is the word asheghan. Asheghan


This word might be a bit trickier to pronounce because it has the sound gh in it, which is one of two Persian sounds not contained in the Persian language. So gh




And this means lovers. In English when you say lovers, it usually means people that are in love with other people. In Persian it can mean a whole lot more- asheghan can mean a person the ones that are in love, the crazy ones, lovers of life. So more than just meaning someone in love, it is a type of person- a person lost in love. Asheghan


And I think that this is an important concept in Persian culture- think about the concept of joiex de vivre- of the love of sensual pleasures, like sex, and food and sensuality. All these things that make us human- there’s no higher human concept of being a lover- asheghan. Ok so let’s hear this sentence again:

jan o del ra meekhastand az asheghan

So now the word meekhastand. First let’s repeat it- meekhastand


And this simply says ‘they wanted’ or they requested or asked for. Meekhastand


Jan o del ra meekhastand means soul and heart they wanted. We have ra in there which we learned in the last lesson doesn’t have a direct translation but is a direct object marker. So it’s letting us know that the thing that is wanted is referring to soul and heart. Jan o del ra meekhastand

(jan o del ra meekhastand)

and az asheghan means from the lovers. Az is the word for from. Az


jan o del ra meekhastand az asheghan

(jan o del ra mekhastand az asheghan)

So altogether, this means soul and heart they requested from the lovers. So they requested for us to give our souls and heart. Jan o del ra meekhastand az asheghan

(jan o del ra meekhastand az asheghan)

And I love this concept because its not clear who’s requesting it. Who’s asking for the heart and souls of lovers? It sounds to me as if they’re saying- ok, you want to call yourself a lover, you’re in love? Then give up your heart and soul- that’s the price that you pay. Which again, is another way of saying, give up your ego, become lost, become majnoon. So again, jan o del ra meekhastand az asheghan

(jan o del ra meekhastand az asheghan)

Ok, now let’s hear the next line

jan o del ra meeseparam rooz o shab

And in this little section, this line just gives me the chills. It’s such a beautiful ending to the selection we’re learning. Meeseparam is the word for to give up or surrender. Meesperam


So jan o del ra meeseparam rooz o shab- hopefully you can piece together what this means. Jan o del ra meeseparam

(jan o del ra meeseparam)

which means ‘I surrender up my heart and soul’. Jan o del ra meeseparam

(jan o del ra meeseparam)

And he ends it by saying jan o del ra meeseparam rooz o shab- so I surrender my heart and soul day and night. Jan o del ra meeseparam rooz o shab

(jan o del ra meeseparam rooz o shab)

So basically- if this is the price to be a lover, I unequivocally give up my heart and soul- so he is gone, surrendering all for love. And that is truly the price of love- to give up oneself in the pursuit of love, whether that, again, be for earthly love, or for the mystical, spiritual kind of love of the creator, of God or the universe of whatever you want to call celestial love.

So now let’s listen to the whole selection of the poem as read by my aunt.


Absolutely beautiful, and it’s been so wonderful peeling back the layers of meaning of this selection with you all. Again, hopefully you’ve been memorizing it as we go along- and we would LOVE to see the videos of your recitations sent to , with chai spelled chai.

On today’s lesson we’ve linked Shahram Nazeri’s version of this poem as well, which is more popular than Lotfi’s, and also a gorgeous interpretation. Hopefully listening to that will give you the understanding of this poem as a mantra as well.

And that brings us to the end of our study of Rumi’s rooz o shab. We’ll be back soon with another poem- and until then, thank you for listening, and beh omeedeh deedar!