In the photo of the authors, Dr. Farhadi is to the right and Dr. Gamard is to the left; both are standing in front of the entrance to the mausoleum of Mawlana Rumi in Konya, Turkey (May 2005). Above and behind them is a calligraphy in Persian: "O exalted presence of Mawlana!" [ya hazrat-e Mawlana]. Behind them on the upper right is the famous turquoise dome that is directly above Mawlana's tomb.
Rawan Farhadi, born and raised in Afghanistan, received sufi knowledge from his father, `Abdul Baqi (died 1950), who was a teacher of Persian literature and a disciple [murid] in the Naqshbandi sufi tradition in Kabul, Afghanistan. Rawan studied in Paris (1950-55) with Louis Massignon, where he received his Ph.D. He spent years studying and editing classical Persian sufi poetry. He also studied the history of Persian language with Emile Benveniste. And he personally knew and exchanged views about Mawlana's poetry with such well-known Mawlana scholars as Salahuddin Saljuqi, Khalilullah Khalili (both of Afghanistan) and Badi`uzzaman Foruzanfar (of Iran, who travelled from Tehran to Kabul on many occasions). In addition, he knew (and helped) Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch (the translator of Mawlana's works into French) starting in 1952, when he was a graduate student in Paris. He taught Persian Literature at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, then at the University of California in Berkeley for five years, and then at the International Islamic Institute of the Islamic University of Malaysia for one year. In addition, he was the Afghan Ambassador to France many years ago, and more recently was the Afghan Ambassador to the United Nations (from 1993 through the end of 2006). He is the author of "Abdullah Ansari of Herat: An Early Sufi Master" (1996). At present, he is retired and living in Northern California.
Ibrahim Gamard, born and raised in the United States, is a licensed psychologist by profession and received his Ph.D. in 1986. A student of sufism for over thirty-five years, he converted to Islam in 1984 and went on the Pilgrimage to Mecca in 1999. He has been affiliated with the Mevlevi [Mawlawi] tradition of Islamic sufism (the 700 year-old tradition which originated with Mawlana himself) since 1976. In 2007, he was made a Mevlevi Shaykh, or authorized teacher, by Faruk Hemdem Celebi, the 22nd generation direct descendent of Mawlana and the international leader of the Mevlevi tradition. Ibrahim's Mevlevi spiritual teacher, Shefik Can (Shafiq Jan, 1909-2005) was very learned in the Persian of Mawlana and also translated the quatrains (into Turkish, 1991). Ibrahim began teaching himself to read classical/medieval Persian starting in 1981, for the sole purpose of studying Mawlana's poetry. He began posting his literal translations (mostly selections from the Mathnawi, with commentary and transliterations) on the Internet starting in 1997. In 2001, he placed all of his translations (but only a few of quatrains), as well as many related articles, on his website: www.dar-al-masnavi.org. He is the author of "Rumi and Islam: Selections from His Stories, Poems, and Discourses" (2004). He lives in Northern California.