Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) can only be described through superlatives. For Rumi is the best known and arguably the greatest exponent of the mystical tradition in Islam. The Masnavi, Rumi's longest and most fully realised poetic work remains, in the eastern lands of Islam, the most extensively read and revered text after the Qur'an. Perhaps more surprisingly, at least to those still unfamiliar with his writings, Rumi is also often cited as the most widely read poet today in the United States. The richness of his language, and his penetrating spiritual insights about the divine, mean that Rumi has an enduring capacity to transport readers from within any culture, Islamic or otherwise. Annemarie Schimmel was for many years one of Rumi's most sensitive western interpreters. Her masterfully concise and readable book - now published for the first time in English - discusses the religious and cultural background of Rumi's Sufism and the dominant strands of his imagery. Schimmel shows how Rumi's work, while timeless and with enduring cross-cultural appeal, must finally be understood as part of a wider Islamic mystical tradition, albeit an expression of that tradition which remains unsurpassed for its beauty and profundity.