Shamsuddin Ahmad, otherwise known as Aflaki, wrote down the stories conveyed orally by the companions of Mevlana ("Our Master") Jelaluddin Rumi, the fourteenth century Sufi mystic. They were the founders of the Mevlevi order of Sufi dervishes, known popularly as the whirling dervishes for their whirling ceremony or sema. Those on this Sufi path are always on the lookout for the Divine within each human being and in all of creation. This book of stories, anecdotes, and teachings was begun in 718 A.H. (1318 C.E.) and finished in 734.

In her introduction, Camille Adams Helminski points out that this cherished Sufi work contains small snapshots of the world and environment in which Mevlana lived and taught. There are tales of his family life, what happened during gatherings of the Friends, teachings from his mentor Shams of Tabriz, and stories about his descendants. Similar to stories that attach themselves to extraordinary spiritual teachers, you will find on accounts of mystic phenomenon: doors opening by themselves, healings of the sick (Mevlana cures a man with a hunchback by touching it), the foretelling of the future, second sight, control of things from a distance, alchemical transformations, and much more. But the translator makes it clear that at no time did Rumi seek out disciples for himself: he was totally attuned to calling them to "the experience of the Divine Abundance and Beauty."

There are many beautiful teachings conveyed here. Mevlana says that poverty is his livelihood and love overlooks faults. We learn of his extraordinary sensitivity to animals and their needs. We can almost feel the effects on his companions of Mevlana's gaze of love. What all these accounts share in common is testimony to Mevlana and his Friends' reverence for God and all creation.