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Explore the Craft of Writing Arabic Verse The Masnavi or Mathnawi is a long narrative, the ancient Middle Eastern epic form dates back to the 8th century. Although it is believed to originally be Persian, Masnavi's have been composed in Persian, Turkish, Urdu and Arabic (sometimes called the Muzdawwidj). The great poet Rumi used the stanzaic form to write 6 books containing 25000 verses which he titled Mathnawi. I am not sure if the books are named for the form or the form was named from the books, probably the latter. Apparently the Sufi Whirling Dervishes use verse from the books in pra