Mevlevi

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(Redirected from The Whirling Dervishes)

The Mevlevi Order or the Mevleviye are a Sufi order founded by the followers of the Persian Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi in 1273 in Konya present day Turkey; also known as the Whirling Dervishes due to their famous practice of whirling as a form of dhikr (rememberance of Allah). Dervishes are members of Sufi ascetic religious Tarika or "confraternities", known for their extreme poverty and austerity.

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Whirling_Dervishes,_Konya,_Turkey,_RMO.jpg
Whirling Dervishes perform near the Mevlevi Museum in Konya, Turkey.

The Mevlevi, or Mevleviye, one of the most well-known of the Sufi orders, was founded in 1273 by Rumi's followers after his death, particularly his son, Sultan Veled Celebi (Chelebi). The Mevlevi, or "The Whirling Dervishes", believe in performing their dhirk in the form of a 'dance' and music ceremony called the sema.

The Sema represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to "Perfect." Turning towards the truth, the follower grows through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives to the "Perfect." He then returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection, so as to love and to be of service to the whole of creation.

The Mevlevi were a well established Sufi Order in the Ottoman Empire, and many of the members of the order served in various official positions of the Caliphate. The centre for the Mevlevi order was in Konya, in Turkey, where Rumi is buried. There is also a Mevlevi monastery or dergah in Istanbul, near the Galata Tower, where the sema ceremony is performed and accessible to the public.

During Ottoman times the Mevlevi order produced a number of famous poets and musicians such as Sheikh Ghalib, Ismail Ankaravi (both buried at the Galata Mevlevi-Hane) and Abdullah Sari. Music especially the ney (a reed flute like instrument) played an important part in the Mevelevi order and thus much of the traditional 'oriental' music that Westerners associate with Turkey originates with the Mevlevi order. Indeed of one buys a cd of Turkish Sufi music chances are it will be Mevlevi religious music.

The Mevlevi order during the Ottoman period spread into the Balkans Syria and Egypt (and is still practiced in both countries where they are known as the Mawlawi order)

The Bosnian writer Mesa Selimovic wrote the book 'Death and the dervish' about a Mevlevi dergah in Sarajevo

The Mevlevi Order is also linked to other Dervish orders such as the Qadiri (founded in 1165), the Rifa'i (founded in 1182) and the Kalenderis.

The Mevlevi Order was outlawed in Turkey at the dawn of the secular revolution by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923. In the 1950s, the Turkish government, realizing that The Whirling Dervishes had value as a tourist attraction, began allowing the Whirling Dervishes to perform annually in Konya on the Urs of Mevlana, December 17, the anniversary of Rumi's death. In 1974, they were allowed to come to the West. They performed in France, for the Pope, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and other venues in the US and Canada under the direction of the late Mevlevi Shaikh Suleyman Hayati Dede.


See also: Sufi whirling

External link

en:Μεβλεβί Ντερβίς sufi

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