Whirling Dervish Ceremony

From January 01, 1970

The sema ceremony consists of several parts with different meanings…. 




Transport minibus/midibus/car
Drinks cinnamon hot drink
Music sufi music

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1-      it starts with a eulogy “ Nat-i serif” to the Prophet,Muhammad, who represents love and all prophets before him. To praise them is praising God, who created all of them.

2-      This eulogy is followed by a drum sound symbolizing the Divine order of the Creator.. “Kun=Be!”

3-      Then follows an instrumental music improvisation (“taksim’in Turkish”) with a reed wind instrument called a “ney” which represents the first breath which gave life to everyting: the Divine breath.

4-      The fourth part is where the dervishes greet each other and perform their thrice repeated circular walk called the “Devri Veledi”, accompanied by music called “pershrev”. This part symbolizes the salutation of soul to saoul concealed by shapes and bodies.

5-      The fifty part is the Sema , which consists of four salutes or “selams”. At the end of each salute,as in the onset,the dervish testifies to God’s unity with his appearance.


a)      first salute is man’s birth into truth through feeling and the mind. ?t represents his complete conception of the ecstasy of God as the creator and his own state of being.

b)      Second salute expresses the rapture of man witnessing the splendor of creation in front of God’s greating and omnipotence.

c)      The third salute is the dissolution of rapture into love and thereby the sacrifice of the mind to love. ?t is complete submission; it is the annihilation of self in the loved one, in His unity.


This state of ecstasy is known as “Nirvana” in Buddhism and “Fenafillah”in ?slam. ?n Buddhism , this is the highest state of ecstasty. However,the highest rank in ?slam is the rank reached by the Prophet; he is called God’s servants foremost and subsequently his Messenger. The aim of Sema is not unbroken ecstasy and loss of conscious thought, ut realization of submission to God.


d)     the fourth salute; Just as the prophet ascended to the “Throne” and then returned to his task on earth, the whirling dervishes, following  the termination of their spiritual journey and ascent, return to their tasks and to their  state of subservience.”He is a servant of God,of His Boks,of Prophets and allthe creation…” (Sura Bakara 2,verse 285). At the end of their salute, they demonstrate this again with their appearance , arms criss- crossed over the chests to represent the unity of God consciously and feelingly.


6-      the sixth part of the Sema is a reading from the Quran especially of the verse “unto god belong  the east and the west and wherever you turn, there is God’s countenance. He is All-embracing. All-Knowning “(Sura Bakara 2,verse 115).

7-The sema ceremony ends with a prayer for peace of the souls of all Prophets and all believers. After the completion of the “sema” ceremonu all the dervishes return silently to their cells for meditation

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