“Have you heard of the whirling dervishes of Turkiye? We are going to see them next,” said Verum in the evening.
“What are they? What’s a dervish?” wondered Scorch.
“The whirling dervishes offer a spectacular sight of their faith. They are Sufi saints dressed in white with tall black hats. They spin around really fast in the form of a prayer dance. Apparently, this started 700 years ago.
“The Mevlevi Order was formed in 1312 in the Turkish city of Konya. With the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Sufi organizations were declared illegal. By 1953 public performances of the Mevlevi Sema, or the Whirling Prayer Ceremony, were permitted by the Turkish government.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the dervish holds his arms crosswise to represent number one, testifying to God’s unity. While whirling, the dervish’s arms open with his right hand directed to the sky, meaning his readiness to receive God’s beneficence. The dervish’s left hand is turning toward the earth, expressing his willingness to convey God’s spiritual gift to those witnessing the Sema.
It is also believed that while revolving from right to left around his own heart, the dervish embraces all humanity with love since Sufis believe that the human being was created with love in order to love,” said Verum.
“That’s heavy and beautiful,” said Scorch as the four entered a whirling dervish performance.