Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes is an account of the Mevlevi Sufi order and its founder, the poet and mystic Mevlana Jalalu’ddin Rumi. Rumi danced and sang his famous verses in memory of his friend and teacher Shams Tabriz, who opened to him the way to direct experience of the Divine Beloved. After Rumi’s death in 1273, the whirling dance was introduced as part of the Mevlevi ritual, a statement of a timeless and passionate yearning toward God. Author Shems Friedlander has been doing documentary photography of the whirling dervishes since his first trip to Konya in 1973, and this book features haunting, evocative pictures of the order’s dancers, clad in their traditional white skirts and tall hats that represent their tombstones. Taken within the dervish lodges, known as tekkes, these photographs provide an insider’s view of ceremonies usually closed to the public. Friedlander’s images of the dervishes in mid-whirl evoke the exaltation of union with the divine source. In addition to Rumi’s life story and the accounts of dervishes past and present, the book features excerpts from Rumi’s poetry and the teachings of other Sufi masters, descriptions of the tekke and the symbolism of the dervish ceremony, an overview of the music that accompanies the Mevlevis’ turn, and a concluding section on the universality of Rumi’s message of love. This classic account of the Whirling Dervishes is now presented in a new and revised edition containing additional text and photographs.
Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes
Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes is an account of the Mevlevi Sufi order and its founder, the poet and mystic Mevlana Jalalu’ddin Rumi. Rumi danced a
Shems Friedlander is a senior lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo. He is the author of Rumi: The Hidden Treasure and When You Hear Hoofbeats Think of a Zebra, and he wrote, produced, and directed the documentary film Rumi: The Wings of Love.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr was born in Teheran to a family of traditional scholars and physicians. After receiving his early education in Iran he went to America where he studied physics, and the history of science and philosophy at M.I.T. and Harvard. Nasr was a professor at Teheran University and founder and first president of the Iranian Academy of Philosophy. He is currently Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University and author of numerous books including: Ideals and Realities of Islam, A Young Muslim’s Guide to the Modern World and Science & Civilization in Islam.