The Mawlawi Order

Better known as many as the Whirling Dervishes, the Mawlawi Order are a Sufi order founded in Konya (in present-day Turkey) by the followers of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, Islamic jurist, and theologian. Many years ago, I became fascinated with the trance-like state of the Mawlawi when studying a theology subject at University of Queensland – “Witches, pagans and the new age”.

Tanzende Derwische im Mewlewi-Kloster in Pera

Tanzende Derwische im Mewlewi-Kloster in Pera

In short, Sufism is generally understood as the mystical or esoteric aspect of Islam. For example, René Guénon in ‘Insights into Islamic Esoterism and Taoism ‘ (Sophia Perennis 2003) contended that Sufism was the esoteric aspect of Islam supported and complemented by exoteric practices and Islamic law. However, according to Idries Shah, the Sufi philosophy is universal in nature, its roots predating the rise of Islam and the other modern-day religions, save for perhaps Buddhism and Jainism; likewise, some Muslims consider Sufism outside the sphere of Islam.[See Sufism References 1 + 12]

The Mawlawi believe in performing their dhikr in the form of a “dance” and musical ceremony known as the Sema, which involves the whirling, from which the order acquired its nickname. The Sema represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to the “Perfect”. Turning towards the truth, the follower grows through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth, and arrives at the “Perfect”. He then returns from this spiritual journey as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection, able to love and to be of service to the whole of creation.

Rumi has said in reference to Sema:

“For them it is the Sema
of this world and the other.
Even more for the circle of dancers
within the Sema
Who turn and have, in their midst,
their own Ka’aba.”

and what he is saying is that when, like in Mecca you have come closer to God, likewise when you perform Sema you are also closer to God.

References (Mawlawi Order – from Wikipedia)

References (Sufism – from Wikipedia)

  1. ^ a b c Dr. Alan Godlas, University of Georgia, Sufism’s Many Paths, 2000, University of Georgia
  2. ^ Nuh Ha Mim Keller, “How would you respond to the claim that Sufism is Bid’a?”, 1995. Fatwa accessible at:
  3. ^ Dr. Zubair Fattani, ‘The meaning of Tasawwuf’, Islamic Academy.
  4. ^ Ahmed Zarruq, Zaineb Istrabadi, Hamza Yusuf Hanson—”The Principles of Sufism.” Amal Press. 2008.
  5. ^ An English translation of Ahmad ibn Ajiba‘s biography has been published by Fons Vitae.
  6. ^ Hawting, Gerald R. (2000). The first dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate AD 661-750. Routledge. ISBN 0415240735. The title of the book establishes this fact. See Google book search.
  7. ^ Michael Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, pg. 1
  8. ^ Rehearing Quran in open Translation Neil Douglas-Klotz
  9. ^ a b Kabbani, Muhammad Hisham (2004). Classical Islam and the Naqshbandi Sufi Tradition. Islamic Supreme Council of America. p. 557. ISBN 1930409230.
  10. ^
  11. ^ A Prayer for Spiritual Elevation and Protection (2007) by Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi, Suha Taji-Farouki
  12. ^ Idries Shah, The Sufis, ISBN 0-385-07966-4
  13. ^ The Naqshbandi Sufi Tradition Guidebook of Daily Practices and Devotions, p.83, Muhammad Hisham Kabbani,Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, 2004
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Al-Bīrūnī: commemorative volume, Hakim Mohammad Said, Pakistan. Ministry of Education, Unesco, Hamdard National Foundation, Pakistan, 2010
  17. ^ The memoirs of Sufis written in India: reference to Kashaful-mahjub, Siyar-ul-auliya, and Siyar-ul-arifin, Mahmud Husain Siddiqui, Dept. of Persian, Urdu, and Arabic, Faculty of Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, 2009
  18. ^ Introduction to Sufi Doctrine, p.3, Titus Burckhardt, Kazi Publications, ISBN 978-1567442175, 1976
  19. ^ Sufism, Sufis, and Sufi Orders: Sufism’s Many Paths
  20. ^ Abdullah Nur ad-Din Durkee, The School of the Shadhdhuliyyah, Volume One: Orisons, ISBN 9770018309
  21. ^ Muhammad Emin Er, Laws of the Heart: A Practical Introduction to the Sufi Path, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9815196-1-6
  22. ^ Cavendish, Richard. Great Religions. New York: Arco Publishing, 1980.
  23. ^ Abdullah Nur ad-Din Durkee, The School of the Shadhdhuliyyah, Volume One: Orisons; see also Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, Classical Islam and the Naqshbandi Sufi Tradition, ISBN 9781930409231, which reproduces the spiritual lineage (silsila) of a living Sufi master.
  24. ^ Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, Classical Islam and the Naqshbandi Sufi Tradition, ISBN 9781930409231
  25. ^ See Muhammad Emin Er, Laws of the Heart: A Practical Introduction to the Sufi Path, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9815196-1-6, for a detailed description of the practices and preconditions of this sort of spiritual retreat.
  26. ^ See examples provided by Muzaffar Ozak in Irshad: Wisdom of a Sufi Master, addressed to a general audience rather than specifically to his own students.
  27. ^[dead link]
  28. ^ Massignon, Louis. Essai sur les origines du lexique technique de la mystique musulmane. Paris: Vrin, 1954. p. 104.
  29. ^ Imam Birgivi, The Path of Muhammad, WorldWisdom, ISBN 0941532682
  30. ^ For an introduction to these and other early exemplars of the Sufi approach, see Michael Sells (ed.), Early Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Qur’an, Mi’raj, Poetic and Theological Writings, ISBN 978-0809136193.
  31. ^ J. Spencer Trimingham, The Sufi Orders in Islam, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195120585.
  32. ^ The most recent version of the Risâla is the translation of Alexander Knysh, Al-Qushayri’s Epistle on Sufism: Al-risala Al-qushayriyya Fi ‘ilm Al-tasawwuf (ISBN 978-1859641866). Earlier translations include a partial version by Rabia Terri Harris (Sufi Book of Spiritual Ascent) and complete versions by Harris, and Barbara R. Von Schlegell.
  33. ^ Several sections of the Revival of Religious Sciences have been published in translation by the Islamic Texts Society; see The Alchemy of Happiness has been published in a complete translation by Claud Field (ISBN 978-0935782288), and presents the argument of the much larger Revival of Religious Sciences in summary form.
  34. ^ For the pre-modern era, see Vincent J. Cornell, Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism, ISBN 978-0292712096; and for the colonial era, Knut Vikyr, Sufi and Scholar on the Desert Edge: Muhammad B. Oali Al-Sanusi and His Brotherhood, ISBN 978-0810112261.
  35. ^ Dina Le Gall, A Culture of Sufism: Naqshbandis in the Ottoman World, 1450-1700 , ISBN 978-0791462454.
  36. ^ Arthur F. Buehler, Sufi Heirs of the Prophet: The Indian Naqshbandiyya and the Rise of the Mediating Sufi Shaykh, ISBN 978-1570037832.
  37. ^ Victor Danner – “The Islamic Tradition: An introduction.” Amity House. February 1988.
  38. ^ The Jamaat Tableegh and the Deobandis by Sajid Abdul Kayum, Chapter 1: Overview and Background.
  39. ^ “Sufism and Religious Brotherhoods in Senegal,” Babou, Cheikh Anta, The International Journal of African Historical Studies, v. 40 no1 (2007) p. 184-6
  40. ^ Sufism and Religious Brotherhoods in Senegal, Khadim Mbacke, translated from the French by Eric Ross and edited by John Hunwick. Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener, 2005.
  41. ^ See in particular the biographical introduction to Michel Chodkiewicz, The Spiritual Writings of Amir Abd Al-Kader, ISBN 978-0791424469.
  42. ^ From the article on Sufism in Oxford Islamic Studies Online
  43. ^ University of Georgia
  44. ^
  45. ^ Sheikh Abdullah Sirr-Dan Al-Jamal
  46. ^ a b Muhammad Emin Er, Laws of the Heart: A Practical Introduction to the Sufi Order, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9815196-1-6
  47. ^ For a systematic description of the diseases of the heart that are to be overcome in order for this perspective to take root, see Hamza Yusuf, Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart, ISBN 978-1929694150.
  48. ^ Concerning this, and for an excellent discussion of the concept of attraction (jadhba), see especially the Introduction to Abdullah Nur ad-Din Durkee, The School of the Shadhdhuliyyah, Volume One: Orisons, ISBN 9770018309.
  49. ^ Muhammad Emin Er, al-Wasilat al-Fasila, unpublished MS.
  50. ^ Realities of The Heart Lataif
  51. ^ Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, ISBN 978-0807812716 .
  52. ^ See especially Robert Frager, Heart, Self & Soul: The Sufi Psychology of Growth, Balance, and Harmony, ISBN 978-0835607780.
  53. ^ Hakim Moinuddin Chisti, The Book of Sufi Healing, ISBN 978-0892810437
  54. ^ For an introduction to the normative creed of Islam as espoused by the consensus of scholars, see Hamza Yusuf, The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi, ISBN 978-0970284396, and Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Maghnisawi, Imam Abu Hanifa’s Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar Explained, ISBN 978-1933764030.
  55. ^ The meaning of certainty in this context is emphasized in Muhammad Emin Er, The Soul of Islam: Essential Doctrines and Beliefs, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9815196-0-9.
  56. ^ See in particular the introduction by T. J. Winter to Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali, Al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul and on Breaking the Two Desires: Books XXII and XXIII of the Revival of the Religious Sciences, ISBN 978-0946621439.
  57. ^ Akbar Ahmed, Diiscovering Islam, Making sense of Muslim History and Society,ISBN 0-415-28525-9(Pbk)
  58. ^ Klaus K. Klostermair, A Survey of Hinduism, ISBN-13: 978-0-7914-7082-0-4 (Pbk)
  59. ^ Abdullah Jawadi Amuli, “Dhikr and the Wisdom Behind It”
  60. ^ Hakim Moinuddin Chisti The Book of Sufi Healing, ISBN 978-0892810437
  61. ^ Naqshbandi Way of Dhikr
  62. ^ Touma 1996, p.162
  63. ^ What is Remembrance and what is Contemplation?
  64. ^ Muhammad Emin Er, Laws of the Heart: A Practical Introduction to the Sufi Path, ISBN 978-0-9815196-1-6, p. 77.
  65. ^ United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (May 2009). “Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom: Iran”. USG. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
  66. ^ Muhammad Emin Er, The Soul of Islam: Essential Doctrines and Beliefs, Shifâ Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9815196-0-9.
  67. ^ Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam (1975) pg. 99
  68. ^ (source: [p. 778-795 of “The Reliance of the Traveller”, by Shaykh Nuh Ha Meem Keller])
  69. ^ The Amman Message Summary. Retrieved on Feb 2, 2010.
  70. ^
  71. ^ K. al-Wasa’il, quoted in The Unlimited Mercifier, Stephen Hirtenstein, p. 246
  72. ^ Memoirs of the Saints, p.108
  73. ^ a b Ron Geaves, Theodore Gabriel, Yvonne Haddad, Jane Idleman Smith: Islam and the West Post 9/11, Ashgate Publishing Ltd., p. 67
  74. ^ Jamal Malik, John R. Hinnells: Sufism in the West, Routledge, p. 25
  75. ^ A Sufi-Jewish Dialogue: Philosophy and Mysticism in Bahya ibn Paquda’s Duties of the Heart, Diana Lobel
  76. ^ Jewish pietism of the Sufi type, Mireille Loubet
  77. ^