Why do the dervishes whirl

Who are the Whirling Dervishes?

Why do the dervishes whirl ? The Whirling Dervishes are a part of the Sufi branch of Islam, known for its mysticism and asceticism. Scholars of Sufism have defined it in many different ways throughout the times, but they all agree on its fundamental character as being the inner, esoteric, mystical, or purely spiritual dimension of Islam. To become a Dervish, one must take a vow of poverty and live in monastic conditions, similar to Christian monks. For these Dervishes, spinning is their way of worshipping God.

What is this festival about?

The festival commemorates the death of a great philosopher and mystic of Islam, Mevlana (also known as Rumi) whose doctrine advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. His philosophy is encapsulated in one of his poems:

Come come whoever you are
Whether you are a non-believer,
Whether you worship fire or an idol,
Whether you have repented a hundred times,
Whether you have broken a vow of repentance a hundred times,
This is not a vow of desperation;
Come however you are.

Where do the dances fit in?

The Dervishes dance in honor of their great teacher. This form of dance which is known as “Sema” is not just a routine movement of the body and arms but a spiritual experience that combines the music, the listening and the dance as one. The ritual is sacred and focuses on the relationship between the body and soul, man and god, lover and beloved, with an ideal submission of God reiterated throughout. There is nothing hurried or rushed. The Dervishes step forward, arms crossed in front of their chests. Raising their arms, holding their right palm upward toward heaven and their left palm downward toward earth, they gradually start whirling in a counterclockwise direction.

Why the whirl?

Science has shown us that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. A man’s very existence depends on this movement — revolution in the atoms, structural stones of his body, movement of his blood etc. However, all of these are natural, unconscious revolutions. The Whirling Dervish actively causes the mind to participate in the revolution of all other beings. Akin Cakmut, who has been practicing the dance for many years since he first started at the age of 13, told CNN, “Everything turns in the universe. The world turns, the sun turns, your blood under your skin turns, and also the Dervish turns.”

What about the dress, the white robes?

It’s all part of the experience. The white robes represent shrouds (their ego’s shrouds) and the black hats tombstones (their ego’s tombstones). The dance goes through different phases. Akin explains, “The meaning of the first part is who are you? You are thinking who am I? The second part the Dervish understands, ok, I am human, I am living. In the third part the Dervish understands there is a force, and the dervish gives his heart to God. In the fourth part, your soul comes back to your body, and you understand that, yes, I am human I am a person.”

How can one participate?
You can make reservations from here ( online ), you can e-mail us or you can visit our ticket center in advanced and make your reservation in person.  Here are our details ;

LOCATION of our Meeting Point in Sultanahmet :

Contact People : Mr. Alp – Mr. Nurdogan
( Phone : +90 544 220 10 22 / +90 212 527 68 59 )

Here is our address :
Google Maps      :  https://goo.gl/maps/uXuyRmELZsx

Istanbul Dervish Ceremony – Les Arts Turcs / Culture Center
Alemdar Mh. Incili Çavus St.
No: 19 Floor : 3 (Behind The Underground Cistern)
Sultanahmet 34400
Istanbul, Turkey