The Mystical dance of the Sufis

Sufism is a mystical movement within Islam which first appeared in the late 7th Century that arose as a protest against the growing material mindedness of Muslims after the time of Prophet. Today, there are hundreds of Sufi orders that have developed within different cultural contexts, meaning that there are no one Sufi way. They basically try to immitate the words & deeds of Muhammad & traditionally adopt a life of simplicity & abstinence in the context of Islam. Sufism is called "tasawwuf" in Arabic. The term "Sufi" is derived from Arabic word "suf" which means wool refering to the Muslim ascetics & mystics because they wore garments made out of wool.

Sufi dance origin

Founded by the poet Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi, that said, "All Lovers are bridge to a Divine Love, Yet those who have not had a taste of it do not know." The practice of Sufi whirling or "Sufi spinning" is a twirling meditation that originates amongst the Turkish Sufis which is still practiced by the Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It is a symbolic ritual by which the dervishes (also called semazens) aims to reach the "perfect" kemal. They try to desert their ego or bad desires by listening to their master & Sufi music. They do this by thinking about God & whirling which resembles the rotation of other beings such as electrons & planets of the micro & macro cosmos.

Explanation of the dance ritual

1. The dance outfit: The Semazen's camel's hair hat (sikke) represents the tombstone of his ego. White colored shirt symbolizes the ego's shroud. If the black cloak is removed, it is to represent that he is spiritually reborn to the Truth.

2. At the beginning of the Sema, by holding his arms crossed, the Semazen's appears to represent number 1, thus testifying to God's unity.

3. While whirling, his arms are opened. His right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God's beneficiance.

4. Revolving from right to left around the heart, the Semazen embraces all humanity with Love.

5. At one point, his eyes are riveted towards his left hand are turned towards the earth.

6. Some Sufi dancers believe that it is God (Allah) that overpowers them during the dance.

7.The Semazen conveys God's spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema dance.

8. It is the belief that the humanity has been created with Love in order to Love.

Watch this dance. It is a short clip of 2 minutes odd. It is performed very swiftly, but yet it's done very gracefully. Enjoy the dance!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful!!!Sufism,the mystical/spritual aspect of Islam needs to be explored and understood further.It's this brand of Islam that came to India.

Anonymous said...

| - Published | Award-Winning | Spiritual & Magical Realist | Fiction |

"The Imam" - A Top 10 Fiction Finalist in the 2014 TIFERET: A Journal of Spiritual Literature's International Writing Contest. Read it now @


Cops on graveyard shift duty at Bandar Hilir police station experienced an incident that sent a chilling shock straight to their spines....