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Sufi whirling (or Sufi spinning), (Arabic: رقص سماع) is a turning meditation that originated among Sufis, which is still practiced by the Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It is a symbolic ritual through which dervishes (also called semazens) aim to reach the “perfect” (kemal). The aim is to abandon one’s nafs, egos or personal desires, by listening to God and the music (hence the term sema), thinking about God and whirling which has been compared to the orbiting of the planets in the Solar System around the sun.
Acrylic on 70×50cm canvas ‘Whirling Dervishes’. This painting is SOLD to a Mugla Government Official.
Adapted from Amedeo Preziosi – Turks
As explained by Sufis:
In the symbolism of the Sema ritual, the semazen’s camel’s hair hat (sikke) represents the tombstone of the ego; his wide, white skirt represents the ego’s shroud. By removing his black cloak, he is spiritually reborn to the truth. At the beginning of the Sema, by holding his arms crosswise, the semazen appears to represent the number one, thus testifying to God’s unity. While whirling, his arms are open: his right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God’s beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes are fastened, is turned towards the earth. The semazen conveys God’s spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema. Revolving from right to left around the heart, the semazen embraces all humanity with love. The human being has been created with love in order to love. Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi says, “All loves are a bridge to Divine love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know!”