“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
Located at Tingirtepe Hill near Boca Izmir, Turkey This statue honors Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi an Islamic mystic. The statue stands about 25 feet tall and is surrounded by smaller statues of whirling dervishes, The sculpture stands on a pedestal which brings the total height to around fifty feet. The statue, as well as Rumi’s shrine and mausoleum, are sites of pilgrimage for people of all faiths.
While he was raised in the Islamic tradition, he was not orthodox. He believed all paths led to the Divine. He advocated tolerance, charity, and spiritual awareness that could be found inside one’s own heart. He helped establish the Mevlevi Order. This was a more mystical form of Islam. One major tenant was the belief that one could reach union with God through music and dance.
The Dervishes as they were called would often participate in a religious ceremony called the Sema. During this ritual, the participants would twirl in a circle. The movement was very structured with one hand raised toward Heaven and one toward Earth. The dance would begin slowly and gradually become faster. The intent was to enter ‘wajd’ a trancelike state of Divine Union The idea was that the God’s beneficence and Divine Love enters you and then were dispersed throughout the world.
There has been a lot of data showing the act of twirling can create euphoria. Amusement Parks have employed this for decades. The ceremony and Sufi ideas, in general, have grown in and out of favor in the general Islamic World. In Turkey, ( and to a lesser degree Egypt) it has become a huge tourist draw. And while it is mesmerizing to witness the dervish ceremony, one should remember it is first and foremost a religious ceremony revered by those who participate.
Aside from establishing the Dervish Order, Rumi was also a successful poet. His works have been translated in over 40 languages and are especially popular in English speaking countries. His poems and quotations can be found everywhere often unattributed. He is buried in Konya. His mausoleum includes a mosque, dance hall for Dervish Ceremonies, Museum, a school for followers, and the tombs of leaders of the Mevlevi Order that came after him.