Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (Persian), also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī (Persian: ), and popularly known as Mowlānā (Persian) but known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273), was a 13th-century PersianMuslim poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic.Rūmī is a descriptive name meaning “the Roman” since he lived most of his life in an area called Rūm (then under the control of Seljuq dynasty) because it was once ruled by the Eastern Roman Empire.
It is likely that he was born in the village of Wakhsh, a small town located at the river Wakhsh in Persia (in what is now Tajikistan). Wakhsh belonged to the larger province of Balkh, and in the year Rumi was born, his father was an appointed scholar there. Both these cities were at the time included in the greater Persian cultural sphere of Khorasan, the easternmost province of Persia, and were part of the Khwarezmian Empire.
His birthplace and native language both indicate a Persian heritage. His father decided to migrate westwards due to quarrels between different dynasties in Khorasan, opposition to the Khwarizmid Shahs who were considered devious by Bahā ud-Dīn Walad (Rumi’s father), or fear of the impending Mongol cataclysm. Rumi’s family traveled west, first performing the Hajj and eventually settling in the Anatolian city Konya (capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, in present-day Turkey). This was where he lived most of his life, and here he composed one of the crowning glories of Persian literature which profoundly affected the culture of the area.
He lived most of his life under the Sultanate of Rum, where he produced his works and died in 1273 AD. He was buried in Konya and his shrine became a place of pilgrimage. Following his death, his followers and his son Sultan Walad founded the Mawlawīyah Sufi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for its Sufi dance known as the samāʿ ceremony.
Rumi’s works are written in the New Persian language. A Persian literary renaissance (in the 8th/9th century) started in regions of Sistan, Khorāsān and Transoxiana and by the 10th/11th century, it reinforced the Persian language as the preferred literary and cultural language in the Persian Islamic world. Rumi’s importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders. His original works are widely read in their original language across the Persian-speaking world. Translations of his works are very popular in other countries. His poetry has influenced Persian literature as well as Urdu, Punjabi and other Pakistani languages written in Perso/Arabic script e.g. Pashto and Sindhi. His poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages and transposed into various formats. In 2007, he was described as the “most popular poet in America.”
LifeRumi was likely born on 30 September 1207 in the province of Balkh in the district of Wakhsh in Khorasan (now in modern Afghanistan/Tajikistan). He died on 17 December 1273 in Konya in Seljuqid Rum (now modern Turkey). He was laid to rest beside his father, and over his remains a splendid shrine was erected. A hagiographical account of him is described in Shams ud-Din Ahmad Aflāki’s Manāqib ul-Ārifīn (written between 1318 and 1353). This hagiographical account of his biography needs to be treated with care as it contains both legends and actual facts about Rumi. For example, Professor Lewis Franklin in the most complete biography on Rumi has a separate section for the hagiographical biography on Rumi and actual biography about him.
Rumi’s father was Bahā ud-Dīn Walad, a theologian, jurist and a mystic from Wakhsh, who was also known by the followers of Rumi as Sultan al-Ulama or “Sultan of the Scholars”. The popular hagiographer assertions that have claimed the family’s descent from the Caliph Abu Bakr does not hold on closer examination and is rejected by modern scholars. The claim of maternal descent from the Khwarazmshah for Rumi or his father is also seen as a non-historical hagiographical tradition designed to connect the family with royalty, but this claim is rejected for chronological and historical reasons. The most complete genealogy offered for the family stretches back to six or seven generations to famous Hanafi Jurists.
We do not learn the name of Baha al-Din’s mother in the sources, but only that he referred to her as “Māmi” (Colloquial Persian for Māma) and that she was a simple woman and that she lives in 13th century. The mother of Rumi was Mu’mina Khātūn. The profession of the family for several generations was that of Islamic preachers of the liberal Hanafi rite and this family tradition was continued by Rumi (see his Fihi Ma Fih and Seven Sermons) and Sultan Walad (see Ma’rif Waladi for examples of his everyday sermons and lectures).
When the Mongols invaded Central Asia sometime between 1215 and 1220, Baha ud-Din Walad, with his whole family and a group of disciples, set out westwards. According to hagiographical account which is not agreed upon by all Rumi scholars, Rumi encountered one of the most famous mystic Persian poets, ‘Attar, in the Iranian city of Nishapur, located in the province of Khorāsān. ‘Attar immediately recognized Rumi’s spiritual eminence. He saw the father walking ahead of the son and said, “Here comes a sea followed by an ocean.” He gave the boy his Asrārnāma, a book about the entanglement of the soul in the material world. This meeting had a deep impact on the eighteen-year-old Rumi and later on became the inspiration for his works.
From Nishapur, Walad and his entourage set out for Baghdad, meeting many of the scholars and Sufis of the city. From there they went to Baghdad, and Hejaz and performed the pilgrimage at Mecca. The migrating caravan then passed through Damascus, Malatya, Erzincan, Sivas, Kayseri and Nigde. They finally settled in Karaman for seven years; Rumi’s mother and brother both died there. In 1225, Rumi married Gowhar Khatun in Karaman. They had two sons: Sultan Walad and Ala-eddin Chalabi. When his wife died, Rumi married again and had a son, Amir Alim Chalabi, and a daughter, Malakeh Khatun.
On 1 May 1228, most likely as a result of the insistent invitation of ‘Alā’ ud-Dīn Key-Qobād, ruler of Anatolia, Baha’ ud-Din came and finally settled in Konya in Anatolia within the westernmost territories of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm.
Baha’ ud-Din became the head of a madrassa (religious school) and when he died, Rumi, aged twenty-five, inherited his position as the Islamic molvi. One of Baha’ ud-Din’s students, Sayyed Burhan ud-Din Muhaqqiq Termazi, continued to train Rumi in the Shariah as well as the Tariqa, especially that of Rumi’s father. For nine years, Rumi practiced Sufism as a disciple of Burhan ud-Din until the latter died in 1240 or 1241. Rumi’s public life then began: he became an Islamic Jurist, issuing fatwas and giving sermons in the mosques of Konya. He also served as a Molvi (Islamic teacher) and taught his adherents in the madrassa.
During this period, Rumi also traveled to Damascus and is said to have spent four years there.
It was his meeting with the dervish Shams-e Tabrizi on 15 November 1244 that completely changed his life. From an accomplished teacher and jurist, Rumi was transformed into an ascetic.
Shams had traveled throughout the Middle East searching and praying for someone who could “endure my company”. A voice said to him, “What will you give in return?” Shams replied, “My head!” The voice then said, “The one you seek is Jalal ud-Din of Konya.” On the night of 5 December 1248, as Rumi and Shams were talking, Shams was called to the back door. He went out, never to be seen again. It is rumored that Shams was murdered with the connivance of Rumi’s son, ‘Ala’ ud-Din; if so, Shams indeed gave his head for the privilege of mystical friendship.
Rumi’s love for, and his bereavement at the death of, Shams found their expression in an outpouring lyric poems, Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi. He himself went out searching for Shams and journeyed again to Damascus. There, he realized:
Mawlana had been spontaneously composing ghazals (Persian poems), and these had been collected in the Divan-i Kabir or Diwan Shams Tabrizi. Rumi found another companion in Salaḥ ud-Din-e Zarkub, a goldsmith. After Salah ud-Din’s death, Rumi’s scribe and favorite student, Hussam-e Chalabi, assumed the role of Rumi’s companion. One day, the two of them were wandering through the Meram vineyards outside Konya when Hussam described to Rumi an idea he had had: “If you were to write a book like the Ilāhīnāma of Sanai or the Mantiq ut-Tayr of ‘Attar, it would become the companion of many troubadours. They would fill their hearts from your work and compose music to accompany it.” Rumi smiled and took out a piece of paper on which were written the opening eighteen lines of his Masnavi, beginning with:Why should I seek? I am the same as
He. His essence speaks through me.
I have been looking for myself!
Hussam implored Rumi to write more. Rumi spent the next twelve years of his life in Anatolia dictating the six volumes of this masterwork, the Masnavi, to Hussam.Listen to the reed and the tale it tells,
How it sings of separation…
In December 1273, Rumi fell ill; he predicted his own death and composed the well-known ghazal, which begins with the verse:
Rumi died on 17 December 1273 in Konya; his body was interred beside that of his father, and a splendid shrine, the Yeşil Türbe (Green Tomb, قبه الخضراء; today the Mevlana Museum), was erected over his place of burial. His epitaph reads:How doest thou know what sort of king I have within me as companion?
Do not cast thy glance upon my golden face, for I have iron legs.
The 13th century Mawlana Mausoleum, with its mosque, dance hall, dervish living quarters, school and tombs of some leaders of the Mevlevi Order, continues to this day to draw pilgrims from all parts of the Muslim and non-Muslim world. Jalal al-Din who is also known as Rumi, was a philosopher and mystic of Islam. His doctrine advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. To him and to his disciples all religions are more or less truth. Looking with the same eye on Muslim, Jew and Christian alike, his peaceful and tolerant teaching has appealed to people of all sects and creeds.When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth, but find it in the hearts of men.
TeachingsThe general theme of Rumi’s thought, like that of other mystic and Sufi poets of Persian literature, is essentially that of the concept of tawhīd – union with his beloved (the primal root) from which/whom he has been cut off and become aloof – and his longing and desire to restore it
The Masnavi weaves fables, scenes from everyday life, Qur’anic revelations and exegesis, and metaphysics into a vast and intricate tapestry. In the East, it is said of him that he was “not a prophet — but surely, he has brought a scripture”.
Rumi believed passionately in the use of music, poetry, and dance as a path for reaching God. For Rumi, music helped devotees to focus their whole being on the divine, and to do this so intensely that the soul was both destroyed and resurrected. It was from these ideas that the practice of “whirling” dervishes developed into a ritual form. His teachings became the base for the order of the Mawlawi which his son Sultan Walad organized. Rumi encouraged samāʿ, listening to music and turning or doing the sacred dance. In the Mevlevi tradition, samāʿ represents a mystical journey of spiritual ascent through mind and love to the Perfect One. In this journey, the seeker symbolically turns towards the truth, grows through love, abandons the ego, finds the truth, and arrives at the Perfect. The seeker then returns from this spiritual journey, with greater maturity, to love and to be of service to the whole of creation without discrimination with regard to beliefs, races, classes, and nations.
In other verses in the Masnavi, Rumi describes in detail the universal message of love:
The lover’s cause is separate from all other causes
Love is the astrolabe of God’s mysteries.
Major worksRumi’s poetry is often divided into various categories: the quatrains (rubayāt) and odes (ghazal) of the Divan, the six books of the Masnavi. The prose works are divided into The Discourses, The Letters, and the Seven Sermons.
- Rumi’s major work is the Maṭnawīye Ma’nawī (Spiritual Couplets; مثنوی معنوی), a six-volume poem regarded by some Sufis as the Persian-language Qur’an. It is considered by many to be one of the greatest works of mystical poetry. It contains approximately 27000 lines of Persian poetry.
Further information: Masnavi
- Rumi’s other major work is the Dīwān-e Kabīr (Great Work) or Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi|Dīwān-e Shams-e Tabrīzī (The Works of Shams of Tabriz; دیوان شمس تبریزی named in honor of Rumi’s master Shams. Besides approximately 35000 Persian couplets and 2000 Persian quatrains, the Divan contains 90 Ghazals and 19 quatrains in Arabic, a couple of dozen or so couplets in Turkish (mainly macaronic poems of mixed Persian and Turkish) and 14 couplets in Greek(all of them in three macaronic poems of Greek-Persian).
Further information: Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi
- Fihi Ma Fihi (In It What’s in It, Persian: فیه ما فیه) provides a record of seventy-one talks and lectures given by Rumi on various occasions to his disciples. It was compiled from the notes of his various disciples, so Rumi did not author the work directly. An English translation from the Persian was first published by A.J. Arberry as Discourses of Rumi(New York: Samuel Weiser, 1972), and a translation of the second book by Wheeler Thackston, Sign of the Unseen(Putney, VT: Threshold Books, 1994).
- Majāles-e Sab’a (Seven Sessions, Persian: مجالس سبعه) contains seven Persian sermons (as the name implies) or lectures given in seven different assemblies. The sermons themselves give a commentary on the deeper meaning of Qur’an and Hadeeth. The sermons also include quotations from poems of Sana’i, ‘Attar, and other poets, including Rumi himself. As Aflakī relates, after Shams-e Tabrīzī, Rumi gave sermons at the request of notables, especially Salāh al-Dīn Zarkūb.
- Makatib (The Letters, Persian: مکاتیب) is the book containing Rumi’s letters in Persian to his disciples, family members, and men of state and of influence. The letters testify that Rumi kept very busy helping family members and administering a community of disciples that had grown up around them.
See also: Spiritual evolutionRumi was an evolutionary thinker in the sense that he believed that the spirit after devolution from the divine Ego undergoes an evolutionary process by which it comes nearer and nearer to the same divine Ego. All matter in the universe obeys this law and this movement is due to an inbuilt urge (which Rumi calls “love”) to evolve and seek enjoinment with the divinity from which it has emerged. Evolution into a human being from an animal is only one stage in this process. The doctrine of the Fall of Adam is reinterpreted as the devolution of the Ego from the universal ground of divinity and is a universal, cosmic phenomenon. The French philosopher Henri Bergson‘s idea of life being creative and evolutionary is similar, though unlike Bergson, Rumi believes that there is a specific goal to the process: the attainment of God. For Rumi, God is the ground as well as the goal of all existence.
However Rumi need not be considered a biological evolutionary creationist. In view of the fact that Rumi lived hundreds of years before Darwin, and was least interested in scientific theories, it is probable to conclude that he does not deal with biological evolution at all. Rather he is concerned with the spiritual evolution of a human being: Man not conscious of God is akin to an animal and true consciousness makes him divine. Nicholson has seen this as a Neo-Platonic doctrine: the universal soul working through the various spheres of being, a doctrine introduced into Islam by Muslim philosophers like Al Farabi and being related at the same time to Ibn Sina’s idea of love as the magnetically working power by which life is driven into an upward trend.
|“||I died as a mineral and became a plant,|
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels bless’d; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones,
To Him we shall return.
UniversalityIt is often said that the teachings of Rumi are ecumenical in nature. For Rumi, religion was mostly a personal experience and not limited to logical arguments or perceptions of the senses. Creative love, or the urge to rejoin the spirit to divinity, was the goal towards which every thing moves. The dignity of life, in particular human life (which is conscious of its divine origin and goal), was important.
IslamHowever, despite the aforementioned ecumenical attitude, and contrary to his contemporary portrayal in the West as a proponent of non-denominational spirituality, a number of Rumi poems suggest the importance of outward religious observance, the primacy of the Qur’an.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr states:Flee to God’s Qur’an, take refuge in it
there with the spirits of the prophets merge.
The Book conveys the prophets’ circumstances
those fish of the pure sea of Majesty.
One of the greatest living authorities on Rûmî in Persia today, Hâdî Hâ’irî, has shown in an unpublished work that some 6,000 verses of the Dîwân and the Mathnawî are practically direct translations of Qur’ânic verses into Persian poetry.Rumi states in his Dīwān:
The Sufi is hanging on to Muhammad, like Abu Bakr.His Masnavi contains anecdotes and stories derived largely from the Quran and the hadith, as well as everyday tales.
On the first page of the Masnavi, Rumi states:
“Hadha kitâbu ‘l- mathnawîy wa huwa uSûlu uSûli uSûli ‘d-dîn wa kashshâfu ‘l-qur’ân.”The famous (15th century) Sufi poet Jâmî, said of the Masnavi,
This is the book of the Masnavi, and it is the roots of the roots of the roots of the (Islamic) Religion and it is the Explainer of the Qur’ân.
“Hast qur’ân dar zabân-é pahlawî”
It is the Qur’ân in Persian.
LegacyRumi’s poetry forms the basis of much classical Iranian and Afghan music (Eastern-Persian, Tajik-Hazara music). Contemporary classical interpretations of his poetry are made by Muhammad Reza Shajarian, Shahram Nazeri, Davood Azad (the three from Iran) and Ustad Mohammad Hashem Cheshti (Afghanistan). To many modern Westerners, his teachings are one of the best introductions to the philosophy and practice of Sufism. Pakistan’s National Poet, Muhammad Iqbal, was also inspired by Rumi’s works and considered him to be his spiritual leader, addressing him as “Pir Rumi” in his poems (the honorific Pir literally means “old man”, but in the sufi/mystic context it means founder, master, or guide).
Shahram Shiva asserts that “Rumi is able to verbalize the highly personal and often confusing world of personal growth and development in a very clear and direct fashion. He does not offend anyone, and he includes everyone…. Today Rumi’s poems can be heard in churches, synagogues, Zen monasteries, as well as in the downtown New York art/performance/music scene.”
According to Professor Majid M. Naini, “Rumi’s life and transformation provide true testimony and proof that people of all religions and backgrounds can live together in peace and harmony. Rumi’s visions, words, and life teach us how to reach inner peace and happiness so we can finally stop the continual stream of hostility and hatred and achieve true global peace and harmony.”
Rumi’s work has been translated into many of the world’s languages, including Russian, German, Urdu, Turkish, Arabic, Bengali, French, Italian, and Spanish, and is being presented in a growing number of formats, including concerts, workshops, readings, dance performances, and other artistic creations. The English interpretations of Rumi’s poetry by Coleman Barks have sold more than half a million copies worldwide, and Rumi is one of the most widely read poets in the United States.
Recordings of Rumi poems have made it to the USA’s Billboard’s Top 20 list. A selection of American author Deepak Chopra‘s editing of the translations by Fereydoun Kia of Rumi’s love poems has been performed by Hollywood personalities such as Madonna, Goldie Hawn, Philip Glass and Demi Moore. Shahram Shiva‘s CD, Rumi: Lovedrunk, has been very popular amongst users of internet websites like MySpace and Facebook.
There is a famous landmark in Northern India, known as Rumi Gate, situated in Lucknow (the capital of Uttar Pradesh) named after Rumi.
Rumi and his mausoleum were depicted on the reverse of the 5000 Turkish lira banknotes of 1981-1994.
Say all in Persian even if Arabic is better – Love will find its way through all languages on its own.These cultural, historical and linguistic ties between Rumi and Iran have made Rumi an iconic Iranian poet, and some of the most important Rumi scholars including Foruzanfar, Naini, Sabzewari, etc., have come from modern Iran. Rumi’s poetry is displayed on the walls of many cities across Iran, sung in Persian music, and read in school books.
Mawlawī Sufi Order
Main articles: Mawlawi Order and SemaThe Mawlawī Sufi order (Mawlawīyah or Mevlevi, as it is known in Turkey) was founded in 1273 by Rumi’s followers after his death. His first successor in the rectorship of the order was Husam Chalabi himself , after whose death in 1284 Rumi’s younger and only surviving son, Sultan Walad (died 1312), favorably known as author of the mystical Maṭnawī Rabābnāma, or the Book of the Rabab, was installed as grand master of the order. The leadership of the order has been kept within Rumi’s family in Konya uninterruptedly since then. The Mawlawī Sufis, also known as Whirling Dervishes, believe in performing their dhikr in the form of samāʿ. During the time of Rumi (as attested in the Manāqib ul-Ārefīn of Aflākī), his followers gathered for musical and “turning” practices.
According to tradition, Rumi was himself a notable musician who played the robāb, although his favorite instrument was the ney or reed flute. The music accompanying the samāʿ consists of settings of poems from the Maṭnawī and Dīwān-e Kabīr, or of Sultan Walad’s poems. The Mawlawīyah was a well-established Sufi order in the Ottoman Empire, and many of the members of the order served in various official positions of the Caliphate. The center for the Mawlawiyyah was in Konya. There is also a Mawlawī monastery (درگاه, dargāh) in Istanbul near the Galata Tower in which the samāʿ is performed and accessible to the public. The Mawlawī order issues an invitation to people of all backgrounds:
|“||Come, come, whoever you are,|
Wanderer, idolater, worshiper of fire,
Come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times,
Come, and come yet again.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
During Ottoman times, the Mawlawīyah produced a number of notable poets and musicians, including Sheikh Ghalib, Ismail Rusuhi Dede of Ankara, Esrar Dede, Halet Efendi, and Gavsi Dede, who are all buried at the Galata Mawlawī Khāna (Turkish: Mevlevi-Hane) in Istanbul. Music, especially that of the ney, plays an important part in the Mawlawiyyah.Rumi’s tomb in Konya, Turkey.
With the foundation of the modern, secular Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk removed religion from the sphere of public policy and restricted it exclusively to that of personal morals, behavior and faith. On 13 December 1925, a law was passed closing all the tekkes (or tekeyh) (dervish lodges) and zāwiyas (chief dervish lodges), and the centers of veneration to which pilgrimages (ziyārat) were made. Istanbul alone had more than 250 tekkes as well as small centers for gatherings of various fraternities; this law dissolved the Sufi Orders, prohibited the use of mystical names, titles and costumes pertaining to their titles, impounded the Orders’ assets, and banned their ceremonies and meetings. The law also provided penalties for those who tried to re-establish the Orders. Two years later, in 1927, the Mausoleum of Mevlana in Konya was allowed to reopen as a Museum.
In the 1950s, the Turkish government began allowing the Whirling Dervishes to perform once a year in Konya. The Mawlānā festival is held over two weeks in December; its culmination is on 17 December, the Urs of Mawlānā (anniversary of Rumi’s death), called Šabe Arūs (شب عروس) (Persian meaning “nuptial night”), the night of Rumi’s union with God. In 1974, the Whirling Dervishes were permitted to travel to the West for the first time.
Religious denominationAccording to Edward G. Browne, the three most prominent mystical Persian poets Rumi, Sana’i and Attar were all Sunni Muslims and their poetry abounds with praise for the first two caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattāb. According to Annemarie Schimmel, the tendency among Shia authors to include leading mystical poets such as Rumi and Attar among their own ranks, became stronger after the introduction of Twelver Shia as the state religion in the Safavid Empire in 1501.
Eight hundredth anniversary celebrationsIn Afghanistan, Rumi is known as “Mawlana” and in Iran as “Mowlavi”.
At the proposal of the Permanent Delegations of Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, and as approved by its Executive Board and General Conference in conformity with its mission of “constructing in the minds of men the defences of peace”, UNESCO was associated with the celebration, in 2007, of the eight hundredth anniversary of Rumi’s birth. The commemoration at UNESCO itself took place on 6 September 2007; UNESCO issued a medal in Rumi’s name in the hope that it would prove an encouragement to those who are engaged in research on and dissemination of Rumi’s ideas and ideals, which would, in turn, enhance the diffusion of the ideals of UNESCO.
The Afghan Ministry of Culture and Youth established a national committee which organized an international seminar to celebrate the birth and life of the great ethical philosopher and world-renowned poet. This grand gathering of the intellectuals, diplomats, and followers of Maulana was held in Kabul and in Balkh, the Maulana’s place of birth.
On 30 September 2007, Iranian school bells were rung throughout the country in honor of Mowlana. Also in that year, Iran held a Rumi Week from 26 October to 2 November. An international ceremony and conference were held in Tehran; the event was opened by the Iranian president and the chairman of the Iranian parliament. Scholars from twenty-nine countries attended the events, and 450 articles were presented at the conference. Iranian musician Shahram Nazeri was awarded the Légion d’honneur and Iran’s House of Music Award in 2007 for his renowned works on Rumi masterpieces. 2007 was declared as the “International Rumi Year” by UNESCO.
Also on 30 September 2007, Turkey celebrated Rumi’s eight-hundredth birthday with a giant Whirling Dervish ritual performance of the samāʿ, which was televised using forty-eight cameras and broadcast live in eight countries. Ertugrul Gunay, of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, stated, “Three hundred dervishes are scheduled to take part in this ritual, making it the largest performance of sama in history.”