Tuesday, October 09, 2007

He Found Shams in Himself, Radiant Like the Moon

By Waliya Inayat Perkins - TAM The American Muslim - Bridgeton, MO, U.S.A.
Monday, October 8, 2007

Annually on December 17th the Whirling Dervishes celebrate the “Wedding Night” of the great mystic poet Mevlana Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi’s passing from the circle of time—through their legendary whirling prayer-dance, one of the world’s most beautiful and stirring sacred rituals.

This year Southern Californians have a rare opportunity to enter this circle of love as the Mevlevi Order of America presents the prayer-dance (sema) of Rumi at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

To the accompaniment of stately yet impassioned Turkish classical music (with verses sung in Farsi, Arabic, and Turkish), the dervish dancers turn in prayerful surrender, to become vessels for bringing divine blessings to earth.

There is truly no way to convey in words the moving and spiritually potent ceremony.

The whirling prayer-dance will be led by Postneshin Jelaleddin Loras, who comes from Konya where Rumi lived, and who has followed in the footsteps of his visionary father, Hz. Haji Suleyman Hayati Dede, by teaching both men and women the traditional practices of the Mevlevi Sufis.

Joining MOA musicians are master Turkish musicians Necati Celik (oud and middle eastern lute), Timucin Cevikoglu (vocalist), and Celaleddin Biçer (ney). Celaleddin tours internationally as a Turkish musician, performing in the United States, Bulgaria, Malta, Italy, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

He was educated at the University of Ankara in Sinology, and speaks English, Flemish, French, and Chinese, in addition to his native Turkish. Since 1990 he has performed with the Hacettepe University Chorus as a Saz artisan, and in 1991 he joined Ankara Radio as a Saz & Ney musician.

In addition to his work at Ankara Radio, he teaches nazariiyat, solfeggio, and Ney at Middle East Technical School. His previous international tours have been with the Mavera Turkish Young Musicians Group and the Turkish government’s Promotions Department.

(...)

This relationship between Shams and Rumi was to serve as a mirror for the two mystics; they found in experiencing the other, they found themselves.

Sura al-Hashr (59:19) reveals the power of remembering Allah Tallah “And be ye not like those who forgot Allah; and He made them forget their own souls! Such are the rebellious transgressors!”

In Me and Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-I Tabrizi by Annemarie Schimmel, Shams speaks of his relationship with Rumi like this, “From the day I saw your beauty, inclination and love for you sat in my heart.”

Shams continued, “There are many great ones whom I love inwardly. There’s affection, but I don’t make it manifest. Once or twice when I made it manifest, I did something while keeping company with them, and they didn’t know and recognize their duty in companionship. I took it upon myself not to let the affection become cold. When I made it manifest with Mevlana, it increased and did not lessen.”

Rumi emerged from this sohbet [spiritual conversation] with Shams transformed in a state of fana, or, of annihilation of the nafs [Nafs-i-ammara, ego-centered identity] in the One.

Rumi’s son, Muhammad Baha’u-’d-Din Sultan Veled, wrote about his father after he had stopped searching for Shams in Syria, “he found Shams in himself, radiant like the moon.”

Jealousy over this mystical friendship rose up with Rumi’s students and some of his family members and they drove Shams away. Rumi sent Sultan Veled to Damascus to find Shams and bring him back to Konya but the situation escalated once more.

The final chapter of Shams’ life is unwritten as no one is certain of the story. One legend explains how at the same exact time on the day of his disappearance witnesses spotted Shams leaving the city at each of its four gates.

An outpouring of verse commenced and in the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi Rumi expresses deep mystical states of realization in the voice of his teacher. These lyric poems and quatrains speak to the relationship between Sun and Moon, Lover and Beloved, between servant and the One.

(...)

Rumi described the Mathnawi as beyond form and, “the root of the root of the Root of all religion.”

However, that does not discount the fact, as the following lines clearly show, that Rumi was an observant Muslim:

I am the servant of the Qur’an as long as I have life.
I am the dust on the path of Muhammad, the Chosen one.
If anyone quotes anything except this from my sayings,
I am quit of him and outraged by these words.

[man banda-yé qur’an-am, agar jan dar-am man khak-é rah-é muHammad-e mukhtar-am gar naql kon-ad joz in, kas az goftar-am bezar-am az-o, w-az-in sokhan bezar-am] (Rumi’s Quatrain no. 1173, translated by Ibrahim Gamard and Ravan Farhadi (in “The Quatrains of Rumi,” an unpublished manuscript).

This quatrain may cause some modern day enthusiasts to scratch their heads since many who offer renditions of Rumi’s poetry streamline them until Islamic references seem to disappear.

Per Rumi scholar Dr. Ibrahim Gamard [http://www.dar-al-masnavi.org/], these oft-quoted lines are not to be found anywhere in Rumi’s original manuscripts: “Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion or cultural system.”

The good news is that Rumi is universal in his approach and this is founded in Qur’an and hadith where humanity is informed of the Divine intention for different authentic paths and that we should not hold one prophet above another.

Reading in Sura al-Baqara Ayat 62 and then from Ayat 285 [translations by Laleh Bakhtiar]: “ Truly those who have believed, and those who have become Jews, and the Christians and the Sabaeans, whoever has believed in God and the Last Day, and is one who has acted in accord with morality, then for them, their compensation is with their Lord; there is neither fear in them nor shall they feel remorse.”

“The Messenger has believed in what has been sent forth to him from his Lord as do the ones who believe; all have believed in God, His angels, His Books and His Messengers: We separate and divide not among anyone of His Messengers; and they said: We heard and we obeyed; so grant Your forgiveness, Our Lord! To You is the Homecoming.”

The injunction Sura al-Baqara 256 [translation by Yusuf Ali]: offers is clear, “Let there be no compulsion in religion.”


Encouragement to respect others and to engage in dialogue to overcome differences is clear. Hadith points the way: “Whoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hands; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart- and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim quoted in An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, tr. Ezzedin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson-Davies, Holy Quran Publishing House, Damascus, 1977, p110].

On December 17, 1273, Rumi was called home by his Beloved Allah and laid to rest beside his father in Yesil Turbe or, “the green Tomb.” A calligraphy near his tomb reads: “after my death, don’t seek my tomb in the earth, for my grave is in the hearts of the men of mystical knowledge.” [Ibrahim Gamard translation].

The sema or, whirling ceremony, of the Mevlevi Sufis is held each year in honor of Shebi Arus, or, Rumi’s great return.

The ceremony portrays humankind’s spiritual unfoldment towards a state of perfection, or kemal. The lessons in taming the nafs [the greater jihad or struggle] bring one to the love and service of all creation for, as the Whirling Dervish knows, “wherever you turn is the face of God.”
December 17, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.
UCLA’s Royce Hall 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095

For more information, you may contact Waliya Perkins at 310-575-1972 or or go to the Mevlevi Order of America website at:
www.hayatidede.org
Tickets go on sale October 1, 2007

1 comment:

irving said...

What a lovely post on the dear Rumi and his sublime words :) Alhamdulillah! May Allah grant that we all find our Shams within ourselves.

Eid Mubarak!

Ya Haqq!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

He Found Shams in Himself, Radiant Like the Moon
By Waliya Inayat Perkins - TAM The American Muslim - Bridgeton, MO, U.S.A.
Monday, October 8, 2007

Annually on December 17th the Whirling Dervishes celebrate the “Wedding Night” of the great mystic poet Mevlana Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi’s passing from the circle of time—through their legendary whirling prayer-dance, one of the world’s most beautiful and stirring sacred rituals.

This year Southern Californians have a rare opportunity to enter this circle of love as the Mevlevi Order of America presents the prayer-dance (sema) of Rumi at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

To the accompaniment of stately yet impassioned Turkish classical music (with verses sung in Farsi, Arabic, and Turkish), the dervish dancers turn in prayerful surrender, to become vessels for bringing divine blessings to earth.

There is truly no way to convey in words the moving and spiritually potent ceremony.

The whirling prayer-dance will be led by Postneshin Jelaleddin Loras, who comes from Konya where Rumi lived, and who has followed in the footsteps of his visionary father, Hz. Haji Suleyman Hayati Dede, by teaching both men and women the traditional practices of the Mevlevi Sufis.

Joining MOA musicians are master Turkish musicians Necati Celik (oud and middle eastern lute), Timucin Cevikoglu (vocalist), and Celaleddin Biçer (ney). Celaleddin tours internationally as a Turkish musician, performing in the United States, Bulgaria, Malta, Italy, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

He was educated at the University of Ankara in Sinology, and speaks English, Flemish, French, and Chinese, in addition to his native Turkish. Since 1990 he has performed with the Hacettepe University Chorus as a Saz artisan, and in 1991 he joined Ankara Radio as a Saz & Ney musician.

In addition to his work at Ankara Radio, he teaches nazariiyat, solfeggio, and Ney at Middle East Technical School. His previous international tours have been with the Mavera Turkish Young Musicians Group and the Turkish government’s Promotions Department.

(...)

This relationship between Shams and Rumi was to serve as a mirror for the two mystics; they found in experiencing the other, they found themselves.

Sura al-Hashr (59:19) reveals the power of remembering Allah Tallah “And be ye not like those who forgot Allah; and He made them forget their own souls! Such are the rebellious transgressors!”

In Me and Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-I Tabrizi by Annemarie Schimmel, Shams speaks of his relationship with Rumi like this, “From the day I saw your beauty, inclination and love for you sat in my heart.”

Shams continued, “There are many great ones whom I love inwardly. There’s affection, but I don’t make it manifest. Once or twice when I made it manifest, I did something while keeping company with them, and they didn’t know and recognize their duty in companionship. I took it upon myself not to let the affection become cold. When I made it manifest with Mevlana, it increased and did not lessen.”

Rumi emerged from this sohbet [spiritual conversation] with Shams transformed in a state of fana, or, of annihilation of the nafs [Nafs-i-ammara, ego-centered identity] in the One.

Rumi’s son, Muhammad Baha’u-’d-Din Sultan Veled, wrote about his father after he had stopped searching for Shams in Syria, “he found Shams in himself, radiant like the moon.”

Jealousy over this mystical friendship rose up with Rumi’s students and some of his family members and they drove Shams away. Rumi sent Sultan Veled to Damascus to find Shams and bring him back to Konya but the situation escalated once more.

The final chapter of Shams’ life is unwritten as no one is certain of the story. One legend explains how at the same exact time on the day of his disappearance witnesses spotted Shams leaving the city at each of its four gates.

An outpouring of verse commenced and in the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi Rumi expresses deep mystical states of realization in the voice of his teacher. These lyric poems and quatrains speak to the relationship between Sun and Moon, Lover and Beloved, between servant and the One.

(...)

Rumi described the Mathnawi as beyond form and, “the root of the root of the Root of all religion.”

However, that does not discount the fact, as the following lines clearly show, that Rumi was an observant Muslim:

I am the servant of the Qur’an as long as I have life.
I am the dust on the path of Muhammad, the Chosen one.
If anyone quotes anything except this from my sayings,
I am quit of him and outraged by these words.

[man banda-yé qur’an-am, agar jan dar-am man khak-é rah-é muHammad-e mukhtar-am gar naql kon-ad joz in, kas az goftar-am bezar-am az-o, w-az-in sokhan bezar-am] (Rumi’s Quatrain no. 1173, translated by Ibrahim Gamard and Ravan Farhadi (in “The Quatrains of Rumi,” an unpublished manuscript).

This quatrain may cause some modern day enthusiasts to scratch their heads since many who offer renditions of Rumi’s poetry streamline them until Islamic references seem to disappear.

Per Rumi scholar Dr. Ibrahim Gamard [http://www.dar-al-masnavi.org/], these oft-quoted lines are not to be found anywhere in Rumi’s original manuscripts: “Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion or cultural system.”

The good news is that Rumi is universal in his approach and this is founded in Qur’an and hadith where humanity is informed of the Divine intention for different authentic paths and that we should not hold one prophet above another.

Reading in Sura al-Baqara Ayat 62 and then from Ayat 285 [translations by Laleh Bakhtiar]: “ Truly those who have believed, and those who have become Jews, and the Christians and the Sabaeans, whoever has believed in God and the Last Day, and is one who has acted in accord with morality, then for them, their compensation is with their Lord; there is neither fear in them nor shall they feel remorse.”

“The Messenger has believed in what has been sent forth to him from his Lord as do the ones who believe; all have believed in God, His angels, His Books and His Messengers: We separate and divide not among anyone of His Messengers; and they said: We heard and we obeyed; so grant Your forgiveness, Our Lord! To You is the Homecoming.”

The injunction Sura al-Baqara 256 [translation by Yusuf Ali]: offers is clear, “Let there be no compulsion in religion.”


Encouragement to respect others and to engage in dialogue to overcome differences is clear. Hadith points the way: “Whoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hands; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart- and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim quoted in An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, tr. Ezzedin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson-Davies, Holy Quran Publishing House, Damascus, 1977, p110].

On December 17, 1273, Rumi was called home by his Beloved Allah and laid to rest beside his father in Yesil Turbe or, “the green Tomb.” A calligraphy near his tomb reads: “after my death, don’t seek my tomb in the earth, for my grave is in the hearts of the men of mystical knowledge.” [Ibrahim Gamard translation].

The sema or, whirling ceremony, of the Mevlevi Sufis is held each year in honor of Shebi Arus, or, Rumi’s great return.

The ceremony portrays humankind’s spiritual unfoldment towards a state of perfection, or kemal. The lessons in taming the nafs [the greater jihad or struggle] bring one to the love and service of all creation for, as the Whirling Dervish knows, “wherever you turn is the face of God.”
December 17, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.
UCLA’s Royce Hall 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095

For more information, you may contact Waliya Perkins at 310-575-1972 or or go to the Mevlevi Order of America website at:
www.hayatidede.org
Tickets go on sale October 1, 2007

1 comment:

irving said...

What a lovely post on the dear Rumi and his sublime words :) Alhamdulillah! May Allah grant that we all find our Shams within ourselves.

Eid Mubarak!

Ya Haqq!