Coptic and Islamic Studies
English edition  
160 pp.
100 b/w illus. 
29X20 cm
ISBN 9789774247958
For sale only in the Middle East


Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes

Shems Friedlander
Foreword by Annemarie Schimmel
Preface by Sayyed Hossein Nasr
Music section by Nezih Uzel

Sufi life and ritual in words and pictures

Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes is an account of the Mevlevi Sufi order and its founder, the poet and mystic Mevlana Jalalu’ddin Rumi. Rumi danced and sang his famous verses in memory of his friend and teacher Shams Tabriz, who opened to him the way to direct experience of the Divine Beloved. After Rumi’s death in 1273, the whirling dance was introduced as part of the Mevlevi ritual, a statement of a timeless and passionate yearning toward God. Author Shems Friedlander has been doing documentary photography of the whirling dervishes since his first trip to Konya in 1973, and this book features haunting, evocative pictures of the order’s dancers, clad in their traditional white skirts and tall hats that represent their tombstones. Taken within the dervish lodges, known as tekkes, these photographs provide an insider’s view of ceremonies usually closed to the public. Friedlander’s images of the dervishes in mid-whirl evoke the exaltation of union with the divine source. In addition to Rumi’s life story and the accounts of dervishes past and present, the book features excerpts from Rumi’s poetry and the teachings of other Sufi masters, descriptions of the tekke and the symbolism of the dervish ceremony, an overview of the music that accompanies the Mevlevis’ turn, and a concluding section on the universality of Rumi’s message of love. This classic account of the Whirling Dervishes is now presented in a new and revised edition containing additional text and photographs.
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Shems Friedlander is a senior lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo. He is the author of Rumi: The Hidden Treasure and When You Hear Hoofbeats Think of a Zebra, and he wrote, produced, and directed the documentary film Rumi: The Wings of Love.

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