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Mevlana Education and Culture Society takes this words of Mevlana: “Seem as you are or be as you seem.” As the principle.
When we said “Mevlana” at first we remember “humanbeing”. In the beauty of poetry, literature and music, people is taken and trained without discriminating his race. Colour, he feels happy in this vivid spirit and reflected his happiness to humanity...
Mevlana Education and Culture Society Mevlana Education and Culture Society - SYMBOLS OF SEMA R0TUAL
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Thanks to God who created with love; God is merciful, compassionate and God Almighty. Pray and salutation to his great prophet Mohamed who is the pride of whole universe. God bless Mevlana’s secret, he was  proud of being the slave  of
Kor and being on Prophet Mohamed’s way, he is the master of lovers of God.

 Mevlana teaches us that absolute beauty is  unique and there is nu ugly thing.In Islam, in sufizm, some saint persons are advanced in some components; for example in holy-knowledge Beyazid-I Bistami, in abandonment Ibrahim Edhem, in holy-help Abdulkadir Geylani, in pious asceticism Cüneyd-I Baghdadi and in divine love Mevlana Djelal-ad-din Rumi.

 Sufizm is the way that finding the truth by love, the other components are in this love anyway. For each sufi, Mevlana is the greatest symbol of lover God.

 In this writing we want to give some information about the symbols of sema ritual. But first , we will dwell upon the costumes that Mevlevi dervishes waer on during the sema ritual.

 Mevlevi dervishes wear “sikke” on their head. In the past, When mevlana was living, there was not “sikke”, he was waering daily clothes which had been used in Konya. After Shems lost, as a symbol of his love for Shems, he head worn a hat which had been used in Tebriz(in south Azerbaijan). Sometimes he used “destar” of Buhara on his hat.

 After that, in times of Sultan Veled, Pir Adil Celebi and Pir Hüseyşn Celebi, costumes had been become thiner.  Mevlevi dervishes  wear on “dal sikke” , there is no “destar” on it. On a kind of “sikke” there is a line, it named “istivalı sikke” …

 Sheikh, Mesnevi teachers and Celebi people(fom Mevlana’s generation) use “destar” on their sikke”.The extremity of destar is called “taylasan” and it let hang down on the left side, it provides the connection between heart and brain; it means, in sufizm brain and heart works together, it needed knowing and feeling together. Only our prophet had hung down his “taylasan” on the right side because of a special secret. while a person  enters in mevlevi way, he takes “sikke” with a holy cerek-mony , women wear “arakiyye” , not like sikke.

 “Sikke” symbolizes the grave stone of dervish,putting the ears within in the sikke means dying before die.

 “Tennure” means the dress which is worn at stave-work.there are two kinds of “tenure” fır service and for ceremony.It symbolizes the shroud of dervish. In “tenure” dervish symbolizes the saying : “There is no God but Allah!!!”

 “Elifinemed” is a belt which is made from dark coloured-today black- cloth, long, 5 cm width, it is rolled up on tennure towards the left side, it hold on with a long ribbon.

  “Destegül” is a waistcoat which is tight, long sleeved, it hold in elifinemed with ribbon.

 “Hırka” (cardigan) symbolizes the world. There are two kinds of hırka for servise and for ceremony.

 Sema is a ritual exists since the first humanbeing and also the first prophet Adam. In Islamic culture, the first calinh Ebu Bekir had made that ritual.

 Ebu Bekir had donated the half of his possesses openly and the other half part secretly, even he had had no dress to wear completely, so he ha closed hs body with branchies of date-palm partly.  That day Archangel Gabriel had visited our Prophet Mohamed in that costume of ebu Bekir (with branchies of date-palm). Our grest Prophet Mohamed had asked the great cause of that costume, and Archangel  Gabriel had told what Ebu Bekir had done and had said that God had ordered to all angels to wear like Ebu Bekir and God had asked to ebu Bekir that: “I am pleased with Ebu Bekir, is he pleased with me too?”
Whem our prophet had told this to him, Ebu Bekir had got excited and risen on his feet, he had made sema by saying “Ene razi, ene razi….” ( I am pleased ,I am pleased…)

 Our hearts can be satisfied only by mentioning God. Sema is mentioning God in a special way. “Semazen” (whirling dervish) mentions God’s name “Allah” at the each whirling around himself.

 Mohamed had said that : “I have a time with God that even any great angel can be with us then , only me and God. “for lovers of Allah who were on Mohamed’s way, it is samewhile they were in sema ritual,dervishes live excitement, they so pass away from their egoism that they do not feel if they were hit on their face with a sword.

  Mevlana had made sema at converesation meetings,while he was reading or writing, on the streets , at bazaars , at anywhere with the exhuberant love and divine-joy he lived, he had showed his love in this way.After he had died and reached to God, some unplanned sema rituals had been made, they were based on ecstasy. And then Sultan Veled(Mevlana’s son) had added “Devr-i Veledi” to sema ritual. In time, sema had become a sort ofmentioning  “Allah” (zikir), as a ritual that planned very special music-works.

 In the üniverse, everything from atoms to galaxies are whirling (making sema) naturaly. But whirling in sema is diferent , special and precious because people maket his ritual with sense and will-power ; in sema, sense ,mind and soul be together with love , so
We can reach a perfect ritual. And also sema symbolizes the rising of human-soul in his spiritual journey, it symbolizes that dervish turns towards the truth , intends the truth, rises by love, finds the eternity in God by abandoning his egoism and as a perfectman he returns  to public for giving love and care and service.

 “Semahane” means the place sema made and it symbolizes the universe ;there is an imaginary line at the center, it is called “hatt-ı istiva” and it symbolizes thet only the master (sheikh) can know the right wayv to the truth. The right side of the “semahane”(sema-area)  symbolizes the curve (bow) od descenting, the material world, descenting of souls as imprisoned in body ; the left side of the sema area symbolizes the curve of rising, the spiritual world reaching to God by abondoning the egoism.

 Sheikh’s fur-skin is red ,it is the colour of divine-appearing and sheikh symbolizes Mevlana. Whirling dervishes fur-skins are whit, the musicians and whirling dervishes come in sema area in “niyaz” posture, in this posture right hand is on left hand is on right shoulder. 


 After that, a few beat of  “kudum” (drum)symbolizes God’s order about “Be !” A short enstrumental part of Nay symbolizes blowing of Archangel-Israfil on “Sur” and also divine –blowing of God that gives life to every existance. Nay is a reed , it gives sound by the breath of nay-player, like this ,dervish has to emptying himself and be an enstrument of master who tells about truth.

 While the “peshrev” (enstrumental music part) is played , sheikh and whirling dervishes hit their hands against the ground and stand up. This act symbolizes that, every existance came into existance by the order of God about “Be!” and also it symbolizes going out of the grave on judgement day.

 And then dervishes walk around the sema area for three times, this part hadbeen added to sema ritual by Sultan Veled and is named by his name, as “Devri Veled”. It symbolizes rising to spiritual world from material world ; in this part dervishes walk by following sheikh’s foot steps , that means syfizm is a hard way , only by following a master dervish can walk on this way safely. And also these three rounds symbolize the three grades of knowledge : “ilmel yakin, aynel yakin,hakka’l yakin”.(to know,to see,to be) The first grade , “to know”means to know a truth by tradition ; the secınd grade, “To see” means to know a truth by to see it, the third grade,”to be” means to know a truth by living it will all details. In this walking sheikh and dervishes great each other at the front of the red fur-skin, thşs şs greetşng soul to soul, life to life
,while they are greeting they put their right hands on their hearts and put their right toes an left toes.And also they greet while they are passing over the “hatt-ı istiva” this is a salute while they are passing to a new world from another world.Just like salute of Mevlana toArchangel Azreal : “Wlecome my beloved who will lead met o my true beloved.” They pass through the world like this ; a person dies how he lived , he revivdes how he died.

 After “Devri Veled” comes to end, sheikh comes to his fur-skin and after a shotr enstrumental music , “ayin-i şerif”(ritual music) begins. The grades of “To know” and “to see” were passed over and sema begins at “To be” grade. Each part of sema ritual are called as “Selam”(salute)  

 The first salute is composed with a rhtym in 8 or 14 times.When the music begins, dervishes dress off their cardigans, this symbolizes to abandon the material world and to reach the truth. In his “tennure” (dress) dervish waits in “niyaz” posture and he seems like (1)  number, it symbolizes that there is only one God.

 “Semazenbaşı” (The leader of whirling dervishes) comes to front of sheikh and he request permission for sema from him, he and all dervishes greet sheikh. Ater that  permission dervishes kiss sheikh “sikke”s. Semazenbaşı shows by his foot where each dervish will make sema.

 In sema, dervish’s right palm is towards to above and  left palm is towards to down. This posture symbolizes giving everything was took from God to people. Dervish closes his eyes or he looks amorously through half closed eyes to his left thumb. Each whirling around dervishes own body is called “chark”; at each “chark” he says “Allah” dervishes whirl either around them selves or around the sema area. Semazenbaşı walks among them and he controlsthe order of the ritual.
 The first salut of sema symbolizes “Şeriat” (the grade of religious law of Islam) , meanly comprehending God and being slave of God.At the end of salutes sheikh says some special prays and permits for next salute.

 With the sudden change of rhythm , dervishes stop whirling and come to edge of sema-area in group by two, three or four persons; they lean an each  other shoulder by shoulders; that means social life is inevitably necessary for person, people can not live alone.

 Second salute is composed in a rhythm in 9 times , it is a little bit slower because of the different and special styleof the rhythm ,it urges peaople to thinkWhirling dervishes begin to sema again, in tihs salute, in this grade, after obeying Islamic rules dervishes show their love.And also this salute symbolizesthe “tarikat” (religious order) grade of sufizm, it means to admire to God by watching  the universe.

 In third salute rhythm becomes  faster.The excitement of reaching to God is expressed by music.In this salute rhythm is in 28 times (devri kebir) , in 10 times (aksak semai) and 6 times (yuruk semai). This salute symbolizes “hakikat” (divine truth) grade of sufizm. It means admiration and gratitute change to love and mind is sacrified for love. It is an absolute surrunder, an absolute reaching to God and dissolution is God (Fenafillah)

 Fourth salute is composed by rhythm in 9 times(evfer). It is performed very sloely it makes people feel like to face with the truth after the excitement.In this  that salute , whirling dervishes do not turn around the sema-area , they whirl on their own place, it symbolizes insisting upon the point of “marifet” (divine knowledge) and union.In this saluye sheikh and “semazenbaşı” make sema too. Sheikh walks by making  sema on “hatt-ı istiva” line which symbolizes the shortest way to God, he comes at the center of  the sema-area and mekes sema in his cardigan by holding his collar with his right hand. It is called “post sema”. In this last salute it is symbolized that the highest grade of İslam “marifet” (divine knowledge), in this grade ,dervish complates his spiritual journey accepts his destiny with pleasure and comes back to be a slave of God.The meaning of this : “in addtion you know  all of the divine grades , never  give up to be the slave of God, the highest grade is being slave of God. But a person who knows is not in the same  grade with a person who doesn’t know. Fourth salute is the shortest salute , it means holding a master’s (sheikh’s) hand is the shortest way reaching to God.At the end of this salute, enstruments play “peshrev” and “latest yuruk semai” and then a “taksim” (enstrumental music) is played ; by this music hearts calm down after the excitement of “being slave of God” grade.While sheikh returns to his fur-skin, music stops and Koran is read.

 While Koran is reading, dervishes sit on their fur-skins, one of them puts their cardigans on their shoulder. 115. sentence of “Bakara” chapter of Koran have to be read absolutely.Later sheikh says “Fatiha” and Fatifa chapter is read from Koran and every body standup.Sometimes semazen başı says special pray named “Mevlevi Gülbagı”, after the pray Fatiha is read again and everybody say “Hu!” Sheikh’s greeting is answered first by semazenbaşı and then by nay-player,and everybody leave sema-area in peace, in awe,in decency.

 In some special times like “Sheb-i Arus”  or “Bayram” , “niyaz ayin-i” is made and dervishes made ceremony of bayram.

 As we said at the begining, every existance is making sema anyway, so what we gain by making this sema ritual? Humanbeings maket his sema consciously and voluntarly, so “a  person who know is not at the same grade with a personwho does mot know.” Saying is comprehended. We are obliged to Mevlana who make us live all these beautiful things.

With love… 



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