What is Sufism?

When we talk about sufism, this is the mystical branch of Islam, which professes an initiatory access to divine reality.

The Sufis seek union with God, seeking the hidden reality of the Koran through the abandonment of a material life. They are called dervishes or wandering dervishes.

Sufis lead an ascetic life. They are also believed to have different powers, such as reading the future or curing certain illnesses.

This is one of the many currents of a religious order that were created after the succession of the Prophet Muhammad. History finds traces of the first groups of Sufis only in Koufa and Basra, from the XNUMXth century CE, then in Baghdad in the XNUMXth century. From the XNUMXth century, Sufi groups organized and structured themselves into different brotherhoods.

The Sufi brotherhoods have often appeared blasphemous in the eyes of other currents (often Sunnis or Wahhabis), and even today, Iranian Sufis are frowned upon by the government.

They think that each man is veiled to himself: the passionate, restless soul is somehow caught behind a curtain that filters the spiritual light of the heart. When the soul is spiritualized by prayer and inner sincerity, it gradually becomes transparent: and the previously opaque soul becomes a stained glass window of spiritual light.

For the Sufis, the spiritual process is comparable to the crossing of a succession of veils, allowing to reach the Divinity hidden behind the veils of the worlds and the multiple states of the soul.

Each stage of the ascent to God is a veil that must be crossed in order to access a higher state, which will in turn be the veil of a higher state, and this until the supreme spiritual union, which abolishes all veils and all dualities between Man and God.

The Samâ ceremony reflects all these stages of the quest for God.

The whirling dervish ceremony

The dervishes move slowly at first and circle the track three times. This movement is the symbol of wandering souls, after the third turn, the master takes his place on his mat and the dancers wait.

While the singers sing and stop, the dervishes for their part, go with a triumphant gesture, drop their black coats, in order to reveal their white clothing.

The fall of the mantle gives way to an illusion. While the black mantle representing the carnal envelope is abandoned, it is the resurrection.

It is necessary to have the arms crossed on the chest, hands on the shoulders, start to turn slowly, on themselves then spread the arms, the right hand turned towards the sky to reap the grace of God and the left hand turned towards the sky. soil to dispense it towards men.

At the same time as they turn on themselves, they turn around the room. This double turn is reminiscent of the law of the universe: man turns around his center, his heart, and the stars revolve around the sun. This double cosmic symbolism is the true meaning of Samâ: all creation revolves around a center.

During the sessions of Samâ, the poems of Divân and those of Mathnavi were endlessly celebrated and sung. This dance which symbolizes the spinning of the atoms around their center, that is to say of the planets around the sun, does not only have a cosmic significance. Beyond the limits of time and space, it symbolizes the search by Man for his true "I", Divine Sun.

Many Sufi poets play on this theme: what we see, what we hide, what we discover, what we perceive ...

Unlike the whirling dervishesIranian Sufi music and dance live the hall without going through a ritualized and scenographic ceremony. The poet Sohravardi in the XNUMXth century said that “It is dance which is the product of the inner state of the soul; it is not the inner state which is the product of the dance. Moreover, the visible becomes invisible and vice versa.

Djalâl ad-Dîn Rûmî and Sufism

Originally from the city of Balkh, in present-day Afghanistan, Rumi is part of Sufism, he is the son of a renowned theologian and Sufi master, nicknamed “sultan of scholars” (Sultân al-'Ulama).

Before being a mystic, he is above all a theologian, a fine connoisseur of the Koran and the Sunnah that he teaches. It is his meeting with Shams de Tabriz that will make him a poet ...

Rumiin his poetry and in dance, expresses the themes dear to Sufism which are the fulfillment of being in union with God through the abandonment of the ego, the quest for truth behind appearances and mystical drunkenness.



Rûmi's 7 recommendations

  1. Be like a stream for generosity
  2. Be like the Sun for affection and mercy
  3. Be like the night to cover imperfections (in reference to the symbolism of the veil)
  4. Be like death for the anger
  5. Be like the earth for humility
  6. Be like the sea for modesty and tolerance
  7. Appear as you are or be as you appear

The 7 movements of Samâ

The 7 movements of Samâ, symbol of divine love and ecstasy:

  • 1st movement : unity, but also birth and therefore death.
  • 2nd movement : heaven and earth: I redistribute what I take: that is to say, I don't appropriate anything.
  • 3nd movement : the veil of existence, we are nothing other than a vision which apparently exists and which serves as an intermediary. And also, what I see is not necessarily what is, so I cover my eyes so as not to be influenced by a false vision of existence: what appears.
  • 4nd movement : I have the sacred book in front of me.
  • 5nd movement : I am grateful for the wisdom that fills my soul and that allows me to be one with the universe.
  • 6nd movement : I am chained, and by dancing I free my being. It also means that I surrender myself completely and I am ready to receive divine, mystical love.
  • 7nd movement : it is this face, these hands, this being turned towards the Sun, towards the whole universe.

The 7 movements, or symbols, also refer to the 7 stars "wandering" among the stars. These 7 stars are: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

We also find the 4 elements of the earth and a fifth which is the void, symbolized by the towers.


International School of Sufi Dance method Rana Gorgani

Registration deadline June 06, 2024.

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