We don’t know how familiar you are with Sufis and Rumi or sama dance. But even if you don’t know the exact meaning of these words and its origin, you must have seen the picture of Dervishes in postcards, who are ecstatic with their special clothes and hats, whirling rhythmically.
Sama means listening to a pleasant song. But for Sufis, the depth of this word is much more than this meaning. You may ask who the Sufis are. Let us explain everything to you from the beginning. Sufis are a group who renounce all worldly material things in search of asceticism and piety, All their heart’s intention and desire is to be close to the door of the Almighty.If you want to know everything about Sama dance and Sufism, follow this article of rumiacademy blog.
What is Sama dance?
Sema or Sama dance is a kind of Sufi dance, which some people call the prayer of lovers or the prayer of saints. This dance is a kind of ecstasy and passion that a person falls into a state of ecstasy. In order to transcend himself and leave carnal ties, ascension and join the essence of God Almighty.
The story of Sama dance is the story of mental and spiritual growth. A growth that brings the Sufis closer and closer to the pure love of God and the Lord of the worlds. Sufis call the mystical songs that are sung in the assembly “Zekar Jali” as Sama.
Sama dance is one of the tourist attractions of Turkey in the city of Konya. Those who perform sama are called samagar. Among the most famous samagar in history, we can mention Abu Saeed Abul Khair, Ain al-Qadat Hamdani, Attar Neishaburi, Amir Khosrow Dehlavi, Shams and Molana, Sheikh Safiuddin Ardabili, etc.
According to Rumi, circular movement is the most perfect form of movement, and according to Ptolemy, the circle is the most perfect geometric shape in astronomy. In this dance, spinning is a metaphor for the heavens and ultimately God. Beginninglessness and endlessness are the main characteristics of the circle, so that the first and the last of the dancer in this dance are not known.
Features of Sama dance
In this ceremony, the dervishes go into raptures when they hear the Sama. They engage in movements that bring them closer to the divine essence. Sufis gather together in a gathering and by singing spiritual poems and songs, they are influenced and get into dancing and foot stomping mode.
Sufis gather together in a gathering and by singing spiritual poems and songs, they are influenced and get into a state of dancing and tapping their feet. Musical instruments are also used in this ceremony. Tambourine and reeds are one of the most important instruments that are used in Sama dance ceremonies. but why?
Tambourine is one of the most important mystical instruments from the perspective of Dervish. Because it was the first musical instrument that was played when the Holy Prophet entered Medina. Reed, which has many mystical and Sufi interpretations, is referred to as a symbol of human nature and a symbol of the underworld.
What exactly do Deravish do in the Sama ceremony?
The ceremony begins with the sad sound of reeds. Blowing a reed is a reminder of the first breath of God’s spirit into the human body. Then the dervishes greet each other, which is a sign of sending greetings to each other’s souls. At the end, they all testify to the oneness of God, which is also called Salam Fana Fi Allah, and they only circle around the sheikh.
Sama dance is usually held in a circle-shaped space. Some believe that choosing the shape of a circle to hold the Sama dance is a symbol of timelessness and eternity. Some consider the reason for choosing the circle as a symbol of the rotation of the planets around the sun in a circular path.
In general, the circle is interpreted as eternity in Sufi culture. The body movements of the dervishes in Sama dance also have their own philosophies. For example, one of the dervish’s hands is pointing to the sky while the other is pointing down to the ground. This movement means creating a bridge between the sky and the earth, or establishing a mystical relationship with the Almighty in the heavens.
Rumi was also a fan of Sama dance and played a role in the development of this ritual. He considered Sama dance as a tool to achieve human perfection. The cryptography of Sama gestures is very complex and requires mystical knowledge. For example, movements, chants, different stages of dance, etc., each has its own philosophies.
Where is the Sama dance held?
Every year in Konya, which is a Sufi shrine located in Central Anatolia and the birthplace and tomb of Rumi, a great ceremony is held in which the Sama dance is performed with special splendor and beauty.
In addition to Konya and Rumi’s birthday, Sama dances are held in different parts of Istanbul in Galata Molvi House, which is the first center of Sufis in Istanbul. It is possible for the public to visit the Sama ceremony and everyone can witness this passionate and mystical dance.
The interesting thing is that even if you are not familiar with Rumi or know anything about Sufism, you will still be impressed by watching the Sama dance. This ceremony begins with praying, and with the sound of the flute, the dervishes begin to perform rhythmic movements.
For this dance, dervishes wear special clothes. The large conical hats are a symbol of the tombstone and the black robes of the dervishes are a symbol of the grave. The white robe they are wearing is also a reference to the shroud.
Participating in the Sama dance ceremony in Konya
Address: Sports stadium, Konya, Turkey
Performing the ceremony which is currently suspended due to the corona virus. But it was held every year at the Konya Sports Stadium. However, if you want to participate in this ceremony, make sure to follow up before your trip to make sure that the ceremony is held. Generally, the Sama dance ceremony was held on December 1 to 17 in Konya Stadium.
History of Sama Dance
In the distant years, Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, had banned the Sama dance ceremony. His fear was that in such a ceremony, rituals would be used for political purposes and riots would result.
The pressures and restrictions of Atatürk at that time caused the dervishes to move to the basements and hold their ceremonies secretly and underground. Gradually, with the stabilization of the political situation and in the 1950s, Sama dance was also allowed. After than, this ceremony was held in different parts of Turkey.
Sama dance is held in different places including the market and private homes. But its implementation is more popular in special centers such as Khanqah, Zawiya, Monastery, etc. This spectacular and meaningful dance has mythological roots. It is also mentioned in the holy books such as the Torah and the Bible.
Sufis consider the Sama dance as a tool for their spiritual growth, They look at it as an exercise to strengthen the connection with God. Create vitality to get rid of depression and stimulate deep spiritual emotions.
Even the listeners and viewers of this dance are not unaffected by its deep meanings. Sufis and dervishes believe that the person who watches this dance will benefit from it to the extent of his capacity. If he or she does not properly benefit from the achievements of what has come to his/her life, it is possible that negative effects will occur in his/her soul and soul.
Important points that you should know while watching Sama dance
Viewing Sama dance is free for the public. It is better to know that watching this dance has become one of the tourist attractions in Turkey. But attending the ceremony requires knowledge of the principles that you should know in advance. For example, when you go to the hall and the place where the Sama dance is performed, you do not have the right to leave the ceremony in the middle of the performance.
This movement will be considered as disrespectful. In addition, filming the dance is also prohibited. Viewers must watch the dance and ceremony in complete silence and carefully. Dervishes go into raptures in this dance and establish a special connection with Dargah Haq (God). So talking, ignoring or taking photos during such a ceremony is not desirable at all.
Have you had the experience of the Sama dance? Did you visit Sama dance in Konya? We look forward to hearing your comments and experiences.