History of Whirling Dervishes

The Mevlevi Sufi order was founded in the 13th century by Celaleddin Mevlana Rumi. Mevlana means guide or master and Rumi means from the Sultanate of Rum.

Rumi, the son of a famous Islamic preacher came to stay in Konya in 1240. Four years later Rumi met Mehmet Shemseddin Tebrizi, one of the disciples of his father, who had a great influence on him. Celaleddin became his follower. However, in 1247 Rumi's own disciples, fearing Tebrizi's influence on their master, killed him.

Shocked Rumi renounced the world and plunged himself into meditation. During this span he wrote his great poetic work - the Mathwani and also various Rubai and Ghazal poems, which are compiled into Divan-I-kabir. In 1723 Rumi died. It was his son who organized his disciples and with Konya as the center, formed the brotherhood of whirling Dervishes - the Mevlevi.

During the Ottoman rule, the Dervishes exercised considerable influence on the social, economic and political lives of the people. Many promising poets and musicians came up during this span and many of the members of this order served as the officials of the Caliphate. It was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, who abolished the Dervish orders in the early 20th century and thus converted the monasteries into the museums. Much later, in 1957 the brotherhood was revived by the Turkish government as a "cultural association" which has much earthly appeal to the tourist.